FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (October 15, 2019) — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of its English-language children’s book awards. Awarded tonight at a gala event in Toronto, Heather Smith took home the title of most distinguished children’s book of the year and $50,000 — the largest cash prize in Canadian children’s literature for her book, Ebb & Flow, a middle-grade novel in free-verse. The publisher, Kids Can Press, received $2,500 for promotional purposes. An additional $10,000 was shared among the four finalists for their contributions to Canadian children’s literature.
Groundwood Books won three awards out of an impressive total of seven nominations. Africville by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award; Turtle Pond by James Gladstone, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction; and They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki won the CBC Fan Choice Award. Other winners include Christopher Paul Curtis, Courtney Summers and Michelle Barker.
Seven awards in total were given out:
- Ebb & Flow by Heather Smith, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
- Africville by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
- Turtle Pond by James Gladstone, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
- The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis, won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
- Sadie by Courtney Summers, won the John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
- The House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker, won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
- They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki won the CBC Fan Choice Award ($5,000)
Once again, the CCBC and TD Bank Group worked with CBC Books to present the CBC Fan Choice Award. Young readers were asked to pick their favourite book from the shortlisted TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award titles in an online poll. This year, Jillian Tamaki took home the $5,000 award for They Say Blue (Groundwood Books). Thank you to everyone who voted!
“We look forward to this event every year to celebrate our accomplished authors and illustrators for children and young people in Canada,” says Rose Vespa, Executive Director of the CCBC. “The books that were celebrated tonight represent outstanding achievements in literature for young people. We are thankful for the support of our sponsors for making our awards program possible and allowing us to raise the profile of these exemplary titles.”
“As part of our corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, I’d like to congratulate the winner of this year’s TD Canadian Children Literature Award,” says Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “The freeness of the words and storyline in Heather Smith’s book is a powerful way for kids to engage their imagination and shape their reading skills. We’re proud to support this award so that kids have access to more book choices to grow and learn through.”
In total, $112,500 was awarded tonight, and an additional $72,500 will be awarded at a gala event in Montreal on November 7 with the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse and the Prix Harry Black de l’album jeunesse. Below is the full list of prizes presented, with comments from the jurors.
Click here to see the shortlists.
Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!
Download the PDF of this press release here.
For more information, please contact:
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416 975-0010 ext. 221
Manager, Corporate and Public Affairs
TD Bank Group
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
Sponsored by TD Bank Group
Ebb & Flow
Written by Heather Smith (Waterloo, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 9-12
“A verse novel brings forth larger than life characters as a boy, overcome with self-recrimination, learns that unconditional love and forgiveness are gifts to be given as well as received… The lyrical text gradually reveals the story and gently flows from page to page… A marriage of simple and poignant imagery expresses Jett’s journey through peer pressure, bullying, hope and redemption.”
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award honour books include:
- After Life: Ways We Think About Death by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox (Orca Book Publishers)
- Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay (Groundwood Books)
- Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (Puffin Canada)
- They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
JURY MEMBERS: Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library; Sandra O’Brien, Editor, Canadian Children’s Book News, and former teacher; Arwen Rudolph, Rural Branch Manager, Palliser Regional Library.
CBC Fan Choice Award ($5,000)
They Say Blue
Written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Toronto, ON)
for ages 3-7
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie
Written by Shauntay Grant (Halifax, NS)
Illustrated by Eva Campbell (Victoria, BC)
for ages 4-7
“A dreamy depiction of childhood memories in a long-ago community brought to life through lyrical text and warm and inviting illustrations… Grant’s poetic text and Campbell’s illustrations capture the essence of Africville and will entertain and educate forever.”
JURY MEMBERS: Jim Martella, Principal, Toronto District School Board, and former teacher-librarian and literacy coach; Janis Nostbakken, children’s media specialist; Itah Sadu, author, storyteller and owner, A Different Booklist.
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation
Written by James Gladstone (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Lake Country, BC)
for ages 4-7
“This picture book masterfully expands the notion of the non-fiction genre… Information is presented through narrative, lyrical free-verse text and through stunning visual images that extend the verbal text and make the world of turtles come alive for the reader… The book leads the reader to use their imagination as they wonder about the turtles that live there.”
JURY MEMBERS: Fatma Faraj, Junior School Teacher-Librarian, Branksome Hall; Erin Grittani, Children and Youth Consultant, Glad Day Bookshop; Larry Swartz, literacy and arts instructor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), and author of Take Me to Your Readers and “This is a Great Book!”.
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund
The Journey of Little Charlie
Written by Christopher Paul Curtis (Windsor, ON)
for ages 9-12
“A beautifully written and powerful text with connections to the contemporary plights of refugees of many cultures fleeing persecution, and the ethical choices of those who help or hinder their flight… Tackles old themes from the 1860s US south (racism, slavery, injustice, poverty, violence) that are still relevant today… Curtis continues his run of outstanding historical fiction.”
JURY MEMBERS: Ray Fernandes, Youth Services Librarian/Consultant, Nova Scotia Provincial Library; Carol-Ann Hoyte, children’s poet and librarian, Selwyn House School; Dr. Eric M. Meyers, Associate Professor, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia; Gail de Vos (chair), author, storyteller and Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.
John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by John Spray
Written by Courtney Summers (Tweed, ON)
St. Martin’s Press
for ages 13 and up
“A podcast, a murder, and revenge fuelled cross country trip… Employing the device of the ever-popular true crime podcast, this novel provides readers with a complicated and tragic mystery to follow… Summers tells a gut-wrenching story of neglect, abuse, grief and a search for justice.”
JURY MEMBERS: Nancy Cooper, First Nations Consultant, Southern Ontario Library Service; Diana Krawczyk, Manager, Children, Youth and Popular Collections, Central Library, Mississauga Library; Helen Kubiw, writer, teacher-librarian and blogger at CanLit for Little Canadians.
Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by Sylvan Learning
The House of One Thousand Eyes
Written by Michelle Barker (Vancouver, BC)
for ages 14 and up
“Barker’s The House of One Thousand Eyes feels dystopian and other-worldly but is a searing portrait of post-war Berlin… A provocative and timely book about defiance, courage and the refusal to give in regardless of the consequences… Fascinating and disturbing, Lena’s story, her difficult choices in an insurmountable situation, will thoroughly engross readers.”
JURY MEMBERS: Roxanne Deans, Director of Inventory, Outreach & Communications, The Children’s Book Bank; Tracey Schindler, reviewer and former teacher; Joel A. Sutherland, Silver Birch Award-winning author and Manager of Client Experience, Pickering Public Library.
About the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers. For more information, please visit our website.
About TD Global Corporate Citizenship
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/thereadycommitment.