TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – 2017 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.



A Day of Signs and Wonders

A Day of Signs and Wonders

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Can your whole life change in a single day?

Emily dreams of birds. She feels constrained by nearly everything — her overbearing sisters, the expectation to be a proper young lady, and even her stiff white pinafore.

Kitty feels undone. Her heart is still grieving a tragic loss, and she doesn’t want to be sent away to a boarding school so far away from home.

When the two girls meet by chance, on a beach on the outskirts of Victoria, BC, in 1881, neither knows that their one day together will change their lives forever.

Inspired by the childhood of acclaimed Canadian artist Emily Carr, A Day of Signs and Wonders is a sensitive and insightful look at friendship, family, and the foundations of an artist, drawn over the course of a single day — a day in which a comet appears, an artist is born and an aching hole in one girl’s heart begins to heal.

 


When We were Alone

When We Were Alone

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When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where everything was taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, a story of empowerment and strength.


The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk

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For hundreds of thousands of years Great Auks thrived in the icy seas of the North Atlantic, bobbing on the waves, diving for fish and struggling up onto rocky shores to mate and hatch their fluffy chicks. But by 1844, not a single one of these magnificent birds was alive.

In this stunningly illustrated non-fiction picture book, award-winning author and illustrator Jan Thornhill tells the tragic story of these birds that “weighed as much as a sack of potatoes and stood as tall as a preteen’s waist.” Their demise came about in part because of their anatomy. They could swim swiftly underwater, but their small wings meant they couldn’t fly and their feet were so far back on their bodies, they couldn’t walk very well. Still the birds managed to escape their predators much of the time… until humans became seafarers.

Great Auks were pursued first by Vikings, then by Inuit, Beothuk and finally European hunters. Their numbers rapidly dwindled. They became collectors’ items — their skins were stuffed for museums, to be displayed along with their beautiful eggs.

Although undeniably tragic, the final demise of the Great Auk led to the birth of the conservation movement. Laws were eventually passed to prevent the killing of birds during the nesting season, and similar laws were later extended to other wildlife species.


Tokyo Digs a Garden

Toyko Digs a Garden

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Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin. For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s house where once there were hills and trees. Will they ever experience the natural world again?

One day, an old woman offers Tokyo seeds, telling him they will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo and his grandfather are astonished when the seeds grow into a forest so lush that it takes over the entire city overnight. Soon the whole city has gone wild, with animals roaming where cars once drove. But is this a problem to be surmounted, or a new way of living to be embraced?

With Tokyo Digs a Garden, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka have created a thoughtful and inspiring fable of environmentalism and imagination.


The Skeleton Tree

The Skeleton Tree

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Less than 48 hours after 12-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive.

Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn’t expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue


Missing Nimama

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 


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