CANBERRA comic artist Jon Sommariva is one half of the duo that has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s “Older Readers Book of the Year”.
Entries across the six categories in the awards revealed powerful new voices, literary forms and artists presenting challenging themes including immigration, illness and concern for the environment, the judges said.
Sommariva and Australian author Tom Taylor were awarded for their gritty Young Adult graphic novel series, “Neverlanders”.
Sommariva and Taylor readily admit “Neverlanders” is a contemporary take on “Peter Pan”, complete with a foul-mouthed Tinkerbell and a merciless new pirate leader who makes Captain Hook look like Harry Potter.
It was praised by judges as “a contemporary “found family” tale embedded within the “metatextuality of a Peter Pan narrative with a clever, action-oriented storyline and gloriously rich illustrations. Discerning readers will unpack the hints of the adults’ destruction of the world, parental failure, gun violence and domestic violence to add a more serious dimension to the fantasy plot.”
Sommariva, also known as Red J, has been the artist for such bestselling comics as “Batman”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Star Wars” and “The Avengers” and has sold well over a million copies of his comics. He lives with his family in Canberra.
Other books awarded were “Runt” by Craig Silvey; “Where the Lyrebird Lives” by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Max Hamilton; “My Strange Shrinking Parents” by Zeno Sworder; “DEEP: Dive into Hidden Worlds” by Jess McGeachin and “Tiny Wonders” by Sally Soweol Han.
The full list of award and honour books is here. Children’s Book Week, August 19-25 , has the theme “Read, Grow, Inspire”.
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