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Finalists for the 2011 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards Announced

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (June 14, 2011) - The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is pleased to announce the finalists for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the inaugural John Spray Mystery Award.

The winners of the English-language awards will be announced at an invitation-only gala event at The Carlu in Toronto on October 4, 2011. The winners of the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse will be announced at an invitation-only gala event at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on October 25, 2011. Overall, $115,000 in prize monies will be awarded.

This year’s nominated titles are as diverse as they are captivating. Among the finalists are stories introducing readers to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway; an African-Canadian woman who won’t be budged as she stands up for her rights in Nova Scotia in the 1940s; young war guests from Britain arriving in Guelph, Ontario, the gritty world of Victorian London, and spoons and forks (along with young readers) that get a lesson in tolerance when they meet Spork.

The books on these shortlists exemplify some of the best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share these titles with you.

. . . .

TD CANADIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AWARD ($25,000)

Sponsored by TD Bank Group

BurnBurn
Written by Alma Fullerton (Midland, ON)
Dancing Cat Books
for ages 10-13
“In free verse, Fullerton reveals the emotional disintegration of an 11-year-old girl after her mother deserts her family in order to restart her once successful singing career… Burn ignites the reader’s emotions as they consider family relationships and responsibility to self and others… Fullerton draws the complex plot seemingly effortlessly between the lines of her poetry, while allowing the verses to give us Casey herself.”


Canadian Railroad TrilogyCanadian Railroad Trilogy
Written by Gordon Lightfoot (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Ian Wallace (Brookline, MA)
Groundwood Books
for ages 8 and up
“In Canada’s Centennial year, Gordon Lightfoot’s lyrics to the “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” celebrated the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Now this iconic song finds visual expression through Ian Wallace’s evocative chalk pastel illustrations which reveal the human face behind this remarkable feat of construction and engineering… A celebration of art, music and history makes this an iconic picture book for Canadians young and old.”

The Glory WindThe Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
for ages 11 and up
“With skill and compassion, Valerie Sherrard tells the story of the friendship between Luke and Gracie, eleven-year-olds carving out their place amidst the complexities of rural life in Manitoba during the 1940s. Sherrard’s prose is limpid. Her characters are familiar yet unforgettable, and the landscape she draws is both daunting and beautiful… This book serves as a lesson to us all as to how far-reaching repercussions can be when grown-ups have small minds and children have big hearts.”

I Know HereI Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 5-7
“Facing a move to a large urban area, a young girl, who lives in northern Saskatchewan, recalls in words and illustrations what makes “here” so special and memorable… This picture book provides inspiration to anyone who has moved from place to place, urban or rural… The narrative is clear and powerful and the acrylic and India ink artwork vitally depict the rural world in sharp, clear detail and emotional truth.”

Plain KatePlain Kate
Written by Erin Bow (Kitchener, ON)
Scholastic Canada
for ages 11 and up
“A first novel from a talented poet, this unusually complex fantasy draws on Russian folklore and archetypal figures… While reading the book, one feels as if a storyteller is right there with him or her recounting the tale out loud… Complex analysis of persecution, human suffering, and determination carry a plot of adventure and personal transformation.”

JURY MEMBERS: Carol-Ann Hoyte, children's poet and Assistant Librarian, Selwyn House School; Dr. Dave Jenkinson, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba; Kathleen Martin, writer, editor and President, Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia; Judith Saltman, Associate Professor, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and Chair, Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, University of British Columbia; Larry Swartz, Instructor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and author of Good Books Matter.

. . . .

PRIX TD DE LITTÉRATURE CANADIENNE POUR L’ENFANCE ET LA JEUNESSE ($25,000)

Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Le chasseurs de loups-marinsLe chasseur de loups-marins
Written by Claire Vigneau (Sherbrooke, QC)
Illustrated by Bruce Roberts (Westmount, QC)
Éditions Les 400 coups
for ages 10 and up
“La chasse aux phoques est condamnée mondialement, on la répugne, on la stigmatise. Mais qu’en est-il vraiment? Un album qui questionne la complexité de la vie et des idées reçues. Entre tradition et identité culturelle, ce livre provoque une prise de conscience et sous-entend que rien n’est jamais entièrement incontestable. Porté par des illustrations au trait vif et cru, le texte sans concession retrace l’histoire d’un mépris, la fin d’une coutume ancestrale. L’audace est sans doute le premier attribut de ce remarquable album. En effet, il faut beaucoup de courage et de respect pour questionner des controverses et énormément de savoir-faire pour ne jamais sombrer dans la démagogie. Un album puissant, qui fait réfléchir.”

Devant ma maisonDevant ma maison
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Éditions La courte échelle
from birth
“Un tout-carton riche en vocabulaire et en référents culturels, qu’on lit et relit juste pour le plaisir de réinvestir les foisonnants espaces imaginaires dont il est si généreux. Tout aussi efficace qu’un livre animé, ce pavé tout-carton tranche littéralement sur toute la production nationale actuelle. Une mise en page dynamique portée par une typographie et un graphisme qui ouvrent une dimension nouvelle à l’imaginaire, qui amuse tout autant qu’elle instruit. Admirable dans sa construction, une image qui en appelle une autre, une fin qui invite à la relecture, le bonheur a élu domicile fixe entre les pages d’un si gros bouquin pour les petits !”

La fille d-en faceLa fille d'en face
Written by Linda Amyot (St-Charles-Boromée, QC)
Éditions Leméac
for ages 11 and up
“Ce roman psychologique et intimiste est en fait une quête identitaire où une jeune fille se révèle à elle-même dans un saisissant témoignage monologué, un face-à-face unilatéral où son amie dans le coma, nécessairement silencieuse, devient l’interlocutrice idéale. Véritable exutoire, ces moments d’un dialogue asymétrique deviennent le temps de la délivrance pour une voix qui gagne en maturité tout au long d’un parcours intérieur sensible et toujours lucide. Sans jamais tomber dans la sensiblerie, l’écriture empreinte de respect devient perspicace lorsqu’elle s’atténue pour laisser la place à la voix du lecteur. Des discours intérieurs et des dialogues au ton juste, toujours crédibles, qui consolident son implication. Une cohérence irréprochable entre tous les personnages qui se confirme tout au long de la lecture et qui se reflète jusque dans les titres de chapitres qui s’interpellent et se complètent. Un livre qui fait confiance à l’intelligence du lecteur où il est convié à s’investir émotionnellement. La qualité de la prose est remarquable.”

Oh ! la vacheOh ! la vache !
Written by Alain M. Bergeron (Victoriaville, QC), Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, NB), Colombe Labonté (Saint-Lambert, QC) and Guy Marchamps (Trois-Rivières, QC)
Illustrated by Caroline Merola (Montreal, QC)
Soulières éditeur
for all ages
“Oyez ! Oyez ! Les fameuses vaches méroliennes de la collection « Ma petite vache a mal aux pattes” sont de retour et plus vibrantes d’émotion que jamais ! Elles sont une centaine à s’être donné rendez-vous dans cette généreuse anthologie dédiée à la joie de vivre. Ainsi réunies dans un élan de liberté qui les singularise pour notre plus grand plaisir, elles s’émancipent dans le rythme et les rires d’une poésie à voix multiple, rafraîchissante d’un bout à l’autre. Un pavé à la hauteur des enfants qui procure d’inlassables moments de détente individuels ou collectifs. Ne soyez pas surpris si vos enfants vous demandent « Lis-moi cette vache là, s’il-te-plaît”. Véritable livre-objet, idéal pour la table à café, il représente une dose de lecture quotidienne à savourer en famille qui durera longtemps !”

Xavier-la-luneXavier-la-lune
Written by Martine Audet (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Luc Melanson (Laval, QC)
Éditions Dominique et compagnie
for ages 5 and up
“L’entrée à l’école est un temps fort pour l’enfant qui doit apprivoiser un monde nouveau. Pour y parvenir, Xavier réinvestit ses souvenirs de grands espaces dans ce nouvel environnement au prime abord froid et distant. Il démystifie la peur de l’inconnu en évoquant le plaisir des vacances et opère une transition réussie entre le monde clos de la classe et l’univers aux dimensions poétiques qui l’habite. Les chaleureuses illustrations accentuent la poésie de l’histoire au même rythme que le texte : tout en douceur et en rondeurs. L’organisation plutôt classique de la mise en page laisse toute la place aux envolées poétiques : une manière éloquente de faire l’éloge de la poésie très tôt dans la vie. Un album contemplatif et intimiste, néanmoins volubile et irrésistiblement convaincant !”

JURY MEMBERS: Michel Clément, Educational Consultant; Danièle Courchesne, teacher; Rosette d'Aragon, retired librarian and Children’s Literature Facilitator; Brigitte Moreau, school librarian; May Sansregret, bookseller.

. . . .

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000)

Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

I Know HereI Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 5-7
“This inspired picture book celebrates a known place, a child’s own universe with its concrete experiences and subtle moments. The narrator’s strong introspective voice ponders the certainty of the now versus the reality of a new, unknown place… The childlike illustrations perfectly capture the essence of "here" and of the little girl whose journey we follow as she finds her way through to a happy ending.”

In Front of My HouseIn Front of My House
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Translated by Yvette Ghione (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-7
“A tour-de-force pairing of art and text takes us on a richly surprising journey, all the way to the edges of outer space and back, by way of the imagination… Words and illustrations cheerfully step from page to page, in a circular game from beginning to end… A satisfying journey that brings us full circle.”

Singing Away the DarkSinging Away the Dark
Written by Caroline Woodward (Lennard Island, BC)
Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Vancouver, BC)
Simply Read Books
for ages 4-8
“In Singing Away the Dark, a child walks alone, the rhythmic words of her song reverberating in the vast wintry landscape, helping her every step towards her destination… Through the simplicity of text and art you can almost feel the solitary intake of frosty air, the soft pad of boots climbing a snowdrift… A beautifully crafted book from cover to cover that young children will hold dear.”

SporkSpork
Written by Kyo Maclear (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-8
“Stylish and smart, this picture book cleverly deals with the desire to fit in when one is definitely and clearly different… Here is animation of the inanimate on the page, accomplished with exceptional imagination and panache… Charming illustrations help bring this book's wonderfully silly premise to life…. There is an obvious message here, one worth sharing, that comes wrapped in whimsy and tied up with smiles.”

Stanley's Little SisterStanley’s Little Sister
Written by Linda Bailey (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Bill Slavin (Millbrook, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-7
“This heart-warming exploration of that classic rite of passage — the arrival of a new sibling — features a big serving of irrepressible fun. The humour is deliciously delivered through accomplished storytelling and winsome art from two great talents. Readers of all ages will easily identify with Stanley's doggish confusions and scrambled communications, captured to great effect, and will cheer at the sweet, natural resolution.”

JURY MEMBERS: Mariella Bertelli, storyteller and Head Librarian, Spadina Branch, Toronto Public Library; Sheba Meland, Children's Publishing and Editorial Consultant; Janis Nostbakken, Children's Media Specialist.

. . . .

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION ($10,000)

Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Case Closed?Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 8-12
“An intriguing and intelligent book that will capture the interests of not only young people but adults as well… Young readers might well give history a second chance after discovering how forensic science has helped to solve these nine fascinating historical puzzles… A great blend of history and science.”

EvolutionEvolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be
Written and illustrated by Daniel Loxton (Victoria, BC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 10-13
“An excellent, comprehensive, clearly explained scientific account of evolution… A first of its kind for anyone wanting to explore the connections shared between nature and humans... Loxton keeps the science up to date, the interest level high, and the pictures sharp and captivating… A beautiful book.”

Not Your Typical Book About the EnvironmentNot Your Typical Book About the Environment
Written by Elin Kelsey (Pacific Grove, CA)
Illustrated by Clayton Hanmer (Toronto, ON)
Owlkids
for ages 11 and up
“Upbeat and child centred, this book lives up to its title. It connects kids with nature in a fully packed but light-hearted manner that extends our basic understanding of familiar objects… Engaging, creative and challenging, it leaves the reader with a multitude of ideas to ponder... The catchy cartoon-like illustrations make this an entertaining approach to a very serious subject.”

Viola Desmond Won't Be BudgedViola Desmond Won't Be Budged
Written by Jody Nyasha Warner (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki (Halifax, NS)
Groundwood Books
for ages 5-9
“Warner brings to life this untold story in Canadian history with sensitivity and passion… Vibrant illustrations and oral-style prose tell Viola’s story of racism and courage with sympathy and historical accuracy… An informative and engaging introduction to Canadian history as it resonates with the struggles of African Canadians living in Nova Scotia in the 1940s.”

Watch This SpaceWatch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces
Written by Hadley Dyer (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marc Ngui (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 10 and up
“An original and unique presentation relevant to how society uses public space… From public squares and sidewalks to social networking sites on the Internet, this entertaining book remains enlightening and informative as it broadens young readers' perception and understanding of what a public space is really all about. Dyer’s text is smart and engaging… Ngui’s illustrations add to the fun!”

JURY MEMBERS: Julia Beck, Education and Research Consultant, and former Director of Library Information Services, Toronto French School; Jeffrey Canton, Lecturer, Children's Studies Program, York University, Toronto; Wendy Mason Geoghegan, Children's & YA Specialist and Consultant, Indigo/Chapters, and former instructor, University of Toronto and University of Windsor; Arlene Perly Rae, writer and children’s advocate; Itah Sadu, author, storyteller and owner of A Different Booklist.

. . . .

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ($5,000)

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

Exiles from the WarExiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss
(Dear Canada)
Written by Jean Little (Guelph, ON)
Scholastic Canada
for ages 9-12
“Little offers a chance for the reader to experience the exposure of a precocious 12-year-old to two war guests from Britain. Filled with details of Canada and England during the Second World War, the diary format offers Little a strong and genuine platform to explore and expand on anxieties and emotions of this era.”

FollyFolly
Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 12 and up
“Family lore is often the beginning of historical fiction and this one, too, began with a search to find truth in the oral tales. Two distinct voices, one of each gender, offer the reader a glimpse into the reality of foundling homes and a chance to get to know these characters quite intimately. The dialogue, clearly suggestive of this earlier era, rolls off the tongue, animate the characters and setting in a fully satisfying manner.”

The Glory WindThe Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
for ages 11 and up
“This moving story, with a late 1940s setting that is vivid and filled with engaging and realistic characters, holds the readers’ attention and emotions throughout the tale. The reader is emotionally satisfied while at the same time disquieted by the lack of closure and a happy ever after ending that one might expect.”


Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts
Written by Martha Brooks (Winnipeg, MB)
Groundwood Books
for ages 12 and up
“Well researched and filled with evocative images and setting, Brooks once again creates characters who are well rounded, vibrant and immediate. Friendship, a key theme, is explored through the lives of people thrown together, isolated from home and safety, facing the unknown according to their own matrix... A beautiful and authentic coming-of-age story of love, friendship and survival.”

Wild GeeseWild Geese
Written by Caroline Pignat (Kanata, ON)
Red Deer Press
for ages 12 and up
“The term Wild Geese, meaning expatriate Irish People fighting for survival, is a fitting title for this sequel to Greener Grass. The reader accompanies Kit and Mick on their voyage and adventures across the sea to Upper Canada and beyond as they make their home in this new environment. The idea and appeal of family and freedom sing through the pages of this well researched tale.”

JURY MEMBERS: Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library; Rachel Seigel, Selection Manager, S&B Books; Gail de Vos (chair), storyteller and professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.

. . . .

JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD ($5,000)

Sponsored by John Spray

BorderlineBorderline
Written by Allan Stratton (Toronto, ON)
HarperTrophyCanada
for ages 13 and up
“The story of a Muslim 15-year-old, hating his WASP private school and believing the worst of his father, is compulsively readable, with a thrilling plot, a fresh setting, properly hateful villains, and a stunning resolution. Classical elements, masterfully assembled.”


Dead Bird Through a Cat DoorDead Bird Through the Cat Door
(Megabyte Mystery)
Written by Jan Markley (Calgary, AB)
Gumboot Books
for ages 9-12
“Twin girls, a kidnapped cat, apricots, a bird sanctuary—these are some of the elements that Jan Markley uses in Dead Bird Through the Cat Door, a story that makes her a true successor to Nancy Drew. Markley is in the catbird seat in this very funny tale.”


The Mystery of the Cyber BullyThe Mystery of the Cyber Bully
(Marty Chan Mystery)
Written by Marty Chan (Edmonton, AB)
Thistledown Press
for ages 9 – 12
The Mystery of the Cyber Bully should not intimidate us cyber-illiterates, because enjoyment of the story depends on the enjoyment of its universals: fine writing, a solid plot, and characters that jump off the page… A fast read with interesting characters.”

A Spy in the HouseA Spy in the House
(The Agency)
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. And her heroine, Mary Quinn, is tough-minded enough to make her way in this disease-ridden world. It is a great read for a young adult of any age.”

Victim RightsVictim Rights
(Ryan Dooley Mystery)
Written by Norah McClintock (Toronto, ON)
Red Deer Press
for ages 13 and up
“Ryan Dooley, Norah McClintock’s hero of three young adult novels, just grows and grows. In Victim Rights McClintock shows him again preserving a gritty decency in circumstances that should defeat him and return him to his shady past… Challenges a young reader to think.”

JURY MEMBERS: Ken Setterington, librarian, author, reviewer and former Child and Youth Advocate for the Toronto Public Library; Marian Misters, co-owner of the Sleuth of Baker Street Mystery Bookstore, and Eric Wright, retired Professor of English at Ryerson University, writer, and winner of numerous awards including four Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Crime Novel, and the Derrick Murdoch Award for lifetime contribution to Canadian crime writing.

. . . .

ABOUT THE AWARDS:

TD CANADIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AWARD
The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was established in 2005 to honour the most distinguished book of the year for children aged 1 to 12. Entries are judged on the quality of the text and illustrations and the book’s overall contribution to literature. All books for children, in any genre, written by a Canadian, are eligible for the award. The winning book receives $25,000 and an additional $10,000 is divided amongst the honour books. The publisher of the winning book receives $2,500 for promotional purposes.

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD
The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award honours excellence in the illustrated picture book format, for children aged 3 to 8. Charles Baillie, retired Chairman and CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, is delighted to give the prize in his wife Marilyn’s name. As an award-winning children’s book author and an early learning specialist, Marilyn is involved in and passionate about children’s literature. The winning book receives $20,000.

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION
The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction was established by the Fleck Family Foundation in 1999 to recognize Canada’s exceptional non-fiction books for young people. The award honours Norma Fleck (1906-1998), who inspired a deep love of reading in her children and grandchildren. Dr. James Fleck, who initiated the award, is the son of Norma Fleck. The winning book receives $10,000.

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
The Geoffrey Bilson Award was established in 1988 in memory of the respected historian and children's author, Geoffrey Bilson. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for young people. In 2005, the Bilson Endowment Fund was created to support this award. If you wish to contribute to this fund, please contact the CCBC.

JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD
The John Spray Mystery Award was established in 2011 to honour excellence in the mystery book format. John Spray, President of the Mantis Investigation Agency, is delighted to sponsor the prize, noting that mystery books made him a passionate reader at an early age and helped him find his chosen career. The $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of mystery writing for young people.

ABOUT 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 www.bookcentre.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Holly Kent | Sales and Marketing Manager | The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Tel: 416.975.0010 ext. 221 | holly@bookcentre.ca