The Canadian Children’s Book Centre held its annual awards ceremony on Nov. 17, presenting seven English-language prizes in categories including historical fiction, non-fiction, and picture books. This year’s top prize went to author Melanie Florence and illustrator François Thisdale, who share the $30,000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for their picture book, Missing Nimâmâ. The book, published by Clockwise Press, is told from the point-of-view of a mother looking down on her daughter as the girl grows and becomes a mother herself. By the end of the story, it has become clear that the narrator is one of Canada’s missing or murdered indigenous women.
Florence, who is of Cree and Scottish decent, has released several books, including YA fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on indigenous experience and characters. The win is the first for both Florence and her publisher.
Thisdale was a double nominee for the TD Award, as That Squeak (a Q&Q Book of the Year for 2015), written by Carolyn Beck, was also a finalist. This is the second time Thisdale has been up for more than one CCBC Award in the same year. In 2013 The Stamp Collector (text by Jennifer Lanthier) was nominated for the TD Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.
This year’s Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards were held at Toronto’s Carlu event space, in a ceremony hosted by CBC’s Shelagh Rogers. The event has become a highlight of the Canadian kids’ book scene, where industry members gather to chat, laugh, network, and celebrate their own. More than $145,000 worth of prize money was handed out this year.
This year’s winners also included:
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20.000)
Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel (Groundwood Books)
Norma Fleck Award For Canadian Children’s Non-fiction ($10,000)
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and You by Cory Silverberg; Fiona Smyth, ill. (Seven Stories Press)
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
Uncertain Soldier by Karen Bass (Pajama Press)
John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (Aladdin)
Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000)
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
The Truth Commission by Susan Juby (Razorbill Canada)
** This post has been corrected and updated.