Lightfoot book nominated for children's lit prize

A wartime diary-style novel by Jean Little and a picture book version of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy are among the titles nominated for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards.
A picture book version of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy is nominated for the 2011 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards. (Aaron Harris/Canadian Press)

A wartime diary-style novel by Jean Little and a picture book version of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy are among the titles nominated for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards.

Organizers unveiled on Tuesday the contenders for the 2011 edition of the prize, which honours Canadian authors and illustrators of children's and young adult fiction and non-fiction.

Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy, set to illustrations by Ian Wallace, is nominated for the $25,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, presented to the most distinguished Canadian book of the year (in any genre) for children aged one to 12.

"This iconic song finds visual expression through [Wallace's] evocative chalk pastel illustrations, which reveal the human face behind this remarkable feat of construction and engineering," the jury said in a statement, which also praised the book as "a celebration of art, music and history."

Its competitors include:

  • Burn, by Alma Fullerton.
  • The Glory Wind, by Valerie Sherrard.
  • I Know Here, by Laurel Croza (illustrated by Matt James).
  • Plain Kate, by Erin Bow.

Accomplished author Little is a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People for her book Exiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss.

"Little offers a chance for the reader to experience the exposure of a precocious 12-year-old to two war guests from Britain," the jury said.

"Filled with details of Canada and England during the Second World War, the diary format offers Little a strong and genuine platform to explore and expand on anxieties and emotions of this era."

Her rivals for the $5,000 prize, celebrating an outstanding work of historical fiction for young people, include:

  • Folly, by Marthe Jocelyn.
  • The Glory Wind, by Valerie Sherrard.
  • Queen of Hearts, by Martha Brooks.
  • Wild Geese, by Caroline Pignat.

Other nominees:

  • Prix TD de litterature Canadienne pour l'enfance et la jeunesse ($25,000): Le chasseur de loups-marins, by Claire Vigneau (illustrated by Bruce Roberts); Devant ma maison, by Marianne Dubuc; La fille d'en face, by Linda Amyot; Oh! la vache!, by Alain M. Bergeron, Édith Bourget, Colombe Labonté and Guy Marchamps (illustrated by Caroline Merola); Xavier-la-lune, by Martine Audet (illustrated by Luc Melanson).
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000): I Know Here, by Laurel Croza (illustrated by Matt James); In Front of My House, by Marianne Dubuc (translated by Yvette Ghione); Singing Away the Dark, by Caroline Woodward (illustrated by Julie Morstad); Spork, by Kyo Maclear (illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault); Stanley's Little Sister, by Linda Bailey (illustrated by Bill Slavin).
  • Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction ($10,000): Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science, by Susan Hughes (illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier); Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, by Daniel Loxton; Not Your Typical Book About the Environment, by Elin Kelsey (illustrated by Clayton Hanmer); Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged, by Jody Nyasha Warner (illustrated by Richard Rudnicki); Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces, by Hadley Dyer (illustrated by Marc Ngui).

Organizers also unveiled a new prize: the $5,000 John Spray Mystery Award, sponsored by and named for the president of the Mantis Investigation Agency. The inaugural contenders are:

  • Borderline, by Allan Stratton.
  • Dead Bird Through the Cat Door, by Jan Markley.
  • The Mystery of the Cyber Bully, by Marty Chan.
  • A Spy in the House, by Y.S. Lee.
  • Victim Rights, by Norah McClintock.

The English-language nominees will be celebrated and the winners announced at a Toronto gala on Oct. 4, with the French-language winners to be revealed at a Montreal event on Oct. 25.