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The finalists, announced today, include old favourites Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee and Jack Lasenby.
Alongside them are new talents chosen for their humour and creativity.
"The wide range of themes, places and times represented in this year's selection are a fantastic snapshot of who we are as Kiwis and as a nation," said NZ Post Book Awards judges' convenor, Bill Nagelkerke.
"There are rhyming stories that feature animals, humorous yet though-provoking contemporary fiction, stories that look forwards as well as backwards...science fiction, fantasy and realism."
The finalists were selected from more 130 submissions.
Along with the book of the year award, finalists will also be competing for the coveted Children's Choice Award, where children get to vote for their favourite read.
Voting can be carried out online at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz or by using the special voting card available from books, schools or libraries.
Winners will be announced on May 20 at the Auckland Museum.
Categories and entrants: * Picture Book Duck's Struck! by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O'Reilly.
Every Second Friday, by Kiri Lightfoot, illustrated by Ben Galbraith.
Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig, by Diana Neild, illustrated by Philip Webb.
Roadworks, by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock.
The Were-Nana, written by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson.
* Non-fiction Back and Beyond: New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious, by Gregory O'Brien.
The Crafting of Narnia: The Art, Creatures, and Weapons from Weta Workshop, by Paul Tobin and Daniel Falconer.
High-Tech Legs, on Everest by Mark Inglis with Sarah Ell Juicy Writing: Inspiration and Techniques for Young Writers, by Brigid Lowry.
Piano Rock: A 1950s Childhood, by Gavin Bishop.
* Junior Fiction Chicken Feathers, by Joy Cowley, illustrated by David Elliot.
Enemy at the Gate, by Philippa Werry.
Five (and a bit) Days in the Life of Ozzie Kingsford, by Val Bird, illustrated by Rebecca Cundy.
Old Drumble, by Jack Lasenby.
Payback, by Michelle Kelly.
* Young Adult Fiction The 10pm Question, by Kate de Goldi.
Chronicles of Stone 1, Scorched Bone, by Vincent Ford.
Gool, by Maurice Gee.
Juno of Taris, by Fleur Beale.
The Tomorrow Code, by Brian Falkner.