A Hen for Izzy Pippik and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen win 2013 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TORONTO (May 23, 2013) – The 2013 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Etobicoke’s North Kipling Junior Middle School, where students gathered for a celebratory presentation.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. The winers are listed below.

Winner of the Children’s Picture Book Award Category

A Hen for Izzy Pippik
Written by Aubrey Davis (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marie Lafrance (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press

Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Written by Susin Nielsen (Vancouver, BC)
Tundra Books


Aubrey Davis, Marie Lafrance and Susin Nielsen are all first-time winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. A selection committee comprised of a bookseller, librarian and children’s book reviewer nominate the candidates. The 2013 committee was Melanie Fishbane, book reviewer and blogger (Toronto, ON); Mary Brown, independent bookseller (Bayfield, ON) and Matthew MacDonald, public librarian (Sault Ste. Marie, ON). The winners were selected by two juries of young readers at North Kipling Junior Middle School. Students in grades 3 and 4 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 grades 7 and 8.


Student jurors in grades 3 and 4 remarked on A Hen for Izzy Pippik’s themes and illustrations, noting that the book “teaches a good lesson – to be kind and do the right thing even if it’s hard”, another juror added that “the illustrations are very creative and match the story.”

Student jurors in grades 7 and 8 said the following about The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen: “This is a raw perspective on life but at the same time there are moments of comedy that are genuine” and “This is an important issue for both bullies and those being bullied. Henry’s story shows us what happens to family and friends after suicide or an act of violence.”


  • 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.

For a list of previous laurates, click here.

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Kirsten Gunter | Director of Communications | Ontario Arts Council
416-969-7403 | 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7403 | kgunter@arts.on.ca


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

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.