The 2023 CCBC Book Awards: Weird Rules to Follow by Debut Author Kim Spencer Takes Home Three Prizes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (October 23, 2023) —The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to announce the winners of its seven English‐language children’s book awards. Awarded tonight at One King West Hotel & Residence and hosted by Wali Shah, Weird Rules to Follow by first-time author Kim Spencer pulled off a hat-trick and took home all three of the prizes it was nominated for, including the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award of $50,000—the largest cash prize in Canadian children’s literature. Published by Orca Book Publishers, Spencer also won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, as well as the Jean Little First-Novel Award.
As the winning publisher of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature, Orca Book Publishers will receive $2,500 for promotional purposes. An additional $10,000 will be shared among the four remaining finalists for this prize.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. The multi-nominated title, The Witness Blanket: Truth, Art and Reconciliation, written by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson, took home the honour. Other winners include acclaimed author-illustrator Matthew Forsythe, as well as debut novelists Zoulfa Katouh and Deborah Falaye.
Seven prizes in total were awarded earlier tonight:
- Weird Rules to Follow, written by Kim Spencer (Orca Book Publishers), won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
- Mina, written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Simon & Schuster Canada), won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
- The Witness Blanket: Truth, Art and Reconciliation, written by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson (Orca Book Publishers), won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non‐Fiction ($10,000)
- Weird Rules to Follow, written by Kim Spencer (Orca Book Publishers), won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
- As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow, written by Zoulfa Katouh (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
- Weird Rules to Follow, written by Kim Spencer (Orca Book Publishers), won the Jean Little First-Novel Award ($5,000)
- Blood Scion, written by Deborah Falaye (HarperTeen), won the Arlene Barlin Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000)
“We extend our wholehearted congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2023 CCBC Book Awards,” says Urve Tamberg, President of the CCBC’s Board of Directors. “From a breathtaking book set amid the Syrian revolution to a stunning novel that transports readers to the coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert in the 1980s, the remarkable titles awarded tonight highlight the rich tapestry and unique voices of creators across this country. Access to high-quality Canadian children’s books has never been more important. We’re proud to showcase how this year’s titles introduce young readers to new places and perspectives. A common thread in these shortlisted books is the theme of connection. Whether it’s the relatable relationship between a whip-smart mouse and her eccentric father, a 15-year-old Scion working with her friends to fight injustice, or an invitation to reflect on hundreds of objects connected to every residential school in Canada, these books all provide young readers a glimpse into compelling characters and divergent stories that will expand their view of the world, as well as their imaginations.”
"Congratulations to the winners and finalists of this year's TD Canadian Children's Literature Award," says Robyn Small, Senior Manager, Philanthropy, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. "We're excited to celebrate the impact of the remarkable authors and illustrators who deliver diverse and inclusive messages that reach children across Canada. Through the TD Ready Commitment, we're proud to support the CCBC and its efforts to help set children up for early success by providing opportunities to improve their literacy skills and build a love of reading."
In total, $112,500 in prize monies was awarded tonight, and an additional $62,500 will be awarded on November 6 when the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse is announced. Facilitated by our sister organization, Communication-Jeunesse, the shortlist for the Prix TD was announced on October 18.
“We are especially thankful to the supporters of these awards—TD Bank Group, A. Charles Baillie, the Fleck Family Foundation and Elly Barlin-Daniels—for helping us elevate Canadian books and their creators,” says Tamberg. “We are also grateful to tonight’s event supporters, including Power Corporation of Canada, the Council for Canadian American Relations, Brainspace Magazine, Tinlids and Kathleen McEntyre.
Below is the full list of prizes presented, with comments from the jurors. For a complete list of the shortlisted titles, click here. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!
For more information, please contact:
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416-975-0010 ext. 2
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award honour books include:
- Berani, written by Michelle Kadarusman (Pajama Press)
- Kunoichi Bunny, written by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Brady Sato (Orca Book Publishers)
- Sitting Shiva, written by Erin Silver, illustrated by Michelle Theodore (Orca Book Publishers)
- The Witness Blanket: Truth, Art and Reconciliation, written by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson (Orca Book Publishers)