Winners Announced for the 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

Winners Announced for the 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

$140,000 in prize money awarded to Canadian children’s authors and illustrators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (November 19, 2015) – The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is thrilled to announce the winners of its six English-language children’s book awards. The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was given to author Jonathan Auxier, who took home the $30,000 prize for his middle-grade novel, The Night Gardener (Puffin Canada); an additional $12,500 was divided between the winning book’s publisher and the other four nominees. Five other awards were given out:

  • Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
  • Why We Live Where We Live written by Kira Vermond and illustrated by Julie McLaughlin won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
  • Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction For Young People ($5,000)
  • Julian by William Bell won the John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
  • The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier won the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000)
  • What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn won the inaugural Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)

The winners were announced last night at a gala event, hosted by the CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, at The Carlu in Toronto. The event marked the 11th anniversary of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, and a total of $97,500 was given out. At a gala event in Montreal last week, the CCBC also awarded the $30,000 Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse to Marianne Dubuc for L’autobus (Comme des géants), with another $12,500 divided between Dubuc’s publisher and four other nominees. (Click here for more information.)

For the second year, TD Bank Group partnered with CBC Books to present the CBC Fan Choice Award. Young readers were asked to pick their favourite book from the shortlisted TD Award titles in an online poll. One lucky entrant, Nora Vukadinovic of Calgary, Alberta, won a trip to Toronto to see the $5,000 CBC Fan Choice Award presented to Marie-Louise Gay for her picture book, Any Questions?

Below is the full list of prizes presented, with comments from the jurors. Click here for the shortlist.

For more information, please contact:

Camilia Kahrizi
Marketing and Website Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416.975.0010 ext. 221 |

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Sponsored by TD Bank Group

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener
Written by Jonathan Auxier (Pittsburgh, PA)
Puffin Canada
for ages 10-14

“The Night Gardener is an engrossing novel about secrets, lies, magic and the power of imagination… Few books for children manage to be so dark and so delightful at the same time, but Auxier pulls it off with gusto… The writing is masterful…The characters are deftly developed—Molly and Kip are both complex young protagonists with strengths and weaknesses that contribute to the ebb and flow of the plot… The story and its setting are shrouded in mystery and readers will want to keep turning the pages to find out how the chilling story reaches its conclusion.”

The finalists, who received $2,500 each, were:

  • Branded by the Pink Triangle, written by Ken Setterington (Second Story Press)
  • In the Tree House, written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can Press)
  • Once Upon a Northern Night, written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood Books)
  • The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, written by Teresa Toten (Doubleday Canada)

JURY MEMBERS: Robert Bittner, PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, avid reader and advocate for gender and sexual diversity in books for teens and children, member of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award jury; Dr. Gregory Bryan, children’s literature professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba and co-author of Children’s Literature, Briefly (Pearson, 2016); Gigi Nadeau, Librarian Consultant, Riverside School Board and CCBC Patron; Barbara Kissick, former children’s librarian, Confederation Centre Public Library; Shelley Stagg Peterson, Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and former member of the jury of the Notable Books for a Global Society of the International Literacy Association.

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Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

Nancy KnowsNancy Knows
Written and illustrated by Cybèle Young (Toronto, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 3-7

“There is a delight on every page in this masterful art piece by author Cybèle Young… A simple storyline, sparse text and ingenious illustrations come together beautifully in this delightful picture book… This book is superb for visual learners… Readers follow Nancy, a charming little elephant, as she struggles to remember something very important. As readers ponder what that might be, they encounter on each page a new assortment of tiny treasures to explore, cleverly constructed paper sculptures that bring Nancy’s thoughts to life… This is a book to be read and enjoyed over and over again.”

JURY MEMBERS: Janis Nostbakken, Children’s Media Specialist; Sara Spencer, Junior School Librarian, The York School; Larry Swartz, Instructor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Brock University, and author of This Is a Great Book! (Pembroke Publishers).

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Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Why We Live Where We LiveWhy We Live Where We Live
Written by Kira Vermond (Guelph, ON)
Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin (Vancouver, BC)
Owlkids Books
for ages 8-12

“Why We Live Where We Live is a fascinating introduction to human adaptation and inventiveness… Issues of climate, resource availability and responsibility are presented honestly, inviting young readers to grapple with many of the big questions of our time… Clever and catchy headings throughout pull readers from page to page making big topics relatable to a wide audience, while the illustrations add tremendously to the text, taking the mood from gently humorous to sober seamlessly… This is a book that will open children’s eyes to everything from agriculture to linguistics to climate change and beyond, and spur countless opportunities for discussions and further exploration.”

JURY MEMBERS: Dory Cerny, Books for Young People Editor, Quill & Quire; Heather Kuipers, Owner, Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore; Tara Stadius, Services Specialist, Children & Youth, Toronto Public Library.

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Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

Dance of the BanishedDance of the Banished
Written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Brantford, ON)
Pajama Press
for ages 12 and up

“This novel presents a little-known, but important history, from a number of sides of the issue… The narrator Ali immigrates to Canada along with his married brother and they, along with many others, are declared Turkish enemy aliens in 1914 and sent to internment camps in Canada… Ali has left behind Zeynep, his betrothed, and the novel follows both their chronicles with their questions, confusions and convictions, from different sides of the world… The two main narratives weave together well to construct a story little-by-little as it unfolds…The structure allows the emotional impact to take full effect, switching as it does (albeit not too frequently) between perspectives…The beauty of the narrative lingers… not only the writing (which is excellent), but just, well, everything.”

JURY MEMBERS: Karyn Huenemann, reviewer for Resource Links Magazine, university instructor and blogger at There Will Be Books; Helen Kubiw, teacher-librarian and blogger at CanLit for LittleCanadians; Sandra Stockall, Subject Coordinator K-5, Anglophone East School District (Moncton); Gail de Vos, author, storyteller and Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

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Sponsored by John Spray

Written by William Bell (Orillia, ON)
Doubleday Canada
for ages 12 and up

“A perfectly executed novel… Not a single false note mars Bell’s story of a 15-year old foster child who loses his identity only to find his true self… Julian’s world pulses with life… Every character who helps shape Bell’s protagonist is fully realized, but it is Bell’s characterization of Julian that moves the novel from the category of a fine book to a brilliant one… An amazing portrayal of growing up, learning to love others, and asking the right questions… This is a novel to savour.”

JURY MEMBERS: Gail Bowen, author; Mary Anne Cree, Junior School Librarian, The Bishop Strachan School; Kevin Sylvester, author and illustrator of the Neil Flambé Capers and the new series, MiNRs.

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Sponsored by HarperCollins Canada in memory of the late Monica Hughes

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener
Written by Jonathan Auxier (Pittsburgh, PA)
Puffin Canada
for ages 10-14

“Masterfully written, plotted as tight as a snare drum and brimming with suspense, Auxier’s The Night Gardener is equal parts Gothic thriller and love letter to the power of storytelling… The tale of two orphans who must confront a ghostly figure in the night and a malevolent tree hell-bent on their destruction is original, riveting and terrifying… The Night Gardener is a spell-binding and chilling tale with themes of family, courage, loyalty and the power of stories… It’s a book so powerful and rich that it demands to be read and pondered slowly, sentence by sentence, word by word, root and branch.”

JURY MEMBERS: Kate Newman, Category Manager for Kids & Teen Books, Indigo Books; Rachel Seigel, Sales & Selection Strategist, EduCan Media; Joel Sutherland, author of Haunted Canada 5: Terrifying True Stories and Children’s & Youth Services Librarian, Georgina Public Library (MLIS, Aberystwyth University).

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Sponsored by Amy’s Marathon of Books

What We HideWhat We Hide
Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 14 and up

“What We Hide is executed with near perfection… Letters, scripts and straight narration keep the pace of this character-driven novel moving forward… In this portrait of the daily lives of a unique but fairly typical assortment of teens, Jocelyn expertly weaves together numerous strands of story to create a unified and compelling whole… It is a captivating look at the stories that lie just beneath the surface of all the carefully-constructed facades, providing a narrative that is thought-provoking and original.”

JURY MEMBERS: Melissa Bourdon-King, YA Co-ordinator, Mabel’s Fables Bookstore; Lisa Doucet, Co-Manager, Woozles Children’s Bookstore; Pamela Jeffrey, teacher-librarian, Stayner Collegiate Institute, Simcoe County District School Board.

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TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was established in 2005 to honour the most distinguished book of the year for children aged one to 12. Entries are judged on the quality of the text and illustrations and the book’s overall contribution to literature. All books for children, in any genre, written by a Canadian, are eligible for the award. The winning book receives $30,000 and an additional $10,000 is divided amongst the honour books. The publisher of the winning book receives $2,500 for promotional purposes.

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award honours excellence in the illustrated picture book format, for children aged 3 to 8. Charles Baillie, retired Chairman and CEO of TD Bank Group, is delighted to give the prize in his wife Marilyn’s name. As an award-winning children’s book author and an early learning specialist, Marilyn is involved in and passionate about children’s literature. The winning book receives $20,000.

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction
The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction was established by the Fleck Family Foundation in 1999 to recognize Canada’s exceptional non-fiction books for young people. The award honours Norma Fleck (1906-1998), who inspired a deep love of reading in her children and grandchildren. Dr. James Fleck, who initiated the award, is the son of Norma Fleck. The winning book receives $10,000.

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
The Geoffrey Bilson Award was established in 1988 in memory of the respected historian and children’s author, Geoffrey Bilson. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for young people. In 2005, the Bilson Endowment Fund was created to support this award. If you wish to contribute to this fund, please contact the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

John Spray Mystery Award
The John Spray Mystery Award was established in 2011 to honour excellence in the mystery book genre. John Spray, President of the Mantis Investigation Agency, is delighted to sponsor the prize, noting that mystery books made him a passionate reader at an early age and helped him find his chosen career. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of mystery writing for young people.

Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy
Established in 2011, the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy honours excellence in the science fiction and fantasy genre. Sponsored by HarperCollins Canada, in memory of the late Monica Hughes, the $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of speculative fiction for young people.

Amy Mathers Teen Book Award
The Amy Mathers Teen Book Award, established in 2014, honours excellence in teen/young adult fiction. The prize is awarded annually with a cash prize of $5,000 to an original work aimed at readers aged 13-18. The prize was established following the fundraising efforts of Amy Mathers through her Marathon of Books.

About the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization and registered charity founded in 1976 to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens. With book collections and extensive resources in five cities across Canada, the CCBC is a treasure-trove for anyone interested in Canadian books for young readers. For more information, please visit