Books

Bestselling YA novelist Kelley Armstrong among winners of 2020 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

The Canadian literary award, created in 1976, annually gives two $6,000 prizes for writing and illustration to one picture book and one YA or middle-grade book.
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying is a middle-grade book by Kelley Armstrong. (Puffin Canada)

Kelley Armstrong's middle-grade book A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying and the picture book Lili Macaroni by Nicole Testa and illustrator Annie Boulanger are the 2020 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards.

The Canadian literary award, created in 1976, annually gives two $6,000 prizes for writing and illustration to one picture book and one YA or middle-grade book.

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying won the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award.

The book follows twins Rowan and Rhydd, born into a royal family and have their futures set for them. Rowan will be Queen and Rhydd will be the Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan wants nothing more than to switch places with her brother. She unexpectedly gets her wish to hunt monsters — and if she fails, her entire kingdom will fall with her.

Armstrong is the bestselling author of several young adult books, including her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series as well as her Cainsville and Otherworld series.

Lili Macaroni received the Children's Picture Book Award.

The picture book, written by Testa and illustrated by Boulanger, explores emotions and self-esteem through the title character's journey through kindergarten, where she is judged by her appearance — an experience that makes her question herself.

The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from Canada's National Ballet School. While the jury of Grade 6 students selected the recipients of the Children's Picture Book Award, a jury of Grade 8 students chose the recipient of the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award.

Each student juror read the shortlisted books individually and then worked with their group to choose a winner, which occurred via videoconference this year.

The 2020 finalists were chosen by a committee that included teacher-librarian Carmen Condotta, librarian Nora Elliott-Coutts and The Bookshelf Bookstore owner Stephanie Minett.

Last year's winners were Wab Kinew and illustrator Joe Morse for Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes and Colleen Nelson for Sadia.

Past winners also include Kenneth Oppel, Susin Nielsen and Kathy Kacer.

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