Shortlists for the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced

Toronto, May 7, 2019 – The shortlists for the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today. The Schwartz Awards are the only Canadian literary award where student jurors work together to choose the winning books.

The 2019 winners will be decided by two student juries from Scarborough’s Eastview Public School – a school with a large Indigenous community, offering Ojibwa language instruction and other Indigenous programming. The winners will be announced during a school assembly in June 2019.

About this year’s shortlist

  • This year’s shortlist features Canadian authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds, working in a variety of literary and artistic styles.
  • The Children’s Picture Book category includes books about exploring one’s own history and culture, and how this can help build confidence and self-esteem.
  • The Young Adult / Middle Reader shortlist features stories of young people learning how to persevere through adversity and loss with courage, strength and determination.

Children’s Picture Book

Young Adult / Middle Reader Category

by Shauntay Grant (Halifax, N.S.)
illustrations by Eva Campbell (Victoria, B.C.)
Groundwood Books
Fire Song
by Adam Garnet Jones (Toronto, Ont.)
Annick Press
Go Show the World:
A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes

by Wab Kinew (Winnipeg, Man.)
illustrations by Joe Morse (Oakville, Ont.)
Tundra Books
No Fixed Address
by Susin Nielsen (Vancouver, B.C.)
Tundra Books
Island in the Salish Sea
by Sheryl McFarlane (Victoria, B.C.)
illustrations by Leslie Redhead (Burley, Idaho)
Orca Book Publishers
Planet Grief
by Monique Polak (Montréal, Que.)
Orca Book Publishers
by Marie-Louise Gay (Montréal, Que.)
Groundwood Books
by Colleen Nelson (Winnipeg, Man.)
Dundurn Press
The Origin of Day and Night
by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt (Baker Lake, Nunavut)
illustrations by Lenny Lishchenko (Toronto, Ont.)
Inhabit Media
Very Rich
by Polly Horvath (Victoria, B.C.)
Puffin Canada

About the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book 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.
  • The winners are selected by two juries of young readers, which this year are students at Eastview Public School in Scarborough.
    • Five students in grades 3 and 4 will select the recipient(s) of the Children’s Picture Book Award.
    • Five students in grades 7 and 8 will select the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.


“Authors and illustrators always tell us what an honour it is to be nominated for the Schwartz Awards, knowing that the winners will be selected by their most important audience – young readers themselves. My congratulations to all of this year’s nominees, and to the student jurors who will work collaboratively to choose this year’s winning books.”
Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO, Ontario Arts Council

“This remarkable award encourages young people to read and discuss the work of Canadian authors and illustrators.  What a wonderful way to encourage critical thinking while recognizing the talented pool of Canadian authors and illustrators this country has to offer.”
Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation

Learn more

  • 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 (OAF) administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), which manages the nomination and jury process. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • The nomination committee that chose this year’s shortlist consisted of Dorothy Ferreira (teacher-librarian, Toronto District School Board, Toronto), Feather Maracle (CEO/Director of Library Services, Six Nations Public Library, Ohsweken) and Charlotte Stein (co-owner, Parry Sound Books, Parry Sound).
  • See the full details on the award and the list of previous laureates.

Media Inquiries

Shoshana Wasser
Senior Communications Coordinator
Ontario Arts Council
1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434

Ontario Arts Foundation Inquiries

Alan Walker
Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation