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Keys and Nga Ki finalists in awards
12 June 2015
Keys and Nga Ki finalists in awards

A FORMER Kawerau woman is a finalist in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Sacha Cotter’s children’s book Keys along with the te reo Maori version Nga Ki from Huia Publishers is one of five Picture Book finalists selected from 75 entries.

Keys is the first published work of author Cotter, who grew up in Kawerau and credits an “amazing” teacher at Kawerau South School with instilling in her a love of storytelling.

Judging panel convener Bob Docherty said the judges were very pleased with the high quality of this year’s writing.

“The Picture Book category gave the judges the most difficulty.

“With a whopping 75 entries, there was fierce competition to pare these down to five finalists.

“This indicates that New Zealand is producing its fair share of wonderfully strong visual stories – stories with simple integrity yet with expressive characters, where both author and illustrator work together to capture our interest on every page,” he said.

Cotter was surprised when she first heard the news.

“I almost cried. I never thought I’d be a finalist. Launching my first book in December was a dream come true for me, so now to have the book become a finalist six months later, it’s overwhelming.”

For the second year, a signed copy of the five Picture Book finalists’ books will be sent to Prince George and his newborn sister Princess Charlotte so Cotter will have a royal readership as well.

“It’s a bit hard to believe that they are going to be reading my book” she said. “I’m going to have to think of a special note to write to them in the book”.

Cotter’s family, who are integral to the ‘Keys’ story, were happy to hear the news back in Kawerau.

“My parents are over the moon. ‘Keys’ was based on my earliest childhood memory of my Dad arriving home and his keys jangling in the door. They’re also proud that this is a good news story for Kawerau.”

Cotter was back in her hometown in December and read her book Keys to children at the Kawerau Library.

The te reo Maori version of Keys titled Nga Ki was translated by Kawata Teepa and is one of two finalists in the Maori Language category of the Awards.

According to judge Stephanie Pohe-Tibble, “the two finalists both stood out with their innovative approach to translation, wonderful text and illustrations and creativity of storylines.

“I hope that all parents wishing to enrich their children’s lives with the Maori language will get to spend some special time with their children reading and enjoying these books.”

She is unable to attend the Finalist Authors’ Tour in early August as she will be away in Spain, where incidentally Keys was originally written.

However Keys illustrator Josh Morgan will be appearing on the tour of bookshops, libraries and schools.

Cotter will be back in time for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults to be held on August 13 at Government House in Wellington.

 

Source: Whakatane Beacon

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