Getting the kids talking



Queenstown author Laura Shallcrass has had her first book nominated in three categories of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Her book is Hare & Ruru, A Quiet Moment, published by Beatnik Publishing.

It deals with the issue of anxiety and provides ideas for children facing the problem.







The book has been nominated for best first book, best picture book, and the Russell Clark award for illustration, and was selected as one of the 28 finalists from a field of 166 entries.

The winners of the six main categories are each up for a prize of $7500, and are then in the running for the Margaret Mahy book of the year award.

Shallcrass is a commercial illustrator and says her book came about as a result of the Christchurch earthquake.

‘‘There was quite a lot of talk about how difficult it was for kids and how opening the conversation around anxiety is half the battle.

‘‘That’s what I tried to do with the book; was to get kids talking about their feelings a wee  bit and acknowledging anxiety can take all kinds of different forms and there’s lots of stuff you can do about it.’’

Dealing with anxiety: The cover of Laura Shallcrass’ book

Shallcrass says she was writing from personal experience.

‘‘I do have an anxiety disorder myself, which I sort of struggled through for a good 30 years before I managed to get some help for it.’’

The book contains three positive ways that helped her.

‘‘They worked for me.’’

Shallcrass says her second children’s book is nearing completion, being proof-read by her sons Boston, 10, and Monty, 7.

‘‘I love to have them work through the stories with me and tell me their thoughts.’’

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony at the National Library in Wellington on August 11.

Convenor of judges Alan Ding ley says the diversity of ideas in this year’s entries really stands out.

‘‘It’s clear that our authors truly credit kids and young people with having the emotional  intelligence to deal with complex themes, issues and feelings.’’