Monday, May 01, 2006

2006 BC Book Prizes for Kids Books

Just back from Vancouver where I was fortunate enough to attend the BC Book Prize Gala at a swanky downtown hotel. The Christie Harris illustrated Children's Literature Prize went to The Blue Jean: Book The Story Behind the Seams by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, published by Annick Press. It's a non-fiction title that weaves together the history of denim, and sounds like a really interesting book about an aspect of our lives we very much take for granted. Although I haven't read it, with publisher, Colleen MacMillan at the helm, I feel pretty confident that when I do, it will be well worth the read.

I must admit, though, that I am a little disappointed that Diane Silvey's Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, published by Kids Can Press didn't win. It is both groundbreaking and first rate in it's ability to bring traditional Aboriginal ways to the attention of today's young readers. And it is written by a First Nations woman whose contributions as an educator have been widely recognized.

The other prize awarded that relates to children's books was The Sheila Egoff Children's Literature Prize. There were five wonderful books on the list, but again, my favourte, The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter, didn't win. Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach by Barbara Nickel was the winner. Not surprisingly, Nickel and Porter have been in contention before as both books were short-listed for the Governor Generals Award; and in that case, The Crazy Man came out on top. That means you'll have to read both to see where you weigh in. But, while you're at it, why not read the others. Polly Horvath is a highly regarded author of books with quirky charcters to keep you on your toes. While she isn't my cup of tea, people I highly regard love her stuff. Ian Lawerence is a must for any who love a good adventure yarn and John Wilson has a way of bringing history to life. If you are on the look out for books that appeal to boys, both Wilson and Lawrence are must reads. Neither shy away from blood and gore but theb neither is gatuitous.

Note on The Crazy Man. In an earlier post, I questioned the structure of Porter's award-winning booK. I'm not conceding yet, but I'll have to give that a bit more thought after a discussion last weekend. My host while I was in Vancouver, also an author, totally disagree with me and insisted that the book's success lay in it's poetic structure. It is so cool that two people reading the same book can come to different conclusions and yet both love the book.

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