'We are literally on the same page' - award winning Kiwi children's author and illustrator become an item

A New Zealand children's author and an illustrator, whose book won this year's Margaret Mahy children's book award, have had another collaboration - falling in love and having a baby boy.

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Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan’s story about the art of the bomb has earned the Margaret Mahy Award for book of the year. Source: Seven Sharp

The Bomb, written by Sacha Cotter and illustrated by Josh Morgan, won The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award as well as the Picture Book Award at the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The book tells the story of a child growing in self-confidence while striving to do the perfect "bomb", or manu, plunge into water, supported along the way by the reassuring presence of Nan. 

"I love silly things. I love humour. I don't take myself very seriously, but in the same vain I also love a good drama and something that really tugs on my heartstrings," Ms Cotter told Seven Sharp.

On a trip home to Te Waiariki, an idea for a story ticked all of those boxes. 

"Watching the kids doing bombs all around, and I was thinking about what a big part of our culture it is. It's such a big part of growing up in Aotearoa," she said.

She put pen to paper, inspired by the art of the bomb.  

Enter illustrator Josh Morgan. 

This was their third project together but the first where they worked collaboratively from the get go. 

"I was kinda blown away and I thought why hasn't this story been done before," Mr Morgan said.

Ms Cotter quipped: "We are literally on the same page."

A few brainstorming dates and coffee dates later, and The Bomb was published. 

The book is making a big splash, but winning the highest accolade for a children's book in New Zealand wasn't where the collaboration ended.

"So yeah, we had a fourth collaboration," Ms Cotter said. 

Baby Finn has become the newest addition to the dream team.