Nicole Testa, Annie Boulanger and Kelley Armstrong honoured with 2020 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards
The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from Canada's National Ballet School. A jury of grade 6 students selected the recipients of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 8 students selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.
Each student juror read the books individually and then worked with their group to reach consensus and choose a winner - this year, via videoconference. This teamwork-based process reinforces leadership and decision-making skills for the students.
Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category
by Nicole Testa (Rimouski, Que.)
illustrations by Annie Boulanger (Rouyn-Noranda, Que.)
About the Book
Lili Macaroni loves being exactly who she is – that is, until she starts kindergarten, where her classmates tease her about her appearance. With her parents’ help, Lili creates a polka-dotted butterfly to wear as a symbol of her own resilience. And when she explains the meaning of the butterfly to her classmates, Lili discovers she has begun a powerful conversation. Lili Macaroni provides an accessible exploration of self-esteem and the power of talking about emotions.
"Everyone can relate to this story at some point in their lives," said the student jury. "If you have ever been bullied this story will give you comfort." They also appreciated that Lili's solution to her challenge was "simple and beautiful".
"I'm very touched by this award," said author Nicole Testa. "From my neck of the woods (Ste-Blandine de Rimouski), I'm delighted to see how much Canadian kids like Lili Macaroni and her spotted butterfly. My thanks to the jury from the National Ballet School in Toronto!"
"This award is truly special, because it's chosen by the audience we wish to reach in the first place - children themselves," said illustrator Annie Boulanger. "I'm also very proud, knowing the high quality and sensitivity of all the books that have previously received this unique award."
Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
by Kelley Armstrong (Aylmer, Ont.)
About the Book
"Who wouldn't want to read a story about a princess with a sword, in a land full of monsters?" said the student jury. "On her quest, Rowan shows us that her true strength in not in her sword, but in her kindness and respect for all creatures great and small."
"For a children's author, there is no contest as satisfying as those judged by kids themselves," said Kelley Armstrong. "I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted that this year's panel enjoyed A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying."
About the Awards
- The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the family renamed the awards to honour both sisters. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
- Two awards of $6,000 each are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature.
- The Ontario Arts Foundation administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, which manages the nomination and jury process.
- See the full details on the award and the the list of previous laureates.
Shoshana Wasser, Senior Communications Coordinator, Ontario Arts Council
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Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
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The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2019-2020, the OAF paid $4.25 million in endowment income and $270,000 in awards and scholarships.
For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2018-2019, OAC invested $61.1 million in 228 communities across Ontario through 2,252 grants to individual artists and 1,424 grants to organizations.
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