Sunday, August 16, 2020

NZ Graphic novels winners at the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults!

The winners of the NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults were announced this week, and two titles with graphic novel storytelling elements were honoured with wins in three different categories.

Mophead, written and illustrated by Selina Tusitala Marsh won both the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award and the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction. Mophead recounts Marsh’s journey from self-conscious child unsure of her place in the world to being New Zealand’s Poet Laureate rubbing shoulders with world leaders and literary luminaries, and delivers a powerful message that your difference is what makes a difference. Here's what the judges had to say:

This magic book reaches past our brains and squeezes life into our hearts and imaginations. Mophead places its writer at the centre of her own story, but also draws lines out to all the stories and histories that make up an individual: cultures, literature, family and education. With exquisite design and production, it is part picture book, part graphic novel, part memoir, part poem – its form is exactly what it wants and needs to be, which is the message of the book too. Mophead is clever and joyful and inspiring, with not a smidgen of pretension or condescension. It is – dare it be said – perfect.

The Adventures of Tupaia, written by Courtney Sina Meredith and illustrated by Mat Tait won the Russell Clark Award for Illustration. The Adventures of Tupaia tells the incredible story of Tupaia, Tahitian priest navigator, who sailed on board the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his first voyage to Aotearoa. Here are the judges feedback on the illustrations:

Mat Tait’s illustrations reach the reader on an intellectual, gut and aesthetic level. They teach us about our history in part by engaging our emotions, via dramatic perspectives and powerful colours. We witness a battle for power as we journey through the Pacific, and are struck by confusion and grief. A clever combination of modes is used: comic strips, vignettes, full spreads of starry skies, and symbols from throughout the Pacific. The pared back, simple lines and limited colours give us the sense that history isn’t merely something from the past – it’s still happening now. These illustrations are modern and cool – but with an urgent fire in their belly.  

Congratulations to Selina Tusitala Marsh and Mat Tait on their wins! Both Mophead and The Adventures of Tupaia are available from booksellers now. You can read about all the winners at the NZ Book Awards website HERE.

- AK!

NEW RELEASE: The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King

Above: The cover of The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King. Copyright Jonathan King 2020.

Out this month is The Inkberg Enigma a new mystery graphic novel from Wellington filmmaker/cartoonist Jonathan King. King's previous films include, Black Sheep and Under the Mountain, with his comics have appeared online and in the Faction anthology and my book, From Earth's End: The Best of New Zealand Comics.

The Inkberg Enigma is a graphic-novel mystery adventure for eight- to twelve-year-olds in which a girl and boy uncover the secret that has corrupted a town. Miro and Zia live in Aurora, a fishing town nestled in the shadow of a mysterious castle. Miro lives in the world of books; Zia is never without her camera. The day they meet, they stumble on a secret. With Zia determined to discover more, a reluctant Miro is pulled into a real-life adventure.

I've always enjoyed King's classic 'ligne claire' style of cartooning, which is sure to appeal to NZ readers young and old who have enjoyed Hergé's Tintin adventures - a firm favourite in local libraries for decades. It took 3 years to create and is sure to be a treat for that younger reader in your house who enjoys comics with a local flavour and a dash of suspenseful adventure! 

You can read an insightful Q&A interview with Jonathan on the creation of the book and his influences HERE.

And here's a preview of the book:

The Inkberg Enigma is available now from Gecko Press and all good bookstores for $29.99 NZ. 
Reader Age: 8-12 year
Book Size: 27 × 20.5 cm
ISBN: 9781776572663  

- AK!