Burlington – The 2017 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Burlington’s Frontenac Public School. The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from the school – a jury of grade 3 and 4 students selected the recipients of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 7 and 8 students selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award. Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. This process makes it a unique literary award in Canada.
“The Night Gardener is a very hopeful story,” said student jurors in grades 3 and 4. “At first it is a little scary, then just mysterious. But by the end, the drawings get more colourful, the people get happier, and a community develops.” One juror noted that “the detail in the drawings helped to tell the story,” adding, “I loved the birds sitting on the bird tree and the cats sitting on the cat tree!”
"We are extremely honoured and humbled to receive the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award," said authors/illustrators Eric and Terry Fan. "Awards like this are personally the most gratifying for us, knowing that young readers responded to our book in such a positive way."
As one of the student jurors in grades 7 and 8 summed it up, “This book was my favourite. I could not put it down.” The jurors said that they “really felt for Daniel as he struggled with the unknown,” and that the book “helped [them] understand Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).” They recommend this book “to help raise awareness of OCD, and to show people that they don’t have to face it alone.”
“Winning this award is particularly meaningful because it recognizes a story that I am truly passionate about, and because it is a reflection of my favourite critics – young readers," said author Wesley King. "I am also thrilled that OCDaniel continues to be read and used to help understand people around us.”