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Shoshana Wasser

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

Shortlists for the 2021 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced

June 9, 2021

Today, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) released the shortlists for the 2021 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. The Schwartz Awards are the only Canadian literary award where student jurors work together to choose the winning books.

Student juries from Admiral Collingwood Elementary School in Collingwood, Ontario, will meet by videoconference to debate and come to a consensus on the 2021 winners. The winning books will be announced later in June.

About this year's shortlists

  • The 2021 shortlists feature Canadian authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds, working in a variety of literary and artistic styles.
  • The Children’s Picture Book category features stories about dealing with loss and finding new possibilities within oneself and others. It includes several books that address themes of disability awareness and inclusion.
  • The Young Adult / Middle Reader shortlist focuses on protagonists on emotional journeys, who must rise up in the face of personal, familial and societal challenges.

Children's Picture Book Award Category

Fast Friends
Fast Friends
by Heather M. O’Connor (Peterborough, Ont.)
illustrations by Claudia Dávila (Toronto, Ont.)
Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Golden Threads
by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Oakville, Ont.)
illustrations by Miki Sato (Toronto, Ont.)
Owlkids Books
A Last Goodbye
A Last Goodbye
by Elin Kelsey (Victoria, B.C.)
illustrations by Soyeon Kim (Burlington, Ont.)
Owlkids Books
My Ocean is Blue
My Ocean Is Blue
by Darren Lebeuf (Edmonton, Alta.)
illustrations by Ashley Barron (Toronto, Ont.)
Kids Can Press

Violet Shrink
Violet Shrink
by Christine Baldacchino (Toronto, Ont.)
illustrations by Carmen Mok (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Groundwood Books

Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

I will see you again
I Will See You Again
by Lisa Boivin (Toronto, Ont.)
HighWater Press

The King of Jam Sandwiches
The King of Jam Sandwiches
by Eric Walters (Guelph, Ont.)
Orca Book Publishers

Me and Banksy
Me and Banksy
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Vancouver, B.C.)
Puffin Canada

My Long List of Impossible Things
My Long List of Impossible Things
by Michelle Barker (Vancouver, B.C.)
Annick Press

Sara and the Search for Normal
Sara and the Search for Normal
by Wesley King (Lake Echo, N.S.)
Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman 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, this year comprising students at Admiral Collingwood Elementary School in Collingwood, Ont.:
    • Five students in grade 4 will select the recipient of the Children’s Picture Book Award.
    • Five students in grade 8 will select the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.

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.
  • OAF administers the awards with the support of OAC, which manages the nomination and jury process. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • The nomination committee that chose this year’s shortlist consisted of Geeta Raghunanan (Children's Book Specialist, A Different Booklist), Carolyn Swayze (Head of Children’s Services, Arnprior Public Library) and Kate Tuff (Teacher-Librarian, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital).
  • See the full details on the award and the complete list of past laureates.

Ontario Arts Foundation inquiries

Ann Boyd
Director of Administration, OAF