May 29, 2023

2023 Willow Awards: Winners announced for the Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards

The winners of the SaskEnergy Willow Awards, Saskatchewan's Young Readers' Choice Awards, were announced last week at Perdue School in Perdue, Saskatchewan.  Readers in Kindergarten to Grade 9 read and then voted on the titles in their award category, and young readers announced the winners. Videos and announcements are detailed at the Willows' website here
 
Congratulations to the  
winners of the three Willow Awards!


The winner of the Shining Willow Award, selected from those books written for youngest readers, those in Kindergarten to Grade 3, is...

The Strangest Thing in the Sea: And Other Curious Creatures of the Deep
Written by Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler
Kids Can Press
Reviewed here
 




The winner of the Diamond Willow Award, selected from those books written for readers of Grades 4 to 6, is...

Children of the Fox 
 (Thieves of Shadow, Book 1)
Written by Kevin Sands
Puffin Canada
 
 



The winner of the Snow Willow Award, selected from those books written for readers in Grades 7 to 9, is ...

Under the Iron Bridge
Written by Kathy Kacer
Second Story Press



May 28, 2023

2023 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards: Winners announced

On May 26, 2023, the Ontario Arts Council announced the winners of the 2023 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards as selected by two juries of young readers at Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School.

A jury of four students in grade 4 selected the recipient of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 8 students selected the winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.

Congratulations to both winners and to the juries for their auspicious selections!
 

Winner of the
 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz 
Children’s Picture Book Award
 
This is the Boat That Ben Built
Written by Jen Lynn Bailey
Illustrated by Maggie Zeng

Pajama Press
978-1-77278-242-4
32 pp.
Ages 5-8
2022 
 
 • • • • • • •
 
Winner of the
 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz 
Young Adult / Middle Reader Award 
 
Road of the Lost
Written by Nafiza Azad
Margaret K. McElderry Books
978-1-534484993
336 pp.
Ages 14+
2022
 

May 27, 2023

2023 Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading Lists

In early May, selected young readers who'd applied to participate on the seventh annual Forest Kid Committee (for ages 9-13) came together online to talk books.  From their discussions, which were interspersed with visits from award-winning Canadian authors Paul Coccia and Kathy Kacer, these young people produced two extraordinary lists of recommended titles to keep everyone reading Canadian over the summer.  These are their recommendations for their peers in the Silver Birch and Red Maple reading programs of the Forest of Reading®.


Happy summertime reading!
•••


Silver Birch Readers 
(Ages 8-12, Grades 3-6)
 

Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (Sort of) 
Written and illustrated by Kathleen Gros
HarperCollins
304 pp.
Ages 8-13
2022


Apartment 713 
Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
HarperCollins
240 pp.
Ages 8-12
2022
 

Berani
Written by Michelle Kadarusman
Pajama Press
224 pp.
Ages 8-13
2022
 

Clan 
Written by Sigmund Brouwer
Tundra
256 pp.
Ages 9-12
2020


Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School, Book 4)
Written and illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova
JP (Yen Press)
224 pp.
Ages10+
2022


Ghostlight 
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Puffin
400 pp.
Ages 10+
2022


Houston, Is There a Problem? (Teen Astronauts, Book 1)
Written by Eric Walters
Orca Book Publishers
256 pp.
Ages 9-12
2021


Imhotep of Ancient Kemet
Written by Ekiuwa Aire
Illustrated by Simbarashe Langton Vera and Anastasia Kkyrpenko
Our Ancestories
44 pp.
Ages 4-12
2022

Killer Underwear Invasion!: How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories 
Written and illustrated by Elise Gravel
Chronicle Books
104 pp.
Ages 8-13
2022


Rabbit Chase 
Written by Elizabeth LaPensée
Illustrated by KC Oster
Annick Press
120 pp.
Ages 8-12
2022


Seekers of the Fox (Thieves of Shadows, Book 2)
Written by Kevin Sands
Pajama Press
224 pp.
Ages 8-13
2022


Spell Sweeper
Written by Lee Edward Fodi
HarperCollins
368 pp.
Ages 8-12
2021
 

The Superteacher Project 
Written by Gordon Korman
Scholastic Canada
304 pp.
Ages 9-12
2023


Until Niagara Falls
Written by Jennifer Maruno
Dundurn
168 pp.
Ages 8-12
2020
 

Weird Rules to Follow
Written by Kim Spencer
Orca Book Publishers
192 pp.
Ages 9-12
2022
 








 
Red Maple Readers
(Ages 12-14, Grades 7-8)


The Bones of Ruin
(Bones of Ruin, Book 1)
Written by Sarah Raughley
Margaret K. McElderry
496 pp.
Ages 14+
2021
 

The Book of Us
Written by Shane Peacock
DCB
216 pp.
Ages 13+
2022
 

Delicious Monsters
Written by Liselle Sambury
Margaret K. McElderry
512 pp.
Ages 14+
2023
 

The Everlasting Road
(The Floraverse, Book 2)
Written by Wab Kinew
Tundra
272 pp.
Ages 12-17
2023
 

Hazel Hill is Going to Win This One
Written by Maggie Horne
HarperCollins
230 pp.
Ages 8-12
2022
 

Hidden on the High Wire
Written by Kathy Kacer
Second Story Press
216 pp.
Ages 9-12
2022 
 

I Got You Babe
Written by Paul Coccia
Orca Book Publishers
120 pp.
Ages 9-13
2023
 

Names in a Jar
Written by Jennifer Gold
Second Story Press
336 pp.
Ages 8-12
2021
 

Made in Korea
Written by Sarah Suk
Simon & Schuster
336 pp.
Ages 12+ 
2022
 

Me Three
Written by Susan Juby
Puffin
224 pp.
Ages 10+
2022 
 

Pirates of the Southern Seas
(Tell No Tales, Book 1)
Written by Sam Maggs
Illustrated by Kendra Wells
Amulet Books
160 pp.
Ages 10-14
2021
 

Unravel 
Written by Sharon Jennings
Red Deer Press
200 pp.
Ages 12-18
2021


A Venom Dark and Sweet
(The Book of Tea, Book 2)
Written by Judy I. Lin
Feiwel & Friends
352 pp.
Ages 13-18
2022


Willpower
Written by Marty Chan 
Orca Book Publishers
112 pp.
Ages 9-12
2022
 

Winterkill
Written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Scholastic
288 pp.
Ages 8-13
2022
 
 

The book lists are posted on the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading website:

May 25, 2023

The Skull:A Tyrolean Folktale (Canadian Edition)

Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press
978-1-5362-2337-8
112 pp.
Ages 6-9
July 2023

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Otilla who ran away in the dark and cold of a winter night. She heard her name being called but could not tell the source. As she struggled, even falling in the snow, scared and crying, she reaches the end of the woods and finds a large, old house with a skull in the window.
From The Skull by Jon Klassen
When she asks for shelter, the skull agrees but only if she will carry him because he is tired of rolling everywhere. (It did take him a long while to open the door for her.) Inside, he shows her around, including a garden room, a dungeon with a bottomless pit, a magnificent ballroom, and a great room in which he'd enjoyed tea by the fire under his portrait.
From The Skull by Jon Klassen

Before they head to bed, he warns her that a headless skeleton comes around looking for him, but he doesn't want to go with the skeleton. Otilla devises a plan. As the two sleep in a lovely bed, the skeleton appears, shouting, "GIVE ME THAT SKULL. I WANT THAT SKULL." (pg. 61) Otilla grabs the skull and carries it to the tower balcony, the skeleton chasing them all the way. Standing back, she lets the skeleton look over the edge before pushing it off.

But Otilla is a clever girl, and she knows that that may not be the end of the skeleton, so she finds a way to make sure it never comes back, and, in doing so, finds herself a new home.
From The Skull by Jon Klassen
If it weren't for the fact that there is no ghost, I would call this a ghost story. It's the kind of story that could be told around a campfire or at a sleepover or on Halloween. But, because The Skull is also from Jon Klassen, it has dry humour, remarkable artwork, and a touch of sweetness. The humour comes in dark playfulness, like Otilla feeding the skull pears and tea that go right through him but which he still enjoys. And the graphic and ink artwork in quintessentially Jon Klassen: dark and sombre with limited splashes of grey green and peach. From the chilling forest to the monolithic house of shadows and stone, Jon Klassen sets The Skull in places of gloom. Yet he pulls out some tenderness for both Otilla and the skull.  She, who has run away from an unknown situation, is able to connect with a skull who needs her help as much as she needs his. She carries him around like a stuffed animal, both respectful and comfortable, and she puts him to sleep so that she can take care of the skeleton's broken bones. There may be a skeleton and a skull and a creepy house and a scared little girl, but The Skull is more than a ghost story. It's one of reciprocity and compassion. With reciprocity comes connection and with connection comes benefit. And, with that, comes a happy ending.