SHOALHAVEN author Allison Tait is one of six writers shortlisted for a national book award.
Allison’s The Mapmakers Chronicles: Race to the End of the World is among finalists for the Reading Children’s Book Prize.
The prize recognises and celebrates Australian books that children love to read, and raises the profile of debut and on-the-rise Australian children’s book authors.
“It came as a total surprise,” Allison said.
“I never expected to be shortlisted for anything.”
The winner of the award will be announced in July.
The prize judges are a panel of Readings children’s book specialists. “We’re proud of this year’s diverse list with a story to suit every reader and interest level within the age group,” the judges said.
“Whole new worlds and unique ways of looking at our world will be discovered between the covers of the following six books. Readers will encounter lashings of humour, exciting adventures over land and sea, wicked witches and obnoxious aliens, action on the sports field, and the joys of camping under the stars.”
The Mapmakers Chronicles is a three-part series, with Race to the End of the World released in October last year.
The second book was released in March and the third instalment will debut in October this year.
Race to the End of the World tells the story of Quinn, a boy with an extraordinary memory who is picked to train as a mapmaker.
The king has announced a competition: the first person who can create a map of the world will receive whatever they wish, be it money, power or fame.
Quinn finds himself at sea aboard the Libertas, where treachery and danger are commonplace as they search for undiscovered lands.
“With its high-seas adventure and characters that any reader would follow to faraway lands, it was one of my standout favourites of last year,” Holly Harper of Readings Carlton said.
“This book made me feel like I was discovering an Australian fantasy classic in the vein of Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest, and I bet there will be plenty of readers aged nine and up eagerly awaiting book two’s release.”
Allison visited Nowra East Public School this week to run a writing workshop with students.
She will run three more workshops at Nowra, Bomaderry and Vincentia public schools over the course of term two.
“I’ll be talking about the Mapmakers Chronicles but also I’ll be talking about writing in general,” she said.
“I’ll talk about where ideas come from, what you need to write a story and how it’s structured.”
Allison hoped to show students how ideas can come from anywhere and how to get the ideas in their head onto paper.
She also lets students ask her questions after the workshop which she said could be anything from “how old I am to what I had for breakfast that morning”.
Allison attended school in Nowra and said she also wanted to show students writing was something which could be done from anywhere.