Monday, April 28, 2008

Sheila Egoff & Christie Harris Book Prize Winners Announced

This year's winner for young readers, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize goes to:

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane

by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane Like her National Book Award-winning The Canning Season, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is filled with plot twists and extraordinarily strange characters. It is also a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places. Following the death of their parents, two cousins are sent to live with their distant, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff. Told in four characters’ voices, the novel is a layered account of one bad year from multiple points of view linking humour and pain. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and young adults, including The Trolls and Everything on a Waffle, which won the Sheila Egoff Prize in 2002. She lives in Victoria. More

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by Kate Walker and Company
Judges: Alison Acheson, Kathryn Shoemaker and John Wilson

Winner! A Sea-Wishing Day
by Robert Heidbreder
Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Publisher: Kids Can Press

A Sea-Wishing Day

On a hot summer day, a wish transforms an urban backyard into a place of breezy high-seas adventure. As our bold Captain and Skipper ride the salty waves, they encounter a beastly sea monster, buried treasure, a scurvy pirate crew, lovely mermaids and more. The creative pair who brought you the acclaimed I Wished for a Unicorn offer up another celebration of the boundless distances a childhood wish can travel. A retired elementary school teacher, Robert Heidbreder has been enchanting children with his joyful poems and rhymes for more than two decades. His 2005 book, Drumheller Dinosaur Dance, won the BC Chocolate Lily Young Readers’ Choice Award. Kady MacDonald Denton is an author and illustrator of books for children and lives in Peterborough, Ontario.More

And while you're at it, check out the honour books which are awesome too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Good news; the second teen spy school novel by Ally Carter has hit book stores, although still in hardcover. I couldn't resist, and made the mistake of cracking the cover when I should have been working which can be translated as no work got done the rest of that day! It was unputdownable. I know...I know. Stop making up words Sheryl!

But seriously, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy was just as much fun as the first. The opening finds Cammie Morgan, girl-spy-in-training, back at school after the summer break along with her genius, code-cracking friends. Cammie is still recovering from the loss of her first boyfriend who had to be brainwashed into forgetting about the mission he interrupted in a heroic attempt to save her. While she settles into school and ponders if her ex will even remember her name, she notices that her mother, who happens to be the head of the spy school, is acting awfully strange. But, Cammie barely has time to figure out why before she is blamed for a security breach that puts her top secret school at risk. While trying to clear her name, she overhears her mother and one of the other teachers discussing "Blackthorne," which Cammie figures must be a code name for some mysterious covert op. Soon she and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to uncover the truth. What they discover will turn their world upside down and send them on a wild ride that you won't want to miss. Once you've finished Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, you, like me, will only be hoping that Ms. Carter has the third in the series is well under way.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Welcome Song for Baby: A lullaby for newborns by Richard Van Camp

I have a bias; well actually more than one, but I have a serious bias when it comes to board books. For one thing, I adore reading them, or at least the ones that aren't merely shrunk down picture books. Still, having written four, I am acutely aware of just how challenging they can be.

Lately, board books have been taking a new direction; board books written simultaneous for little ones and adults. A perfect example is Richard Van Camp's Welcome Song for Baby: A lullaby for newborns put out by Orca Book Publishers. This is a departure for Van Camp, who is known for his gritty YA prose and an occasional picture book. Welcome Song for Baby doesn't follow the unwritten rule of "make it short, then pare it down". It is a lengthy lyrical prose poem that compliments close-up photographs of babies. The close-ups have super baby-appeal as research indicates that the very young are attracted by human faces which are featured on each page. Interestingly, the prose is far too sophisticatedly for babies. However, it is an affirmation of the importance of children in our lives and in our world. It is both intimate and broad in it's message that raising children is life-changing. Van Camp, who is a member of the Dogrib Nation, brings a welcome First Nations cadence to his prose; a cadence that is timeless in it's ability to sooth both the reader and the listener with story.

The sun rises for you
The earth welcomes you
We raise our hands to you
You have made the world beautiful again.

This is must have for new parents and a perfect gift for those about to be.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

CCBC announces winners to Kid's writing contest

Young Winners Announced in 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest

TORONTO: April 1, 2008 — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest.

The contest is a much-anticipated part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week festivities, allowing hundreds of students from across Canada to share their stories while celebrating and participating in Book Week. The 2007 national tours ran from November 17 to 24, 2007. A total of 1785 entries arrived at the Canadian Children's Book Centre’s national office in time for the December 15, 2007 deadline.

In keeping with this year’s theme — The Magic of Books — young writers from across Canada, in grades two to six, were invited to enchant our judges with their own spellbinding tales of mysterious magicians, fanciful fairies, wily wizards, and dreadful dragons.

The WINNERS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Seanna Geary of Red Lake, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic and More

Judge's Comments: Magic and More was a delight to read. I loved Seanna’s characters Lots of Locks and Auntie Moo. I particularly enjoyed the suspense of the story and the nice twist with Auntie Moo being the White Witch. And the way magic was an important part of the story made it really work for me. Congratulations again and I hope Seanna will keep writing!!

Grade 3: Colton Van Gerwen of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Age 8)
The Invisible Book of Magic

Judge's Comments: I applaud Colton’s creation − a not very likeable hero who nevertheless gets our sympathy as he realizes that he has fallen into the witch's trap. The Kafka-esque transformation scene is the coolest moment in any of the stories I read.

Grade 4: Molly Dawson of Toronto, Ontario (Age 9)
Fairy Performance

Judge's Comments: Molly's story is imbued with magic in every sense of the word. Imagine witnessing the most marvelous performance one night; fairies dancing under moonlight by a stream. The magic of Molly's story is in descriptions so real that the reader can easily join in. Her language is rich in description and detail… In the hands of a less adept writer, the story might have been ended differently, but Molly shows her ability to pull a story together when her character insists that "But I KNEW that it wasn't a dream." Molly captures a moment of magic with more than a little magic of her own.

Grade 5: Emma McCallum of Edmonton, Alberta (Age 10)
Magical Friendship

Judge's Comments: This story gives readers an opportunity to think about the power of art. The joy of friendship is also clearly shown in the relationship between Trina and Athiea. Emma’s writing is very imaginative… I enjoyed the bright images of her descriptions. Most important of all I was easily caught up in the plot of her story.

Grade 6: Tamsyn Riddle of Peterborough, Ontario (Age 11)
The Caomhn├│ir

Judge's Comments: Using some “selkie” folk lore, Tamsyn wrote a captivating folk story of her own about a 12 year-old girl, Elizabeth, who escapes from a planned marriage by jumping into the sea. When she arrives at a magical island, she delays answering a question and cannot resist drinking from a special pond. Elizabeth then faces a different kind of trap.

The winner from each grade will receive a $200 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice. The winning stories can be enjoyed on the Book Week website at .
* * *

Due to the outstanding quality of writing submitted by the young writers this year, the Writing Contest judges have also selected two honourable mentions from each grade level.

The HONOURABLE MENTIONS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Madison Wescott of Kingston, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic is…

Mayson Sonntag of Regina, Saskatchewan (Age 8)
Killer’s Adventures

Grade 3: Brianne Wheat of Vermilion, Alberta (Age 8)
The Spooky Halloween

Naomi Duska of Calgary, Alberta (Age 8)

Grade 4: Thomas Villeneuve of Gatineau, Quebec (Age 9)
The Alphabet Story

Luke Gagnon of Lloydminster, Alberta (Age 9)
A Secret Worth Keeping

Grade 5: Donovan Stagg of Calgary, Alberta (Age 10)
The Vampire Hunters

Moriam Ahmed of Toronto, Ontario (Age 10)
Electra’s Box

Grade 6: Lucas Bennett of Burnaby, British Columbia (Age 11)
A Boy, a Wolf and a Dragon

Elspeth Yates of Calgary, Alberta (Age 11)
You Never Can Tell With Magic…

* * *

The judges for the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are talented authors of children’s and young adult books from across Canada:

Grade 2 judge: David Poulsen (Claresholm, Alberta), author of The Salt & Pepper Chronicles series

Grade 3 judge: Richard Scrimger (Cobourg, Ontario), author of the Norbert series and Into the Ravine

Grade 4 judge: Sheryl McFarlane (Victoria, BC), author of Waiting for the Whales and A Pod of Orcas, The Smell of Paint

Grade 5 judge: Sylvia Gunnery (LaHave, Nova Scotia), author of Out of Bounds and Personal Best

Grade 6 judge: Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington, Ontario), author of A Different Kind of Beauty and Last Chance for Paris

* * *

The Imperial Oil Foundation has a long-standing commitment to supporting education and joins the Canadian Children's Book Centre in congratulating the winners and thanking all of the participants for entering the Writing Contest.

About the Imperial Oil Foundation:
Imperial Oil is committed to supporting community programs where its employees live and work. In 2007 the Imperial Oil Foundation contributed over $11 million to enhance the well-being of communities across Canada. For more information, please visit .

About the Canadian Children's Book Centre:
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 to encourage the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. The CCBC is dedicated to promoting quality Canadian children’s literature through its services, publications and programs. For more information, please visit our website at