Coming soon, 2012 Caldecott and Newbery Award winning books

Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  The announcement of the 2012 winners of the Caldecott and Newbery Medal is mere days away.  And, although these awards may not have as wide an appeal as film and television awards,  the blogosphere, schools and libraries are all abuzz with excitement.  Each year, thousands of kids get a kick out of choosing “Mock” Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners and comparing their favorites with those of the judges.  In fact, The American Library Association has created a tool kit to help teachers and librarians ramp up the excitement, Newbery and Caldecott Mock Elections Tool Kit.  It’s a little pricy, but invaluable for schools and libraries.  What fun.  For those of you who’d like a little help narrowing down the contenders, you could hardly do better than Betsy Bird’s predictions over at A Fuse #8 Production.  Personally, I can’t wait til Monday when the winners of these and some other sixteen awards will be announced because I just know that I’ll have a whole lot of great books to put into my ‘to read’ pile.



GG short-lists announced

The GG short-lists have been announced.  Here’s the lists I’m most excited about…

And for those of you who don’t know about the GG’s, They are Canada’s Top awards in the Arts.  You can read more about the full list at Canada Council for the Arts.

Children’s Literature — Text

Jan L. Coates, Wolfville (Nova Scotia), A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk
(Red Deer Press; distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
(ISBN 978-0-88995-451-9)

Deborah Ellis, Simcoe (Ontario), No Ordinary Day
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
(ISBN 978-1-55498-134-2)

Christopher Moore, Toronto, From Then to Now: A Short History of the World
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada)
(ISBN 978-0-88776-540-7)

Kenneth Oppel, Toronto, This Dark Endeavour
(HarperCollins Publishers; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
(ISBN 978-1-55468-339-0)

Tim Wynne-Jones, Perth (Ontario), Blink & Caution
(Candlewick Press; distributed by Random House of Canada)
(ISBN 978-0-7636-3983-9)

Children’s Literature — Illustration

Isabelle Arsenault, Montreal, Migrant, text by Maxine Trottier
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
(ISBN 978-0-88899-975-7)

Kim La Fave, Roberts Creek (British Columbia), Fishing with Gubby, text by Gary Kent
(Harbour Publishing; distributed by the publisher)
(ISBN 978-1-55017-497-7)

Renata Liwska, Calgary (Alberta), Red Wagon, text by Renata Liwska
(Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; distributed by Penguin Group Canada)
(ISBN 978-0-399-25237-2)

Frank Viva, Toronto, Along a Long Road, text by Frank Viva
(HarperCollins Publishers; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
(ISBN 978-1-44340-620-8)

Cybèle Young, Toronto, Ten Birds, text by Cybèle Young
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
(ISBN 978-1-55453-568-2)

Congratulations to the creators of these wonderful books.  Now that rainy days are upon us, I hope you’ll have plenty of time to read them all!

Top Canadian Children’s Book Awards announced

Most of the time I love living on the west coast of Canada.  I usually don’t mind being out of the publishing hubbub except when it comes to things like the annual Canadian Children’s Book Centre gala where a host of Canadian children’s book awards for 2011 were announced in Toronto.   At times like this, I so wish that Toronto were closer so that I could attend, see friends and colleagues in the book business, and especially to witness the best of children’s books being recognized.

Here are this year’s winners.  Congratulations to the winners and the finalists.

. . . . . . . . .


Plain Kate Written by Erin Bow (Kitchener, ON) Scholastic Canada for ages 11
and up

“Plain Kate is a triumph of imagination. With astonishing skill, Erin Bow
creates the world of Kate, whose talents as a wood carver mark her as a
witch. The fascinating, intricate plot bravely explores the wrenching
complexities of cruelty and of love. Bow’s prose is at once lyrical and
raw, and her characters are indelible. This is a book that will be read for

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000) Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

I Know Here Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON) Illustrated by Matt James
(Toronto, ON) Groundwood Books for ages 5-7

“An authentic, personal voice captivates from the first line, in this
leave-taking from a beloved childhood home. The centre of this child’s
universe is a trailer camp in the northern wilderness, rendered in all its
details with brilliant harmony between Croza’s affecting, naturalistic
words and James’s evocative, childlike paintings… Running throughout are
bittersweet emotions, wonderfully narrated, that all will recognize.”

by the Fleck Family Foundation

Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science Written by Susan
Hughes (Toronto, ON) iIllustrated by Michael Wandelmaier (Toronto, ON) Kids Can Press for ages

“A perfect combination of science, story and history, compellingly
presented by Susan Hughes who shows with absorbing detail how modern science
can shed new light on some of mankind’s most beguiling mysteries… The book
is replete with colourful graphic illustrations, maps, photographs and
fascinating forensic notes to intrigue the curious child as well as adults…
An exciting and entertaining read.”

Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

The Glory Wind Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB) Fitzhenry &
Whiteside for ages 11 and up

“A very moving portrayal of both small town life and friendship… Sherrard
beautifully conveys the small-mindedness and prejudice of the town, and the
subsequent consequences… The Glory Wind effectively depicts life during the
1940s, but still manages to be a modern story that resonates with
contemporary readers… It did everything for me that a good novel should do
– it made me smile, it made me angry, it brought me to tears.”

JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD ($5,000) Sponsored by John Spray

The Agency: A Spy in the House Written by Y.S. Lee (Kingston, ON) Candlewick Press for ages 13 and up.

“In A Spy in the House Lee has got Victorian London right; this is what
Dickens’ world really smelled like, literally and morally… Interesting
and unique, Mary Quinn is a strong character who can think on her feet… I
loved this book from the first line to the very last… A great read for a
young adult of any age… It worked from beginning to end.”

THE CANADIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK CENTRE The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is
a national, not-for-profit organization and registered charity founded in
1976 to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating
of Canadian books for children and teens. With book collections and
extensive resources in five cities across Canada, the CCBC is a
treasure-trove for anyone interested in Canadian books for young readers.
For more information, please visit

Check out the 2011 Chocolate Lily Short-List for a good summer read

Yes, summer is starting to wind down.  If your children are starting to complain about being bored, here’s some great titles to keep them busy the for the rest of the summer… BC’s Chocolate Lily short-list for children’s books.

Hannah and the Spindle Whorl by Carol Anne Shaw (Ronsdale Press)
Silver Rain by Lois Peterson (Orca Book Publishers)
Follow the Elephant by Beryl Young (Ronsdale Press)
Ghost of Heroes Past by Charles Reid (Ronsdale Press)
No Moon by Irene N. Watts (Tundra Books)
Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books)
Liars and Fools by Robin Stevenson (Orca Book Publishers)

Grade 3 to Grade 5 Chapter Books
Emily by Julie Lawson (Penguin)
The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw by Lois Peterson (Orca Book Publishers)
Ben’s Robot by Robin Stevenson (Orca Book Publishers)
Black Dog Dream Dog by Michelle Superle (Tradewind Books)
No Pets Allowed by Irene N. Watts (Tradewind Books)

Picture Books
Singing Away the Dark by Caroline Woodward, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books)
Great Lakes and Rugged Ground: Imagining Ontario by Sarah N. Harvey and Leslie Buffam, illustrated by Kasia Charko (Orca Book Publishers)
Stanley’s Little Sister by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Bill Slavin (Kids Can Press)
The Little Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Greystone Books)
Where are You Bear? by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Sean L. Moore (Owl Kids)
Compost Stew: an A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals (Tricycle Press)