23 Jun 2014

Unka's Boring Book a 'perfect package'

10:20 pm on 23 June 2014

The top prize at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards has gone to The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka.

Ms Unka received the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award at a ceremony in Auckland on Monday night, as well as Best Picture Book.

Head judge and author Barbara Else said The Boring Book was anything but, and pushed the boundaries of the genre with a captivating storyline and beautiful presentation.

"[It had a] really interesting cover, handsome hardback, and the interior design as well. It's really a perfect package."

Ms Unka, who takes away $15,000 in prizes, said she was elated at the win and felt like she was in a "parallel universe. You can't believe how amazing it is for me to know that something I created has been so well received."

Being a children's writer is a rewarding, but often tough job, she said.

"It's not like an occupation that's going to be a money-spinner, but you do it for love. And everybody in the business does it for love."

Wairarapa author Paul Adamson won Best Non-Fiction for The Beginners Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand.

Well-known author Joy Cowley's book Dunger, which the judges called a "quintessentially New Zealand story," was awarded Best Junior Fiction.

Best Young Adult Fiction went to Elizabeth Knox for Mortal Fire, while literary newcomer Rachel Stedman won Best New Book for fantasy novel A Necklace of Souls.

Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley's reinvention of the classic Goldilocks fairytale The Three Bears… Sort Of was deemed Children's Choice.

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka won the Honour award, and the Maori Language prize went to Keri Kaa and Martin Page for Taka Ki Ro Wai.

Head judge Barbara Else said the interest in the awards, and the book festival the awards are a part of, said good things about the state of children's literature.

"Children, librarians and teachers are just as interested, if not more than ever, in engaging children in that really enjoyable activity."