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Winners: 2020 CCBC Book Awards
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Winners: 2020 CCBC Book Awards

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The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of its English‐language children’s book awards. Awarded tonight at a virtual event in Toronto hosted by CBC host Tony Kim, Julie Flett took home the title of most distinguished children’s book of the year and $50,000 — the largest cash prize in Canadian children’s literature — by winning the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The winning title, Birdsong, is one of the first picture books published under Greystone’s new children’s imprint, Greystone Kids. The winning publisher receives $2,500 for promotional purposes, and an additional $10,000 is shared among the four remaining finalists for their contributions to Canadian children’s literature. The awards event was hosted through the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA). Leading up to the awards ceremony, a series of three panels showcasing the awards took place as a part of TIFA. These videos will be available on Bibliovideo, the CCBC’s YouTube channel, permanently after the festival. On October 31 and November 1, each winner of the CCBC Book Awards will read from their winning book as a part of TIFA Kids! Register for these readings today and see the full schedule at our events page. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, which went to Small in the City by Sydney Smith, published by Groundwood Books. The John Spray Mystery Award celebrates its 10-year anniversary and was awarded to The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones, published by Candlewick Press. Tonight’s other winners include Serah-Marie McMahon, Alison Matthews David, Tina Athaide and Natasha Deen. - See more at: https://bookcentre.ca/news/2020-ccbc-bookawards-winners
Birdsong
Why it's on the list ...
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
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Small in the City

Small in the City

illustrated by Sydney Smith
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover
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Why it's on the list ...
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
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Killer Style

Killer Style

How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered Through History
edition:Hardcover
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Why it's on the list ...
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non‐Fiction
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Orange for the Sunsets
Why it's on the list ...
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
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The Starlight Claim
Excerpt

1. The Dream
 
The dream was waiting for him. Dodge Hoebeek under a thick sheet of crystal-?clear ice, his eyes wide open, his fingers scraping at the glassy ceiling above him, his mouth screaming, bubbles pouring out, and his long blond hair trailing behind him in the black water.
Then somehow the streaming bubbles formed themselves into words. “You gotta come, man! You owe me!” And Nate, kneeling on the ice above his friend, his bare hands flat on the surface?—?frozen to the surface?—???tried to speak but couldn’t, as though he were the one who was drowning.
“You owe me, Nate! It’s your fault!”
“I’m sorry!” Nate shouted. “I’m so sorry!”
It was like he was looking into a warped carnival mirror, unable to say anything, unable to do anything except throw his head back and howl.
He woke up, his heart beating like a two-?stroke engine. Had he really howled? He listened to the ticking stillness. No one was coming, so maybe not. Last fall he’d howled, good and loud. He’d woken, time and time again, with his head pressed to his mother’s chest, her arms around him, his father standing just behind her, his hand on her shoulder, strong and calm.
“I’ve got to find him,” Nate would say. And his mother would shush him. And he’d yell at her. “No! You don’t understand. He needs me. He’s waiting for me up there!” Eventually he would wear himself out. “It’s all my fault,” he’d say. “It’s all my fault.” His voice would grow hoarse and the tears would come and finally he’d lay his head back down on his pillow. His mother would fuss with the covers as if he were a five­year?­old, touch her fingers to her lips and place them on his forehead, a benediction. Then she’d leave the room. But his father would stand there in the dark. Stand guard until he fell asleep. Stand there as long as it took.
 
 
 
2. Escape
 
It was a daring escape. “Brazen escape,” the TV anchorman called it. Nate watched as two jailbirds attempted to climb a knotted rope hanging from a helicopter.
“Is this for real?” said Nate. His father nodded, his eyes glued to the television. “So how come if they’re filming it, nobody’s trying to stop them?”
“CCTV,” said his father.
Nate leaned against the doorjamb at the entrance to the den. It was late. He was in his pajama bottoms and a ratty Lockerby Vikings T-?shirt. The men weren’t getting very far on their climb toward the chopper. They were about as athletic as a ­couple of filing cabinets.
“Not exactly James Bond,” said Nate.
His father chuckled.
The helicopter began to rise with the two guys hanging on for dear life. Up, up they rose toward the roofline of the jail that surrounded the yard on all four sides. The closed-?circuit camera was in a fixed position, and soon enough the dangling criminals were whisked out of view. And then there was a new camera in play, the TV station camera, presumably, outside the jail. But there were no criminals or helicopter in sight, obviously. This was later. The camera was following the path the helicopter might have taken across a city covered in snow.
“Whoa!” said Nate as the scenery beyond the enclosed compound came into view. “Is that here?”
His father nodded. “The Sudbury Jail.”
There were other shots of police roadblocks on various highways out of town, and then the news returned to the talking head with the frozen image of the escape on a screen behind him. Nate’s dad pushed the mute button.
“I don’t blame them one bit,” he said.
“The convicts?”
“Uh­huh. That place is disgusting. Overcrowded, understaffed. And the mice? The place is completely infested.”
Nate stared at his father. “Dad, is there something you want to tell me?”
His father held up his hands. “Busted,” he said. “Yeah, I spent some time in the stony lonesome.”
“Really?”
The grin gave him away. “Only as a visitor.”
“Oh,” said Nate, relieved but sort of disappointed. Burl Crow was the most decent, upstanding guy imaginable. It would be kind of cool if he had a shady past. Then again, maybe he did. “Visiting who?”
His father shook his head slowly, back and forth. He was looking toward the television but he had one of those thousand-?yard stares on his face, the kind of blank, unfocused gaze of someone looking into the past. Then he snapped out of it.
“What are you doing up?” he said.
“Uh?­uh,” said Nate. “You’re not getting off the hook that easy.”
His father raised his eyebrows, trying to look parentally threatening but missing by a mile. Then he patted the couch next to him. Nate slouched into the room and sat down.
“My dad,” said Burl. “Your grandfather.”
“Oh, right.” Nate had never met his grandfather, but he knew a bit about him. The burn on his father’s right arm: that was thanks to Calvin Crow.
“What was he in for?”
His father laughed. “You name it. Arson for one thing, drunk and disorderly, aggravated assault, petty larceny?—not?­so-?petty larceny.”
“What’s larceny?”
“Taking what isn’t yours. That’s my old man to a T.” He put his hands together thoughtfully. “He was a thug, ­Nathaniel. Bad news.”
“Did he die?”
“Haven’t heard.”
Nate frowned. “When was the last time you saw him?”
His father shrugged. “Five or six years ago, I guess. He was in for carjacking that time. He wanted me to bail him out and I had to draw the line. Not anymore. We’re done.”
He turned to Nate and tapped him on the knee. “What’s up, son? I thought you went to bed an hour ago.”
Nate let his head flop back onto the top of the couch. Closed his eyes.

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Why it's on the list ...
John Spray Mystery Award
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In the Key of Nira Ghani

In the Key of Nira Ghani

edition:Hardcover

A Guyanese girl must find the balance between her parents' "old world" expectations and traditions while pursuing her dream of being a great trumpeter in this contemporary, coming-of-age story, written by an #OwnVoices author.

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira's grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity …

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