I am so happy to be doing this post. Zac Harding is one of the three judges who had the difficult job of deciding which books would become finalists and then which would be the winners.
I have known Zac for many years and am privileged he is sharing his thoughts about judging with us here at Fendalton Open-Air school. Some of you may even remember when he visited us for book week two years ago and read some hilarious picture books.
“When you love books there is only one job that’s better than being a librarian, and that’s being a judge in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. I got told, back in October last year, that I was one of three lucky people chosen to be a judge for the 2014 book awards. It’s incredibly exciting news and I was grinning for days afterwards.
One of the first things you get told is that you are going to be sent approximately 120 books to read. 120 free books that you can keep! When the books finally arrived (in 3 big boxes) I spent ages looking through them all and discovering which books had been submitted. Some were favourites of mine, some were new and looked really interesting, and a few looked really bad, but I had to read them all.
Over the next 2 months I read them all and came up with my list of my top 8 books in each category – Junior Fiction, Non Fiction, Young Adult Fiction and Picture Books. I met with the other two judges (Ant Sang and Barbara Else), and we decided on our shortlist of 20 books in total, then we decided on the winners. It was really tough and some of the books I loved didn’t make it to the shortlist, but there are lots of great books in the list.
We’ve decided on our winners and they’ll be announced in 2 weeks on 23 June at the award ceremony in Auckland. I’m looking forward to sharing our winners and I hope that readers around the country agree with our choices.”
And if you want to see what else Zac does, do check out his blog on the City Libraries web site
Or if you want to find out more about the finalist books check this site. I know many of you voted for the children’s choice. Not long now until the winners are announced.