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Ontario Arts Council


Shoshana Wasser

Communications Coordinator (Government & Media Relations)
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434

Shortlist for the 2017 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced

April 12, 2017

The 2017 shortlist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards was announced today. The Schwartz Awards are the only Canadian literary award where student jurors work together to choose the winning books.


This year’s winners will be chosen by two student juries from Burlington’s Frontenac Public School. The announcement will take place during a school assembly on May 19, 2017.


About this year's shortlist

  • This year’s shortlisted authors and illustrators are an accomplished group. They include astronaut Chris Hadfield and award-winning novelist Lisa Moore.
  • The Children’s Picture Book category includes stories that will help young readers connect with their families, their neighbours, and the world around them.
  • The Young Adult / Middle Reader nominees focus on relationships – new ones being formed, old ones being tested, and protagonists’ relationship with themselves.

Children’s Picture Book Award Category

The Darkest Dark
by Chris Hadfield (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by the Fan Brothers (Toronto, Ont.)
Tundra Books


A Family is a Family is a Family
by Sara O’Leary (Hudson, Que.)
illustrations by Qin Leng (Toronto, Ont.)
Groundwood Books

Harry and Walter
by Kathy Stinson (Rockwood, Ont.)
illustrations by Qin Leng (Toronto, Ont.)
Annick Press

If I Had A Gryphon
by Vikki VanSickle (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Cale Atkinson (Kelowna, B.C.)
Tundra Books

The Night Gardener
by the Fan Brothers (Toronto, Ont.)
S&S Books for Young Readers



Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

A Boy Named Queen
by Sara Cassidy (Victoria, B.C.)
Groundwood Books

by Lisa Moore (St. John’s, N.L.)
Groundwood Books

Lucky Jonah
by Richard Scrimger (Toronto, Ont.)
HarperCollins Canada

by Wesley King (Musquodoboit Harbour, N.S.)
Paula Wiseman Books

Sea Change
by Frank Viva (Toronto, Ont.)
Tundra Books


About the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

  • 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 winners are selected by two juries of young readers, which this year are students at Frontenac Public School in Burlington.
    • Five students in grades 3 and 4 will select the recipient(s) of the Children’s Picture Book Award.
    • Five students in grades 7 and 8 will select the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.


"Now into its fourth decade, this unique award program has given hundreds of Ontario students the opportunity to work collaboratively to choose the best new works of Canadian children’s literature. I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s shortlisted authors and illustrators, not to mention the students themselves – they always impress us with their excellent attitude and keen sense of responsibility.”
Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO, Ontario Arts Council


“Awards, made possible through private philanthropy, provide artists with affirmation and recognition for their work. We are delighted that through the generosity of the Ruth Schwartz Foundation, these awards are able to encourage authors and illustrators on a personal and creative level – and help inspire young readers through a love of reading.”
Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation


Learn More

  • 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 Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), which manages the nomination and jury process. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • See the full details on the award and the list of previous laureates.

Media Inquiries

Shoshana Wasser
Communications Coordinator
Ontario Arts Council
1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434

Ontario Arts Foundation Inquiries

Alan Walker
Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation