The 2021 Shortlists for the CCBC Book Awards Honour the Breadth of Canadian Books for Young People, Featuring the Inaugural Jean Little First-Novel Award

En français

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (September 14, 2021)—The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to announce the finalists for the following eight major awards celebrating Canadian books for young people:

The nominated titles represent the exceptional quality of the work by Canadian authors and illustrators from across the country. Each title nominated will capture the imaginations of Canadian young people and were chosen by our juries to represent the best in their category. 

“Congratulations to all of the finalists for the 2021 CCBC Book Awards,” says Rose Vespa, Executive Director of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. “All of the books nominated were released during an unprecedented year and many were a bright light for young readers as they dealt with uncertainty and fear. This year marks the first-ever Jean Little First-Novel Award and the 15th anniversary of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. We are thankful to all of our sponsors for their continued support, and for all those who donated and fundraised for the Jean Little First-Novel Award and the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. Thanks to TD Bank Group, we are able to offer the largest prize in Canadian children’s literature. Our sponsors and donors are essential in making this awards program possible and allowing us to support Canadian artists.”

This year’s awards program features the inaugural Jean Little First-Novel Award. After the beloved and prolific author died in April 2020, fellow children’s book authors Sarah Ellis, Kit Pearson and Maggie de Vries came up with the idea of establishing an award in Jean’s name. “We decided that the most appropriate honour would be a prize for a Canadian middle-grade novel by a first-time writer. Much of Jean’s writing was for the middle grades, and Jean was always an enthusiastic supporter of beginning writers. This award would honour her long and successful career and encourage the next generation of writers following in her footsteps. Congratulations to all of the awards’ nominees.” 

“A big congratulations to this year’s nominees and the finalists of these literary awards, including the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award,” says Naki Osutei, Associate Vice President, Social Impact – Canada, TD Bank Group. “Thank you for your contributions in helping young readers fall in love with new stories, see themselves reflected in more books and develop new literacy skills in a year where education has been disrupted in many areas. Supporting early learning and children’s literature is a key component of the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s global corporate citizenship platform, and we’re proud to continue collaborating with the CCBC.”  

The winners of the English-language awards will be announced at a virtual event on October 29 with returning host Tony Kim, presented in partnership with the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) as part of its TIFA Kids! programming. A live stream of the event will be free for all, with the ceremony available on our YouTube channel, Bibliovideo, afterwards. Leading up to the events, the CCBC and TIFA will once again host panel discussions with some of the nominated creators. These “virtual school trips” will be free for all to attend.In honour of the inaugural Jean Little First-Novel Award, amongst the line-up of panels will be a discussion with moderator Kit Pearson and all three finalists of this award. More event information will be available at on September 23.

Once again, we are partnering with our sister organization Communication-Jeunesse to organize our two French-language awards: the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse and the Prix Harry Black de l’album jeunesse. The French-language awards will also be featured as a part of TIFA, with a panel of French-language creators. The French-language awards will be presented virtually on October 28 and will be available through live stream. Both the panel and the ceremony will feature English subtitles. “Every year, when I have the nominated books in my hands, I am amazed to see the exceptional quality of our Quebec and Franco-Canadian literature,” says Pénélope Jolicoeur, Directrice générale, Communication-Jeunesse.

Overall, $175,000 in prize monies will be awarded. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share the nominated titles and the juries’ notes. The finalists for each award are listed below.

Watch the video featuring the nominated titles on Bibliovideo, the CCBC’s YouTube channel. 

Download the PDF of this press release here.

For more information, please contact: 

Emma Hunter
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416 975-0010 ext. 2

Pénélope Jolicoeur
Directrice générale
514 286-6020  ext. 305

Heather Reinsborough
Manager, Corporate and Public Affairs
TD Bank Group
416 413-3433

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
Sponsored by TD Bank Group

The Barnabus Project
Written and illustrated by Terry Fan, Eric Fan and Devin Fan (Toronto, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 6 and up

“The Fan Brothers have created a uniquely charming story filled with fantasy, adventure and heart… With the bold use of colour, the expressive and emotive illustrations blend seamlessly with the text to recount this charming story of inclusivity and triumph… In their deeply touching quest for freedom and a place that could become home, the characters in this book demonstrate empathy, courage and kindness.”  

The Barren Grounds
(The Misewa Saga, Book 1)
Written by David A. Robertson (Winnipeg, MB)
Puffin Canada
for ages 10-14

“Both entertaining and magical, this title is a powerful allegory to the history of Canada and Indigenous Peoples… With nods to many of the classic fantasy novels of the past, The Barren Grounds is an original work of speculative fiction that is equal parts thrilling and heartfelt… It balances humour and poignancy, features complex and well-developed characters and relationships, and offers a realistic and thoughtful look at contemporary family situations and struggles, identity and belonging… Robertson does a great job of incorporating Cree culture, language and teachings in this lovely fantasy that all Canadians will enjoy.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye
Written by Melanie Mosher (Gaetz Brook, NS)
Nimbus Publishing
for ages 8-11

“With complex characters, the reader is drawn into this impactful story of loss, grief, guilt, joy and healing… The emotions in A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye lift off every page like morning mist off a calm and peaceful lake, filling the reader with everything Laney is grappling with as she spends the summer at her family cottage… Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this novel ultimately demonstrates the power of love, friends and family.”

(The Bloom Trilogy, Book 1)
Written by Kenneth Oppel (Toronto, ON)
HarperCollins Publishers
for ages 10-14

“With a plot that is fast paced and filled with surprises, this highly original thriller is truly riveting… The pages turn with relentless speed in this edge-of-your-seat thriller… The twists are shocking and the turns are rollicking, but the characters feel real and the prose is as crisp and clean as fresh rainfall. Bloom doesn’t just bloom—it explodes and takes root, sticking with you long after the last page.”

When Emily Was Small
Written and illustrated by Lauren Soloy (Bridgetown, NS)
Tundra Books
for ages 4-8

“Lauren Soloy gives readers a thoughtful, illuminating glimpse into the mind and heart of a young Emily Carr… Written with poetic and evocative language, When Emily Was Small is a charming book about a girl who feels small until she escapes her daily life and enters the Wild, where she becomes Small with a capital S… In words and images, Soloy astutely captures Carr’s heightened awareness of the world around her and how she experienced that world.”

JURY MEMBERS: Lisa Doucet, Co-Manager, Woozles and Young Readers Editor, Atlantic Books Today; Colette Poitras, Manager, Indigenous Public Library Outreach, Government of Alberta; Joel A. Sutherland, Silver Birch Award-winning author and Manager of Client Experience, Pickering Public Library.

Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse ($50,000)
Sponsored by TD Bank Group
Pour ces informations en français, cliquez ici.

Aurore et le pays invisible
Written by Christiane Duchesne (Montreal, QC)
Éditions Québec Amérique
for ages 9 and up

“In the great tradition of fantasy tales, Christiane Duchesne has developed, in Aurore et le pays invisible, a captivating fable with characters who are larger than life. The arrival of young Aurore into a miniature universe leads her, along with young readers, into a deep, philosophical reflection on the relativity of everything. All aspects of life are represented: its hopes and disappointments, its challenges and failures, its conflicts and reconciliations. This is a memorable work.”

C’est quoi l’amour ?
Written by Lucile de Pesloüan (Paris, France)
Illustrated by Geneviève Darling (Montreal, QC)
Éditions de l’Isatis
for ages 11-14

“We fell in love with this book as well as the Griff Collection in which it appears. C’est quoi l’amour? is an inclusive, straightforward and realistic graphic novel… Dotted with vivid and diverse images, the book is an exploration of love in all its forms. The book discusses romantic love, but also love for social causes and love for the planet, proving that love is often greater than ourselves.” 

Written by Véronique Grénier (Sherbrooke, QC)
Groupe d’édition la courte échelle
for ages 9 and up

“A magnificent work of prose where the main theme of separated parents is approached with evocative imagery. These original poems, written in first-person narration, are so well paced that they are best read aloud to fully grasp their approachable nature. The Poésie collection of La courte échelle has created a little gem with this collection that is intended for children ages 9 and up, allowing them to discover the sensitive voice of an already well-established author.”

Ma maison-tête
Written and illustrated by Vigg (Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, QC)
Éditions Fonfon
for ages 6 and up

“This picture book is in and of itself a true literary experience, both enjoyable and engaging, as the reader discovers the touching narrator, who is full of dismay and desire to understand what is going on in his head. The treatment of the theme of Attention Deficit Disorder, far from didactic, is original both in the telling of the story as well as through the images and typography. The gorgeous illustrations help to better capture the issues, highlighting a few specific details with minimalism. A great success!”

Pokko et le tambour
Written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Montreal, ON)
Translated by Nadine Robert (Montreal, ON)
Comme des géants
for ages 4 and up

“A children’s picture book that overwhelms us with its vibrant colours and endearing characters. The simple picture book addresses perseverance, sharing, and above all, the love of music! Each page is a world in itself, imbued with sensitivity and humour. Pokko is a small masterpiece that surprises us with each rereading!”

JURY MEMBERS: Raymond Bertin, cultural journalist; Marika Brouillette-Drapeau, bookseller; Sophie Kurler, children’s librarian.

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

The Barnabus Project
Written and illustrated by Terry Fan, Eric Fan and Devin Fan (Toronto, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 6 and up

“This tour de force is an alchemy of intriguing, fluid story and magical cinematic illustration. Readers of this suspenseful page-turner will discover the surprising power of personal courage and community teamwork in overcoming seemingly insurmountable injustice and prejudice… The uncomplicated text compliments the larger-than-life illustrations which propels readers to cheer on Barnabus and its menagerie of friends exploring the free world together.”

Golden Threads
Written by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Oakville, ON)
Illustrated by Miki Sato (Toronto, ON)
Owlkids Books
for ages 4-8

“Timeless currents flow softly through this sublimely gentle story of a lost toy. Being lost and then being found, becoming damaged and then being made whole, and with the healing balm of kindness overarching all… With the inspiration of the Japanese art, kintsugi, of fixing an object rather than replacing it, Sato’s radiant cut-paper illustrations depict the vibrant journey of Fox… Del Rizzo’s lyrical text explores themes of belonging, caring strangers and friendship.”

Our Little Kitchen
Written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Toronto, ON)
Groundwoods Books
for ages 6 and up

“Words and images swirl around the pages as soup kitchen volunteers chop, slice and dice bounty from the garden… This colourful picture book moves quickly with onomatopoeia and speech bubbles of conversations between the volunteers and meal recipients to create a caring and comforting hub of an urban community… The uplifting energy of this perfectly balanced narrative celebrates something nearly ineffable: the brightly glowing satisfaction of working together to give to others.”

Swift Fox All Along
Written by Rebecca Thomas (Dartmouth, NS)
Illustrated by Maya McKibbin (Gibsons, BC)
Annick Press
for ages 6-9

“An emotional journey of self discovery is powerfully conveyed in picture book form. The young protagonist’s introduction to her Indigenous culture is related in frank, simple text that beautifully captures some initial awkward moments and celebrates all that is so joyfully freeing for Swift Fox… The playful illustrations explore the weighty topic of change which readers from any culture or family units can appreciate.”

Weekend Dad
Written by Naseem Hrab (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Frank Viva (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 5-7

“A little boy lives an ‘it is what it is’ situation when his parents split up and he must ferry between two homes. Yet, he moves forward like the bus that travels to his dad’s apartment, ‘down the street, past the park and through the tunnel’… Readers will find love nourishing resilience as the story concludes. The accomplished and witty illustrations wonderfully support and extend both the ambience and emotional depth of this honest, authentic and heartfelt book.” 

JURY MEMBERS: Bonnie Farmer, author and teacher, English Montreal School Board; Sheba Meland, retired children’s book editor and publisher; Sara Spencer, teacher, Montcrest School.

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl
Written by Rina Singh (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marianne Ferrer (LaSalle, QC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 6-10

“An uplifting and heartwarming story of what community development can look like when enough people decide to make changes in the world around them… Singh’s talent for storytelling really shines through in this compassionate story about equality for all genders, and respect for our natural world… Ferrer uses a muted colour palette to show the transformation of Piplantri, India, through its rebirth after the planting of a quarter of a million trees.”

Crows: Genius Birds
(Science Comics)
Written and illustrated by ​​Kyla Vanderklugt (Powasson, ON)
First Second
for ages 9-13

“This graphic novel is packed with information and facts that prove how genius crows are… Readers will find facts integrated into a humorously presented story, as two social and smart creatures meet… Colourful panels and carefree text provide an opportunity to learn, with additional sidebars and relevant information incorporated alongside. The graphic format complements the fun and fanciful storytelling, offering a compelling learning experience.”

The Eagle Mother
(Mothers of Xsan, Book 3)
Written by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson) (Winnipeg, MB)
Illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Deming, WA)
HighWater Press
for ages 9-11

“Huson’s text and Donovan’s illustrations meld together to make The Eagle Mother an amazing book… The life cycle of the bald eagle is simply explained, following the seasons and sharing the land and ecosystem with the Gitxsan people… The Gitxsan Nation’s culture is incorporated in the text and expanded upon in illustrations printed in delicate colours outlined with solid black lines, transmitting the warmth and lasting nature of these relationships.”

Powwow: A Celebration Through Song and Dance
(Orca Origins)
Written by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane (Little Current, ON)
Orca Book Publishers
for ages 9 and up

“This timely and relevant book shares an important cultural celebration without overlooking the sad historical truths tied into the subject… Starting with the history of the Indian Act and bringing us into the present day, this book is a perfect introduction to the importance and beauty of powwows… A must-read for anyone wanting to know more about Indigenous people on Turtle Island.”

This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias
Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Drew Shannon (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 11-14

“An excellent resource showing us the science behind stereotyping and how we can work to change our thinking to become less biased in our lives… Weaving history and present-day events and influences, this is a good look at a subject we should be more aware of…  Colourful artwork complements copious research distilled into readable, accessible sections, in learning about how brains are wired and how we can work at removing inherent biases.”

JURY MEMBERS: Nancy Cooper, author of The Trading Tree; Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library; Maria Martella, owner of Tinlids Inc., a wholesaler of children’s and teen books for schools and libraries. 

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

Barry Squires, Full Tilt    
Written by Heather Smith (Waterloo, ON)
Penguin Teen Canada
for ages 12 and up

“Rarely have I read a book that has encompassed so much humanity. I laughed, I cried, I related on so many levels as our young protagonist marched, or should I say danced, to the beat of his own drum… Smith delivers a toe-tapping story filled with tenacity, tension, humour and heart… She brilliantly set the scenes, transporting the reader back to small-town Newfoundland, where every single word of this story rang true.”

The Brushmaker’s Daughter
(A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers)
Written by Kathy Kacer (Toronto, ON)
Second Story Press
for ages 9-12

“In The Brushmaker’s Daughter, Kathy Kacer has written a gripping tale full of friendship and betrayal, family and country… A rich story in which terror and fear are so well conveyed by the author’s words that I found myself holding my own breath… We have all heard the story of Oskar Schindler, but Weidt’s story of hiring blind Jewish workers was interesting and offered a new take. This story served to remind us that everyone has value and we need to take care of each other.”

Journal of a Travelling Girl
Written by Nadine Neema (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Archie Beaverho (Behchoko, NT)
Wandering Fox Books
for ages 9-12

“A truly engaging story of a young girl’s coming of age as she embarks on a reluctant canoe trip with her friends and their families… Journal of a Travelling Girl takes readers on a culturally enlightening journey filled with adventure and discovery…bringing out the beauty of the North and the Tlicho culture… This book should be in every school library.

The Paper Girl of Paris
Written by Jordyn Taylor (Long Island City, NY)
for ages 13 and up

“A well-told story of the French resistance is balanced perfectly between the horrors of the past and the angst of a young 16-year-old girl trying to unravel her family’s mysterious history in present-day Paris… Taylor’s smooth shifts from the present to the past and back again make for an evocative narrative that drives home the point that we all should remember where we come from. The uncovering of Alice’s family’s secrets and the impact the keeping of those secrets had on generations, keeps you turning pages at breakneck speed.”

Under Amelia’s Wing
(The Ginny Ross Series, Book 2)
Written by Heather Stemp (North Bay, ON)
Nimbus Publishing
for ages 12 and up

“Strong characters and a good blend of history and storytelling make for this timely novel about the struggle for women’s equality, as a young girl heads out from small-town Newfoundland to prove her mettle in the male-only realm of engineering academia under the mentorship of her hero, Amelia Earhart… Stemp has a genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling that holds the reader’s rapt attention from beginning to end… A timely tale for today’s girls still struggling for equality.”

JURY MEMBERS: Tina Athaide, author and educator; Shaula Corr, former middle school librarian, and Astrophotographer; Matt McCarney, teacher (Grade 7/8 English and History), Selwyn House School, and PhD student, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University; Gail de Vos (chair), author, storyteller and Adjunct (Associate) Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Charming as a Verb
Written by Ben Philippe (New York, NY)
Balzer & Bray
for ages 13 and up

“Ben Philippe has written a witty and entertaining book that tackles the intersection of race and class. His sophomore novel perfectly conveys the anxiety that children of immigrants face during that transition from high school to university and carrying the weight of expectations… Philippe’s exceptional talent for developing characters and setting are in full force in this novel… A captivating love story set against the tapestry of life in New York City.”

Facing the Sun
Written by Janice Lynn Mather (Delta, BC)
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
for ages 15 and up

“Facing the Sun is a rich story told with lyricism and insight about four girls, their families, and the small Bahamian town that is their home… Janice Lynn Mather does a fantastic job weaving four perspectives that offer a look into the lives of Black girls…[examining] the ways in which Black girls are often expected to bear the weight of responsibility in their homes while also interrogating Blackness set outside of Canada… This novel is beautifully realized, written not just for teens, but for all of us in search of a better understanding of how communities, knitted together through struggle and circumstance, can hold us in difficult times.”

Written by Raziel Reid (Vancouver, BC)
Penguin Teen Canada
for ages 14 and up

““Where is the ‘real’ in reality shows?” is the challenging question Reid poses to readers as he takes them behind the scenes of Platinum TriangleFollowers is a frothy confection of a novel that is also a searing commentary on modern life. The literary skill required to accomplish this while maintaining both a light touch and a sinuous plot is extraordinary… Reid is a deft storyteller and an important voice in contemporary fiction.”

He Must Like You
Written by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Toronto, ON)
Penguin Teen Canada
for ages 14 and up

“Danielle Younge-Ullman has penned a thoughtful book for the #MeToo age… He Must Like You is an engaging, funny, candid story about the dynamics of families, friends and the end of high school. But mostly it is an incredibly thoughtful book that unflinchingly considers consent and the many forms of sexual assault that trail people in their lives. Younge-Ullman brings a necessary dimension to a topic that is critical for young people to consider, honouring the complexity of human interaction, pain and resilience… The story hooks readers from the first page.”

The Silence of Bones
Written by June Hur (Toronto, ON)
Fiewel & Friends
for ages 14 and up

“June Hur’s richness of language transports readers into the political and social milieu of early 19th-century Korea… Historical fiction and mystery is already an interesting combination but when it’s set in Korea during the 1800s, it means readers get a refreshing take on the genre and an international history lesson. This is a fantastic debut from Hur, who writes a captivating story that keeps readers guessing and expertly explains the complex political climate… The female characters’ courage, ingenuity and warrior hearts are inspiring, and the story that reveals them is entrancing.”

JURY MEMBERS: Dr. Dave Jenkinson, Editor, CM: Canadian Review of Materials and Professor Emeritus, Children’s & YA Literature, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba; Kathleen Martin, writer, editor and Past President, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia; Ardo Omer, writer, podcast host and Kids Coordinator, Festival of Literary Diversity.

Prix Harry Black de l’album jeunesse ($5,000)
Sponsored by Mary Macchiusi
Pour ces informations en français, cliquez ici.

Albertine Petit-Brindamour déteste les choux de Bruxelles
Written by Anne Renaud (Westmount, QC)
Illustrated by Élodie Duhameau (Montreal, QC)
Groupe d’édition la courte échelle
for ages 4 and up

“With Albertine Petit-Brindamour déteste les choux de Bruxelles, Anne Renaud offers us a hilarious picture book that beautifully portrays the aversion of young children to brussel sprouts. With her vivid imagination, determination and curiosity, this cute little girl shows us that not only can you learn to appreciate them, but they also have a super power. Elodie Duhameau’s expressive and colourful illustrations perfectly represent Albertine’s personality and reinforce the humorous tone of this skillfully written story. This is a picture book that makes children and adults laugh out loud.”

Le grand méchant loup dans ma maison
Written by Valérie Fontaine (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC)
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion (Montreal, QC)
Éditions les 400 coups
for ages 7 and up

“Using the metaphor of “The Three Little Pigs,” Valérie Fontaine explores physical and psychological abuse with great skill, setting this book apart from anything that has been done before on domestic violence. This story, effective and disturbing, ends on a note of hope. The author discusses, among other things, shelters for women and their children, an innovative subject in children’s literature. In a refined and sober style, Nathalie Dion’s illustrations, both magnificent and poignant, convey with great realism the emotions experienced by the characters.”

Written by François Blais (Charrette, QC)
Illustrated by Valérie Boivin (Quebec, QC)
Éditions les 400 coups
for ages 7 and up

“With L’horoscope, François Blais sheds light on the timely theme of anxiety in a way that is all at once realistic, funny and touching. He shows what happens in the mind of an individual who relies on routine and structure when he gives into the fears of unforeseen events and his anticipation of what might occur. The text, filled with humour and paired with the beautiful illustrations of Valérie Boivin, offers a powerful and far-reaching picture book that touches the reader and makes them think.” 

Ma maison-tête
Written and illustrated by Vigg (Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, QC)
Éditions Fonfon
for ages 6 and up

“Vigg pulls off a tour de force in portraying Attention Deficit Disorder through the lens of a child. When young Vincent cannot find the words to recite the fable Le corbeau et le renard, he invites the reader inside this “head-house” to show how his brain works, shedding light on what many children and adults experience in secret. Brilliantly illustrated, the rooms of the “house” demonstrate the whirlwind of thoughts and their repercussions, as well as the places of refuge and imagination. And always, in the background, is the desire of Vincent to be like everyone else. Ma maison-tête is a unique and sensitive gem.”

Le tricot
Written and illustrated by Jacques Goldstyn (Mount Royal, QC)
Éditions de la Pastèque
for ages 5 and up

“Le tricot proves once again the intelligence, talent and sensitivity of Jacques Goldstyn. In a few pages, he manages to weave a narrative in which multiple stories are interwoven. A handmade scarf acts as a catalyst and a metaphor for a grandmother to turn back the hands of time to share her life with her granddaughter; a life in which memories, historical moments and traditions mingle. The scarf carries with it the patience required to knit as well as the haste of modernity where everything seems to go by in a gust of wind. Above all, the metaphor of the scarf praises the transmission of knowledge through which history will continue to make its mark over time. Le tricot will let itself be unraveled and re-knitted more than once, to the delight of readers both young and old.”

JURY MEMBERS:  Catherine Chiasson, bookstore owner; Marie-Ève Guibord, school librarian; Sophie Michaud, lecturer, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Jean Little First-Novel Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Journal of a Travelling Girl
Written by Nadine Neema (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Archie Beaverho (Behchoko, NT)
Wandering Fox Books
for ages 9-12

“Journal of a Travelling Girl gives young readers the chance to imagine themselves on a journey as they read about it through the main character… Neema clearly conveys the modes of teaching afforded by the journey and the community’s Elders, as well as the historic moment the Tlicho Agreement for self-government and land ownership came into effect…  The author shares from a place of knowledge, in deep collaboration with the First Nation concerned… This is an important story, not just for those whose lives it touches directly, but for all in Canada.”

My Name is Konisola
Written by Alisa Siegel (Toronto, ON)
Second Story Press
for ages 9-12

“Siegel sheds a rare light on the process of gaining refugee status in Canada and on the vulnerability of children within that system… Konisola’s dilemma is told so simply that her anguish and loneliness are all the more heartbreaking… Straightforward, accessible prose gives her account a simple directness that suits both its subject matter and its stalwart protagonist. This is an important book and Konisola is a memorable character.”

No Vacancy
Written by Tziporah Cohen (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 9-12

“This is a story about prejudice in all its forms… It carries its readers through challenging and illuminating situations, building tension naturally, never forcing the story along… In crisp and appropriate language, the author conveys both the difficulties and humour of Miriam’s adjustment to living in a run-down motel with her family. The people in her new world are so richly drawn that the reader becomes as wrapped in their warmth as she is.”  

JURY MEMBERS:  Deirdre Baker, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto Star children’s books reviewer, and author; Maggie de Vries, author; Kit Pearson, author.

About the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not‐for‐profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers. For more information, please visit

About Communication-Jeunesse
Communication-Jeunesse is a national non-profit cultural organization that was founded in 1971 to promote and appreciate Quebec and Franco-Canadian literature aimed at young people age 0 to 17. The vitality of the organization is largely based on the quality of its associative life and the commitment of its members has been at the heart of its operations since its creation. The members of Communication-Jeunesse enrich its actions and promote its development with as much rigor as energy. For more information, please visit

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TD has a long‐standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow—Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident—not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit

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The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) is Canada’s longest-running literary festival, a charitable, non-for-profit cultural organization. It presents the finest of Canadian and international writers, artists and thinkers across the range of literary genres from fiction to non-fiction, poetry to plays, graphic novelists and illustrators. It enables audiences access and empowerment to meet, hear and learn from the finest contemporary writers and thinkers of our time. For more information, visit