Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

Canada’s non-fiction books for young people are internationally renowned for the superb quality of their text, illustration and design. The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction was established by the Fleck Family Foundation and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre on May 17, 1999 to recognize and raise the profile of these exceptional non-fiction books.

The $10,000 Norma Fleck Award is the largest of its kind in Canadian children’s books and is considered to be one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes. The Norma Fleck Award is exclusively a non-fiction prize; most other Canadian’s children’s book prizes either evaluate fiction and non-fiction together, or don’t award non-fiction.

About Norma Fleck

The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction is named after Dr. Jim Fleck’s mother, Norma Marie Byrnes, who fostered a love of reading in her children and grandchildren. Norma worked as a nurse until she married Robert Douglas Fleck in 1930, and raised three sons during the Depression with energy, good spirits and creativity.

A lifelong avid reader herself, Norma read to her children and encouraged them to read. “Mother believed that quality reading enriches one’s life,” says Jim Fleck. “She would be greatly pleased by this award in her name.” Norma Fleck died in 1998 at the age of 92.

Criteria and Submission Information

  • Text must be of exceptional quality and present the subject matter in a way that both informs and excites interest. Visuals, also of an exceptional quality, should clarify, extend and complement the text.
  • The winning entry will be based on an original subject or will explore a familiar subject in a new and interesting way.
  • Research must be sound and the information contained in the book must be correct and current. Treatment of the material must be respectful of the subject and of the reader.
  • All nominated books must have good production values, with a visual design that presents the material in a clear and engaging manner.
  • The award is for the book. The award will go to the author unless 40% or more of the text area is composed of original illustrations, in which case the award will be divided equally between author and illustrator.
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Books must be published between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
  • Both the author and illustrator (if applicable) 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.
  • Translations are eligible, provided the translator is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
  • Book should be written for young people up to age 18. Adult books are not eligible.
  • Non-fiction books in the following categories are eligible: Culture and the Arts, Science, Biography, History, Geography, Reference, Sports, Activities and Pastimes.
  • Non-fiction books in graphic novel format are eligible.
  • 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 and be distributed in Canada.
  • 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 Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David. Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through History. Illustrated by Gillian Wilson. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2019.
2019 James Gladstone. Turtle Pond. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2018.
2018 Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale. #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women. Toronto: Annick Press, 2017.
2017 Elizabeth MacLeod. Canada Year by Year. Illustrated by Sydney Smith. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2016.
2016 Cory Silverberg. Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and You. Illustrated by Fiona Smyth. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2015.
2015 Kira Vermond. Why We Live Where We Live. Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2014.
2014 Rona Arato. The Last Train: A Holocaust Story. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2013.
2013 Deborah Ellis. Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2012.
2012 Susan Vande Griek. Loon. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.
2011 Susan Hughes. Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science. Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2010.
2010 Priscilla Galloway with Dawn Hunter. Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road. Toronto: Annick Press, 2009.
2009 Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. The Bite of the Mango. Toronto: Annick Press, 2008.
2008 Hugh Brewster. At Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Greatest World War I Victory. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2007.
2007 Jan Thornhill. I Found a Dead Bird: The Kids’ Guide to the Cycle of Life & Death. Toronto: Maple Tree Press, 2006.
2006 Bill Slavin with Jim Slavin, Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made. Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2005.
2005 Shari Graydon. In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You. Toronto: Annick Press, 2004.
2004 Val Ross. The Road to There: Mapmakers and their Stories. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2003.
2003 Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden. As Long as the Rivers Flow. Illustrated by Heather D. Holmlund. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2002
2002 Jack Batten. The Man Who Ran Faster Than Everyone: The Story of Tom Longboat. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2002.
2001 Gena K. Gorrell. Heart and Soul: The Story of Florence Nightingale. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2000.
2000 Simon Tookoome with Sheldon Oberman. The Shaman’s Nephew: A Life Far North. Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999.
1999 Andy Turnbull and Debora Pearson. By Truck to the North: My Arctic Adventure. Toronto: Annick Press, 1998.