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VPLA 2024
Who’s Afraid of the Light?

Children’s Literature Shortlist

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Title: Who’s Afraid of the Light?

Author: Anna McGregor

Publisher: Scribble

Fergus lives down in the deepest, darkest depths of the sea and is scared of just one thing … the light!

Come on a trip to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean.

There are many fascinating creatures that call it home.

There’s nothing to be afraid of …

 … is there?

From the award-winning creator of Anemone is Not the Enemy and A Pair of Pears and an Orange comes this spooky, funny adventure with a surprise twist that you literally won’t see coming.

Anna McGregor introduces young readers to the wonders of the ocean’s ‘midnight zone’, where no sunlight at all is able to penetrate. We meet Fergus as he hides from a parade of sea creatures that use bioluminescence to find their way in the dark. At least, we think he is hiding … or is it something else entirely?


Photography by Sarah Walker



Judges’ report

The inventive brilliance of this book is such that the very form tells the story. Anna McGregor has created a book where the interactive nature of the composition, along with the text and pictures, culminates in a memorable reading experience. Playful and inventive, this book bridges genres of fiction and non-fiction and manages to elevate the form of the picture book into a cinematic work. Stunning design and fabulous comic timing makes this a standout picture book that will make readers laugh out loud. Using a black background and neon colours (not to mention a glow in the dark cover!), McGregor creates movement and humour with minimal lines and dialogue. Our narrator invites the reader to interact with the text, speak with the creature and guess their appearance, all while exploring the beasts of the deep sea.

Who’s Afraid of the Light is an example of great children’s literature that manages to tell a story, inform, engage, entertain and inspire wonder, while showing a huge respect for the audience.











About the author

Anna McGregor is a creator of modern, quirky and conceptual stories with humour and heart. Since beginning her career as a graphic designer, Anna is now emerging as an award-winning picture book author/illustrator.

Anna’s driving purpose is to delight and entertain children through timeless storytelling. With them, she explores evergreen issues through a child’s lens and allows them to interpret the stories in their own way and draw their own conclusions.

Anna has a deep curiosity about all things and finds her ideas by turning the mundane on its head, merging ideas or exploring wordplay — but always with a story that connects to the human experience.

Anna lives in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia with her husband and son.


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