Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


Seeds of a Story: Part 2

On November 21, the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards will be presented in Toronto. We asked the nominees to tell us about the seeds of their stories, the places from which their inspiration grew. Here are some of their responses. Part One appeared on Monday. 


Canada Year by Year, by Elizabeth MacLeod, illustrated by Sydney Smith

Nominated for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction 

Canada’s 150th birthday was the inspiration for Canada Year by Year. I’m very proud to be Canadian, and I love sharing with kids how amazing our country is.

The book features an event for each year since Confederation, including the first singing of “O Canada” in 1880, the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908 and Terry Fox’s run in 1980. I’m especially interested in the incredible people who have changed Canada, so the book also contains more than 50 profiles.

Although I wrote most of the book’s text, some of the entries are from the “The Kids Book of” series. I’m grateful to Jane Drake, Barbara Greenwood, Carlotta Hacker, Pat Hancock, Ann Love, Briony Penn, the late Diane Silvey and Valerie Wyatt who allowed excerpts to appear in Canada Year by Year.

It was important to editor Katie Scott and me that the book consist of more than ju …

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2017 Seeds of a Story: Part One

On November 21, the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards will be presented in Toronto. We asked the nominees to tell us about the seeds of their stories, the places from which their inspiration grew. Here are some of their responses. Part Two appears on Thursday.


Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, by Jonathan Auxier

Nominated for the John Spray Mystery Award

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard is the tale of a 12-year-old book-mender who discovers a magical book that launches her on an adventure beyond anything she has ever imagined. The story is a sort of love letter to dusty bookshops and libraries, which are my favorites places in the world. (I suspect I'm not alone in this feeling!)

The seeds of Sophie’s adventure were planted long before I was even born. My mother grew up on a wheat farm in the flats—a region where books were few and far between. Still, she was a voracious reader, and she read everything she could get her hands on. When I was growing up, my mother would occasionally mention how, as a teenager, she ran out of novels to read—there were literally no more stories to read in her library. Any time she mentioned this, I would think: What if she had found one last book hidden in that library...and what if that book was more than just a s …

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Seeds of a Story: Part One

On Thursday, the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards will be presented in Toronto. We asked the nominees to tell us about the seeds of their stories, the places from which their inspiration grew. Here are some of their responses. Part Two appears tomorrow. (Update: you can find it here!)


Graffiti Knightby Karen Bass

Nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

"Graffiti Knight started over a cup of coffee. I had driven out to a friend’s farm for a visit, and we were discussing the progress of the novel I was currently revising. Talking about a young adult novel must have triggered the thought, because my friend mentioned that her father had been a teenager in Leipzig, Germany, during and after World War II. The conversation veered to other things. I knew that Leipzig had been in what was called the Soviet Zone, and over the following year, the idea took root that a teenager in post-WWII Leipzig could make a great YA story. When my friend’s father agreed to let me interview him, the story took off."


Brothe …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Mystery Novels for Young Readers

Every month, our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker, brings us great stories from the stacks. May is Mystery Month at 49th Shelf, and Julie's picks are in the spirit. 


John Spray grew up on Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. He became the President of the Mantis Investigation Agency and, in 2011, established the John Spray Mystery Award for novels for ages 8 to 16. (The award is administered by the Canadian Children's Book Centre). Four of the following five titles were winners or nominees, and the other is remarkable in its own right.

The Lynching of Louie Sam, by Elizabeth Stewart, is a compelling story, based on true events—the only recorded lynching in Canada. The book opens in 1884, in Washington Territory, with 15-year-old George Gillies finding the local store owner murdered. The facts point to Louie Sam, a native boy a year younger than George. Sam is arrested and taken to Canada for a hearing but a posse of men (disguised in their wives’ petticoats) ride to BC to snatch him. George’s father is among them and George follows on horseback to witness the hanging. Things get complicated when George discovers Louie Sam may be innocent. George wrestles with his conscience while watching the adults cover up for political reasons. The Gillies family is …

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The Canadian Children's Book Centre Starts Off a (Kid) Lit Wish List

This week's Lit Wish List is Books for Kids Who Love Books, and we knew Holly Kent from the Canadian Children's Book Centre would the perfect person to get this Lit Wish List started. The five books she has selected below cross a wide range in terms of genre and reading levels, which means there is something here for every young reader in your life. And if there is an essential Canadian kids' book that you feel is still missing, please add your picture books and/or novel suggestions in the comments below.

Picture Books

Virginia Wolf, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault: A touching story loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell. Nominated for a GG, this one is a CCBC favourite.

About the book: Vanessa's sister, Virginia, is in a "wolfish" mood—growling, howling and acting very strange. It's a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing "so that what was do …

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The 2012 TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards

The Canadian children's lit world turned out last night to the Ritz Carlton in Toronto to celebrate the 2012 TD Children's Literature Awards. And the ambiance was truly ritzy, thanks to sparkling lights, clinking champagne glasses, and the anticipation in the air for the presentation of some of the most exciting literary awards of the season.

Children's Book Awards

The event was hosted by CBC's Garvia Bailey, who held the crowd in thrall and elaborated on the great TD Children's Literature Awards programming going on over at CBC Books. She introduced Tim Hockey to the stage, President and CEO of TD Canada Trust, who was followed by Todd Kyle, President of the Canadian Children's Book Centre Board of Directors. The 2012 TD Grade One Book Giveaway title was announced, I've Lost My Cat by Philippe Béha.

For a full list of the evening's nominees, check out our list here.

Sarah Collins receives Monica Hughes award

The first award of the night was particularly special, the inaugural Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Presented by Hughes' daughter Adrienne, who spoke warmly of her mother's talent and her r …

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Read a Book, Share a Story! TD Children's Book Week 2012

Children's Book Week Poster

"Read a Book, Share a Story" is the theme of TD Children’s Book Week 2012, which kicks off on May 6 and sends 29 Canadian authors, illustrators and storytellers across the country to share their work and bookish passion with the public through readings held in public libraries, community centres, bookstores and local schools.

“We are thrilled that, with TD’s support, these authors, illustrators and storytellers will help children across the country discover the joy of reading,” says Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director of The Canadian Children's Book Centre, TD's partner in the venture.

Book Cover Hyena in Petticoats

This is the 35th year that Children’s Book Week has taken place. In 1977, the event began with just 11 participating authors, including the much celebrated Dennis Lee (of Alligator Pie fame, among many other books), who remembers “the excitement as so many writers starting to come out of the woodwork. Publishers, librarians, teachers and parents were realizing that good stuff was coming from their own time and place.”

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"A triumph of imagination..."

Cover Plain Kate

The winners of the 2011 Canadian Children's Book Awards were announced on Tuesday October 4 at a gala event in Toronto. Erin Bow took the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for Plain Kate, a novel about a girl whose wood-carving skills mark her as a witch, and which the judges proclaimed "a triumph of imagination."

Book Cover I Know Here

The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award went to I Know Here by Laurel Crozer and Matt James, (and which was one of the books that Andrew Larsen read on his summer vacation). Of I Know Here, the judges noted: "The centre of this child’s universe is a trailer camp in the northern wilderness, rendered in all its details with brilliant harmony between Croza’s affecting, naturalistic words and James's evocative, childlike paintings."

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science was winner of the Norma Fleck Award …

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Gifts by Jo Ellen Bogart and Barbara Reid: The 2011 TD Grade One Giveaway

Book Cover Gifts

“This book belongs to...” reads the label inside the cover of the new print run of Gifts, written by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Barbara Reid, and this year, grade one students all across Canada will have the pleasure of completing the sentence with their own names. Gifts is being distributed as part of the TD Grade One Giveaway, now in its 11th year, which has previously featured books by Canadian authors as beloved as Paulette Bourgeois, Sharon Jennings, Dennis Lee, and Marie-Louise Gay.

This year’s pick certainly lives up to the legacy. Gifts is Jo Ellen Bogart’s story-in-bouncing-verse of an adventurous grandmother who travels the world, bringing her granddaughter the most remarkable, intangible souvenirs: a lion’s roar from Africa, a sunrise from Mexico, “a rainbow to wear as a ring” from Hawaii, the song of a sitar in India, and “a memory from Beijing.” The story is enriched by Barbara Reid’s plasticine illustrations, which solve the puzzles that Bogart’s story poses: the memory is a dragon-decked teapot, the rainbow is printed on an inner-tube, the sunrise is a picture, and the lion’s roar is delivered by Grandma who has gotten down playfully on her hands and knees.

How the 2011 Grade One Giveaway came to be chosen was an exe …

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The Canadian Children's Book Centre


The Canadian Children's Book Centre caters to an enormous demographic:"If you love children's books, you've come to the right place!" announces the tagline on their website. The non-profit organization has been long beloved for establishing connections between teachers and librarians, authors and illustrators, and publishers, and providing these groups with valuable resources.They're the force behind TD Canadian Children's Book Week, and several notable children's book awards. Lesser-known, however, is the support CCBC offers parents and other caregivers in connecting children with books and literacy activities that will awaken them to the joys of reading.

According to the CCBC, "The recipe for creating a life-long reader is wonderfully simple." That recipe involves the following four steps for parents: "Read-- Make books and reading a part of your children’s lives right from the start. And set aside regular time to read to your children from infancy to adolescence. Lead the Way-- Make regular visits to your local library and bookstore to help your children find the best books available. And Set an Example-- When children see adults enjoying a good book, they get a very important message – you never outgrow books!"

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