The 2016 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Toronto’s Scarborough Village Alternative 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. 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Schwartz Children’s Book Awards.
Winner of the Children’s Picture Book Award Category
Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds
by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, Que.)
Kids Can Press
Student jurors in grades 3 and 4 said: “This book is unique because it has a mix of wild animals and magical creatures – Mr. Postmouse even delivered a package to a dragon’s house!” They also noted that “all the little details are very funny,” singling out a picture of a snake that stretches out over four pages.
“When I learned that Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds had won a Schwartz Children’s Book Award, I was delighted,” said author/illustrator Marianne Dubuc. “But when I learned that the book had been awarded by children, by its own readers, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. It is for you, the young readers, that I make my books. Mr. Postmouse and I would like to thank you for this great honour, and hope you will discover many books that will fill your life with tons of wonderful adventures.”
About the Author
Marianne Dubuc has written and illustrated numerous children’s picture books, including The Animals’ Ark (L’arche des animaux), The Bus Ride (L’autobus), Animal Masquerade (Au carnaval des animaux) and In Front of My House (Devant ma maison). She is a first-time winner of a Schwartz Children’s Book Award.
Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category
We Are All Made of Molecules
by Susin Nielsen (Vancouver, B.C.)
“This book is funny, powerful and inspirational,” said student jurors in grades 7 and 8. “The characters dealt with a lot of complicated issues in a believable way that we could relate to.” As one juror noted, “I can imagine myself reading this book a million more times. It has the best ending ever!”
“I am deeply honoured that We Are All Made of Molecules is the recipient of this year’s Schwartz Children’s Book Award for Young Adult / Middle Readers,” said author Susin Nielsen. “I wish I’d known the Schwartz sisters, who did much for Canadian children’s literature. And the fact that the winners are chosen by student juries makes it truly special. Knowing that the book is connecting with my intended audience is the ultimate prize.”
About the Author
Susin Nielsen is the author of four novels for young adults, including The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, winner of the 2013 Schwartz Children’s Book Award (Young Adult / Middle Reader category). Susin has also written for many Canadian television series, including Degrassi Junior High and Heartland.
About the Awards
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 comprised Ellie Contursi (children’s librarian, London Public Library), Mary Lumsden (co-owner, Mill Street Books, Almonte) and Eva Wills (teacher-librarian, Alexander Muir / Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School, Toronto).
The Ruth 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.