Winner of 2016 Forest of Reading® Golden Oak Award™ announced

Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors by Larry Loyie, coauthored by Wayne K. Spear and Constance Brissenden, has won the 2016 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award.

For over a century, Canada removed more than 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families to attend church-run residential schools, often in remote locations far from home. Residential Schools tells the hidden history of residential schools that includes memories and stories of more than 70 former students and family members.

Sadly, the author Larry Loyie passed away in April. The president of and publisher of Residential Schools, Jeff Burnham, said, “Larry’s love for his Cree culture was with him throughout his life, as was his passion for writing and for teaching the young. Like Larry, gentle and honest, compassionate and warm, his books reflect the respect that he had for his readers, whatever their age.”

June is also National Aboriginal History Month in Canada, a time to acknowledge the role Indigenous peoples played in the development of Canada, to honour Indigenous heritage and to celebrate Indigenous cultures.

The Golden Oak Award reading program provides a unique opportunity for new readers in adult literacy programs to read books chosen specifically for them. They can read the books by themselves, with their tutors, or as part of a reading group. Golden Oak helps new adult readers to gain the skills to accomplish everyday tasks, as well as foster the love of reading.

A committee of library professionals chooses titles nominated for the Golden Oak Award and the nominated list is announced every October. Readers in the program chose the winning book, based on their votes. This year’s award winner was announced at The Learners’ Conference in Toronto, ON on June 2, 2016.

Through book clubs and other forums, 80 Ontario libraries and literacy centres participated in this year’s Golden Oak program. It is one of eight programs that form the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Forest of Reading, Canada’s largest recreational reading program of its kind.

The full list of nominees for this year’s Golden Oak Award can be viewed on the OLA website.