Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award


The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, established in 2006, honours excellence in the illustrated picture book format. The prize is awarded annually and in 2008, the cash prize was increased from $10,000 to $20,000. To be eligible, the book must be an original work in English, aimed at children ages three to eight, written and illustrated by Canadians.  Eligible genres include fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Charles Baillie, retired Chairman and CEO of the TD Bank Financial Group, established the prize as a gift to his wife, Marilyn Baillie. As an award-winning children’s book author and an Early Learning specialist, Marilyn is involved in and passionate about this field.

About Marilyn Baillie

Marilyn Baillie has had many careers including nursery school teacher, lecturer at the Royal Ontario Museum, interior designer in New York City, magazine and book editor, publishing consultant and children’s book author. She currently lives in Toronto and Vermont with her husband.

Marilyn has travelled extensively with her family including adventures in Egypt, Kenya, the Galapagos and Papua New Guinea. She is an avid bird watcher and naturalist, which complement the environmental themes in her books. Marilyn is also a former editor of Chickadee magazine.

In addition to authoring OWL’s Amazing Things Animals Do series – Side by Side, Wild Talk, Time to Eat and Little Wonders – Marilyn’s previous credits include editing and compiling Science Surprises, More Science Surprises, and writing Magical Fun, all from Owl.

Criteria and Submission Information

  • The award will be given to outstanding books of the picture book genre in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity.
  • The book must give equal consideration to the text or storyline (in the case of wordless picture books) and visual material.
  • There should be a seamless integration of text/storyline, illustration and design.
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Books must be published between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
  • Both the author and illustrator must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  • Books may be published in Canada or abroad.
  • Books must be first foreign or first Canadian editions. New editions or re-issues of previously published titles are not eligible for submission.
  • Books must be in English.
  • The book should be aimed at young readers aged three to eight years old.
  • Translations are eligible, provided the translator is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
  • Eligible genres are fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  • Stories must be original (i.e., not a retelling of a story already published such as a fairy tale or folk tale.)
  • Picture books based on recorded songs are not eligible.
  • Board books are not eligible.
  • Books written as part of a series or published in serial form will be judged as separate entries and must be able to ‘stand-alone’.
  • The award is only for books in the printed format, as distinct from digital (i.e., eBooks) and audio visual formats.
  • Books in manuscript form are not eligible.
  • All books must have an ISBN.
  • Self-published books are eligible for submission provided they have a valid ISBN.

Publisher and creator expectations prior to submission:

  • Publishers agree to pay the $25 non-refundable submission fee per title per award.
  • If a book is shortlisted, the publisher, author and illustrator may be asked to participate in a series of events highlighting and promoting the shortlisted author and illustrator, in addition to the award celebration.
  • The CCBC is unable to assume the costs for travel and accommodation. It is our hope that publishers will assist the award winner(s) with providing the resources for attending the in-person awards ceremony (should we be able to hold an in-person event) or for creating an acceptance speech video of appropriate quality should the creator(s) be unable to attend an in-person event.
  • Publishers agree to prepare and encourage their authors and illustrators to participate in all reasonable publicity associated with the award: interviews, readings, appearances, etc.
  • Publishers agree to spend an appropriate sum on media advertising the winning book (i.e., whatever your advertising budget allows).

Submission Information:

The submission deadline was March 1, 2021. We are no longer accepting submissions.

General Inquiries:

If you have any questions regarding eligibility or the award in general, please contact Meghan Howe at 416.975.0010 ext. 3 or

Award Recipients

For the full list of finalists and winners, please click here.

Year Recipient
2020 Sydney Smith. Small in the City. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2019.
2019 Shauntay Grant. Africville. Illustrated by Eva Campbell. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2018.
2018 Paul Harbridge. When the Moon Comes. Illustrated by Matt James. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2017.
2017 Jennifer McGrath. The Snow Knows. Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2016.
2016 Danielle Daniel. Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2015.
2015 Cybèle Young. Nancy Knows. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2014.
2014 Julie Morstad. How To. Vancouver: Simply Read Books, 2013.
2013 Cary Fagan. Mr. Zinger’s Hat. Illustrated by Dušan Petricic. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2012.
2012 Geneviève Côté. Without You. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2011.
2011 Laurel Croza. I Know Here. Illustrated by Matt James. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2010.
2010 Colleen Sydor. Timmerman Was Here. Illustrated by Nicolas Debon. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2009.
2009 Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert. Mattland. Illustrated by Dušan Petricic. Toronto: Annick Press, 2008.
2008 Frieda Wishinsky. Please, Louise!. Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2007.
2007 Sara O’Leary. When You Were Small. Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Vancouver: Simply Read Books, 2006.
2006 Marie-Louise Gay. Caramba. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2005.