Time to Read Award Winner Announced

Vancouver, BC (October 22, 2008) – Author Bill Richardson and illustrator Cynthia Nugent have been named the recipients of the second Time to Read: BC Achievement Foundation Award for Early Literacy for The Aunts Come Marching, Education Minister Shirley Bond and Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation, announced today.

“By recognizing the importance of developing early literacy skills, The Time to Read award showcases outstanding children’s literature and encourages our children to become lifelong readers,” said Bond. “Once again, every kindergarten student in B.C. will receive a copy of the winning book this year. It is our hope that families will enjoy reading this book together.”

The $15,000 Time to Read award was presented today to Richardson and Nugent at a ceremony at Panorama Heights Elementary School in Coquitlam by Iain Black, BC Achievement Foundation board member, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services and Port Moody-Westwood MLA.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate an outstanding imaginative work and to share that work with some of our youngest learners,” said Black. “By distributing this winning book, we are not only helping to build the literacy and language skills of all our province’s kindergarten students, but we are also giving children and their families the opportunity to explore the joy of reading together at home.”

The Time to Read award is a national award open to Canadian authors and illustrators of books suitable for kindergarten students. For the 2009 award, preference will be given to a book that celebrates sport.

“Our thanks to Minister of Education Shirley Bond for initiating and supporting this important award,” said Mitchell. “Also, I would like to thank our jury panel of Wendy Bainbridge of Kamloops, Sarah Guilmant-Smith of Surrey, and Keith McPherson and Phyllis Simon of Vancouver who diligently reviewed the submissions received and selected The Aunts Come Marching.”

The Aunts Come Marching is a sing-a-long story about a marching procession of aunts who drop in on a family for an unexpected visit. The 2007 winners of this award were author Linda Bailey and illustrator Bill Slavin for Stanley’s Party.

The B.C. Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation endowed by the Province in 2003 to celebrate excellence in community service, arts, enterprise and the humanities. The Time to Read award is one of six initiatives of the foundation. The others are the B.C. Creative Achievement Awards, the B.C. Community Achievement Awards, the B.C Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the B.C. Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art and the recently-launched B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards.

This year marks the fifth year in a row that the Province has distributed a complimentary illustrated children’s book to every kindergarten student in British Columbia. The majority of B.C. kindergarten students will receive The Aunts Come Marching, while students enrolled in the Conseil scholaire francophone will instead be given a copy of Mon ami le vent.

Giving a book to every kindergarten student is part of ReadNow BC, a literacy action plan to help the Province reach its goal of being the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. Since 2001, government has invested more than $145 million in new literacy initiatives, including pre-literacy and early learning programs such as almost $12 million to operate the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn and $2.7 million for the ActNow Literacy Education Activity and Play (LEAP BC) program that encourages literacy, physical activity and healthy eating in preschool-aged children.

For more information on the Time to Read award, please visit www.bcachievement.com.


Media contacts:
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
Tel: 250 356-5963

Nora Newlands
Executive Director
British Columbia Achievement Foundation
Tel: 604 618-6949