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Rachel Stedman won the best first book award for A Necklace of Souls at the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for children and young adults, announced in Auckland last night.
''R.L. Stedman has written a fantastic, accomplished fantasy book for young adults,'' the judges said.
''There are great characters in this novel; a strong and resourceful heroine, the patient orphan Will, and a cast of supporting characters who bring the fictional world to life.
''The themes of responsibility, to ourselves and to the larger world in which we live, are explored in the book, as the heroine Dana must face her fate as protector of the kingdom.
''We look forward to reading Stedman's next book and discovering what happens next to Dana, Will and the Kingdom of the Rose.''
The judging panel was author Barbara Else, graphic novelist Ant Sang and children's librarian Zac Harding.
The winners were. - Margaret Mahy book of the year ($7500): The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group NZ, Puffin).
Best picture book ($7500): The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group NZ, Puffin).
Best non-fiction ($7500): The Beginner's Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand).
Best junior fiction ($7500): Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press).
Best young adult fiction ($7500): Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press).
Best first book ($2000): A Necklace of Souls by R. L. Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers NZ, HarperVoyager).
Children's choice ($2000): The Three Bears - Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand).
Honour award ($500): Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers).
Maori language award ($1000): Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D. Page (Tania&Martin).
• Matters of the Heart; A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand by University of Otago researcher Dr Angela Wanhallas has been shortlisted for the 2014 Ernest Scott Prize, to be announced on July 11.