Noted Canadian children's authors Marie-Louise Gay and Kathy Stinson are among the latest contenders for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards.

Organizers revealed the finalists for the awards, which single out artistic excellence in English-language literature for young readers, in Toronto on Wednesday.

Both Rockwood, Ont. author Stinson and Montrealer Gay are nominated in the children's picture book award category, for The Man with the Violin (illustrations by Dusan Petricic) and Read Me a Story, Stella, respectively.

Their competition includes:

  • The Boy Who Paints by K. Jane Watt of Fort Langley, B.C. (illustrations by Richard Cole).
  • Loula is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve of Montreal.
  • Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol of Thunder Bay, Ont. (illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault).

Governor General Literary Award-winner Teresa Toten of Toronto is a nominee in the young adult/middle reader award category for her mystery-romance story The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.

Also nominated is Toronto author and CBC Radio producer David Carroll for his debut novel Ultra, a tale that revolves around a young extreme marathon runner. Rounding out the category are:

  • Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston of Peterborough, Ont.
  • Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt of Montreal (illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault).
  • Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow of Kitchener, Ont.

For the 2014 edition, students from Aldergrove Public School in Markham, Ont. will choose the winners, who will be announced on May 20. The winner in each category receives $6,000.

Originally established by Sylvia Schwartz in 1976 in the memory of her sister, Toronto bookseller Ruth Schwartz, the prize is administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council. It was later renamed to honour both siblings.