Who better to judge the success of children’s books than a group of grade schoolers? That’s exactly what students from Brampton, Ontario’s Huttonville Public School will be doing on May 26, when they decide the winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. First presented in 1976 to Mordecai Richler’s Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, the award is now given to two children’s authors and artists every year: one for young adult books, and one for picture books, each worth $6,000.
This year, it appears authors from Eastern Canada have swept the shortlist, which was announced today “ all nominees hail from Ontario, Quebec, or Nova Scotia. The nominees range from veterans like Toronto-based Barbara Reid, who won the award in 1987 (for Have You Seen Birds?) and in 2004 (for The Subway Mouse), to debut authors like Jennifer Cowan (earthgirl) and Anna Kerz (The Mealworm Diaries), who are both competing in this year’s young adult category.
Here’s the full shortlist:
Young adult/middle reader books
- Vanishing Girl: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Third Case, by Shane Peacock of Baltimore, Ontario (Tundra Books)
- The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy, by Jill MacLean of Bedford, Nova Scotia (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
- earthgirl, by Jennifer Cowan of Toronto (Groundwood Books)
- The Mealworm Diaries by Anna Kerz of Toronto (Orca Book Publishers)
- The Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong of Aylmer, Ontario (Doubleday Canada)
Children’s picture books
- Perfect Snow, written and illustrated by Barbara Reid of Toronto (North Wind Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada)
- When Stella Was Very, Very Small, written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay of Outremont, Quebec (Groundwood Books)
- Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, written by Jane Barclay of Pointe-Claire, Que., with illustrations by Renné Benoit of St. Thomas, Ontario (Tundra Books)
- Scaredy Squirrel at Night, written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt of Laval, Quebec (Kids Can Press)
- The Imaginary Garden, written by Andrew Larsen, with illustrations by Irene Luxbacher, both of Toronto (Kids Can Press)
The winner of the young adult/middle reader category will be chosen by a group of Grade 7 and 8 students, while the winner of the picture book award will be chosen by Grade 3 and 4 students.