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Michelle Selects Worthy Title

Toowoomba Grammar School Junior School librarian, Michelle Worthington has had the honour of being selected as a Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards judge.

Ms Worthington is one of just three judges, and the only Queenslander on the panel for the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers (ages 13-18 years, books for mature readers). She was selected from more than 200 nominations Australia-wide.

Ms Worthington has just returned from Canberra, where she met with her two colleagues to select the 2018 Book of the Year for Older Readers. The winning entry won’t be announced until Book Week, 18-24 August.

There were six titles shortlisted: Mallee Boys (by Charlie Archbold), In the Dark Spaces (Cally Black), Take Three Girls (Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood), Because of You (Pip Harry), The Secret Science of Magic (Melissa Keil) and Ballad for a Mad Girl (Vikki Wakefield).

“It was very hard for the three of us to come to a final decision because we all had different opinions and reasons about what made the shortlisted books so worthy,” said Ms Worthington.

“We looked at the flaws, and the positives of each book and also took in to account the audience – what that age group would enjoy.”

Ms Worthington can’t reveal the winning title, but said it was a great read and had a really powerful message.

That final judging was probably the easiest part of her role; Ms Worthington has spent the past twelve months reading an impressive 72 books that were nominated for the Award. That’s almost one and a half books a week, and they’re not children’s stories, most were 300-600 page novels!

“It was like a part-time job,” she laughed.

“I was sent a dozen books every three weeks and I would have to write an extensive review on each of them. It was very demanding.”

Ms Worthington obviously made an impression on the CBCA as she has been asked to return to the judging panel for next two year’s Awards.

“I really, really loved the role, but I’ve declined that offer with the intention of judging again in the not too distant future.

“It is a lot of pressure and I wanted to have a short break so I can put my heart and soul into it again next time.”

ABOUT THE CBCA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Australia has an incredibly diverse, vibrant and fabulous children’s literary community which produces some of the best children’s books in the world and the CBCA Book of the Year Awards recognise some of this exceptional talent each year, through the notables, shortlists and Book Week celebrations.

Many of us choose our wine based on the stickers on the bottle, and in the same way many of us choose books to read based on the number of stickers on a cover. The CBCA stickers carry a hefty weight regarding literary honour and are widely recognised by parents and children alike as they select books from their public or school library, or at their local bookstore.

The awards were established in 1946, with the first winners receiving a camellia flower before generous donations ensured a monetary prize for each category. The CBCA Awards Foundation was established in 1995 and excess of a million dollars has been raised to ensure the future and independence of these important awards.

The Shortlist and Notables for 2018 can be used as a buying guide for home, school and library collections as they are an excellent starting point for parents and teachers looking to read the crème de la crème of children’s/YA literature in Australia. With five categories of book awards, there is a book to suit children from birth to 18 years old, and their parents and teachers!  The rigorous process of CBCA judging ensures the books on the Notables list are of a high literary standard. It is important to keep in mind that the CBCA Book of the Year Awards are based on the literary merit of each book and are not children’s choice/popular award