2020 - Winner
Lenny Spink lives in a small apartment with her single mother and her younger brother Davey. Davey has a rare form of gigantism and his growing size poses increasing problems and concerns for his future. The bright spot each week is the arrival of the latest issue of the Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world: beetles, birds, quasars and more. Lenny ultimately learns of other wonders that bring both joy and heartbreak.
Author Karen Foxlee has written a big-hearted and multi-layered novel which is both tough and tender. The book features a range of unforgettable, flawed characters who are authentic and quirky. The stars of the novel are the two young siblings at its centre who must together navigate harsh realities and learn to embrace moments as they are being lived.
Foxlee’s story is beautifully constructed, offering insights about love, family, longing, community, loss and so much more. This is not just a kid’s book. Lenny’s Book of Everything works so well because the reader cares for the characters. In what could be an achingly sad novel, the final pages are instead tender and uplifting. This remarkable book will be remembered by all who read it.