Australian therapists recognise value of WA teen novel

Western Australian novelist Kate McCaffrey has collected the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature for a third time. Her YA novel Saving Jazz won the $1500 Older Readers Award and a place on the list of titles recommended for use by family therapists.

McCaffrey said she was thrilled and delighted to have her work acknowledged by the Award, which was first established in 1986 to recognise books that depict a functioning family that can ‘cope creatively and constructively with credible obstacles’.

Saving Jazz is about Jazz – a perpetrator of cyberbullying who is also a victim in this new landscape of cyberbullying we find ourselves in today,’ said McCaffrey. ‘I wanted to show how damaging digital footprints could be, but I also wanted to show that you can recover at some stage, and that nothing is irreversible; that we don’t have to live forever with our mistakes – we can recover.’

McCaffrey said young adult audiences typically began by disliking the actions of Jazz, her main character. ‘But, after viewing the fallout and her slow path to redemption, many YA readers have told me how “empowering” she is,’ said McCaffrey.

McCaffrey’s other titles to win the award are Crashing Down and In Ecstasy, while Destroying Avalon was highly recommended in 2006.

Out (Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan, Scholastic) won the $1500 Young Readers/Picture Book Award and the judges also recommended One Step (Andrew Daddo, Penguin); The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me (Michael Gerard Bauer, Omnibus); When Michael Met Mina (Randa Abdel-Fattah, Pan); Agatha and the Dark (Anna Pignataro, Five Mile); My Brother (Dee Huxley, Oliver Huxley and Tiffany Huxley, Working Title Press); Space Alien at Planet Dad (Lucinda Gifford, Scholastic); The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee (Deborah Abela, Random House); and Welcome to Country (Aunty Joy Murphy, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy, Black Dog) as books that may ‘enhance therapists’ insights into specific problem areas’.

The Australian Family Therapists’ Awards for Children’s Literature are presented by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT). More information about the awards can be found on the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT) website.

Kate McCaffrey‘s books are available in all good bookstores and online.

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Books discussed
Saving Jazz

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