The Canadian Children’s Book Centre announced the winners of the 2014 Canadian Children’s Literature Awards. Here are the winners of the six English-language awards:
The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričic (my review)
The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
How To by Julie Morstad (my review)
The Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction
The Last Train: A Holocaust Story by Rona Arato
The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass
The John Spray Mystery Award
Who I’m Not by Ted Staunton
The Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow (my review)
CBC Fan Choice Award
In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Dušan Petričic
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:
Amid loss, author Nancy Carlson continues making children’s books | Star Tribune http://buff.ly/1oaxzyC
The best children’s books are also the saddest – Telegraph http://buff.ly/1x4OdCX
Children’s book shares tale of culture, unlikely friendship – The Philadelphia Tribune http://buff.ly/1A5JPFK
Finding New Voices in Children’s Books in Spanish: Spanish-Language Publishing 2014 http://buff.ly/1A5MVtr
The NYT BEST ILLUSTRATED: A Judge’s Experience – EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection http://buff.ly/1opqpqk
On the Books: Prominent children’s author turns to Kickstarter | Shelf Life http://buff.ly/1uCHiQB
Reasons Why Reading With Your Child Is a Habit Worth Keeping – http://buff.ly/1E96Bt3
Top 10 monkey books for children | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1EmufnV
Seattle Sorts Library Books Faster than New York? Fuhgeddaboudit – http://buff.ly/1nXBQoZ
5 YA Books That Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat| Ryan Graudin | http://buff.ly/1xfu4Xz
9 Books That Got Me Through My Awkward Teen Years…& That I’ll Still Revisit As an Awkward Adult | Bustle http://buff.ly/1x4NCRz
Best Books of 2014 | Publishers Weekly – includes picture books, middle grade & teen – http://buff.ly/1xTj0ze
Does YA Mean Anything Anymore?: Genre in a Digitized World – The Zena Sutherland Lecture – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1sSAS8W
R.L. Stine: “I love killing teenagers” http://buff.ly/1s8H5yv
Sparkers by Eleanor Glewwe
Marah lives in a world where the magicians are in power. She helps out in the market at the book stall and has managed to teach herself many languages in the process. There she witnesses the brutality of the magicians and knows to fear them. But it is also where she meets a little girl who doesn’t mind that Marah is a poor Sparker. Soon Marah is visiting their home, which is much more opulent than her own. She meets the girl’s brother and discovers that he shares her love of languages. When a plague hits their city and people whom both of them love are threatened, the key to figuring out the cure is in a forbidden language. Marah has to find the courage to trust those she fears as well as her own intelligence in order to save the world she loves and those she holds most dear.
Glewwe herself has a background in linguistics, which means that when she writes about languages it all makes sense and really clicks. The world she has created is complex with almost a caste system of rank within it. Tied directly to magical ability, the differences are also racial, so the entire story ties closely to our own world’s struggles with racism and bigotry in a variety of forms. Glewwe has created a story where the children are truly those who save the world. They cross the barriers of their society and proceed to have the knowledge themselves to create the solution, but only because they worked together.
The world building here is exceptional. The society is unique but also frighteningly familiar at the same time. The central theme of exclusion and privilege and abuse of power makes for a taut novel that will keep readers going. The mystery of the plague carries the story forward, so that readers will be compelled to read to the end to figure out the extent of the deception and greed.
A very strong middle grade fantasy that grapples with some of the most difficult of societal issues, this book is a magical and danger-filled read. Appropriate for ages 11-13.
Reviewed from copy received from Viking.