A vibrant network of young readers, from emerging to young adult, will dive deeply into our Shortlist and express their opinions and share their responses as judges ‘shadowing’ our own CBCA Judges. They will use the same criteria to reflect on literary values and to champion their choices. Within their groups they will collaborate and develop their own creative response to a chosen book and share this with the community.

Each group will focus on one of our five categories: Older Readers, Younger Readers, Early Childhood, Picture Book, or the Eve Pownall Information Book. Every group, and their facilitator, will be supported by a mentor from their state-based CBCA branch.

Shadow judging is an activity where a facilitated group of young people will:

  1. 1Group with + one facilitator.
  2. 2Read the six books in one category of books on our 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Awards Shortlist.
  3. 3Share their group’s creative Responses to the books online.
  4. 4Vote collaboratively to nominate a winner in their category. The CBCA Shadowers’ Choice Awards will be announced and celebrated at a brand-new event at the end of 2022 CBCA Book Week.


Australian children’s literature plays a unique role in our culture. It has the power to shine a light on our world, speaking directly to young people.

By connecting peers, books and creatives, while strengthening their voices, our participants will:

  • build personal aesthetic literary appreciation,
  • be encouraged to imagine, think critically and respond
  • develop a greater self-concept, empathy and awareness of diverse opinion,
  • read more widely and are twice as likely to read above the level for their age, and
  • absorb culture in a community context by sharing the experience.