A tale of wartime heroes has taken out the top gong at this year's Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (NZCYA).
Wintry Wellington weather couldn't dampen the mood at last night's awards, as writers and readers of all ages gathered at Circa Theatre to celebrate the best in the story-telling business.
And, fittingly, it was a first-time winner who took out the grand prize.
Maria Gill's book, Anzac Heroes, was the big winner, taking out both the non-fiction and best book categories.
Illustrated by Marco Ivancic, the story follows an ensemble cast of Anzac characters through World Wars I and II.
It took more than a year of research, including trips to Australia to interview subjects and take photographs.
The book also includes stories from some of the more overlooked areas of the war effort, which both Ms Gill and Mr Ivancic said was an important part of their project.
"It became really clear quite early on we wanted Māori and Aboriginal soldiers represented", Ms Gill said.
"At first we only had Nancy Wake - but about halfway, three-quarters of the way through, I said 'we've got to have more women.' They weren't allowed to fight, but they were incredibly brave."
Mr Ivancic said he was inspired by the untold stories of wartime.
"I think it was important to show how the war touched everyone," he said.
"Everyone was involved, it wasn't just the heroes on the frontlines. There was the medics, the people back home ... all these untold stories that get forgotten."
The night's other award winners included a mixture of established and up-and-coming writers.
The renowned Wellington novelist Patricia Grace won the best Māori-language award for Whiti te ra!, which tells the history of the Ka Mate haka, while another Wellington writer, Kate De Goldi, took out the junior fiction category, with From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle.
Auckland writer Brian Falkner won his first NZCYA for best young adult book, with his alternative history, Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo.
Mr Falkner's book ponders the age-old question: "What if Napolean had access to dinosaurs as weapons at the Battle of Waterloo?', with predictably combustible results.
He said one of his biggest challenges was finding a convincing way to introduce dinosaurs into an existing historical timeline.
"I could've gone onto Mastermind on the subject of the Battle of Waterloo", he said.
"Because the central conceit is something that's impossible, you then have to surround that with reality.
"Every little detail is so detailed, and so real, that the reader will accept the great conceit when the dinosaurs come charging onto the battlefield."
The award for illustration went to Donovan Bixley for Much Ado About Shakespeare, while Nikki Slade-Robinson won the award for best picture book, with The Little Kiwi's Matariki.
A new category of awards was introduced this year: the Children's Choice awards, which, as the name suggests, were entirely decided by children.
Interestingly, the children's choices differed significantly from those of the judges.
Kete Merewether's Te Hua Tutahi a Huwi was voted best Māori-language book, while Kyle Mewburn's The House on the Hill, illustrated by Sarah Davis, was the children's choice for picture book.
Stacy Gregg won the junior children's choice award for The Girl who Rode the Wind; David Hill won best non-fiction, with First to the Top; and Rachel Craw won best young adult book, with Stray.