TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – 2016 Finalists

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards celebrate excellence in children’s literature by rewarding the best literary work by Canadian authors for children aged one through 12. Sponsored by TD — and administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in association with the CBC, this is one of the largest prizes in children’s book awards.

Two $30,000 awards are presented annually, one each for the best English-language and French-language works by a Canadian author or author/illustrator.

Missing Nimama


Kateri is a young girl, growing up in the care of her grandmother. We see her reaching important milestones her first day of school, first dance, first date, wedding, first child along with her mother, who is always there, watching her child growing up without her.

Told in alternating voices, Missing Nimama is a story of love, loss and acceptance, showing the human side of a national tragedy. An afterword by the author provides a simple, age-appropriate context for young readers.

Author : Melanie Florence

Illustrator : François Thisdale

Read more on Clockwise Press

That Squeak


Joe and Jay were best friends. There was nothing more fun than spending the day exploring on their bikes. But things have changed now. Jay is gone and Joe can’t help but notice that his parents have forgotten that Jay’s bike is still parked outside the school.

Joe decides to take the bike home – to polish it and paint it up just like Jay would have liked. That is when the new kid Carlos offers to help – but he probably just wants to steal it. Then again, maybe there is more to Carlos’s story than meets the eye. And maybe Joe has finally found a new friend to share the special place and the bike that has “that squeak” with.

Author : Carolyn Beck

Illustrator : François Thisdale

The Nest


In this beautiful, menacing novel, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, an anxious boy becomes convinced that angels will save his sick baby brother. But these are creatures of a very different kind, and their plan for the baby has a twist. Layer by layer, he unravels the truth about his new friends as the time remaining to save his brother ticks down.

With evocative and disquieting illustrations by Caldecott Medal and Governor General’s Literary Award-winning artist Jon Klassen, The Nest is an unforgettable journey into one boy’s deepest insecurities and darkest fears.

The Nest won the Canadian Library Association’s Best Book of the Year for Children award.

Author : Kenneth Oppel

Illustrators : Caldecott Medal, Jon Klassen

The Wolf-Birds


In a story set deep in the wild winter wood, two hungry ravens fly in search of their next meal. A pack of wolves is on the hunt, too. Food is scarce, but, if they team up, the ravens and wolves just might be able to help each other.

The Wolf-Birds takes an honest, unflinching view of survival in the wild, highlighting the fact that one animal’s life helps many others live. Lyrical, spare text and acrylic paint illustrations combine to give this picture book a elegant, stylized feel that completes this portrait of a multi-faceted symbiotic relationship.

Author : Willow Dawson

Find out more on OwlKid Books

A Year of Borrowed Men


When World War II “borrows” the men in seven-year-old Gerda’s family, the German government sends them three new men in return: Gabriel, Fermaine and Albert, French prisoners of war who must sleep in an outbuilding and work the farm until the war is over. Gerda knows they are supposed to treat the men as enemies, but it doesn’t seem fair. What harm could it do to be friendly?

Writing from her mother’s childhood memories of Germany during World War II, Michelle Barker shares the story of one family’s daring kindness in a time of widespread anger and suspicion. Renné Benoit’s illustrations bring warmth to the era, showing the small ways in which a forbidden friendship bloomed.

Author : Michelle Barker

Illustrator : Renné Benoit


From Vimy to Victory: Canada’s Fight to the Finish in World War I

In this book, Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson trace the life of Ted Harrison, an artist whose brightly coloured and wildly imaginative paintings set in the Yukon have become synonymous with the North. From a small boy in a drab mining town in northeast England to one of Canada’s most beloved and decorated artists, this story follows the influences that lead to Ted’s unique style as an artist. For all ages.

A Big Dose of Lucky

In a compelling genealogical mystery set in 1964 Ontario—one of seven interlinked novels in the Secrets series, publishing simultaneously—mixed-race 16-year-old Malou Gillis embarks on a quest to illuminate her heritage. Spat out into the harsh world after her orphanage burns down, Malou makes her way to the town of Parry Sound, where an old hospital bracelet is her only link to the family that abandoned her. She accidentally lands a job as a cleaner in the medical center and, with her newfound freedom and income, has other firsts like a date with a Mexican orderly, Frankie, who helps her discover that something larger is at play in her past. Malou is braver than she knows, hitting a dead end almost immediately but using the false start to make her first friend. Through this inspiring heroine and characters that include a gay, biracial couple living as sisters-in-law, Jocelyn illuminates racial and social inequality as significant today as it was during the civil rights movement. Poignant and resonant, it’s an important exploration for readers seeking their own identities. (Sept.)


Sylvester’s (the Neil Flambé series) grim SF adventure is set on Perses, a large planetoid that wandered into the solar system. It posed a threat to Earth until it was maneuvered into a safe orbit by scientist Hans Melming, whose company now has exclusive rights to mine Perses for desperately needed metals, while terraforming its surface to support a colony. Christopher Nichols, the son of one of Melming’s mining supervisors, is an enthusiastic supporter of Melming’s “Great Mission,” but just as Perses enters a month-long communications blackout due to solar interference, the colony is hit by a deadly attack by “Landers,” out to steal the mine’s ore. With casualties high on the surface, Christopher and a few other children escape deep within the mine. Scarred by PTSD, they attempt to survive the attack and make unsettling discoveries about Perses and the Great Mission. Brainy and somewhat naïve, Christopher makes for a solid, earnest narrator, and the other kids, especially his enthusiastic friend Elena, are similarly believable. An ominous and inconclusive ending points toward future books.

The Specific Ocean

With depth and subtlety, Maclear (Julia, Child) writes about a girl who is taken on vacation to a place she resents, warms to, and learns to love. She’s first seen curled up on her bed. “I do not want to go,” she says. “I want to stay in the city with my friends.” But though the water is freezing and the seashore is lonely, this new world begins to enchant her. “I used to call it the Specific Ocean until my brother corrected me,” she confesses. At last, she succumbs. “I want this ocean to be mine,” she says. “Mama has a snowy mountain in Japan, and Papa has the South Downs in England…. If I had my own ocean, I could let my thoughts swim free and dream of an underwater life.” Maurey’s (Francis, the Little Fox) pale gouache paintings shimmer with whites, pale blues, and greens; dreamy scenes of floating and swimming mirror the girl’s drifting thoughts and emotions. Maclear and Maurey capture with finesse the mysterious process by which a physical place finds its way into the heart. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Aug.)

Doors in the Air

Discover the doors to your imagination.

Featured as 2014 TD Grade One Book Giveaway, Doors in the Air is the story of a boy who is fascinated by doors. He marvels at how stepping through a doorway can take him from one world to another. He is especially enthralled by the doors of his imagination, which he refers to as “doors in the air.” He delights in discovering that when he passes through these doors, he leaves behind all feelings of boredom, fear and unpleasantness.

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