New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

Celebrating the very best in New Zealand books for children and teenagers.

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New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults

Awards for the New Zealand Book Awards are made in four categories: Young Adult Fiction, Junior Fiction, Non-fiction and Picture Book.

The Book of the Year is awarded to one of the four category winners.

This supreme winner is the book which, in the opinion of the judges, achieves outstanding excellence in all general judging criteria.

Recent Winners

 AOTEAROA The New Zealand Story

2018 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story

by Gavin Bishop, author and illustrator

Innovative in its concept and format, this is a story of a nation and family, illustrating our unique place in the world. It shows us the landscapes, events and personalities that have built our identity and culture.

snark being the true

2017 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Snark: Being the true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock ... and its tragic aftermath

by David Elliot, author and illustrator

Elliot's twist on Lewis Carroll's nonsense poems is unique and offers mystery, adventure and intrigue, accompanied by outstanding illustrations.

anzac heroes

2016 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

ANZAC Heroes

by Maria Gill and illustrated by Marco Ivancic

This important book brings to life our people who risked everything, left everything, lost everything, as they participated in World Wars I and II, and tells their stories with carefully chosen detail but never overwhelming the reader.

It is a book for readers of all ages.



Singing Home the Whale

 2015 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Singing Home the Whale

by Mandy Hager


This is the story of Will, a teenager whose world has closed in on him, and Min, a young orca who has been separated from his pod after seeing his mother killed by whalers. Music connects and binds these two souls in a friendship that will last a lifetime. A powerful tale with the compelling themes of the environment and conservation, teenage angst and relationships, set in the Marlborough Sounds.



The Boring Book cover

2014 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

The Boring Book

by Vasanti Unka


The Boring Book tells the story of words that escape from the pages of a book. A tale full of fun and warmth which explores the importance of books and words in an imaginative way.

Also winner of Best Picture Book of the year.


Into the river cover

2013 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

(New Zealand's most cherished children's author is commemorated with the re-naming of this award)

Into the River

by Ted Dawe

When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his life. He has brushed against the spirit world and there is a price to be paid, an utu to be exacted.



Nice Day for a War cover

2012 Book of the Year

Nice Day for a War

by Matt Elliott

A young soldier from rural New Zealand lies about his age and heads off to fight in World War One. At first he and his mates are full of excitement, but then they encounter the horrors of the Western front. 

The Moon &  Farmer McPhee cover

2011 Book of the Year

The Moon & Farmer McPhee

by Margaret Mahy and David Elliott

A heart-warming story, with lots of fun wordplay, this story is about a grumpy farmer whose animals keep him awake at night singing and dancing by the light of the moon.

Old Hu-Hu cover

2010 Book of the Year

Old Hu-Hu

by Kyle Mewburn and Rachel Driscoll

Little Hu-Hu-Tu loves Old Hu-Hu very much. But now all that's left is an empty shell. Where did Old Hu-Hu go? Little Hu-Hu-Tu's search for answers leads to a surprising discovery.