The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Announces the Winners of the 2012 Canadian Children’s Literature Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TORONTO (November 21, 2012) – The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is thrilled to announce the winners of its six major Canadian children’s book awards – the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, John Spray Mystery Award and the inaugural Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. The winners were announced on November 21st at a gala event at The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.

La saison des pluies, written by Mario Brassard and illustrated by Suana Verelst, was the winner of the 2012 Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, as announced at a gala event at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on November 6th, 2012.

Tim Hockey, President & CEO of TD Canada Trust revealed during the ceremony that the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award will be increasing its cash award from $25,000 to $30,000, making it the largest cash prize for a children’s literature award in Canada.

Each of these award-winning books (listed below) was chosen because they exemplify the best work in the Canadian author and illustrator community. Adult and child readers alike are sure to be captivated by these engaging stories, and it is certain that they will soon become Canadian classics that will adorn bookshelves across the country.

The CCBC is especially excited to announce the inaugural winner of the new Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share these titles with you. For a list of the shortlisted books for each award, please click here.

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($30,000)
Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Stones for My Father
Stones for My Father
Written by Trilby Kent (London, UK)
Tundra Books
for ages 11-14
“A riveting book about the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the last century and Canada’s place in it… Kent draws her characters and the landscape around them in penetrating prose…Today’s children will develop heartfelt admiration and respect for Corlie Rioux. Though this young heroine struggles with the loss of parental love, a special friendship, and her home, she holds steadfast, brave, and true and emerges a survivor… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”

JURY MEMBERS: Gail Hamilton, Manitoba Chair, Best Books for Kids & Teens and former CCBC Regional Officer, teacher-librarian and Library Learning Resources Consultant, Manitoba Department of Education; children’s poet and Assistant Librarian, Selwyn House School; writer, editor, and President, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia; Associate Professor, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and Chair of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, University of British Columbia; Instructor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and author of Good Books Matter.

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Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

Without You
Without You
Written and illustrated by Geneviève Côté (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-6
“Minimal text speaks volumes about the give and take of friendships and the rewards of togetherness… Rabbit and Pig have distinct personalities that young children can easily relate to… It’s easy to feel affection for the two protagonists who are joyfully portrayed in Côté’s captivating and exuberant illustrations… Loving care and attention to detail in words and pictures add up to a book children will cherish.”

JURY MEMBERS: Lorraine Filyer, former Literature Officer, Ontario Arts Council; Janis Nostbakken, children’s media specialist; Senta Ross, children’s book reviewer and former elementary teacher and teacher-librarian.

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Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Written by Susan Vande Griek (Halifax, NS)
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Acton, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 4-7
“This impressive picture book offers a compelling up close perspective of the seasonal life cycle of this iconic Canadian bird…The text is a rare seamless mixture of poetry and information – and the illustrations are nothing short of spectacular… This is such a novel approach to non-fiction, seamlessly creating poetry that manages always to be beautiful, evocative and scientifically precise augmented by illustrations that both teach and delight.”

JURY MEMBERS: Jeffrey Canton, Lecturer, Children’s Studies Program, York University, Toronto; Barbara Greenwood, author; Wendy Mason, Children’s & YA Specialist and Consultant, Indigo/Chapters, and former instructor, University of Toronto and University of Windsor; Arlene Perly Rae, writer and children’s advocate; Itah Sadu, author, storyteller and owner of A Different Booklist.

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Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

The Hangman in the Mirror
The Hangman in the Mirror
Written by Kate Cayley (Toronto, ON)
Annick Press
for ages 13 and up
“A truly captivating piece of historical fiction that brings to life the gritty realities of life in 18th century New France… Cayley’s skills as a playwright are evident in the way the novel reads…The setting is so vivid and Cayley masterfully depicts the extreme disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor… Françoise is a delightfully multi-dimensional and very realistic character and Cayley does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of life at that time… A thoroughly engaging story that keeps readers riveted.”

JURY MEMBERS: Lisa Doucet, Co-Manager, Woozles Children’s Bookstore; Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library; Rachel Seigel, Selection Manager, S&B Books; Gail de Vos (chair), storyteller and Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

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John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by John Spray

Charlie's Key
Charlie’s Key
Written by Rob Mills (Peterborough, ON)
Orca Book Publishers
for ages 11 and up
Charlie’s Key is a complex mystery with well-developed characters, good suspense and a wonderful evocation of place… Mills takes us along on a thrilling journey through the troubled history of Charlie’s family and Newfoundland itself… The mystery will have you guessing until the last scene and the writing will have you hoping for more Charlie adventures in the future.”

JURY MEMBERS: Sheila Koffman, owner of Another Story Bookshop and Vice President, Educational Library Booksellers of Ontario; Sylvia McConnell, Acquisitions Editor, Dundurn Press and former publisher of Napoleon & Company; Kevin Sylvester, author, illustrator and CBC Radio broadcaster.

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Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000)
Sponsored by HarperCollins Canada in memory of the late Monica Hughes

What Happened to Serenity
What Happened to Serenity?
Written by P.J. Sarah Collins (Vancouver, BC)
Red Deer Press
for ages 12 and up
“An engaging blend of science fiction, Canadian history, adolescent growth and potent regional writing… Collins cleverly combines the strong elements of a good mystery with the frightening possibilities of dystopian YA, and creates a hauntingly beautiful and contrasting worldview of post-apocalypse Canada… Collins’ poetry and prose echo Katherine’s inner conflict with her outer world, giving the reader a thrilling and satisfying read…This is intelligent, compelling, gorgeously written science fiction at its best.”

JURY MEMBERS: Deirdre Baker, writer, Toronto Star children’s book reviewer and Assistant Professor, Children’s Literature, University of Toronto; Melanie Fishbane, writer, MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children & Young Adults, and Online Merchandiser for Kids & Teens, Indigo Books and Music; Dr. Michael Johnstone, Lecturer, Department of English, University of Toronto.

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The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was established in 2005 to honour the most distinguished book of the year for children aged 1 to 12. Entries are judged on the quality of the text and illustrations and the book’s overall contribution to literature. All books for children, in any genre, written by a Canadian, are eligible for the award. The winning book receives $30,000 and an additional $10,000 is divided amongst the honour books. The publisher of the winning book receives $2,500 for promotional purposes.

The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award honours excellence in the illustrated picture book format, for children aged 3 to 8. The winning book receives $20,000. Charles Baillie, retired Chairman and CEO of TD Bank Group, is delighted to give the prize in his wife Marilyn’s name. As an award-winning children’s book author and an early learning specialist, Marilyn is involved in and passionate about children’s literature.

The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction was established by the Fleck Family Foundation in 1999 to recognize Canada’s exceptional non-fiction books for young people. The award honours Norma Fleck (1906-1998), who inspired a deep love of reading in her children and grandchildren. Dr. James Fleck, who initiated the award, is the son of Norma Fleck. The winning book receives $10,000.

The Geoffrey Bilson Award was established in 1988 in memory of the respected historian and children’s author, Geoffrey Bilson. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for young people. In 2005, the Bilson Endowment Fund was created to support this award. If you wish to contribute to this fund, please contact the CCBC.

The John Spray Mystery Award was established in 2011 to honour excellence in the mystery book format. John Spray, President of the Mantis Investigation Agency, is delighted to sponsor the prize, noting that mystery books made him a passionate reader at an early age and helped him find his chosen career. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of mystery writing for young people.

The Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, established in 2011 and first awarded in 2012, honours excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing for children and adolescents. The prize is awarded annually with a cash prize of $5,000. The award is sponsored by HarperCollins Canada in memory of the late Monica Hughes.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization and registered charity founded in 1976 to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens. With book collections and extensive resources in five cities across Canada, the CCBC is a treasure-trove for anyone interested in Canadian books for young readers. For more information, please visit

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For more information, please contact:

Holly Kent
Sales and Marketing Manager
Tel: 416.975.0010 ext. 221