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Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Book Award Logo


Administered By:

Ontario Arts Council Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Booksellers' Association



Award Status:




Contact Info:

Ontario Arts Council
151 Bloor Street West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON M5S 1T6

Prior to 2004, this award was known as the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award. It was established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in honour of the late Ruth Schwartz, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the Schwartz family decided to rename the awards – the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards to honour Sylvia, a well-known photographer in Toronto from 1940s to the early 1960s, who specialized in children’s portraiture. This prize recognizes authors and illustrators who demonstrate artistic excellence in Canadian children’s literature.

Winning books are selected by juries of children from a public school in Ontario (juries alternate yearly between one public school in Toronto and a public school outside Toronto). In 2004 the prize money was doubled from $5,000 to $10,000. Students in grade 6 judge the young adult/middle reader book category. The winning author will receive a $5,000 prize. Students in grade 4 award the $5,000 children's picture book prize, which is shared between the author and illustrator. The winning book must have been published in Canada during the previous year and the author must be a Canadian citizen. The award is administered by the Ontario Arts Council Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Booksellers' Association.

Award Recipients

Yearsort iconDetailRecipient
2015Picture BookKathy Kacer, The Magician of Auschwitz. Illustrated by Gillian Newland. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2014.
2015YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, The Boundless. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
2014Picture BookAnne Villeneuve, Loula is Leaving for Africa. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2013.
2014YA-Middle ReaderTeresa Toten, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2013.
2013Picture BookAubrey Davis, A Hen for Izzy Pippik. Illustrated by Marie Lafrance. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2012.
2013YA-Middle ReaderSusin Nielsen, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2012.
2012Picture BookSusan Vande Griek, Loon. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.
2012YA-Middle ReaderKit Pearson, The Whole Truth. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.
2011Picture BookMĂ©lanie Watt, Chester's Masterpiece. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2010.
2011YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, Half Brother. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.
2010Picture BookJane Barclay, Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion. Illustrated by Renne Benoit. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2009.
2010YA-Middle ReaderShane Peacock, Vanishing Girl: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Third Case. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2009.
2009Picture BookMĂ©lanie Watt, Chester's Back. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2008.
2009YA-Middle ReaderAlma Fullerton, Libertad. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008.
2008Picture BookDuncan Weller, The Boy from the Sun. Vancouver: Simply Read Books, 2006.
2008YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, Darkwing. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.
2007Picture BookMĂ©lanie Watt, Scaredy Squirrel. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2006.
2007YA-Middle ReaderDeborah Ellis, I Am a Taxi. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2006.
2006Picture BookMarie-Louise Gay, Caramba. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2005.
2006YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, Skybreaker. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.
2005Picture BookWallace Edwards, Monkey Business. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2004.
2005YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, Airborn. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.
2004Picture BookBarbara Reid, The Subway Mouse. Markham, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2003.
2004YA-Middle ReaderBrian Doyle, Boy O’ Boy. Toronto: Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, 2003.
2003Picture BookRichard Thompson (Author) and Martin Springett (Illustrator), The Night Walker. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2002.
2003YA-Middle ReaderDeborah Ellis, Parvana’s Journey. Toronto: Groundwood, 2002.
2002Picture BookPaulette Bourgeois (Author) and Stéphane Jorisch (Illustrator), Oma’s Quilt. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2001.
2002YA-Middle ReaderMary C. Sheppard, Seven for a Secret. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2001.
2001Picture BookStephanie McLennan (Author) and Sean Cassidy (Illustrator), The Chicken Cat. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000.
2001YA-Middle ReaderJanet McNaughton, The Secret Under My Skin. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
2000Picture BookMarie-Louise Gay, Stella Star of the Sea. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1999.
2000YA-Middle ReaderKenneth Oppel, Sunwing. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.
1999Picture BookCelia Barker Lottridge (Author) and Harvey Chan (Illustrator), Music for the Tsar of the Sea. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1998.
1999YA-Middle ReaderEric Walters, War of the Eagles. Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 1998.
1998Picture BookJo Ellen Bogart (Author) and Laura Fernandez & Rick Jacobson (Illustrators) , Jeremiah Learns to Read. Richmond Hill, ON: North Winds Press, 1997.
1998YA-Middle ReaderMartha Brooks, Bone Dance. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1997.
1997Picture BookPaul Yee (Author) and Harvey Chan (Illustrator), Ghost Train. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1996.
1997YA-Middle ReaderKit Pearson, Awake and Dreaming. Toronto: Viking, 1996
1996Picture BookGeoff Butler, The Killick: A Newfoundland Story. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1995.
1996YA-Middle ReaderWelwyn Wilton Katz, Out of the Dark. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1995.
1995 Picture BookBarbara Greenwood (Author) & Heather Collins (Illustrator), A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1994.
1995YA-Middle ReaderJulie Johnston, Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me. Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1994.
1994 Picture BookMichael Kusugak (Author) and Vladyana Krykorka (Illustrator), Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails. Toronto: Annick Press, 1993.
1994YA-Middle ReaderO. R. Melling, The Hunter's Moon. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1993.
1993 Phoebe Gilman, Something from Nothing. Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1992.
1992 Paul Yee (author) and Harvey Chan (illustrator), Roses Sing on New Snow. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1991.
1991 William Bell, Forbidden City. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1990.
1990 Diana Wieler, Bad Boy. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1989.
1989 Janet Lunn, Amos's Sweater. Illustrated by Kim LaFave. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1988.
1988 Cora Taylor, The Doll. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1987.
1987 Barbara Reid, Have You Seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim. Richmond Hill, ON: North Winds Press, 1986.
1986 Robert Munsch, Thomas' Snowsuit. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press, 1985.
1985 Jean Little, Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1984.
1984 Tim Wynne-Jones, Zoom at Sea. Illustrated by Ken Nutt. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1983.
1983 Jan Truss, Jasmin. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1982.
1982 Marsha Hewitt and Claire Mackay, One Proud Summer. Toronto: Women's Press, 1981.
1981 Suzanne Martel, The King's Daughter. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1980.
1980 Barbara Smucker, Days of Terror. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1979.
1979 Kevin Major, Hold Fast. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1978.
1978 Dennis Lee, Garbage Delight. Illustrated by Frank Newfeld. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1977.
1977 Robert Thomas Allen, The Violin. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1976.
1976 Mordecai Richler, Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang. Illustrated by Fritz Wegner. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975.