Happy happy, joy joy …. the best possible kind of news!

The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award goes to…

Mandy Hager’s book Singing Home the Whale, described as a beautifully told story of hope and promise, has won this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Singing Home the Whale is also the winner in the awards’ Young Adult Fiction category.
Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Winner Mandy Hager. Photo by Mark Tantrum Photography

Source: Supplied

Set in the tranquillity of the Pelorus Sound and spanning issues of environment, conservation and relationships, the book tells the story of Will, a teenage boy, and Min, a young orca.
Singing Gilbert and Sullivan from the back of a boat in the Sounds, Will is heard by Min, who has been separated from his pod after seeing his mother killed by whalers. It’s the union of two souls that will last a lifetime.
Judging Panel Convenor Bob Docherty says Singing Home the Whale stood out as relevant, timeless and extraordinarily powerful.
“We think this novel would have won in any year it was entered, and the decision was unanimous for the panel,” Mr Docherty says.
“Mandy Hager is writing out of her skin at present and her understanding of the human condition and human attitudes towards each other and other inhabitants of Planet Earth are beautifully presented.
“This novel should be compulsory reading in any country that still hunts whales. The alternating narrative by Will and Min is captivating and believable, as well as easy to read.”

The winners of the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington on Thursday 13th August.

Me: I’m so thrilled – especially as special mention was made of my daughter Rose’s magnificent chapter head pages (see the Singing Home the Whale tab for more).

And, this too – an extremely generous review from John McIntyre of the Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie, Wellington.


  1. Well done Mandy! (editor in me wouldn't let me put !!!!!) that is so cool! You are a machine (in a good way). cheers, hugh.


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