2019 - Shortlisted
Message in a Sock, a beautiful picture book, tells the story of Tammy and her mother, who wait anxiously while her father is away on the front in WWI. Tammy’s mother, like so many women during the war, knits socks to send to the front as part of care packages for Australian soldiers. Tammy secretly stashes messages in these socks, hoping they might reach her father.
Kay Baillie writes through the eyes of Tammy, making war feel intimate and disconcerting rather than simply national or heroic. It is a striking and important addition to popular WW1 histories. Just as academic historians have drawn our attention to the emotional labour of war on the home front, these words work in tandem with the beautiful illustrations and collages by Narelda Joy to realize the tense and tender experience of wartime waiting for very young readers and adults alike.