Congratulations to the finalists!
Detention by Tristan Bancks (Penguin Random House)
When Dan discovers Sima, a runaway refugee hiding in his school toilet, he decides to help her escape. Visceral description, rising tension and cinematic realism characterise a story that is both a sensitive exploration of a burning issue and a gripping thriller, all set in a carefully observed quintessentially Australian context.
Winston and the Wondrous Wooba Gymnastics Club by Tamsin Janu (Omnibus Books)
Winston is thrilled when future stepsister Macy, a budding gymnast, comes to live in his small town, a community with big ideas but no gym. Together Winston and Macy inspire the town to leaps and stretches they thought impossible. This romp of energy, kindness and hope is a joy from leaping start to perfect finish.
Fly by Jess McGeachin (Penguin Random House)
When Lucy tries to mend the broken wing of a small bird, she discovers not everything can be fixed. This is a beautifully crafted story in which words and illustrations interweave to build a soaring tale of healing, marked by subtle humour, pathos and restraint.
Nop by Caroline Magerl (Walker Books)
With no buttons or ribbons to endear him to would-be owners, Nop is left alone on the Dumporeum’s shelf. Undeterred, Nop has a gentle thought that takes him on an adventure where he discovers home. Beautifully lyrical with stunning illustrations, this is an eloquent story about resilience, friendship and self-belief.
As Fast As I Can by by Penny Tangey (UQP)
When a young girl’s Olympic dreams hit an unexpected obstacle a richly realised gallery of family, friends, and community rally in their different ways to support her. Pitch perfect writing effectively conveys a child's voice and world view, combining comedy with a serious take on dreaming big and accepting life’s challenges.