Aviaq Johnston, Richard Van Camp among finalists for CODE Burt Awards for Indigenous young adult literature
Richard Van Camp and Aviaq Johnston are among the finalists for the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature.
The $6,000 awards recognize the best YA book by a First Nations, Inuit or Métis author. One award is for English language works and one award is for books in an Indigenous language.
2020 will be the first year the Indigenous language prize will be awarded.
The organization said this new prize is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call for the "preservation, revitalization of Aboriginal languages," when the prize was announced in June 2019.
There are three finalists in each category.
Rounding out the English-language category is the middle-grade book The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson.
The final nominee in the Indigenous-language category is the poetry book Inconvenient Skin / nayêhtâwan wasakay by Shane L. Koyczan
The winning books will be announced in 2020.
CODE, the nonprofit organization that administers the prize, will be purchasing 2,500 copies of the winning books and distributing them for free to schools and libraries across the country.
The prize has been awarded since 2013.
Keep reading to learn more about the finalists.
In The Case of Windy Lake, cousins Sam, Otter, Atim and Chickadee are known as the Mighty Muskrats of Windy Lake First Nation. When an archaeologist goes missing, they investigate his disappearance amidst increasingly heated environmental protests.
The Case of Windy Lake, written for readers aged 9 to 12, is the first book by Michael Hutchinson, who is a member of Misipawistik Cree Nation.
Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity.
After being trapped in a spirit world, a young shaman named Pitu returns to his life in the Arctic in Those Who Dwell Below. When Pitu gets wind of a nearby community that is starving, he realizes he must travel to the depths of the ocean to meet with the sea goddess Nuliajuk.
Inconvenient Skin is a book of poetry that explores Canada's colonial legacy. It was translated into Cree by Solomon Ratt and features art by Kent Monkman and Joseph Sanchez, a member of the Indian Group of Seven.
Koyczan is a spoken word artist who performed at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and has written a libretto for the Vancouver Opera. Ratt is a Cree language educator and teacher.
Those Who Run in the Sky is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu who, while learning to use his gifts, ends up trapped in the spirit world. Those Who Run in the Sky, a prequel to Those Who Dwell Below, was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature.
Those Who Run in the Sky is for readers aged 12 and up. It was written in English and translated into into Inuktitut by Blandina Tulugarjuk.
Three Feathers is a graphic novel that explores the theme of restorative justice. It tells the story of three young men who, after being caught vandalizing their community, are sent to live on the land for nine months as part of their punishment. During this time, they reconnect with their heritage and learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Three Feathers was written in English and translated into South Slavey by Doris Camsell.