The Canadian Children's Literature Awards were presented on November 21st. They exemplify the best work of Canadian authors and illustrators. The winners were:
TD Canadian Children's Literature Award was won by Trilby Kent for Stones For My Father
Corlie Roux's farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers. But Corlie's world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps. Will Corlie's resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had….
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award was won by Geniève Côté for Without You
In this delightful companion book to the acclaimed Me and You, two friends discover the joy of togetherness. Award-winning author-illustrator Genevi've C't? returns with another endearing story featuring two very different friends. After falling out over a spilled wagon of toys, a fussy bunny and an exuberant piggy explore all the things they can do without each other ? and gradually realize that life is much sweeter when it's shared with one another. This gently humorous, charmingly illustrated look at the ups and downs of friendship is a book you won't want to do without.
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction was won by Susan Vande Griek for Loon
The haunting call of a loon is quintessential summertime for many people. These majestically beautiful birds breed on northern lakes during the spring and summer, and when fall arrives, they migrate to open coastal waters. Young loons stay on the ocean for three or four years until they mature and their gray feathers molt, turning to the beautiful black-and-white patterned feathers by which they are known. At this point they return to an inland lake to find a mate and have their young. This gorgeously illustrated prose poem follows two baby chicks through this cycle. We witness their birth, and how they learn to swim, find food and avoid predators such as snapping turtles and big bass, and the possible danger of boaters. In the fall they imitate their parents as they learn to fly and are eventually large and strong enough to make their own migration to the coast. An afterword supplies other interesting facts about the common loon, which some scientists believe has inhabited lakes and oceans for millions of years. It describes these birds' amazing diving ability, their four different calls, and the different factors that threaten them, such as loss of habitat due to human proximity and environmental problems (acid rain, deadly toxins in lakes, oil spills and global warming), suggesting different ways that we might help to protect them.
Geoffrey Bilson Award Historical Fiction for Young People was won by Kate Cayley for The Hangman in the Mirror
A strong-willed 16-year-old girl fights for survival in 18th-century North America. FranÃ§oise Laurent has never had an easy life. The only surviving child of a destitute washerwoman and wayward soldier, she must rely only on herself to get by. When her parents die suddenly from the smallpox ravishing New France, FranÃ§oise sees it as a chance to escape the life she thought she was trapped in. Seizing her newfound opportunity, FranÃ§oise takes a job as an aide to the wife of a wealthy fur trader. The poverty-ridden world she knew transforms into a strange new world full of privilege and fine things -- and of never having to beg for food. But FranÃ§oise's relationships with the other servants in Madame Pommereau's house are tenuous, and Madame Pommereau isn't an easy woman to work for. When FranÃ§oise is caught stealing a pair of her mistress's beautiful gloves, she faces a future even worse than she could have imagined: thrown in jail, she is sentenced to death by hanging. Once again, FranÃ§oise is left to her own devices to survive . . . Is she cunning enough to convince the prisoner in the cell beside her to become the hangman and marry her, which, by law, is the only thing that could save her life? Based on an actual story and filled with illuminating historical detail, The Hangman in the Mirror transports readers to the harsh landscape of a new land that is filled with even harsher class divisions and injustices.
John Spray Mystery Award was won by Rob Mills for Charlie's Key
"When Charlie Sykes wakes up in hospital in St. John's, he learns that he and his father have been in a car accident and that his father is dying. Charlie inherits little more than the brass key that his father pressed into his hand before he passed away. As far as Charlie knows, he has no family in Newfoundland. But then Uncle Nick shows up and is keen to meet his nephew--not because of who Charlie is, but rather because of what Charlie has: the key. That key will unlock a treasure Uncle Nick began searching for more than thirty years earlier. And he would have found it all those years ago if he hadn't been arrested and sent away for murder. But Charlie isn't convinced he should give up the key. He leads Uncle Nick on a wild chase through old St. John's, across Signal Hill and out to the coast. There, high above the rugged Atlantic, Charlie finally comes face-to-face with Uncle Nick, the treasure, and a family history that will leave him with a new understanding of where he comes from and where he's going."
Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy was won by P.J. Sarah Collins for What Happened to Serenity?
Katherine lives in a post-apocalyptic community completely cut off from the rest of the world. Her town is austere, run by utopians that have created a paternalistic order. Knowledge and the search for truth are not popular tenets. When her best friend's sister Serenity suddenly disappears, Katherine starts to question what she has been told...and nothing is as she was told. Will she have the courage to seek the truth no matter where it leads her? This haunting story about growing up and searching for the truth will challenge young readers' notions about knowledge, the search for truth, and the fight for freedom.
More information about the awards and the shortlist of nominees can be found at The Canadian Children's Book Centre