Books

The finalists for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text

The finalists for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.
The 2020 finalists for the Governor General's Literary Award for Young people's literature — text. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

Here are the finalists for the 2020 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 literary 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 June 1, 2021.

The young people's literature — text category was assessed by Wallace Edwards, Bonnie Farmer and Kyo Maclear.

You can see the finalists in all seven categories here.

Get to know the young people's literature — text finalists below.

Harvey Holds His Own by Colleen Nelson, illustrated by Tara Anderson

Harvey Holds His Own is a book by Colleen Nelson (pictured) and illustrated by Tara Anderson. (Pajama Press)

Harvey Holds His Own is the follow-up to Harvey Comes Home. Harvey and his human, Maggie, are back to volunteering at the Brayside retirement home with their friend Austin. Harvey is a hero when he finds an abandoned puppy in a pile of trash. Harvey gets praised for his bravery, while the puppy heals. Austin really wants a dog of his own, even though his mom says no. Will this scared new puppy become Austin's new best friend?

Harvey Holds His Own is for ages 9-12.

Colleen Nelson is a YA author from Winnipeg. Her other books include Pulse PointBlood Brothers, Spin and Finding Hope.

Nevers by Sara Cassidy

Nevers is a middle-grade novel by Sara Cassidy. (Orca Book Publishers, Amaya Tarasoff)

Nevers is a middle-grade novel set in 1799 France. A young teen named Odette and her mother, Anneline, are on the run after a string of misadventures. They wind up in an otherworldly town called Nevers, which features a range of strange yet interesting characters. Odette finds herself caught up in a mystery about the town, one that might lead her to find riches and a place to belong at last. 

Nevers is for readers aged 9-12.

Sara Cassidy is a journalist, editor and author living in Victoria. She has written more than 10 books geared for young readers, including Genius Jolene, which was illustrated by Charlene Chua, and The Moon is a Silver Pond, which was illustrated by Josée Bisaillon.

Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath

Pine Island Home is a middle-grade novel by Polly Horvath. (Puffin Canada, Submitted by Polly Horvath)

Pine Island Home is about four sisters — Fiona, Marlin, Natasha and Charlie — who must fend for themselves when their missionary parents are lost to a natural disaster. They are sent to live with great aunt Martha — but when Martha suddenly passes away, the girls create a plan to ensure that no one knows that they are now on their own. 

Pine Island Home is for ages 8-12.

Polly Horvath is a children's book author from B.C. Her books include Everything on a Waffle, The Night Garden and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award 2013 winning book One Year in Coal Harbour. She has won the Newbery Honor and a National Book Award.

The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson

The Barren Grounds is a middle-grade novel by David A. Robertson (Puffin, Amber Green)

The Barren Grounds is the first book of a new middle-grade series by David A. Robertson. It is set in Winnipeg where two Indigenous kids, Morgan and Eli, are placed in a new foster home. The pair feel out of place and disconnected in their new surroundings — until they uncover a secret portal in the attic that opens up to a magical reality. The frozen barren grounds they find set the pair on a mission of survival and self-determination.

The Barren Grounds is for ages 10 and up.

Robertson is a Cree writer from Winnipeg who writes books for readers of all ages. He has published 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book StrangersHe published three books in fall 2020: the memoir Black Water, the graphic novel Breakdown and the middle-grade novel The Barren Grounds.

Winnipeg author and educator David A. Robertson is this year's Freedom to Read Award, and that freedom is one he's had to fight for. David joins Laurie Hoogstraten to talk about this Award, the latest in an ever-growing list of accolades for his work. 8:09

The King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters 

Eric Walters is a prolific author of books for children. (Orca Books, Kristina Laukkanen)

The King of Jam Sandwiches is about a unique father-son relationship. Rob is 13 and his father isn't like the other kid's dads. Robbie's dad sometimes wakes him up in the middle of the night to talk about dying. Other times, his dad disappears for days, even a week at a time. When Robbie encounters Harmony, the new girl at school, he comes to realize the value of truth and friendship.

The King of Jam Sandwiches is for ages 8-12.

Eric Walters is one of Canada's most prolific writers for young people. He's penned almost 100 books, including Camp XThe Power of Three and Run. He's reaching more readers than ever: his 2006 novel We All Fall Down came in at #88 on the list of the bestselling 150 Canadian books of the past 10 years

Eric Walters on creating 'I Read Canadian' Day

Arts and Entertainment

1 year ago
2:44
Children's author Eric Walters says he heard from multiple struggling Canadian authors before he decided to start an annual day to promote them. 2:44

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