Blue Sky, Yellow Kite cover

Shortlist year: 2017

Shortlist category: Children's literature

Published by: Little Hare Books

Sometimes we want a thing so much we can't prevent ourselves from taking it. But when a girl steals her friend's beautiful yellow kite, she is swamped with turmoil. A story about desire, guilt and forgiveness.

About the author

Janet A. Holmes

Janet was born and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She has worked as a teacher librarian, an education officer in the Parliament of Australia, a researcher/writer and finally a secretariat manager in the Senate and House of Representatives committee systems. Duck, Janet's first book with Little Hare, has just been published as a Little Hare Classic.

About the illustrator

 Jonathan Bentley

Jonathan Bentley

Jonathan has been an editorial illustrator at the Courier Mail newspaper for ten years, and has illustrated books for Margaret Wild, The Wiggles and Andrew Daddo. He has illustrated several books for Little Hare including Holmes' debut Duck.

Judges’ comments

This beautifully produced picture book is a celebration of friendship as well as reminding us all of the importance of saying sorry if one has done something to hurt another person. Daisy is a small girl who sees a wonderful yellow kite, shaped like a fish, soaring high in the blue sky. She follows it to where William is flying it from his front garden. He shares the joy of flying it with her but her reaction is unexpected as she runs away with the kite and hides it in her bedroom. This does not give her the pleasure she expects, however, as she cannot share the kite, is consumed with guilt and wonders how to make it right. Eventually she writes sorry on the path outside William’s gate and, in a delightful moment of reconciliation, William demonstrates his forgiveness by making Daisy a kite of her own.

The spare and carefully constructed written text is wonderfully complemented by the illustrations which are full of colour and movement. Daisy's black cat appears in most of the illustrations providing a link between them as well as a counterpoint to Daisy’s emotions—it is the cat who sits disapprovingly outside her bedroom door when she hides the kite on her wardrobe, and he joins in the joyful play as the two children fly their kites together. It is significant that no adult appears in the story; Daisy has to find her own way of dealing with her actions and William devises his own way of demonstrating forgiveness. There are intriguing spaces in both the illustrations and the written text which allow the reader to be an active participant in constructing the narrative. This is a story with a strong moral without being in any way moralistic.