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Award-Winning English Titles
This graphic of a star indicates an award-winning book with multiculturalism as its theme.
AMELIA FRANCES HOWARD-GIBBON AWARD
In the early 1900s, Group of Seven contemporary Emily Carr supported herself teaching childrenís art classes. This book re-creates Ms. Carrís art room in the northwest coast, where the wonderment of art and nature are magnificently presented in Susan Vande Griekís story-poem and Pascal Milelliís vivid, nostalgic oil paintings.
The story is told from the perspective of children who answer an art-class advertisement in the newspaper, venture out to Vancouverís Granville Street, clamour up stairs, leave the noises of the outside world behind them and enter the quaint workshop of the legendary Canadian artist. Here, they find various animals, including parrots and squirrels, and creative materials of every colour and purpose. Their teacher sings and laughs as she advises, corrects and encourages beautiful imitations of the natural world, sometimes leading them outside to paint horse-drawn carriages in the street or the tranquil views from the park.
There are no character names for the children, and the playful text is not specific to any particular studentís voice; it is rather the theme of imagination and the splendour of childhood that are illuminated here, as inspired by turn-of-the-century Canada and the exquisite art of Emily Carr.
ANN CONNOR-BRIMER AWARD
Martin Emerson is seeing a psychiatrist after the death of his mother, an event that has left the 16-year-old seemingly bereft of emotion and the subject of concern among his teachers.
Since her death, Martinís family has been unable to function. His father immerses himself in work and is unapproachable; his older sister Lilly rebels with body piercing and an aimless relationship.
Dave, the psychiatrist, urges Martin to engage in his own rebellion, but Martinís anger is more searching and doesnít lend itself to superficial non-conformity as a coping mechanism. He instead withdraws into his Web site, where he writes, or rants, on the perplexities of life as the mysterious and enigmatic Emerso. This character is one of three personalities Martin believes he contains, the others being the unpopular school introvert and the unexplored, segregated Martin who cannot remember much of his past.
Throughout the novel, the troubled teenager experiences moments of tragedy, longing, resentment, friendship, and unexpected sympathy from those around him. Each of these things is absorbed by one of his three personas, which eventually implode on a troubled family trip, when Martin must finally come to terms with the loss he has never accepted.
Lesley Choyce has published more than 50 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and is the winner of several awards.
ARTHUR ELLIS AWARDS
Here is another gripping story by the five-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile Crime Novel.
Chloe, an A-student, is accused of cheating in class and suspected of vandalizing a teacherís car. She proclaims her innocence but nobody believes her. Someone is trying to get Chloe in trouble - sheís being framed. But why? And more importantly, by whom?
Driven to find out the truth, Chloe uncovers a plot more sinister than she had ever imagined, endangering her own life.
Break and Enter is the fourth instalment in the Chloe and Levesque series. The theme of student alienation and unpopularity is realistically presented through well-drawn characters, a clever plot and a suspenseful story. Mystery fans will find this book difficult to put down.
BLUE SPRUCE READING PROGRAM
Matt Napierís alphabet book Z Is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet presents readers with the game of hockey, as played on frozen pond or professional rink.
Each page of the book features a letter of the alphabet and its link to hockey. A for Arena: "a large place where people gatherÖ." The letters are written twice, once in uppercase and once in lowercase. Both letters are set in a vivid, eye-catching margin, and within the margin, thereís an explanation of the letterís hockey connection - Z for Zamboni: "A man by the name of Frank Zamboni invented a motorizedÖ."
Melanie Roseís illustrations complement the authorís work. Vividly coloured, the images seem to leap from the pages like a boisterous crowd.
The book presents some of hockeyís rules, a few past and present famous players, and features historical tidbits, including references to recent Olympic games.
Z Is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet is a captivating way for the littlest of skaters to learn the alphabet and to find out more about a national pleasure.
BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR CHILDREN AWARD
Available in French under the title: La valise d'Hana (Montréal: Hurtubise HMH, 2003)
This is the true story of a search for the owner of a suitcase - a suitcase that arrived at the Tokyo Holocaust Center in Japan in 2000. The only clues were the words painted on the outside of the suitcase: the name of a girl, Hana Brady; a date, May 31, 1931; and the word "Waisenkind" - the German name for orphan. Armed only with the knowledge that the suitcase had come from Auschwitz, a Second World War concentration camp, the centreís director, Fumiko Ishioka, sets out to discover who Hana Brady was and what happened to her.
This poignant story simultaneously traces Fumikoís journey to Europe and Canada, and the life of Hana Brady, who was killed in Auschwitz at age 13. Told with honesty and sensitivity, readers will gain an understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust, tempered with a lesson of hope. Black-and-white photographs, documents and sketches give an intimate view of this remarkable story.
THE CHRISTIE HARRIS ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S LITERATURE PRIZE
This story follows the life cycle of a salmon named Sumi. The reader is transported to Sumiís world with poetic text that details her complex physical changes and emotions.
Motion is the common theme in the water-colour illustrations. There is motion in the swimming fish, their expressive fins, the undulating leaves of the plants both underwater and on the shore, the waves and current of the water, the movement of the animals and the wind-swept trees atop a hill. The textures are so realistic that one can almost feel the cracked, rough or smooth surfaces of the rocks, the shaggy coat of the bear, or the wet scales of the smolts.
Reczuch has captured the true characteristics of the animals from the timid, bewildered alevins to the exhausted coho. She uses innumerable shades of colour, from the soft beiges of sand through the vivid reds and oranges of the salmon.
Included in this treasure are a glossary, reading list, a life cycle diagram, and information on how kids can help protect the environment.
THE DIAMOND WILLOW AWARD
The 16th book in the Screech Owls Series follows the intrepid hockey team as they play in Washington, D.C. The Screech Owls are a peewee team open to both boys and girls in the small town of Tamarack, Ontario. Their various hockey tournaments take them around the world where they get caught up in mysterious events.
The MCI Center is the setting for the latest tournament, and their biggest rival team is the Washington Wall, the team with the V.I.P. player and American presidentís son, Chase Jordan. Travis, the Owls captain, finds security tight as Secret Service agents swoop in with bomb-sniffing dogs to check the teamís equipment bags.
The team visits all the tourist spots in Washington, including the White House, where Wayne "Nish" Nishikawa pulls a stunt that creates an international incident. He later redeems himself by averting an assassination attempt on the president.
Targeted for boys aged nine to 12, the short, exciting chapters make this book a compelling but easy read. The series has a supporting Web site (www.screechowls.com) that not only gives information and activities about the team but writing tips for aspiring mystery writers. The site also features a section devoted to teachers and librarians. The Screech Owls also have a television series on YTV.
ELIZABETH MRAZIK-CLEAVER CANADIAN PICTURE BOOK AWARD
One night a fierce tiger prowls into a village to steal an ox; but before he is able to, he hears a strange sound and discovers a mother trying to soothe her crying baby. She tries to scare the child into silence with threats of monsters, but to no avail.
Impressed that this small creature is so fearless, the tiger becomes terrified when a dried persimmon calms the crying child instantly. Reasoning that a persimmon must be the wildest, most dangerous creature in the forest, he attempts to run away.
Here enters a thief, who also plans to steal an ox but mistakenly jumps on the fleeing tiger instead. Believing he is under attack by the persimmon, the tiger runs off to his mountain, while the thief, realizing his error, runs in fear of the tiger. Neither the tiger nor the thief ever ventures into the village to steal oxen again.
Janie Jaehyun Park remembers her grandmother telling this ancient Korean folktale to her countless times as a child. It is retold here with simple language and beautiful illustrations of gesso and acrylic paint. Now children of all cultures can share in this amusing morality tale.
GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
This is the story of two sisters who have left Ontario after their motherís death to live in St. John's, Newfoundland, in the fall of 1926. While their father works for a mining company inland, Sadie, 14, and Flora, eight, try to adapt to a new school and a new town in the absence of their parents.
The woman who boards them is mean Mrs. Hatch, who feeds the children lumpy porridge and makes them do household chores. Sadie and Flora anxiously await the return of their father at the end of the school year, but rather than coming to collect the girls, he leaves to search for gold. Threatened with eviction and worried for their father, the children run away to Corner Brook, where a friend of their mother takes them in. Eventually their father, who has suffered hardships on his own adventures, is found and the family is reunited.
This is a poignant story of two young girls striving to make the best of their circumstances in pre-Confederation Newfoundland.
GOVERNOR GENERALíS LITERARY AWARD / CHILDRENíS LITERATURE
Noreen is a sad and angry young girl on the run. Taking refuge from a heavy rainfall, she ends up at the local café in Pembina Lake, a small town an hour away from Winnipeg. Estranged from her irresponsible mother and Gladys, her affectionate stepsister, Noreen has taken off with her boyfriendís savings and his truck. Lynda, the café owner, senses the young girlís distress, which echoes some dark moments of her own youth. She offers the teenager shelter.
Noreenís arrival triggers a series of unfortunate events, and Lynda wonders if she should have offered her hospitality. Showing their support are Lyndaís friends: Dolores, an older woman who is still grieving over her daughterís death, and Del, a bachelor farmer whose brother drowned a long time ago.
These characters share private pains, but a strong sense of community binds them and they trust that Noreen will be able to find her own inner peace. Their support helps her to learn about commitment and responsibility.
Martha Brooks delivers a tender story where the goodness of strangers can make a difference in a young personís life.