About the author

Irena Kobald was born in an Austrian mountain village.

She always wanted to see the big, wide world and loves travelling.

As an adult she has lived in several different countries, including the former USSR, and has always been fascinated by different languages, cultures, religions and people.

Kobald has made Australia home for more than half her life, but considers herself equally at home in both Australia and Austria.

She currently lives in the desert regions of the Northern Territory of Australia where she works as a teacher of Indigenous students.

Image of Irena Kobald

About the illustrator

Freya Blackwood was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Orange in New South Wales, Australia.

Blackwood's illustrations for Two Summers won the Crichton Award in 2004 and the book was shortlisted for the Picture Book of the Year Award in the Children's Book Council of Australia 2004 awards.

Emily Rapunzel's Hair was shortlisted in the Early Childhood section of the Children's Book Council of Australia 2006 awards.

Having spent many years living in Wellington, New Zealand Blackwood now lives in Orange with her little girl Ivy.

Image of Freya Blackwood

About the book

Cartwheel has arrived in a new country, and feels the loss of all she's ever known.

She creates a safe place for herself under an 'old blanket' made out of memories and thoughts of home. As time goes on, Cartwheel begins to weave a new blanket, one of friendship and a renewed sense of belonging.

It is different from the old blanket, but it is eventually just as warm and familiar.

Book cover. My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Little Hare Books (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Judges' comments

In My Two Blankets we see the migrant's challenges eloquently explored in words and pictures for a new generation.

Irena Kobald's text balances the quotidian and the poetic and creates a space for illustrator Freya Blackwood to portray Cartwheel's nascent life. The 'two blankets' of the title are blankets made of words. Cartwheel's story is one of making a new language and there is simple truth and authenticity at the heart of My Two Blankets.

As Cartwheel struggles in isolation, her loneliness is eased by meeting another girl and a tentative friendship begins.

There is a wonderful visual rhythm to Blackwood's pictures as Cartwheel's new world begins to emerge Blackwood has an extraordinary ability to express the eloquent silence that surrounds Cartwheel and the book communicate emotions beyond language.

My Two Blankets is an intensely child-centred book, where the larger issues are measured in intimate, human scale.