I love it when I come across stories written so beautifully and so full of emotion that, when I read them out loud, my voice falters and tears spring to my eyes. Stories like that stick in my mind forever. Stories like Peter Carnavas’ “The Imprortant Things”, Oliver Jeffers’ “The Heart and the Bottle” and Nick Bland’s “Twinkle“, to name a few. I came across two more of these memorable books a couple of weeks ago and without knowing anything about the stories or reading the blurbs, I ploughed right in. Both of these books had been shortlisted for the 2014 CBCA book of the year award. It was during my year one library lesson that I read “Banjo and Ruby Red” by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, a story about a farm dog named Banjo and a chicken named Ruby Red and the importance of friendship. Having not read the blurb, I had no idea what to expect so when we reached the part where Ruby Red falls ill I was not ready for it. I had to take a quick deep breath and keep on reading as the children were sitting there wide-eyed waiting to hear what was going to happen next. Thank goodness for its happy ending! Then the following day I read “The Treasure Box” by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, a story about a boy named Peter and his father who flee their home due to war, taking with them a treasure box holding something more precious than jewels. The first sentence drew us in straight away: When the enemy bombed the library, everything burned. There was so much to talk about with the children throughout this poignant story. The children discussed their most precious objects, that treasure isn’t just gold and jewels, how Freya Blackwood used drab, dark colours for her illustrations during the war and when the war ended her illustrations were bright and colourful. “The Treasure Box” was a beautiful story from beginning to end. I will endeavour to read more of these shortlisted books. I’m glad I’m not one of the judges. I would not be able to choose! If you haven’t already seen the 2014 CBCA book of the year award shortlist click here. What stories have you read that really stood out and stuck in your mind? Have you read any from this year’s shortlist?