Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland and Kenneth Oppel Honoured with 2015 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (May 15, 2015) – The 2015 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Toronto’s Alexander Muir / Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School. The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from the school – a jury of grade 3 and 4 students selected the recipient of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 7 and 8 students selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.

Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. This process makes it a unique literary award in Canada.

Children’s Book Award Category

The Magician of Auschwitz
The Magician of Auschwitz
Written by Kathy Kacer (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Gillian Newland (Toronto, ON)
Second Story Press


  • Kathy Kacer is the author of The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and seven other books in Second Story Press’s Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers, as well as an adult non-fiction book, Restitution.
  • She is a first-time winner of a Schwartz Children’s Book Award


  • Gillian Newland has illustrated a variety of publications, from magazine editorial to children’s books.
  • She is a first-time winner of a Schwartz Children’s Book Award.

“This amazing true life story reminds us of the power of hope and the power of magic,” said student jurors in grades 3 and 4. “Werner was a boy just like us. The dark paintings matched the story.”

“I’m so grateful to the wonderful student readers for choosing this book,” said author Kathy Kacer. “It is so important to keep stories about the Holocaust alive for future generations. You young people are all helping do just that.”

“I’m very honoured to receive this award alongside Kathy,” said illustrator Gillian Newland. “As an artist, it was both challenging and rewarding to illustrate a story that is so sensitive and kind yet takes place in such a dark setting. I’m so happy to hear that the students both liked and felt inspired by the book.”

Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

The Boundless
The Boundless
Written by Kenneth Oppel (Toronto, ON)
HarperCollins Publishers


  • Kenneth Oppel is the author of the Airborn series and the Silverwing saga, which has sold over a million copies worldwide.
  • He has previously received a Schwartz Children’s Book Award for his books Half Brother (2011), Darkwing (2008), Skybreaker (2006), Airborn (2005) and Sunwing (2000).

The Boundless was action-packed. Suspenseful. Intense,” said student jurors in grades 7 and 8. One juror remarked that they “liked the way Will met so many different people and had so many adventures.” As another juror noted, “I didn’t want to put the book down.”

“Receiving this award is especially gratifying because the winner is chosen by a jury of young readers – the very audience I’m writing for,” said author Kenneth Oppel. “Their approval is an amazing gift.”


  • Two awards of $6,000 each are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature.
  • This year’s selection committee was comprised of Mandy Brouse (Co-Owner, Words Worth Books, Waterloo), Brianne Peters (Librarian, Children’s Services, Kingston Frontenac Public Library) and Rachel Seigel (Sales & Selection Strategist, EduCan Media, Toronto).

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the family renamed the awards to honour both sisters. The Ontario Arts Foundation administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, which manages the nomination and jury process. These awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.

See the full details on the award and the list of previous laureates.

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Shoshana Wasser | Communications Coordinator | Ontario Arts Council
416-969-7434 | 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | swasser@arts.on.ca

Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
416-969-7413 | awalker@arts.on.ca