Jillian Tamaki, Jonathan Auxier shortlisted for $50K TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
Jillian Tamaki's debut picture book They Say Blue and Jonathan Auxier's fantasy middle-grade novel Sweep are among the finalists for the 2019 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, an annual $50,000 prize for the best children's book in Canada for readers up to age 12.
The winner will be announced on Oct. 15, 2019.
The shortlist and eventual winner were selected by a jury comprised of librarians Betsy Fraser and Arwen Rudolph and Canadian Children's Book News editor Sandra O'Brien.
Young readers can vote for their favourite nominee through the CBC's Fan Choice Contest. Students who participate will be entered in a draw for a chance to win a school visit from one of the 2019 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award finalists, copies of that creator's book for their class, $2,000 for their school library and $500 in spending money. The Fan Choice Contest is open until Oct. 3, 2019.
Keep reading to learn more about each of the nominated books and authors.
Set in Victorian London, Sweep is a middle-grade novel that revolves around a young orphan girl named Nan who sweeps chimneys for a dangerous and hardscrabble living. Nan nearly perishes in a deadly chimney fire, but is saved when a piece of charcoal comes to life as a mysterious golem-like creature. Together, the two hatch a plan to rescue young orphan chimney sweeps from losing their lives on the job for cruel masters.
Sweep won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text. Auxier won the 2015 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for The Night Gardener. Originally from Vancouver, he now lives in Pittsburgh.
Marie-Louise Gay's picture book tells the story of a young boy named Mustafa, whose new country is very far away from his old home. Sometimes he wakes up forgetting where he is, but then his mother shows him the moon — the same moon from their old country. In the park, Mustafa watches kids play, but he always feels like he's an outsider looking in. One day, "girl-with-a-cat" invites him to join in the fun.
The Montreal illustrator has twice been nominated for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award — in 2015 for Any Questions? and in 2008 for Please, Louise! written by Frieda Wishinsky.
This free-verse middle-grade novel by Heather Smith tells the story of an 11-year-old boy named Jett, who moves with his mother to a new town for a fresh start after his father is incarcerated. But things do not go well for Jett — he makes a new friend, but he also makes some bad decisions and now carries a dark secret. Over the course of a summer with his eccentric grandmother, Jett comes to terms with what he has done.
This book was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text. Smith is a writer based in Waterloo, Ont. Her other books include Chicken Girl and The Agony of Bun O'Keefe.
A vibrant picture book, They Say Blue is an exploration of colour told from the perspective of a curious and inquisitive little girl. The book won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration.
- Why Governor General's Literary Award winner Jillian Tamaki decided to write her first-ever picture book
Merrie-Ellen Wilcox's nonfiction book explores how death has been treated through history and around the world. Each chapter is devoted to a different myth or cultural tradition around death. The book ends with a discussion about how to deal with grief or help others who are dealing with loss.
Wilcox is a writer and editor who grew up in B.C. After Life is her second book, following the nonfiction book about bees, What's the Buzz?