Loon and The Whole Truth win 2012 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (May 31, 2012) – The 2012 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were revealed today at Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School, where students gathered for a celebratory presentation. The shortlist represented authors from across the country, from Newman’s Cove in Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. The winners are listed below.

Picture Book

Written by Susan Vande Griek (Halifax, NS)
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Acton, ON)
Published by Groundwood Books

Young Adult/Middle Reader

The Whole Truth
The Whole Truth
Written by Kit Pearson (Victoria, BC)
Published by HarperCollins Publishers


  • Susan Vande Griek and Karen Reczuch are first-time winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. Kit Pearson has previously won for her 1997 work, Awake and Dreaming.
  • A selection committee comprised of a bookseller, librarian and children’s book reviewer nominate the candidates. The 2012 committee was Deirdre Baker, book reviewer and professor of children’s literature (Toronto, ON); Tammy Grieve, independent bookseller (Belleville, ON) and Wendy Nancoo, public librarian (Windsor, ON).
  • The winners were selected by two juries of young readers at Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School. Students in grades 2 and 3 chose the winning author and illustrator of the children’s picture book award. The recipient of the young adult / middle reader award was chosen by students in grade 8.

Student jurors in grades 2 and 3 remarked on Loon’s themes and illustrations, noting the book “taught us about the life cycle of the loon, and their environment.” Some jurors continued, “the detailed artwork looked like real life, and the colours and textures were beautiful.”

Student jurors in grade 8 said the following about Kit Pearson’s The Whole Truth: “The characters were so believable – it felt like you were stepping back in time. [I] fell in love with it within the first few pages.”


  • The two awards, of $6,000 each, recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature. They are awarded annually.
  • The winners are always selected by two juries of young readers, making this a unique literary award in Canada.
  • The jury process allows the students to hone their critical skills while working together to reach consensus. Each reader must evaluate the books individually, then join with the others in deciding upon the recipients.


  • The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth Schwartz, 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 list of previous laureates.

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The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) works with arts patrons to build long-term support for the arts in Ontario.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is the province of Ontario’s main funding body for professional arts activity. Since 1963, the OAC has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts and artists for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2010-2011, the Ontario Arts Council funded 1,720 individual artists and 1,057 organizations in 223 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.3 million.


Geneviève Vallerand | Communications Coordinator | Ontario Arts Council | Tel: 416-969-7434 or 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | gvallerand@arts.on.ca


Alan Walker | Executive Director | Tel: 416-969-7413 | awalker@arts.on.ca