Stones for My Father, a young adult book set during the Anglo-Boer war, has won the $30,000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.
The novel by Toronto-born, London-based Trilby Kent was named winner Wednesday at a gala at The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. Five other children’s book awards were presented at the event, sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
The $30,000 prize is the richest award for children’s literature in the country. Stones for My Father, published by Tundra Books, is a second novel for Kent and was selected from a short list of five young adult novels.
"The Anglo-Boer War in South Africa is certainly not a subject covered today in most Canadian classrooms," Kent said.
"But this devastating time in South Africa is historically quite significant and I wanted to write a story for young readers that would investigate the heavy subject matter through a lens my readers could identify with."
The jury praised Kent’s young heroine Corlie Rioux.
"Though this young heroine struggles with the loss of parental love, a special friendship, and her home, she holds steadfast, brave, and true and emerges a survivor," the jury said in its citation.
The $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award went to Geneviève Côté of Montreal, who wrote and illustrated Without You, about a fussy rabbit and an exuberant pig who become friends. It is published by Kids Can Press.
"Minimal text speaks volumes about the give and take of friendships and the rewards of togetherness," the jury said in its citation. "Rabbit and Pig have distinct personalities that young children can easily relate to."
Other winners named Wednesday:
- Norma Fleck Award for Canadian children’s non-fiction ($10,000): Loon written by Susan Vande Griek of Halifax, illustrated by Karen Reczuch of Acton, Ont., Groundwood Books.
- Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction ($5,000): The Hangman in the Mirror, written by Kate Cayley of Toronto, Annick Press.
- John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000): Charlie’s Key, written by Rob Mills of Peterborough, Ont. Orca Book Publishers.
- Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000): What Happened to Serenity? written by P.J. Sarah Collins of Vancouver, Red Deer Press.