Waikato book duo receive national award

Waikato-based author Sarah Johnson and illustrator Deborah Hinde have received a Storylines Notable Book Award for their junior fiction title, The Spaghetti Giraffe, it was announced today.

The Storylines awards are presented each year to recognise ‘outstanding books for children and young people published in New Zealand by New Zealand authors and illustrators during the previous calendar year’.

This is the second time that Johnson and Hinde have received a Storylines award for their work. In 2016, their junior fiction title, The Bold Ship Phenomenal (Flat Bed Press, 2015), received a Notable Book Award, and was also shortlisted in the junior fiction category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 2012, Johnson’s picture book Wooden Arms received the Storylines Joy Cowley Award and was subsequently published by Scholastic New Zealand.

This year’s awards will be presented at the Storylines Margaret Mahy Awards Day, to be held in Auckland on 8 April 2018.

The Spaghetti Giraffe tells the story of muddle-handed cook Mina Cucina’s desire to bake a cake that doesn’t erupt, take flight or explode. Mina Cucina is helped in her quest by a host of quirky animals formed from the debris that collects under cookers over time. The book is the first in a trilogy and was published by Flat Bed Press in 2017. The second book in the series will be published later this year.

Hinde who works as an illustrator from her studio in rural Wharepapa South has illustrated over 35 books for children, including kiwi classic A Kiwi Night Before Christmas (Scholastic NZ, 2003), and bestselling Moo, Moo and Little Calf Too (Allen & Unwin, 2017). She has recently branched out into authoring books of her own.

Johnson, who lives with her family in Raglan, writes chapter, picture and educational books and stories for children, as well as working as a freelance writer.

Johnson says, “The Storylines Trust does a stand-out job of supporting New Zealand children’s writers and illustrators. We are extremely grateful to have been chosen to receive a 2018 Notable Book Award for The Spaghetti Giraffe, and are looking forward to the awards ceremony in April.”

The Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust promotes awareness of the importance of reading and books for all children and young adults; ensures children and young adults in New Zealand have access to high quality literature; and supports the writers and illustrators of literature for children and young adults in New Zealand.