2015 BC Book Prizes finalists announced

The West Coast Book Prize Society announced the finalists for the 2015 BC Book Prizes on March 11, 2015. Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Pinnacle Vancouver Harbourfront Hotel. Below are the nominees for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. For the full shortlist, click here.

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by CUPE and Friends of Sheila Egoff

Blue Gold
by Elizabeth Stewart
Publisher: Annick Press

Coltan, or “blue gold,” is a rare mineral used in making cell phones and computers. Across continents, three teen girls are affected by the “blue gold” trade: Sylvie’s family had to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo after her father was killed by a rogue militia gang; Laiping labours in a Chinese factory, soldering components for cell phones; and Fiona is a North American girl who takes a picture on her cell phone that she comes to regret. All three teens are unexpectedly linked by these events and their struggle to create better lives for themselves in the face of the world’s increasing appetite for coltan. Elizabeth Stewart writes for television and film and is active in the screenwriting community as a mentor and instructor. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

by Gabrielle Prendergast
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Ella’s grade-eleven year was a disaster (Audacious), but as summer approaches, things are looking up. She’s back together with her brooding boyfriend, Samir, although they both want to keep that a secret. She’s also best buddies with David and still not entirely sure about making him boyfriend number two. Though part of her wants to conform to high school norms, the temptation to be radical is just too great. Managing two secret boyfriends proves harder than Ella expected, especially when Samir and David face separate family crises, and Ella finds herself at the center of an emotional maelstrom. Gabrielle Prendergast is a UK-born Canadian/Australian who lives in Vancouver, BC. A part-time teacher and mentor, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Finding Grace
by Becky Citra
Publisher: Second Story Press
Finding Grace

Ten-year-old Hope is a bit of a loner with a wonderful imagination. Growing up in the 1950s with a single mother and a mysteriously absent father, the letters she writes to her imaginary friend, Grace, help her cope with the difficult times in her life: her mother’s depression, their money worries, struggles to make friends at school, and her grandmother’s death. On her eleventh birthday, Hope is shocked to learn that Grace is a real person—her twin sister, who contracted polio and was adopted when they were toddlers. Hope believes that finding Grace is the only way she can help her mother deal with her guilt. Becky Citra is a former teacher and the author of more than a dozen books for children. She lives in Bridge Lake, BC.

Rabbit Ears
by Maggie de Vries
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Rabbit Ears

Kaya is adopted, multiracial, grieving the death of her father—and carrying a painful secret. Feeling ill at ease with her family and in her own skin, she runs away repeatedly, gradually disappearing into a life of addiction and sex work. Meanwhile, her sister, Beth, escapes her troubles with food and a talent for magic tricks. Though both girls struggle through darkness and pain, they eventually find their way to a moment of illumination and healing. This powerful young adult novel is rooted in the tragic life of the author’s sister, Sarah, a victim of Robert Pickton and the subject of Maggie de Vries’ memoir for adults, Missing Sarah. Maggie de Vries teaches writing at the University of British Columbia and has written eight other works for young readers.

Sophie, in Shadow
by Eileen Kernaghan
Publisher: Thistledown Press
Sophie, in Shadow

It’s 1914. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Pritchard, orphaned two years earlier by a famous sea disaster, is about to begin a new life in the unfamiliar world of British India. For Sophie, India proves a dangerously unsettling environment. Are her terrifying experiences in Kali’s temple and the Park Street cemetery hallucinations, or has she somehow been drawn back through the centuries as a witness to dark places in Calcutta’s past? Sophie has become an unwilling traveler in a timeless zone where past, present, and future co-exist. Soon Sophie’s powers of precognition will be called upon to help thwart a conspiracy that could incite a bloodbath in Calcutta and deliver India into enemy hands. Eileen Kernaghan lives in New Westminster, BC. Sophie, in Shadow is her ninth book in the fantasy genre.

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by Kate Walker and Kidsbooks

Dolphin SOS
by Roy Miki, Slavia Miki
Illustrated by Julie Flett
Publisher: Tradewind Books

Based on true events, Dolphin SOS recounts the story of three dolphins trapped in an ice-covered cove on the coast of Newfoundland. After the government fails to provide assistance, some young boys take matters into their own hands in order to save the distressed dolphins. Roy Miki is a Vancouver-based writer, poet, and editor who previously taught at Simon Fraser University. Slavia Miki is a life coach and studied feng shui under the late Henry Dorst. She lives in Vancouver, BC. Julie Flett is a Vancouver-based artist and illustrator, and a recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Publisher: Kids Can Press

In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Hana remembers how wonderfully her talented grandfather, or Ojiichan, played his violin when she was visiting him in Japan. So, just like Ojiichan, Hana practices every day. She is determined to play her best. Although Hana’s confidence wavers on the night of the show, she surprises everyone once it’s her turn to perform—even herself! Chieri Uegaki is a second-generation Japanese-Canadian who was born in Quesnel, BC. She lives on the Sunshine Coast. Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork.

The Most Magnificent Thing
by Ashley Spires
Illustrated by Ashley Spires
Publisher: Kids Can Press

A charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea: she is going to make the most magnificent thing! But making her magnificent thing is not easy. The girl tries and fails, gets really, really mad, and quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. Ashley Spires was the recipient of the 2011 Silver Birch Express Award and the 2011 Hackmatack Award for Binky the Space Cat and was shortlisted for a Joe Shuster Comics for Kids Award and an Eisner Award for Binky Under Pressure. She lives in Delta, BC.

Norman, Speak!
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Norman, Speak! tells the comical yet thought-provoking story of a boy and his family who adopt a dog that just can’t seem to learn the things other dogs do. During a chance encounter with another dog owner, the family is surprised to learn the reason for Norman’s confusion: he “speaks” Chinese instead of English! Determined to understand their uniquely loveable pet, the family enrolls in a language class. Caroline Adderson is the author of many books for kids and grown ups, including the popular Jasper John Dooley series. She lives in Vancouver, BC. Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork.

Stop, Thief!
by Heather Tekavec
Illustrated by Pierre Pratt
Publisher: Kids Can Press

“Max,” said the farmer to his dog one day, “can you catch a thief?” Of course! He can catch anything! And Max eagerly sets off on a quest to find the culprit who has been stealing the farmer’s fruits and vegetables. Within moments, the dog is confident he has spotted the thief—a tiny blue bug. What Max totally misunderstands in his enthusiasm is that the tiny blue bug isn’t the thief; the real thieves are hiding in plain sight, right under his nose! Heather Tekavec first fell in love with children’s literature while working as a preschool teacher. Stop, Thief! is her ninth book. She lives in Cloverdale, BC. Pierre Pratt is an award-winning illustrator of over 50 books for children. He lives in Montreal and Lisbon, Portugal.