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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Shortlists for the 2018 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced

May 3, 2018

The shortlists for the 2018 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today. The Schwartz Awards are the only Canadian literary award where student jurors work together to choose the winning books.


The 2018 winners will be decided by two student juries from Toronto’s Sprucecourt Public School. The winners will be announced during a school assembly on Wednesday, June 20.


About this year's shortlist

  • This year’s shortlisted authors and illustrators are a diverse, accomplished group. They include Cherie Dimaline, winner of the Kirkus Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award, and Deborah Ellis, whose book The Breadwinner was recently adapted into an Oscar-nominated film of the same name.
  • The nominees in the Children’s Picture Book category include richly illustrated stories of adapting to change and making intergenerational connections.
  • The books on the Young Adult / Middle Reader shortlist include stories of resilience and courage – from surviving fictional dystopias to enduring the trials of growing up.

Children’s Picture Book Award Category

Away book cover                                                                
by Emil Sher (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Qin Leng (Toronto, Ont.)
Groundwood Books

The Heart’s Song book cover
The Heart’s Song
by Gilles Tibo (Montréal, Que.)
illustrations by Irene Luxbacher (Toronto, Ont.)
North Winds Press

My Beautiful Birds book cover
My Beautiful Birds
by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Oakville, Ont.)
Pajama Press

Stolen Words book cover
Stolen Words
by Melanie Florence (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard (Montréal, Que.)
Second Story Press

Town Is by the Sea book cover
Town Is by the Sea
by Joanne Schwartz (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Sydney Smith (Toronto, Ont.)
Groundwood Books


Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

The Agony of Bun O Keefe book cover
The Agony of Bun O’Keefe
by Heather Smith (Waterloo, Ont.
Penguin Teen

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined book cover
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Toronto, Ont.)
Razorbill Canada

Louis Undercover book cover
Louis Undercover
by Fanny Britt (Montréal, Que.)
illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault (Montréal, Que.)
Groundwood Books

Marrow Thieves book cover
The Marrow Thieves
by Cherie Dimaline (Toronto, Ont.)

Sit book cover
by Deborah Ellis (Simcoe, Ont.)
Groundwood 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 Sprucecourt Public School in Toronto.
    • 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.


“The stories that young people read can have a powerful influence on how they see themselves and the world around them. The authors and illustrators on this year’s Schwartz Award shortlists have clearly taken this to heart, as their stories are crafted with outstanding skill and care. Congratulations to all the nominees – as well as to the student jurors who have a tough task ahead in choosing this year’s winners.”
Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO, Ontario Arts Council


"After more than four decades, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards continue to be a wonderful opportunity for young people to read and discuss the work of Canadian authors and illustrators. We appreciate the commitment of the Ruth Schwartz Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, and this year's student juries for contributing to the ongoing success of these awards."
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

Ontario Arts Foundation Inquiries

Alan Walker
Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation

Media Inquiries

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