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Shoshana Wasser

Senior Communications Coordinator (Government & Media Relations)
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Colleen Nelson, Wab Kinew and Joe Morse honoured with 2019 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

June 14, 2019

The 2019 winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Scarborough’s Eastview Public School – a school with a large Indigenous community, offering Ojibwa language instruction and other Indigenous programming.


The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from the school – a jury of grade 3 and 4 students selected the recipient of the Children's Picture Book Award, and a jury of grade 8 students selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader ward.


Each student juror reads the books individually and then worked with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. This process makes it a unique literary award in Canada.


Winner of the children's picture book award category

Go Show the World book cover

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes

by Wab Kinew (Winnipeg, Man.)

illustrations by Joe Morse (Oakville, Ont.)

Tundra Books


About the book

Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the U.S. and Canada, some well-known and some not-so-widely recognized. Individually, their stories, though briefly touched on, are inspiring; collectively, they empower the reader with this message: "We are people who matter, yes, it's true; now let's show the world what people who matter can do."


What students said

  • "This was my favourite book because it showed how to be positive and how to be a hero."
  • "I liked that the first part of the book is a poem, and that the second part has information about the heroes’ lives."
  • "The illustrations are beautiful. The artist made all the people in the story look like heroes!"
  • "I loved the message of the book."

About the author

Wab KinewWab Kinew is a musician and former journalist who is now leader of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba. He was previously Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Affairs at the University of Winnipeg, and is the author of the award-winning memoir The Reason You Walk.


About the illustrator

Joe MorseArtist Joe Morse is known for his portraits of celebrities and sports stars. The recipient of more than 200 international awards, he has been commissioned by organizations from Universal Pictures to the New York Times. He is also the Coordinator of the Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College.


Winner of the young adult / middle reader award category

Sadia book cover


by Colleen Nelson (Winnipeg, Man.)

Dundurn Press




About the book

Fifteen-year-old Sadia Ahmadi is passionate about one thing: basketball. When tryouts for an elite team are announced, Sadia jumps at the opportunity. Her talent speaks for itself. Her head scarf, on the other hand, is a problem; especially when a discriminatory rule means she has to choose between removing her hijab and not playing. Sadia’s parents, friends and her teammates all have different opinions about what she should do. But it is Sadia who has to find the courage to stand up for herself and fight for what is right – on and off the court.


What students said

  • “I really liked how the author took us inside of Sadia’s head. We learned by listening to the way Sadia thought through her challenges.”
  • “This book had a lot to teach us like the value of fighting back versus hanging back.”
  • “It does a good job showing how people are judged by their looks. Every character does it, even Sadia.”
  • “The storyline about Amira, a character who escaped from war, helped me learn what it would be like to be in that situation.”
  •  “I liked the message that ‘education is important … if you want to change the world.’”
  Colleen Nelson

About the author

Colleen Nelson is a teacher and an award-winning Young Adult author whose previous novels include Blood Brothers and Finding Hope.


About the Awards

  • 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 awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • Two awards of $6,000 each are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature.

Ontario Arts Foundation Inquiries

Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
416-969-7413 | 1-877-386-8029 | awalker@oafdn.ca


Media inquiries

Shoshana Wasser, Senior Communications Coordinator, Ontario Arts Council
416-969-7434 | 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | swasser@arts.on.ca