CLA announces the winners of the 2014 CLA Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OTTAWA (April 17, 2014) – The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is pleased to announce the 2014 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award. The award will be presented at this year’s Book Awards reception, on May 29, 2014, in Victoria, British Columbia, during the CLA 2014 National Conference & Trade Show. The CLA Book Awards are generously sponsored by Library Services Centre and the CLA Book Awards reception is generously sponsored by TD Bank Group.

Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award

The DarkThe Dark
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Written by Lemony Snicket
HarperCollins Publishers
The Dark makes masterful use of tone and absence to direct the reader’s eye, create mood and tension, and give the dark personality. Textured gouache is applied in a controlled, muted palette that contrasts with dramatic, saturated black to great effect. Children are provided with a gentle, humorous and satisfying experience of safe danger: Laszlo is given an opportunity to face his fear and feel a frisson of risk, and find that it isn’t so bad after all. The text is an integral component of the illustrations rather than an independent layer, and seems to inhabit the world of the story. The Dark is an exceptional artistic package from front to back cover. Jon Klassen is a prolific Canadian writer and artist whose work includes animated films.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award Jury: Lynne Thorimbert, Acting Assistant Director, Marigold Library System, Alberta; Stirling Prentice, Systems Librarian, Ottawa Public Library; Diana Gauthier, retired teacher-librarian, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board; Zoe Pappas-Acreman, Children’s Librarian, Ottawa Public Library; Randi Robin, Children’s Librarian, Burnaby Public Library.

For more information, please contact Lynne Thorimbert at 1-855-934-5334 ext. 248 and

CLA Book of the Year for Children Award

Curse of the Dream WitchCurse of the Dream Witch
Written by Allan Stratton
Scholastic Canada
It is the age of the Great Dread. The Dream Witch wants the heart of Princess Olivia. Until she has it none of the kingdom’s children are safe. Olivia’s parents seek help from Prince Leo of Pretonia and his uncle, the Duke of Fettwurst, but the treacherous duo seizes their castle instead. It is up to Olivia to defeat the Dream Witch, Prince Leo and his uncle. She makes a daring escape from her turret cell and races to the forest to take on the Dream Witch in her underground lair. But she is not rushing into danger alone – she has friends in Milo, a peasant boy, and a curious talking mouse who are by her side throughout. Together they must face danger and fantastical adversaries to lift the Great Dread, save their families and rescue a kingdom. It is a page-turning middle grade fairy-tale dventure about courage, friendship and loyalty that will charm adult and child readers from start to finish.

“The Jury was very excited to read Stratton’s newest title, and we all delighted in the twists and turns of the story, and the feeling of a classic, timeless fairy tale that he
writes so well,” commented Jaclyn McLean, Chair of the 2014 Jury. This story will find appeal outside of the target audience as a read-aloud tale for young and old, with plenty of adventure and excitement to keep all readers on the edge of their seats.

The CLA Book of the Year for Children Award Jury also selected two Honour Books this year: Metro Dogs of Moscow by Rachelle Delaney (Puffin Canada) and Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff by Robert Paul Weston (Puffin Canada).

Metro Dogs of MoscowIn Metro Dogs of Moscow, readers meet JR and his human, George. JR is a spunky Jack Russell terrier, whose owner George works for the Canadian embassy. The pair move from city to city around the world, a nd as the story opens, George and JR have just arrived in Moscow. JR is a curious and sharp little dog who is intrigued by the other embassy dogs and by his new home, but he is especially drawn to the stray dogs he encounters around Moscow. As the story develops, JR and his new canine buddies set out to learn why stray dogs are going missing across the city. The adventure and mystery in this story will a ppeal to young readers, and JR and his dog friends are a charming and fun crew to accompany around Moscow.

Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of SpiffA fantastic laugh-out-loud story of recently elected, Prince Puggly of Spud who finds himself invited to the chicest, spiffiest, event of the year: the Kingdom of Spiff’s annual ball. What’s a shy, poorly dressed prince and a book obsessed, pyjama wearing princess to do when forced to face the kingdom’s most fashionable crowd? Robert Paul Weston’s return to the rhyming verse novel is another hilarious and fantastic adventure for the whole family. The Seuss inspired text makes this novel a read-aloud must with jokes that will appeal to a wide audience and a theme that explores fashion culture. Great to share, this novel is pure fun!

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the 2013‐2014 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award Jury: Megan Clare, Librarian, Waterloo Public Library, Waterloo, ON; Jaclyn McLean, Librarian, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK; Rachel Seigel, Sales & Selection Strategist, Edu Reference Publisher’s Direct, Toronto, ON; Marilyn Willis, Retired Library Coordinator, Georgetown, ON; Reta Pyke, Librarian, Port Moody Public Library, Vancouver, BC.

For more information, please contact Jaclyn McLean at

CLA Young Adult Book Award

Graffiti KnightGraffiti Knight
Written by Karen Bass
Pajama Press
This historical novel will capture you with its powerful and informative story of Germany after World War II. Seen through the eyes of the main character Wilm, a 16-year-old male teen who uses graffiti to illicit his thoughts and freedom of expression. Becoming the man of the house after his father’s war injury, Wilm’s relationship with his dad is strained, and he meets Otto, a German engineer, who mentors the young artist and diligently helps in keeping Wilm safe from the Soviet’s grasp.

Graffiti Knight will capture you from the opening line, taking you on a journey into the world of post-war trauma, seeing life through Wilm’s eyes as he escapes capture, eventually fleeing with his entire family into the American occupied territory. The story is based on the actual events, it provides moments of suspense, hope, and nerve wracking action for the reader. Asthe story unfolds, Wilm gains confidence, courage, determination and maturity, all characteristics that take him from one adventure/escape to another.

This fast paced novel is realistic and readers can easily relate to the protagonist despite the difference in time and place. Bass’ extensive research adds depth to the story, allowing the reader to feel as if they are back in East Germany watching the plot play out, instead of reading the words in a book. Graffiti Knight will attract both male and female young adults, and adults too. The end result of that reading will not disappoint.

The committee selected an Honour Book this year: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Doubleday Canada).

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13BA funny and often light-hearted read, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B showcases a serious issue in society, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental illness affecting many teens today. The main characters, 15-year-old Adam Ross and 16-year-old Robyn Plummer, meet in a support group with Adam discovering “love at first sight” the moment she enters his view. Adam’s world is difficult; a world of divorced parents, a mother with a hoarding problem, and a brother rattled with anxieties and fears. Readers can relate with many obstacles the members of the support group face, maybe even finding themselves as they read each word.

Adam’s voice replicates the average teen dealing with romances/crushes, finding their true “self”, trying to remain a macho type male, including using his good looks as a façade for the pain inside. Both male and female readers will relate to some aspect of the story, as well as taking a step into maybe their own self-discovery and reflection on the topic of mental illness so prevalent with teens today. The majority of the action in the novel takes place in one of two setting, either the support group’s meeting room or the

As we watch Adam dealing with the hiccups in his life, readers will travel on a journey with some laughter and light-hearted moments. The characters adopting the name of a favorite superhero provides some brevity to the seriousness of the theme of the story. Yes, the read er may shed a tear or two, especially when Adam talk with Sweetie, his stepbrother; Adam’s maturity and growth are evident. Funny and crisp dialogue engages readers and brings the characters into a realistic world that readers can embrace as maybe their own.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the 2013-2014 CLA Young Adult Book Award Jury: Kim Hebig, Wheatland Regional Library; Stephanie Vollick, Okanagan Regional Library; Carmelita Cechetto-Shea, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board; Allison Hall-Murphy, Ottawa Public Library; Elizabeth Coates, Calgary Public Library.

For more information, please contact Kim Hebig at

A complete list of all of the 2014 finalists can be found here.

The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad‐based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.