James Foley ends CBCA Book Week on a high by taking out the children’s choice award for Stellarphant
Stellarphant has won Picture Book of the Year in the inaugural Children’s Book Council of Australia Sun Project Shadowers’ Choice Awards. A week to the day from being named a CBCA Honour Book, the little elephant that could has rocketed into the top spot as voted by young readers.
James Foley thanked the CBCA for supporting his work and the work of all Australian children’s book authors and illustrators. He said, ‘Having Stellarphant awarded an honour book sticker was a huge, well, honour! I was over the moon. Now, with this new accolade, I’m past the moon and well on my way to a galaxy far, far away. Sincere thanks to the CBCA for running Book Week – it was always my favourite part of the school year as a kid, and it’s a central part of my working life too, and now this award … it’s wonderful. And thanks to all the readers of Stellarphant!’
Announced at a special online ceremony streamed live on Friday 26 August, the Shadow winners were chosen by young people from all states and territories around Australia, using the same criteria that the judges of the Book of the Year Awards use when assessing each entry.
Publisher Cate Sutherland said she felt James’s latest picture book had really struck a chord with both kids and the young at heart. She said, ‘I love the fact that, despite each set of judges being blind to the choices of the others, Stellarphant made it onto both award lists. We have always been proud to publish James’s work and we’re incredibly happy to see his latest book go stratospheric. He deserves every accolade.’
In a media release about the awards, CBCA Chair Wendy Rapee said the project was inspired by the UK CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shadowing Scheme and trialled in Victoria during 2020/2021. She said, ‘We have received overwhelming feedback from our young judges with many saying they enjoyed two important aspects of this process: meeting up with other young people they wouldn’t normally spend time with; and reading books they wouldn’t normally turn to. They have read and enjoyed genres they haven’t experienced before. As a result, they are now more likely to seek out other works in different genres and seek out particular writers or illustrators they were introduced to during the process. Their choices have expanded. Their reading skills have deepened. This is a huge win for our participants. We are thrilled.’