Tricky’s Bad Day by Alison Lester has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Award for Book of the Year, Early Childhood. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Melbourne on Friday 16 August.

Alison is one of Australia’s most successful and beloved author-illustrators and has published around 40 books since 1985. But the last 12 months have been some of the busiest in her career; her bestselling picture book The Very Noisy Baby (also Affirm Press) was named Honour Book at last year’s CBCA awards; she received the Melbourne Prize for Literature; she was featured on a stamp as part of Australia Post’s Australian Legends of Children’s Literature Collection; she was awarded a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for ‘significant service to literature, and to Indigenous literacy; and a profit-for-purpose book she illustrated, The Silver Sea, raised over $50,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

Tricky’s Bad Day tells the story of a little tiger who’s having a terrible day. Nothing seems to go right and it’s not until Dad coaxes Tricky to outside to play that his day turns around.

‘I’m very, very happy that Tricky’s Bad Day has won the early readers category in this year’s CBCA awards,’ said Alison. ‘There are many beautiful books made in Australia and it feels very lucky for one of mine to be a winner. Tricky is very close to my heart, responding directly to the sudden explosion of grandchildren in our lives (seven in four years).

‘I love spending time with them. It’s exhausting, wild, funny, tender and always unpredictable. I love the way little kids can be so cranky and unreasonable (I didn’t think this was so funny when my own children were small) and I love the way a walk in the wild always brings out the best in them. It’s true, you take out a grumpy monster and bring back a happy, calm angel.

‘It was a joy to make this book with Affirm Press, with brilliant guidance from Davina Bell and Jane Godwin, and Clair Hume cracking the whip. It’s amazing how your daughter breathing down your neck can get you over a deadline.’

Martin Hughes, Publishing Director at Affirm Press, said: ‘We love working with Alison. She embodies the spirit of the industry – generous, creative and collaborative. We’re so thrilled for Tricky’s Bad Day to take home gold at this year’s CBCA capping off a huge year for one of Australia’s most cherished and hardest working authors.’

Two Affirm Press kids titles also appeared on this year’s CBCA New Illustrator Award shortlist. Allison Langton’s vintage-inspired illustrations in The Singing Seal, and Jane Reiseger’s spontaneous, colourful art in Red House, Blue House, Green House, Tree House! have both been recognised on the shortlist.