On Saturday, March 18, 2023, the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada were announced. This year’s judges, Crispin Elsted, Natalie Olsen, and Jessica Sullivan, selected 35 winning titles from 187 submissions, from 8 provinces, 1 territory and 74 publishers. This year’s book design winners in the children’s category are:
First prize (tie): JOHN MARTZ, designer of Thingamabob by Marianna Coppo; illustrated by Marianna Coppo (Tundra Books);
First prize (tie): BEE WAELAND, designer of Three Bears and Goldilocks by Bee Waeland; illustrated by Bee Waeland (Orca Book Publishers);
Second Prize (tie): JOHN MARTZ, designer of Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It by Caroline Adderson; illustrated by Roman Muradov (Tundra Books)
Second Prize (tie): ALISA BALDWIN, designer of One Tiny Bubble by Karen Krossing; illustrated by Dawn Lo (Owlkids Books)
Third Prize (tie): JOHN MARTZ, designer of Crocodile Hungry by Eija Sumner; illustrated by John Martz (Tundra Books)
Third Prize (tie): JOHN MARTZ, designer of Water, Water by Cary Fagan; illustrated by Jon McNaught (Tundra Books)
Honourable Mention: BERGER STUDIO, designers of Il était une fois un mot by Nicolas Lauzon & Marito Denis; illustrated by Berger Studio (Les éditions du passage)
Honourable Mention: SOPHIE PAAS-LANG, designer of Star: The Bird Who Inspired Mozart by Mireille Messier; illustrated by Matte Stephens (Tundra Books)
About the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence
The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada is the only national competition for book design. The first Alcuin book design competition was held in 1981, after the competition, The Look of Books/Les plus beaux livres, held by the Book Publishers Professional Association [of Canada] and later funded by Design Canada, was discontinued.
The Alcuin Society decided to continue holding a similar competition, as it complemented so well the Society’s aims: to encourage a national awareness of book design in the Canadian book industry, by encouraging Canadian publishers to pay closer attention to “the look of books” in all its aspects: from paper quality to choice of type, to excellence in printing, to illustration. The Society also hoped to encourage publishers to hire qualified Canadian book designers, and to honour them with recognition of their best work by their peers. And not incidentally, to promote the sale of Canadian books to the Canadian public.
Winners of our awards are Canadian book designers whose books were published in Canada in the previous calendar year. Every year, the Society selects three judges with slightly varied areas of expertise. The winning books are exhibited both nationally and internationally, and recognized in the media and at award ceremonies, as well as in annual exhibition catalogues.