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The Little Wave and Ghost Bird recognised in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards
Posted 16.10.2020

The Little Wave and Ghost Bird recognised in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Huge congratulations to UQP authors Pip Harry and Lisa Fuller, whose books have received top awards from the Children's Book Council of Australia. Pip's book The Little Wave is the winner of the Book of the Year: Younger Readers and Lisa's YA novel Ghost Bird is an Honour Book in the Book of the Year: Older Readers.

Judges' comments about The Little Wave:

Expertly written in verse form, the story revolves around three plausible, three-dimensional characters who alternate their narration. Primary school children, they have been given an assignment by their teachers to write to a pen pal and thus the two contrasting settings, a beautiful surfing beach and a remote outback town, serve to highlight the challenges which the children experience. The story flows smoothly with the three plots becoming increasingly interwoven, creating complex layers and parallels: Lottie is dealing with her father’s grief and consequent hoarding, Noah is being bullied by his ‘best friend’ and Jack is challenged by his family’s poverty and his mother’s addiction.

There are themes of grief, family, bullying and poverty which are explored with an overarching theme of supporting each other through connection: Jack and Lottie have aunts who support the family; Lottie’s and Noah’s dads connect to provide emotional stability. The plot development is compelling and the inclusion of the pen pal letters is a clever device to add information and enhance the connections. The cover is colourful and appealing.

Judges' comments about Ghost Bird:

Told with an undeniably authentic Indigenous voice, this is a haunting story of racism and small-town prejudices, alongside ideas of family history and culture. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Tace, after the disappearance of her twin sister, Fuller interweaves familial stories to create a mystery and a thriller that combines action and suspense with lyrical descriptions of the sisters and the tight bond throughout their community. The environment and setting are skilfully woven into the story, giving the reader strong insight into life in the Top End and a deep feeling of unease that is essential to maintaining the atmosphere of the novel.

Fuller’s use of informal and colloquial language not only makes this book appealing to teenage readers, but also adds a level of sincerity that in no way feels contrived. Stories of culture and history form a strong theme of how past generations pass on beliefs and wisdom to their descendants, and how that can manifest in both positive and negative ways. There is clever interrogation of almost every theme. The book very successfully fills a void in Australian YA fiction.