You Are StardustPress releases with this year’s winners of the Canadian Library Association's children's book award-winners and honour books were released on April 15th. In all three cases the committees have chosen a book dealing with potentially weighty subjects, offering parents, teachers, and librarians opportunities not only for sharing and discussion with children, but also titles appropriate for inclusion in classrooms.
The 2013 Amelia Frances-Howard Gibbon award for illustration has been presented to first-time illustrator Soyeon Kim, for the illustrations in Elin Kelsey’s You Are Stardust. Kim’s process for this environmental picture book involved photographing three-dimensional dioramas, giving the double-sided spreads an extra richness. They complement the text by an award-winning environmentalist, which discusses how all of us are part of the natural world.
Reluctant JournalThis year’s CLA Book of the Year for Children was awarded to Susin Nielsen’s The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (who is only writing this because his therapist said he had to, which stinks.) Henry is certainly a reluctant hero; he is also smart and funny, which makes him an appealing protagonist from the very first page. By the time readers find out why his therapist assigned him to write in a journal about the tragic and life-changing incident that he calls “IT,” they will be unable to put down this book. That IT does deal with issues that have been in the news, including bullying, suicide, and school shootings, from the point of view of a survivor and in a manner that is neither condescending, nor didactic, nor preachy, should only make it a more relevant and important book for libraries, teachers, and parents to know about. This title is also available in Overdrive.
Book of Life by Angel
High River’s Martine Leavitt is the winner of this year’s YA Book of the Year award for her verse novel My Book of Life By Angel. Sixteen-year-old Angel is living in downtown Vancouver when a shady character named Call starts giving her “candy” and turns her onto prostitution. Things go from bad to worse when Angel’s friend Serena is just one of the women who disappear from the area. Readers will be drawn into this book, that tells a haunting story about a difficult time in Vancouver’s history and a sad-but-true lifestyle.
All of the prizes will be awarded at the CLA Conference in Winnipeg at the end of May.