Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014 – Shortlisted
Meet … Captain Cook / written by Rae Murdie ; illustrated by Chris Nixon.
This book has been nominated for the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books CBCA 2014. As you might have guessed, this is a junior non-fiction title (beware, facts included!) about Captain Cook’s life and adventures around the uncharted seas of the southern hemisphere. It starts out with a rather nice montage of his childhood and early career, then goes on to describe his journeys of exploration in the last great era of geographical discovery.
Being an Australian author there is a focus on the Endeavor and it’s voyage to look for signs of the great southern land known as Terra Australis, which captain Cook and his crew chartered in 1788. For a book aimed at younger readers there is actually quite a lot of information about his life, career as an explorer in the British Royal Navy and his part in the exploration and charting of many “new” lands; which include not only Australia and New Zealand but the Pacific Ocean and many islands (including Hawaii).
The illustrator has done a great job of not just complementing the text but providing an interesting and often quite beautifully stylised landscape. I would recommend this book as a good way to introduce your youngsters to historical stories, not just because it is Australian, but because it is always good to encourage in children the idea that amazing things happen(ed) in real life, not just in fantasy books!
So, enjoy your Children’s Book Week, and remember this year’s theme:
Connect to reading <> Reading to connect