Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

Canada’s non-fiction books for young people are internationally renowned for the superb quality of their text, illustration and design. The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction was established by the Fleck Family Foundation and the Canadian Children's Book Centre on May 17, 1999 to recognize and raise the profile of these exceptional non-fiction books. The $10,000 Norma Fleck Award is the largest of its kind in Canadian children’s books and is considered to be one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes. The Norma Fleck Award is exclusively a non-fiction prize; most other Canadian’s children’s book prizes either evaluate fiction and non-fiction together, or don’t award non-fiction.

About Norma Fleck

The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction is named after Dr. Jim Fleck’s mother, Norma Marie Byrnes, who fostered a love of reading in her children and grandchildren. Norma worked as a nurse until she married Robert Douglas Fleck in 1930, and raised three sons during the Depression with energy, good spirits and creativity. A lifelong avid reader herself, Norma read to her children and encouraged them to read. “Mother believed that quality reading enriches one’s life,” says Jim Fleck. “She would be greatly pleased by this award in her name.” Norma Fleck died in 1998 at the age of 92. Previous Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction Winners and Finalists


Eligibility Requirements:

  • Books must be published between January 1 and December 31, 2015.
  • Both the author and illustrator (if applicable) must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada (who have lived in Canada for at least two years).
  • Books may be published in Canada or abroad.
  • Books must be first foreign or first Canadian editions. New editions or re-issues of previously published titles are not eligible for submission.
  • Books must be in English.
  • Translations are eligible, provided the translator is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada (who has lived in Canada for at least two years).
  • Book should be written for young people up to age 18. Adult books are not eligible.
  • Non-fiction books in the following categories are eligible: Culture and the Arts, Science, Biography, History, Geography, Reference, Sports, Activities and Pastimes.
  • Non-fiction books in graphic novel format are eligible.
  • The award is only for books in the printed format, as distinct from digital (i.e., eBooks) and audio visual formats.
  • Books in manuscript form are not eligible.
  • All books must have an ISBN and be distributed in Canada.
  • Self-published books are eligible for submission provided they have a valid ISBN.


  • Text must be of exceptional quality and present the subject matter in a way that both informs and excites interest. Visuals, also of an exceptional quality, should clarify, extend and complement the text.
  • The winning entry will be based on an original subject or will explore a familiar subject in a new and interesting way.
  • Research must be sound and the information contained in the book must be correct and current. Treatment of the material must be respectful of the subject and of the reader.
  • All nominated books must have good production values, with a visual design that presents the material in a clear and engaging manner.
  • The award is for the book. The award will go to the author unless 40% or more of the text area is composed of original illustrations, in which case the award will be divided equally between author and illustrator.

Submission Information:

The deadline for submitting to the 2016 award (for books published in 2015) was December 18, 2015. We are no longer accepting submissions at this time.


Administered By


Contact Us
Meghan Howe
Library Coordinator
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Suite 217, 40 Orchard View Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4R 1B9
Tel: 416-975-0010 ext. 222
Fax: 416-975-8970


Awards Recipients

Year Detail Recipient
2015 Kira Vermond, Why We Live Where We Live. Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2014.
2014 Rona Arato, The Last Train: A Holocaust Story. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2013.
2013 Deborah Ellis, Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2012.
2012 Susan Vande Griek, Loon. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.
2011 Susan Hughes
2010 Priscilla Galloway with Dawn Hunter, Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road. Toronto: Annick Press, 2009.
2009 Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland, The Bite of the Mango. Toronto: Annick Press, 2008.
2008 Hugh Brewster, At Vimy Ridge: Canada's Greatest World War I Victory. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
2007 Jan Thornhill, I Found a Dead Bird: The Kids’ Guide to the Cycle of Life & Death. Toronto: Maple Tree Press, 2006.
2006 Bill Slavin with Jim Slavin, Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made. Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2005.
2005 Shari Graydon, In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You. Toronto: Annick Press, 2004.
2004 Val Ross, The Road to There: Mapmakers and their Stories. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2003.
2003 Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden, As Long as the Rivers Flow. Illustrated by Heather D. Holmlund. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2002
2002 Jack Batten, The Man Who Ran Faster Than Everyone: The Story of Tom Longboat. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2002.
2001 Gena K. Gorrell, Heart and Soul: The Story of Florence Nightingale. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2000.
2000 Simon Tookoome with Sheldon Oberman, The Shaman’s Nephew: A Life Far North. Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999.
1999 Andy Turnbull and Debora Pearson, By Truck to the North: My Arctic Adventure. Toronto: Annick Press, 1998.