Children’s Book Council of Australia  Sun Project:  Shadowers’ Choice Award winners announced

Children’s Book Council of Australia announced, following the release of their 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, the winners of 2022 CBCA  Sun Project:  Shadowers’  Choice  Awards (SCA). These are the book winners chosen by groups of young people.

During this year 2,000 children around Australia participated in the CBCA Sun Project:  Shadow Judging from Claremont in Tasmania, to Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory, to Leonora in Western Australia, and all points in between.

There were 155 groups in total and each chose a CBCA Book of the Year Awards Shortlist category to shadow judge. Using the same criteria as the Book of the Year Awards judges they have been busy reading, discussing, and critiquing, and with a facilitator, access to custom resources and visits from authors and illustrators. The young readers were blind to the choices the awards judges made and vice-versa, they were ‘shadowing’ the judges’ expertise.


  • CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers: Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn (NSW) pub. by Allen & Unwin
  • CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers: Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad (VIC), pub. by ABC: An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood: Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland (NT), pub. by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing
  • CBCA Picture Book of the Year: Stellarphant by James Foley (WA), Fremantle Press
  • CBCA Eve Pownall Award: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature by Sami Bayly (NSW), pub. by Hachette Australia

Now 76 years young, the Children’s Book Council of Australia trialled the shadow judging process in Victoria in 2020/2021 with the aim of illuminating literature within the context of the Australian National Curriculum: English, guiding young readers to respond and critique high quality literature and develop a wider reading repertoire. The project was inspired by the UK Carnegie Awards project Take Part. After the successful trials, 2022 is the inaugural national roll out of the program and has been made possible by an Australian Federal RiSE Grant.

“The fact that the students were reading for a purpose, interacting more with the story by posing questions, debating ideas, and questioning the author with more astute observations, made their reading journey a powerful one… Before taking part in The Sun Project, these students were enthusiastic readers, but because of the work done through the project, they are now more intuitive and intelligent readers.” Heather Zubek, 7 Seeds Reading Club.

Main Image: Collages of winners – book covers not to size.