Saint John the Apostle Primary School year 4 students Indie McDonald, Monika Swiderski and Mia Medway reading author Sonya Hartnett's book The Children of the King. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Winning prizes doesn't make writing the next book any easier, as Sonya Hartnett knows.
The prolific and internationally acclaimed Melbourne author received the Book of the Year: Younger Readers award for her novel The Children of the King at the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards at the National Library of Australia on Friday.
''When you get a book like The Children of the King you can feel it's good from the start,'' she said of her World War II story about three children sent to live in the English countryside.
Hartnett is now struggling to write an adult novel based on events from her childhood and said, ''Every second book is problematic. I prefer to write the children's books - there's a more fun spirit to them.''
Canberra Times columnist and author Jackie French received an honourable mention in the category for Pennies for Hitler.
Canberra author Emma Allen won the early childhood category with illustrator Freya Blackwood for The Terrible Suitcase.
In the competitive world of children's literature, the Children's Book Council awards have the greatest influence on what adults buy and what children read.
Other winners were Margo Lanagan for Sea Hearts, Ron Brooks and Julie Hunt for The Coat, and Kristin Weidenbach and Timothy Ide for Tom the Outback Mailman.