The Canadian Children’s Book Centre handed out its awards on Nov. 18 at the Carlu in Toronto at a gala event hosted by the CBC’s Shelagh Rogers.
Two of the night’s honours went to Jonathan Auxier for his middle-grade novel The Night Gardener (Puffin Canada), which took home the evening’s top prize, the $30,000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, as well as the $5,000 Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Auxier, a Canadian who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was unable to make it into town for the event. Penguin Young Readers Division publishing director Lynne Missen was on hand to accept the awards on his behalf.
The Night Gardener is a Victorian ghost story about a pair of abandoned Irish siblings who find themselves “employed” at an English country manor haunted by a supernatural tree and the boogeyman of the book’s title. The novel has steadily attracted accolades and attention since its publication in 2014 – including a Q&Q book of the year nod, the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award, an Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award, and a spot on the shortlist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in the children’s literature category. In May, film rights were optioned by Disney, with Auxier signing on to write the screen adaptation.
Auxier wasn’t the only author honoured at the ceremony. Here are the winners in the other categories:
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young (Tundra Books)
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction ($10,000)
Why We Live Where We Live by Kira Vermond; Julie McLaughlin, illus. (Owlkids Books)
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Pajama Press)
John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
Julian by William Bell (Doubleday Canada)
Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn (Tundra)
In addition, Marie-Louise Gay picked up the second annual CBC Fan Choice Award and $5,000 furnished by TD Bank Group for Any Questions? (Groundwood Books).