Books

Julie Flett, Sydney Smith among finalists for $50K TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

The $50,000 recognizes the best Canadian book for readers up to age 12 in any genre.

The $50,000 recognizes the best Canadian book for readers up to age 12 in any genre

Julie Flett (left) and Sydney Smith are among finalists for 2020 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. (Greystone Books, Steve Farmer)

The finalists for the 2020 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards have been revealed. The six awards, which include prizes for nonfiction, YA and picture books, annually recognize the best in Canadian children's literature.

There are five titles nominated for the top prize, the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. The $50,000 prize recognizes the best Canadian book for readers up to age 12 in any genre.

Two picture books are nominated this year: Birdsong by Cree-Metis illustrator Julie Flett and Small in the City by Nova Scotia illustrator Sydney Smith.

Birdsong is about a lonely girl who becomes friends with her new neighbour, an elderly woman. Together, they watch the seasons change, but as they both grow older, the young girl learns to cope with her friend's declining health

Birdsong was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration.

Flett has illustrated several other picture books including Little YouMy Heart Fills with Happiness and We Sang You Home.

Small in the City is about a young boy on the hunt for a precious item he has lost on a snowy day in a big city. Along the way, he navigates special shortcuts and shares secrets about the city he lives in. 

Small in the City won the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration. It was the first book both written and illustrated by Smith. 

Other books he has illustrated include Town is by the Seawritten by Joanne Schwartz, and Sidewalk Flowerswritten by JonArno Lawson. 

Town is by the Sea won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award in 2017.

Both Birdsong and Small in the City are finalists for the $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, which honours the best Canadian picture book for readers up to eight years old.

Also nominated for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award is previous winner Erin Bow.

Bow is nominated in 2020 for the middle-grade novel Stand on the Sky.

Stand on the Sky is about a young girl who goes against her community's traditions in order to follow her dreams. In Aisulu's nomadic community, only men have traditionally learned to train eagles. But when her parents take her brother to a distant hospital, Aisulu secretly nurtures an orphaned baby eagle. Stand on the Sky won the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature  text.

Bow won the prize in 2011 for the middle-grade adventure novel Plain Kate

You can see the finalists for all six awards below.

The finalists for the $50,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award are:

The finalists for the $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award are:

The $10,000 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction recognizes nonfiction for readers up to age 18.

The finalists are:

The $5,000 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People recognizes historical fiction for readers up to age 18.

The finalists are:

The $5,000 John Spray Mystery Award recognizes mystery books for readers between the ages of eight and 18.

The finalists are:

The $5,000 Amy Mathers Teen Book Award recognizes Canadian young adult books for readers between the ages of 13 and 18.

The finalists are:

The winners will be announced during the Toronto International Festival of Authors, which takes place Oct. 22 to Nov. 1, 2020.

There are also two awards for Canadian French-language books. The $50,000 Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l'enfance et la jeunesse recognizes the best Canadian children's book in French and the $5,000 Prix Harry Black de l'album jeunesse recognizes the best children's album for ages three to eight.

Last year's winner of the TD Canadian Children's Literature Prize was Heather Smith for her middle-grade novel Ebb & Flow.

Other past winners include Jonathan Auxier for The Night Gardener, Polly Horvath for One Year in Coal Harbour and Christopher Paul Curtis for Elijah of Buxton.

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