Children’s Literature — Text
K.L. Denman, Powell River (British Columbia), Me, Myself and Ike
(Orca Book Publishers; distributed by the publisher)
Me, Myself and Ike is a gripping novel full of surprises. K.L. Denman’s masterfully-crafted first-person narrative on schizophrenia sweeps the reader along as Kit Latimer descends into a terrifying world where the real and imagined have no discernible divide. Denman manages to portray Kit in a way that is both realistic and sympathetic.
Lesley Fairfield, Toronto, Tyranny
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada)
Tyranny is a powerful piece of writing crafted as a graphic novel.
Lesley Fairfield convincingly delves deep into the psyche of a young woman suffering from anorexia. The strength of the book lies in its simplicity, which carries the reader along on Anna’s horrifying journey to wellness.
Gina McMurchy-Barber, Surrey (British Columbia), Free as a Bird
(Dundurn Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
Free as a Bird is a poignant journey through the life of
Ruby Jean Sharp, a child living with Down syndrome. In this compelling tale of perseverance, trust and hope, Gina McMurchy-Barber takes the reader from the isolation and abuse of an institution, to the warmth and opportunity of a home, to the danger and camaraderie of the streets.
Wendy Phillips, Richmond (British Columbia), Fishtailing
(Coteau Books; distributed by Publishers Group of Canada)
Fishtailing is the story of four teenagers, four lives intertwined in the complex world of relationships and power struggles. In passionate poetic language that both chills and caresses, Wendy Phillips breathes life into these unforgettable characters whose stories offer insight, warning and endless possibilities. This compellingly-crafted poem is impossible to put down.
Cheryl Rainfield, Toronto, Scars
(WestSide Books; distributed by Chapters / Indigo)
Cheryl Rainfield’s Scars asks: When hurt is deeply buried, how do you bring it to the surface? For Kendra, the possibilities lie between
self-destruction and the redemptive powers of creativity. Teetering between these polarities until the very end, she is a memorable character whose struggle captivates.
Children’s Literature — Illustration
Kristi Bridgeman, Victoria, Uirapurú: based on a Brazilian legend,
text by P. K. Page
(Oolichan Books; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
Kristi Bridgeman’s evocative illustrations draw us into the exotic rainforest of Brazil. Her lively and rhythmic design playfully combines vibrant colours and patterns that reference Brazilian textiles and ancient Mayan imagery. On the pages of Uirapurú, the illustrator’s rainforest magically comes to life.
Julie Flett, Vancouver, Owls See Clearly at Night: a Michif alphabet / Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer: l’alfabet di Michif, text by Julie Flett
(Simply Read Books; distributed by Publishers Group Canada)
In Owls See Clearly at Night, Julie Flett’s beautiful and elegant illustrations eloquently describe the Michif alphabet. Each letter’s vignette is thought-provoking, depicting elements of the natural world in an illumination of meaning. The letters appear deceptively simple at first glance, but in fact each contains its own mysterious, lyrical story.
Matt James, Toronto, I Know Here, text by Laurel Croza
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
The “howl of the wolf and the smell of the fox in his cage and the stare of the old moose…” are boldly captured in Matt James’ intense illustrations. I Know Here speaks a universal, yet markedly original artistic language about a child’s sense of place.
Jon Klassen, Los Angeles [originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario], Cat’s Night Out, text by Caroline Stutson
(Simon & Schuster / A Paula Wiseman Book; distributed by
Simon & Schuster Canada)
In Cat’s Night Out, Jon Klassen creatively arranges pulsating patterns, lines and shapes to express a fantasy mood. He uses different tones and textures to contrast the mysterious night scene with the many vivid dancing cats. The illustrations match the content perfectly.
Renata Liwska, Calgary, The Quiet Book, text by Deborah Underwood
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; distributed by Thomas Allen & Son)
Renata Liwska’s method of using soft edge drawing to portray lovely and simple images is perfect to express the story of The Quiet Book. Each composition is creative and each page draws the viewer into a fresh mood. The illustrations are elegant with a sweet gentle tone.