Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa

The 2015 Judges

Just in time for summer holiday reading, we are proud to introduce the judging panel for the 2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards. From Auckland to Timaru our judges bring a wealth of experience in libraries and children’s literature. Without their expertise and passion for children’s books our awards would not be possible. Our judges are looking forward to submissions closing on February 10th and long afternoons reading in the sun.

Pam Jones - Panel Convenor

Our panel convenor Pam is the District Children’s & Young Adult Librarian for South Taranaki, responsible for developing and implementing targeted services for children and teens. She has been the selector of Children’s and Young Adult books for the past 12 years.

Pam is passionate about children’s literature and says it is “vital that we support great writing for children if we want to encourage young readers and develop in them a love of reading”. I’m always looking for that special book that will enrich children’s  lives, challenge their ideas and provide powerful characterization and strong plots. Different books work for different children so  I’m also looking for books that are a sheer joy to read, causing laughter to bubble up from within the reader; that have a spark of magic, keep the reader on the edge on their seat or present a delightful child’s eye view of the world. That’s the treasure I’m seeking.

“If they contain one or more of these elements, books have the power to greatly influence a child’s thinking.”

This is her third year judging the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards.

Helen O’Carroll

Helen is delighted to be helping with the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards again, even though she is painfully aware how much reading and potential sleep deprivation is required.  Growing up in a large family, there were always kids’ books around. If Helen wasn’t reading them herself she was reading them to younger siblings and having a go at writing her own.  Children’s books became a serious interest for her in the early 1990’s as a school library adviser in Hamilton when she also studied children’s literature part-time at university.  She judged on the Esther Glen Award panel in 1994, and squeezed as many children’s related courses as possible into her M.A. 

While Helen pursued her other passions of travel and outdoor pursuits then raising a family she found that the children’s literature bug endured.  While living in Aoraki Mt Cook in the early 2000’s she had a story published in the School Journal.  But best of all were her 3 years as a children’s librarian at Christchurch City Libraries under the mentorship of superb children’s librarians Bill Nagelkerke and Louise Easter and their excellent network of children’s librarians.  Helen regards this as her true training ground and what gave her invaluable hands-on knowledge.  This led to being a panellist for the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards 2007 and then 3 years on the Storylines Management Committee. Helen now works for the University of Auckland as a librarian at the Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library where she loves sharing her enthusiasm for children’s and young adult literature with staff and students.  She is looking forward to having even more books, authors and ideas to share with them after she has completed her term as a panellist next year.

Helen’s most prized book is The Book Thief signed with an inspiring inscription by Markus Zusak.

Sue Maxwell

Sue is Youth Services Librarian at Timaru District Libraries where she is responsible for management and selection for the children’s and teen collections, and the programmes and services delivered through the three libraries in the network, as well as online offerings.

Sue is dedicated to giving South Canterbury kids and teens the opportunities that big city kids have to enjoy rich collections of books, opportunities to meet visiting authors and storytellers, and the chance to channel their creative spirits through writing.  Sue has twice been Canterbury regional coordinator for the Nestle Write Around NZ Creative Writing Programme, and currently offers the biennial Ursula Moray Williams Creative Writing Competition. 

Another of Sue’s passions is adventuring in the SC and Otago high country, exploring our unique and wonderful  hinterland – the kinds of iconic places and spaces that our authors and illustrators capture so well, making their writing and images so accessible to young readers.  “When they read books, kids love to explore the lives and places that other kids inhabit, and in our rich landscape of New Zealand writing they have fantastic choices.” 

Sue says “We have such a wealth of talent in our wonderful kiwi writers, illustrators and publishers, it is a real pleasure to introduce kids to new reading adventures.  Kiwi writing just keeps getting better and better, so I can’t wait to read all the entries in the awards, and am looking forward to giving up housework and gardening for the duration and carrying a heavier load into the hills, filling my pack with books that just can’t be put down!”

Te Rangi Rangi Tangohau - Te Kura Pounamu Convenor

Te Rangi Rangi is the Convenor of the Te Kura Pounamu judging panel.  She is Principal Librarian Children’s Services at HB Williams Memorial Library, Gisborne and is a member of Te Rōpu Whakahau, the organisation uniting Maori librarians and information specialists in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is currently planning the next Te Rōpu Whakahau Hui – a – Tau 2015 with other Te Rōpu Whakahau members.

Te Rangi Rangi continues to ‘raise reading levels’ for Kura Kaupapa Maori children participating in the Hiki Taumata programme. The programme is conducted in te reo Maori and supported by senior students, perfect role models for our children to look up to.

Te Rangi Rangi says “it is so important to publish quality te reo materials for children. Through consistent basic language repetition children are able to build vocabulary, recognition and sentence structure”.

Te Rangi Rangi is proud to be involved with these awards, she says “in judging Te Kura Pounamu we are defining what stories Librarians value and signify in this moment as worthy of the award and this will set the standard for future authors and illustrators”.

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