Samantha Cutrara receives IBBY Canada’s Russell Grant for research on Canadian children’s literature

Dr. Samantha Cutrara, a History Education Strategist and Curriculum Specialist at York University, is the recipient of the Frances E. Russell Grant from IBBY Canada (the Canadian section of the International Board on Books for Young People).
The $1,000 grant will be presented to Samantha Cutrara for her critical analysis of children’s graphic novels with a focus on Canadian history. Combining her previous research both examining children’s picture books on Canadian history and exploring the representation of gender in graphic novels, the research funded by this grant will explore how the medium of graphic novels can invite new stories into the teaching and learning of Canadian history. The research will result in academic contributions as well as curriculum-linked supports for teachers and librarians.

As a consultant and professor, Samantha Cutrara develops strategies, projects, and programs that help organizations and individuals teach history in interesting, meaningful, and comprehensive ways. In 2012 she received her Ph.D. in Education from York University with a focus on meaningful learning in Canadian history education. She developed the education and exhibition program at the Archives of Ontario from 2012 to 2015. Currently, she is a Curriculum Specialist in the Office of the Vice Provost Academic at York University, managing a Digital Humanities and Social Sciences project designed to bring greater opportunities for student-centric teaching and learning practices into the classroom. Along with her teaching work, Dr. Cutrara is currently completing a manuscript for UBC Press titled Imagining a New “We”: Canadian History Education for the 21st Century.

The jury for the Russell Grant consisted of Erin Spring (former grant winner and assistant professor at the University of Calgary), Jo-Anne Naslund (instructional programs librarian at the University of British Columbia) and jury chair Deirdre Baker (assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Toronto Star children’s books reviewer and author).

The Frances E. Russell Grant was established in memory of a longtime supporter of IBBY Canada. The $1,000 grant is intended “to initiate and encourage research in young people’s literature in all its forms” and is given in support of research for a publishable work (a book or a paper) on Canadian children’s literature. Past winners include Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr, Erin Spring, Bonnie Tulloch, Beverley Brenna, Paulette Rothbauer, Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman, Michelle Mulder, Michelle Cobban, André Gagnon, Ronald Jobe, Carole Carpenter, Linda Granfield and Françoise Lepage.

IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People (, founded in 1953, represents an international network of people committed to bringing books and children together. IBBY Canada is one of 75 national sections worldwide. IBBY Canada (, founded in 1980, is a volunteer organization promoting quality French and English Canadian children’s literature nationally and internationally.

For more information, please contact:
Emma Sakamoto
Promotions Officer, IBBY Canada