The West Coast Book Prize Society has announced the finalists for the 2011 BC Book Prizes. The winners will be announced at the annual Gala on April 21, 2011 at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver. The finalists for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize are listed below.
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by the BC Library Association
Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom
Written by Susin Nielsen
Violet’s TV-director dad has traded a job in Vancouver for one in LA, their house for a home complete with a pool, and, worst of all, Violet’s mother for a “trophy” wife. Violet’s younger sister reacts by bed-wetting, and her mother ping-pongs from one loser to another and Violet gets angry in ways that are infuriating, shocking, and hilarious. When her mother takes up with (the unfortunately named) Dudley Wiener, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that they need to take control. If Violet’s mom can’t pick a decent man herself, they will help her snag George Clooney. Gemini Award-winner Susin Nielsen got her start with Degrassi Junior High, writing sixteen episodes and four of the books. She also adapted author Susan Juby’s books into a TV series. This is her fifth book for children.
Written by Christy Jordon-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes
Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak wants to learn to read, even though it means leaving her village and family. Her father finally agrees to let her attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. At school, the Raven, a black-cloaked nun, immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. In the face of cruelty, mocking and humility, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. Fatty Legs is complemented by artwork by Liz Amini-Holmes and archival photos. Christy Jordon-Fenton lives with her family in Fort St. John, BC and co-wrote the book with her mother-in-law, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, who attended a residential school in Inuvialuit.
Free as a Bird
Written by Gina McMurchy-Barber
Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp comes from a time when being a developmentally disabled person could mean growing up behind locked doors and barred windows, being called names like “retard” and “moron.” When Ruby Jean’s caregiver and loving grandmother dies, her mother takes her to Woodlands School in New Westminster and rarely visits. It’s here, in an institution that opened in 1878 and was originally called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and abuse—she learns a lesson about patience and perseverance. Gina McMurchy-Barber was the recipient of the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Her first novel, Reading the Bones, was nominated for the Silver Birch Award and the Langley Book of the year Award.
Written by Maggie de Vries
During WWII in Amsterdam, 19-year-old Lena leaves her starving family to travel by train with her friend, Sofie, to Almelo, a town close to the German border. It’s a risky plan. They have false papers and are quickly pulled off the train by German soldiers. Only with the help of Albert, one of the soldiers, do they make it back on the train. Lena soon fears her new friendship with the helpful Albert may lead her into more danger as Sofie befriends a soldier too, resulting in a relationship that quickly turns serious and has unforeseen consequences for both girls. Maggie de Vries is a writer, editor, teacher, and the award-winning author of several children’s books.
Northward to the Moon
Written by Polly Horvath
Featuring the characters from My One Hundred Adventures, Northward to the Moon can be read as a sequel or as a stand alone book. When her stepfather, Ned, is fired from his job as a high school French teacher, the family packs up and Jane embarks on a series of new adventures. Setting off by car, they wind up spending the summer with Ned’s eccentric mother on her ranch out west. As Jane lives through it all—developing a crush on a ranch hand, reevaluating her relationship with Ned, watching her sister Maya’s painful growing up—she sees her world, which used to be so safe and secure, shift in strange and inconvenient ways. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and lives in Metchosin, BC.
Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by Kate Walker and Company
The Cowboy Fisherman
Written and illustrated by Seiji Hiroe
The Cowboy Fisherman is a story of friendship between Slim and Tomizou during the Great Depression. Slim was a man trying his hand at fishing to support his family, and Tomizou was a seasoned Japanese fisherman who took Slim under his wing. Find out how Slim uses his cowboy skills to save his and his son’s life when they find themselves in dangerous water and the rock anchor disappears into the ocean.
Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life
Written by Maggie de Vries
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life is a moving, beautifully illustrated story follows a black bear cub’s life in the Pacific Northwest from his birth to his first salmon catch, uniting the cycles of bear and fish. A map and further information about bears and salmon are included. The book is based on a top-selling plush toy named Fraser Bear, created by the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Rocky Mountaineer Vacations. This toy, holding a salmon in his mouth, is sold on Rocky Mountaineer trains and through their souvenir catalogue, with sales benefiting the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Maggie de Vries is a writer, editor, teacher, and the award-winning author of several children’s books. Renné Benoit is an award-winning artist who has illustrated many books for children.
Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet / L’alfabet di Michi
Written and illustrated by Julie Flett
(Simply Read Books)
Languages are precious; they capture the very essence of a culture. Once spoken by hundreds of thousands across the Canadian Prairies and the northern United States, Michif, the language of the Métis people, is now endangered. Métis elders in scattered parts of North America may still speak the language, but the young are largely monolingual English speakers. From Atayookee! to Lii Zyeu: this simply, elegantly illustrated picture book introduces young and old alike to the unique Michif language. Julie Flett is a Vancouver-based Metis artist and illustrator who incorporates photography, drawing, and painting into her practice.
The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest
Written by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read
Photography by Ian McAllister
(Orca Book Publishers)
Great bears need a great rainforest to survive. Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister’s magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears and their natural environment, the last great wilderness along the central coast of BC. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go out to sea as juveniles and return as adults to spawn and die, completing a cycle of life that ensures the survival of not only their own species but also virtually every other plant and animal in the rainforest. Ian McAllister, a founding director of both the Raincoast Conservation Society and Pacific Wild, is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. Nicholas Read, a lifelong lover of animals, has written on animal issues for the Vancouver Sun and works with Animal Aid in the UK.
Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm
Written by Deborah Hodge
Photography by Brian Harris
(Kids Can Press)
Up We Grow! highlights the importance of small, local farms with photos that invite children into the world of a small, co-operative farm over four seasons. Readers will get to know the hardworking farmers who plow, plant, compost, mulch, harvest and market fruits and vegetables, and care for animals. Discover people of all ages and abilities working together to grow and share food, while protecting and respecting the land and animals we depend upon for our sustenance. Deborah Hodge is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children. Award-winning photographer Brian Harris uses his images to help charitable organizations raise awareness and create a better world to live in.
About the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Awarded to the author of novels, including chapter books, aimed at juveniles and young adults, as well as non-fiction books for children (including biography) which have not been highly illustrated. The author must be a B.C./Yukon resident or have lived in B.C. or the Yukon for three of the past five years. The book may have been published anywhere.
About the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
Awarded to the author and illustrator of picture books, picture story books, and illustrated non-fiction books. The prize is shared by the author and the illustrator. The author and/or illustrator must be a B.C./Yukon resident or have lived in B.C. or the Yukon for three of the past five years. The book may have been published anywhere.
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For more information, please contact:
West Coast Book Prize Society
#901– 207 W. Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7
Tel (604) 687-2405
Fax (604) 687-2435