Children’s Book Award

2021 Shortlist 

Congratulations to the finalists!


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly (Hachette)

Judges' comments 

Engaging, fascinating and stunningly illustrated, this encyclopaedia provides oodles of information and hours of entertainment for animal enthusiasts. Meticulous research and well written text reveal the precarious situation of these maligned dangerous animals and portrays them in a new light. Superior design, layout, and production values underpin the significant themes of this impressive book.

How to Make a Bird by Meg McKinlay illustrated by Matt Ottley (Walker Books)

Judges' comments

Each page is elegant, profound, enlightening, and provocative. The layers of meaning deepen with each reading and the simple invitation to ‘make a bird’ is merely the doorway to reflection on how to make a life. The language is tender, surprising, and exquisite while the illustrations embrace and illuminate the words with their subtlety.

The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty illustrated by Kelly Canby (Allen & Unwin)

Judges' comments 

Set in Moriarty’s Kingdoms and Empires world, Esther’s new term at boarding school is a challenging mix of magic, new friends, and mysterious enemies. Delightfully humorous as well as dark and powerful, the joyful inventiveness and emotional insight that characterises this series carries the reader along in a rich deeply satisfying read.

We are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad illustrated by Martina Heiduczek (ABC Books)

Judges' comments 

Three German children have their hearts and minds overturned as they struggle for survival in the East Prussian wilderness at the end of WW2.   This harrowing historical tale of displacement is a triumph of nuanced storytelling which, despite the brutality of the subject matter, leaves an indelible impression of hope.

Bindi by Kirli Saunders illustrated by Dub Leffler (Magabala)

Judges' comments 

Bindi explores the life of eleven-year-old Bindi who lives in Gundungurra Country while the overarching narrative compellingly bridges Australia’s past, present and future. Short, sharp, exquisite verse is spaced in such a way that you sink into each sentence, allowing you to feel your way through a beautiful story of childhood innocence, family, community, and hope.

Supported by Susan Hocking and Ian Mackie, and their family, through The Hocking Mackie Trust at APS Foundation.