The BC Book Prize short-lists have been announced. To find out more about these and short-listed books in other categories as well as upcoming events, check outBC Book Prize
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by the BC Library Association
Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Tundra Books
Violet’s TV-director dad has traded a job in Vancouver for one in LA, their house for a home complete with a pool, and, worst of all, Violet’s mother for a “trophy” wife. Violet’s younger sister reacts by bed-wetting, and her mother ping-pongs from one loser to another and Violet gets angry in ways that are infuriating, shocking, and hilarious. When her mother takes up with (the unfortunately named) Dudley Wiener, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that they need to take control. If Violet’s mom can’t pick a decent man herself, they will help her snag George Clooney. Gemini Award-winner Susin Nielsen got her start with Degrassi Junior High, writing sixteen episodes and four of the books. She also adapted author Susan Juby’s books into a TV series. This is her fifth book for children.
Fatty Legs by Christy Jordon-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes
Publisher: Annick Press
Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak wants to learn to read, even though it means leaving her village and family. Her father finally agrees to let her attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. At school, the Raven, a black-cloaked nun, immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. In the face of cruelty, mocking and humility, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.Fatty Legs is complemented by artwork by Liz Amini-Holmes and archival photos. Christy Jordon-Fenton lives with her family in Fort St. John, BC and co-wrote the book with her mother-in-law, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, who attended a residential school in Inuvialuit.
Free as a Bird by Gina McMurchy-Barber
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp comes from a time when being a developmentally disabled person could mean growing up behind locked doors and barred windows, being called names like “retard” and “moron.” When Ruby Jean’s caregiver and loving grandmother dies, her mother takes her to Woodlands School in New Westminster and rarely visits. It’s here, in an institution that opened in 1878 and was originally called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and abuse—she learns a lesson about patience and perseverance. Gina McMurchy-Barber was the recipient of the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Her first novel, Reading the Bones, was nominated for the Silver Birch Award and the Langley Book of the year Award.
Hunger Journeys by Maggie de Vries
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
During WWII in Amsterdam, 19-year-old Lena leaves her starving family to travel by train with her friend, Sofie, to Almelo, a town close to the German border. It’s a risky plan. They have false papers and are quickly pulled off the train by German soldiers. Only with the help of Albert, one of the soldiers, do they make it back on the train. Lena soon fears her new friendship with the helpful Albert may lead her into more danger as Sofie befriends a soldier too, resulting in a relationship that quickly turns serious and has unforeseen consequences for both girls. Maggie de Vries is a writer, editor, teacher, and the award-winning author of several children’s books.
Northward to the Moon by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Featuring the characters from My One Hundred Adventures, Northward to the Moon can be read as a sequel or as a stand alone book. When her stepfather, Ned, is fired from his job as a high school French teacher, the family packs up and Jane embarks on a series of new adventures. Setting off by car, they wind up spending the summer with Ned’s eccentric mother on her ranch out west. As Jane lives through it all—developing a crush on a ranch hand, reevaluating her relationship with Ned, watching her sister Maya’s painful growing up—she sees her world, which used to be so safe and secure, shift in strange and inconvenient ways. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and lives in Metchosin, BC. Top
Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by Kate Walker and Company
The Cowboy Fisherman by Seiji Hiroe
The Cowboy Fisherman is a story of friendship between Slim and Tomizou during the Great Depression. Slim was a man trying his hand at fishing to support his family, and Tomizou was a seasoned Japanese fisherman who took Slim under his wing. Find out how Slim uses his cowboy skills to save his and his son’s life when they find themselves in dangerous water and the rock anchor disappears into the ocean.
Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life by Maggie de Vries
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Publisher: Greystone Books
Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life is a moving, beautifully illustrated story follows a black bear cub’s life in the Pacific Northwest from his birth to his first salmon catch, uniting the cycles of bear and fish. A map and further information about bears and salmon are included. The book is based on a top-selling plush toy named Fraser Bear, created by the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Rocky Mountaineer Vacations. This toy, holding a salmon in his mouth, is sold on Rocky Mountaineer trains and through their souvenir catalogue, with sales benefiting the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Maggie de Vries is a writer, editor, teacher, and the award-winning author of several children’s books. Renné Benoit is an award-winning artist who has illustrated many books for children.
Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet / L’alfabet di Michi by Julie Flett
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Languages are precious; they capture the very essence of a culture. Once spoken by hundreds of thousands across the Canadian Prairies and the northern United States, Michif, the language of the Métis people, is now endangered. Métis elders in scattered parts of North America may still speak the language, but the young are largely monolingual English speakers. From Atayookee! to Lii Zyeu: this simply, elegantly illustrated picture book introduces young and old alike to the unique Michif language. Julie Flett is a Vancouver-based Metis artist and illustrator who incorporates photography, drawing, and painting into her practice.
The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian McAllister, Nicholas Read
Illustrated by Ian McAllister
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Great bears need a great rainforest to survive. Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister’s magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears and their natural environment, the last great wilderness along the central coast of BC. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go out to sea as juveniles and return as adults to spawn and die, completing a cycle of life that ensures the survival of not only their own species but also virtually every other plant and animal in the rainforest. Ian McAllister, a founding director of both the Raincoast Conservation Society and Pacific Wild, is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. Nicholas Read, a lifelong lover of animals, has written on animal issues for the Vancouver Sun and works with Animal Aid in the UK.
Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm by Deborah Hodge
Illustrated by Brian Harris
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Up We Grow! highlights the importance of small, local farms with photos that invite children into the world of a small, co-operative farm over four seasons. Readers will get to know the hardworking farmers who plow, plant, compost, mulch, harvest and market fruits and vegetables, and care for animals. Discover people of all ages and abilities working together to grow and share food, while protecting and respecting the land and animals we depend upon for our sustenance. Deborah Hodge is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children. Award-winning photographer Brian Harris uses his images to help charitable organizations raise awareness and create a better world to live in.
Hi, I'm Sheryl and I'm mad about kids' books. I read them, write them, review them and buy way too many of them to fit into my tiny house! In short, I am addicted. So, if you have an addiction too, check out some of the titles I've reviewed. Check back often, for more reviews. And, if it's quiet for a while, come back later. It probably just means I'm on the road visiting schools and libraries or don't have my laptop along to post.