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Young Voices, Big Reads: Exploring the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards’ newest category

This week, an exceptional children’s writer will be honoured at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards with the new Award for Children’s Literature.  

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We asked some young friends and family of The Wheeler Centre team to share their thoughts on the three works shortlisted in the 2024 VPLA Children’s Literature category. We also reached out to some teen readers to review the shortlisted works in the Writing for Young Adults category. Here’s what they had to say.

Ghost Book by Remy Lai (Allen & Unwin)

Read by Spencer (2) and Raffy (7)  

Spencer, Raffy and Joe (39) read Ghost Book by Remy Lai together. They both loved it and looked forward to reading more each night.  

When I asked them about their favourite bits, Spence said ‘There’s a ghost coming!’. He also liked the dumplings. Raffy liked when they ate the animal soup and William turned into a mouse and July turned into a bear.  


It’s the Sound of The Thing: 100 new poems for young people by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing) 

Read by Harvey (7) 

I like this book because some of the poems rhyme and I like rhyming tales.  

I really like the peanut butter poem even though I think honey is better!  

This is the first poetry book I have ever read, and I liked reading it. 


Who’s Afraid of the Light? by Anna McGregor (Scribble) 

Read by Albertine (3) 

Bertie liked the glow in the dark cover.  

She said: ‘It’s good…. it’s laughy! The best bit is the eel.’ 


A Hunger of Thorns by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin) 

Read by Otis (11) 

I really liked this book because there were a LOT of mysterious things and you never knew what to expect. 

The first three chapters felt a little slow, but after that, I became very intrigued. I enjoyed how it switched between past and present.  

I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy a good, mysterious magical adventure and thrills. 


The Quiet and the Loud by Helena Fox (Pan Australia) 

Read by Jonothan (13) 

The Quiet and the Loud was a good book. I really liked the dialogue between the characters. 

George, the main character, flashes back to an event in her childhood while we get to know her in the present day.  

I like the descriptions of her morning kayak trips. 


We Could Be Something by Will Kostakis (Allen & Unwin) 

Read by Daisy (14) 

Overall, the book was a good read. The characters are interesting and have depth. The vocabulary is easy to understand and it’s good at focusing in on the details but moving fast during the unimportant parts. Would recommend! 


The 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards are taking place at 6pm AEDT on Thursdsay 1 February. You can view the livestreamed event here. Explore the full 2024 shortlists now.

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