Books

The finalists for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text

The 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards will be awarded to books in seven English-language categories, each featuring five finalists. The winners will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.
The winners of the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards will be announced on Oct. 29. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

Here are the finalists for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.

The Governor General's Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious prizes. 

The awards, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are given in seven English-language categories: fictionnonfictionpoetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustrationdrama and translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories.

Each winner will receive $25,000. The winners will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.

You can see the finalists in all seven categories here.

Break in Case of Emergency by Brian Francis

Break in Case of Emergency is a YA novel by Brian Francis. (HarperCollins, Samuel Engelking)

Break in Case of Emergency follows Toby Goodman, a teen whose father left their small town before she was born and whose mother dies by suicide when she's a young girl. When she finds out that her estranged father is coming back to town and wants to meet her, Toby must try to make sense of her life amid surprising revelations about her family history.

Break in Case of Emergency is for readers aged 14 and up.

Brian Francis is a writer and columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio. His first novel, Fruit, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2009. He is also the author of the novel Natural Order.

Cold White Sun by Sue Farrell Holler

Sue Farrell Holler is a Canadian author and journalist. (Groundwood Books, suefarrellholler.com)

Cold White Sun is the story of a young Ethiopian boy named Tesfaye who lives with his family in the country's capital. After violence breaks out and his activist father is arrested, Tesfaye's family makes plans to send him out of the country. He's sent on a perilous trip across Africa, Europe and finally to North America where he must learn more about his new home — while still longing for the family he left behind. 

Cold White Sun is for readers aged 14 and up.

Sue Farrell Holler is an Alberta-based journalist, literacy advocate and an author of picture books and middle-grade fiction.

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Girl of the Southern Sea is a YA novel by Michelle Kadarusman. (Pajama Press, @MichelleRReader/Twitter)

Middle-grade novel Girl of the Southern Sea is about Nia, a young Indonesian girl who dreams of one day becoming a successful fantasy writer. She comes from a poor family who can't afford to send her to high school. Her life is changed one fateful day when she survives a minibus accident — leading witnesses to believe that she has been blessed with good luck. Nia is determined to use this situation to overcome poverty and make her dreams of being a writer come true. 

Girl of the Southern Sea is for readers aged 9 to 12.

Michelle Kadarusman is a Toronto-based author of Australian and Indonesian heritage. She writes novels for children and teens including the 2017 YA novel The Theory of Hummingbirds

Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow

Stand on the Sky is a YA fantasy novel by Erin Bow. (Studio J, Scholastic)

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 is for readers aged 9 to 12.

Erin Bow is from is by Kitchener, Ont. Her books for young readers include Plain Kate and The Scorpion Rules.

The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari

The Grey Sisters is a YA novel by Jo Treggiari. (Penguin Random House Canada Teen, Madeleine Kendall)

In The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari, two best friends, D and Spider, deal with the aftermath of a plane crash by heading back to the crash site to find out what really happened. Along the way, the pair seek answers as they cope with grief, danger and an attack that changes their lives forever. 

The Grey Sisters is for readers aged 12 and up.

Treggiari is also the author of Ashes, Ashes, a YA novel which takes place in a post-apocalyptic New York City after numerous natural disasters have left the population decimated. 

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