The Best Kids’ Books of the Season

There are so many wonderful books for kids that sometimes it’s hard to know which ones are right for your child. One of the ways to narrow down the search is to check out the books shortlisted for this season’s awards. Here in Canada, that’s made easy by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, who coordinate a whole host of kids’ book awards including the TD Canadian Children’s Book Award.

Here is the 2017 short-list with the winner being announced November 17th. IMG_1400

And if introducing wonderful books to your children isn’t enough, CBC will be running kids’ book clubs across the country with some cool prizes.  CBC Books has launched a Fan Choice Contest, giving readers the opportunity to vote on their favourite book of the five titles shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The author with the most votes will receive $5,000. Those who vote in the contest will be entered in a random draw to win $500, a school visit from one of the nominated authors and a financial donation to their school library. (Kids in Canada  aged 5-12 are eligible)

So, get to the library or bookstore and get your kids reading!



Short-lists and winners

It’s award season, and yes, it’s hard to keep up.  If you hail from north of the 49th parallel, you’ll be familiar with the Ontario Tree Awards…These are a big deal here, cuz they’re a reader’s choice award, and what author doesn’t want his/her readers to love their books!  There are awards for fiction as well as non-fiction with 6 English categories and two French.  Their site has a handy template that links each category to this year’s short list as well as short lists and winners for several previous years.  I recommend printing the lists off for future reading.


The short-list for the Governor General’s Literature Award For Children’s Text (see below)


The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna

Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock

Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol

Counting Back from Nine by Valerie Sherrard

and short-list for the Governor General’s Literature Award for Illustration (see below) were also recently announced.


Miss Mousie’s Blind Date illustrated by Rachel Berman

Oy, Feh, So? illustrated by Gary Clement

Northwest Passage illustrated by Matt James

The Dark illustrated by Jon Klassen

How To illustrated by Julie Morstad


Our friends south of the Canuck border are also celebrating short-lists of their own. The finalists for the 2013  National Book Award for Young People’s Literature has just been announced.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt (S&S/Atheneum).

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata (S&S/Atheneum).

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Knopf).

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (Putnam).

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second).


And finally, here in Victoria, BC we are celebrating Polly Horvath’s Bolen Books Prize win for Children’s Literature.

BC Book Awards will be announced tonight

Sad that I can’t make the BC Book Prize Gala tonight because of a cold, but I’m wishing everyone luck.  There were some super books on the short-lists this year, so be sure to add the short-list as well as the winners to your summer reading list!


BC Book Prize Short List announced

Today’s the day!  The short list for the BC Book Prizes has finally been announced.  Here’s the short list for the two prizes for children’s/teen literature.

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by the BC Library Association
Judges: Glen Huser, Sheryl McFarlane, Pam Withers

Middle of Nowhere
by Caroline Adderson
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Middle of Nowhere When his mother doesn’t return from her all-night job at the local gas bar, Curtis must keep her absence a secret and look after himself and his five-year old brother, Artie. He knows exactly what will happen if any of the teachers find out the truth. He remembers his last foster home all too clearly. But when it all becomes too much for him to handle, Curtis and Artie befriend Mrs. Burt, the cranky, lonely old lady across the street. When the authorities start to investigate, Mrs. Burt and the boys abscond to her remote cabin by the lake. At the lake, the boys’ days are filled with wood-chopping, outhouse-building, fishing, swimming and Mrs. Burt’s wonderful cooking. But then the weather grows colder, and Mrs. Burt seems to be preparing to spend the winter at the cabin. Have they really all just absconded to the lake for a summer holiday? Or have the two boys been kidnapped? Caroline Adderson is the author of several award-winning books for adults and children. She lives in Vancouver, BC. More

Mimi Power and the I-Don’t-Know-What
by Victoria Miles
Publisher: Tradewind Books

Mimi Power and the I-Don’t-Know-What Artist, animal lover and would-be swimming sensation Mimi Power knows what it’s like to live under the tyranny of a three-year-old sister. Things have never been the same in the Power house since “The Waby” arrived. Finding creative space in all the chaos is getting harder by the minute for Mimi. But with the school art show looming and a prize too-good-to-give-up-on at stake, Mimi comes up with a plan that’s three-year-old foolproof. Or is it? To know for sure, Mimi will have to tap into her big sister power and find her own little piece of the sky. Award-winning author Victoria Miles lives in North Vancouver, BC, with her husband, photographer David Nunuk, and two daughters—Emily and Daphne—otherwise known as Waby. More

The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls
by John Lekich
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls Henry Holloway’s mother died when he was nine, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Andy and his friends, all amiable small-time crooks. When Uncle Andy is sent to prison, Henry must escape the notice of Social Services. Fortunately, Henry possesses all the skills it takes to be a successful house burglar. Henry is an unusually resourceful and considerate burglar – until he’s caught. He is sent to live with the Wingates, a strange family in a small town called Snowflake Falls. Henry is just getting used to his temporary family when the newly liberated Uncle Andy and his criminal friends draw him into a plan to rob the citizens of Snowflake Falls. Will Henry be loyal to his uncle or will he break with the past and do the right thing? John Lekich is a Vancouver-based author and freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Reader’s Digest, the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter. More

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
by Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Tundra Books

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen Thirteen-year-old Henry’s ordinary life ends when his brother picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house before the family wakes up. What follows shatters their family, forcing them to resume their lives in Vancouver, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keep a journal, he resists, but soon confides in it at all hours. Henry eventually befriends a number of oddballs who help him navigate life after “IT.” Susin Nielsen got her start writing a spec script for Degrassi Junior High. She wrote 16 episodes and four Degrassi books. She also wrote award-winning novel Word Nerd and critically acclaimed Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom. She lives in Vancouver, BC. More

by Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Seraphina Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered. While a sinister plot to destroy the peace is uncovered, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance will make a magical, indelible impression on its readers. Seraphina is Rachel Hartman‘s debut novel. She lives in Vancouver. More


Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by Ampersand Inc. and Kate Walker
Judges: Dianna Bonder, Marguerite Ruurs, Yukiko Tosa

Gift Days
by Kari-Lynn Winters
Illustrated by Stephen Taylor
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Gift Days Young Nassali longs to read and write like her brother, but since her mother’s death, Nassali is responsible for looking after her younger siblings and running the household. There is no time for books and learning. Then one day, she wakes up to discover that her chores have been taken care of. It is her first gift day. From that day on, once a week, her brother gives Nassali the gift of time so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted. Kari-Lynn Winters is an author, poet, and performer. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario, where she teaches drama-in- education. Stephen Taylor has illustrated numerous children’s books, including educational publishings over a span of 20 years. Taylor was born in Dulwich, England and currently resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife and son. More

Hey Canada!
by Vivien Bowers
Illustrated by Milan Pavlovic
Publisher: Tundra Books

Hey Canada! Gran has decided that she is taking nine-year-old Alice and eight-year-old Cal on a road trip across Canada “before she’s old and creaky.” With a sparkling combination of poems, silly songs, tweets and blogs, the trio records the trip for readers everywhere to share. Starting in St. John’s Newfoundland, where they have a “find-it” list that includes a moose and an iceberg and going all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the gang in Hey Canada! offers a delightful way to learn about vast, varied, and surprising Canada. Vivien Bowers has been a freelance writer for more than twenty-five years, writing elementary and secondary school materials, as well as non-fiction books and magazine articles for both adults and children. Bowers has two grown sons and lives at the base of the mountains outside Nelson, BC. Milan Pavlovic is an illustrator, graphic artist and educator. He currently teaches at OCAD University and lives in Toronto with his family. More

Maggie’s Chopsticks
by Alan Woo
Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Maggie’s Chopsticks Poor Maggie struggles to master her chopsticks — it seems nearly everyone around the dinner table has something to say about the “right” way to hold them! But when Father reminds her not to worry about everyone else, Maggie finally gets a grip on an important lesson. Alan Woo was born in England and grew up in Vancouver. His work has been published in RicePapermagazine and Quills Canadian Poetry MagazineIsabelle Malenfant lives and works in Montréal with her family. She loves the creation of characters and sensitive stories, which are sometimes funny, sometimes dark. More

Rainbow Shoes
by Tiffany Stone
Illustrated by Stefan Czernecki
Publisher: Tradewind Books

Rainbow Shoes What to wear? What to choose? Pick a pair of rainbow shoes. Or purple pants from aunts in France that make you want to strut and prance. Pink pj’s for pirate naps with pockets to hide treasure maps. Red rubber boots, the robot kind. All these and more are clothes you’ll find in this colour-full book of wearable rhymes. Tiffany Stone is a children’s poet and vegetarian who loves all animals, even the really bad ones. She lives in BC with her husband and three children, who are very, very good—most of the time. Stefan Czernecki was born in a refugee camp in Germany and now lives in a small glass apartment one hundred and fifty feet above the ground. For inspiration he travels to faraway places like Tokyo, Mexico City, New York and Marrakesh. Sometimes he just takes a walk around the block. More

What’s Up, Bear?: A Book About Opposites
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Sean L. Moore
Publisher: Owlkids Books

What’s Up, Bear?: A Book About OppositesSophie can’t wait to see New York, while Bear would much rather they just stay home. Sophie loves speeding around in a taxi cab, but Bear wishes the driver would slow down. Up and down, stop and go, tall and short, and many more opposite pairs are illustrated using iconic New York experiences, buildings, and landmarks. Then, when Sophie spies a window full of new bears in a toy store, Bear begins to worry he is too plain and old to compete with all the city has to offer. He’s proven right temporarily when Sophie forgets him in the toy store, but a helpful young boy and his mother find Bear and return him to Sophie at her hotel. The reunion is a happy one, and Sophie and Bear realize they love each other — no matter where they are! Frieda Wishinsky has written many beloved and best-selling books for children. Originally from New York, she now lives in Toronto. Sean L. Moore has written and illustrated several books for children. He lives with his dog, Zeke, in Vancouver. More

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal short list announced

The short list for the UK’s Carnegie Medal for children and young adults was announced.

MAGGOT MOON, Sally Gardner
WONDER, R. J. Palacio
CODE NAME VERITY, Elizabeth Wein

Also announced was the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist for illustrated children’s books. Both winners will be named June 19:

Lunchtime, Rebecca Cobb
Again!, Emily Gravett
Oh No, George!, Chris Haughton
I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen
Pirates ‘n’ Pistols, Chris Mould
King Jack and the Dragon, Helen Oxenbury (illustrator) and Peter Bently (author)
Black Dog, by Levi Pinfold
Just Ducks!, Salvatore Rubbino (illustrator) and Nicola Davies (author), Walker Books

If you’re looking for a good kid’s or teen book, these are the best of the best in the UK this year.

2013 Caldecott & Newbery winners

And the winners are…

This is Not my Hat by Jon Klassen took the Caldecott Medal

which is an awesome read and…

The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate took home the Newbery Medal.

I haven’t read this one, but I’ll go on my “to read” list. Congratulation to the winners and the wonderful books that were short-listed.

Tomorrow’s the big day

The American Library Association Awards will be announced tomorrow.  Who’ll take home the Newbery?  What about the Caldecott?  Can’t wait…

2012 Canadian Children’s Literature Awards

Congratulations to the winners and to the authors and illustrators of books short-listed for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s 2012 Children’s Literature Awards.  They are an amazing array of wonderful books that range from picture books for young children to gritty mysteries for teens.  Visit the Book Centre for more info. (note: follow the links to more about each of these books, and those short-listed is on the left side of the page).  These titles represent some of the best in Canadian Children’s books this year.



And the Winners are…the 2012 GGs for Children’s Books

 A big congratulations to Isabelle Arsenault who won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Books (illustration).  It’s a beautiful book and would make a lovely Christmas present.








Congratulations to Susin Nielsen who took home the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Books (text). It’s on my “to read” pile and I can’t wait to get started since I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.




Sarah Ellis nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award


Vancouver, BC author  and VCFA Faculty member Sarah Ellis has been nominated for the The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. Sarah was chosen as one of 207 candidates from 67 countries. This award is named for Astrid Lindgren, one of Sweden’s most important authors.

The recipient or recipients of the 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be announced on 26 March 2013 at 1 pm.

We’re rooting for you Sarah!

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