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Shoshana Wasser

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

Shortlists for the 2023 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced

May 3, 2023

Today, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) released the shortlists for the 2023 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 Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto, Ont., will debate the shortlisted books and come to a consensus on the 2023 winners. The winning books will be announced at a school assembly later this month.

About this year's shortlists

  • The 2023 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 exciting adventures through all kinds of terrain. Characters in these books learn about our connections to ecosystems and to each other, and also imagine what the future might hold.
  • The Young Adult / Middle Reader category includes books with spooky mysteries and enchanted landscapes. There are quests for identity – both real and fantastical – along with tests of friendships.

Children’s Picture Book Award Category

Be a Good Ancestor
Be a Good Ancestor
by Leona Prince (Burns Lake, B.C.)
and Gabrielle Prince (Prince George, B.C.)
illustrations by Carla Joseph (Prince George, B.C.)
Orca Book Publishers 

Journey Of The Midnight Sun
Journey of the Midnight Sun
by Shazia Afzal (Mississauga, Ont.)
illustrations by Aliya Ghare (Toronto, Ont.)
Orca Book Publishers

Pink, Blue, and You!
Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes
by Elise Gravel (Montreal, Que.)
with Mykaell Blais (Lévis, Que.)
illustrations by  Elise Gravel (Montreal, Que.)
Anne Schwartz Books 

The Most Magnificent Idea
The Most Magnificent Idea
by Ashley Spires (Delta, B.C.)
Kids Can Press

This Is The Boat That Ben Built
This is the Boat that Ben Built
by Jen Lynn Bailey (Ottawa, Ont.)
illustrations by Maggie Zeng (Montreal, Que.)
Pajama Press 


Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen
Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Seaside Corpse
by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, Ont.)
Tundra Books

Eight Days
Eight Days
by Teresa Toten (Toronto, Ont.)
Scholastic Canada Ltd. 

Forever Birchwood
Forever Birchwood
by Danielle Daniel (Little Current, Ont.)
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Road of the Lost
Road of the Lost
by Nafiza Azad (Surrey, B.C.)
Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster 

Haunted Canada The Third Terrifying Collection
Haunted Canada: The Third Terrifying Collection
by Joel A. Sutherland (Courtice, Ont.)
Scholastic Canada Ltd. 


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 Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School
    • Five students in grade 4 will select the recipient 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.

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 nomination committee that chose this year’s shortlist consisted of Brooke Windsor (Youth Services Librarian, Stratford Public Library) and Alison Dunn (bookseller and children’s literature specialist, Beggar’s Banquet Books, Gananoque).
  • See the full details on the award and the complete list of past laureates.

Ontario Arts Foundation Inquiries

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, OAF