Winners of the 2011 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (June 1, 2011) – The 2011 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were revealed today. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Awards. The inaugural Schwartz Award was presented in 1976 to Mordecai Richler for Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang.

Children’s Picture Book Award Category

Chester’s Masterpiece
Written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt (Laval, QC)
Kids Can Press

Student jurors in grades 3 and 4 noted Mélanie Watt’s Chester’s Masterpiece is “a very funny book. It’s great how Mélanie Watt has Chester tell his own story. She is a great artist, but she lets Chester show off.”

Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

Half Brother
Written by Kenneth Oppel (Toronto, ON)
HarperCollins Publishers

Student jurors in grades 7 and 8 said the following about Kenneth Oppel’s Half Brother: “Half Brother is a complicated story whose many parts make it that much more interesting. The main characters are surprisingly sympathetic, and the central problem of the story holds the reader to the very end.”


  • Both Mélanie Watt and Kenneth Oppel are previous winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. Watt received the award in 2007 for Scaredy Squirrel and in 2009 for Chester’s Back! This is Oppel`s fifth Schwartz Award, having first won in 2000 for Sunwing, in 2005 for Airborn, in 2006 for Skybreaker and in 2008 for Darkwing.
  • The awards, of $6,000 each, recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in Canadian children’s literature.
  • The candidates are nominated by a selection committee comprised of a bookseller, librarian and children’s book reviewer.
  • The winners were selected by two juries of young readers at Agnes Macphail Public 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.
  • The 2011 winners were announced at an event at the Agnes Macphail Public School, 112 Goldhawk Trail, in Toronto, at 10:30 a.m. on June 1, 2011.
  • Both Mélanie Watt and Kenneth Oppel were on hand to accept the awards from students at Agnes Macphail Public School.

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 manages the fund and the Ontario Arts Council administers the nomination and jury process. For a list of previous laureates click here.

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