OAF News

Kids Celebrate Winners of the 30th Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

Toronto, May 9, 2006 -  Students from Toronto's Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School joined the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, at Queen's Park for the presentation of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards.

The event marked the 30th anniversary of the awards.  Every year, student juries from a selected Ontario school present these national awards in two categories: children's picture book, which is split between the author and illustrator, and the young adult/middle reader category.

In an unusual coincidence, the two recipients from 2000 are this year's winners.  Montreal author/illustrator Marie-Louise Gay took home the $5,000 prize in the picture book category for Caramba (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press).  Kenneth Oppel, a Toronto writer, won the $5,000 prize in the young adult/middle reader category for Skybreaker (HarperCollins Canada).

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario spoke to the kids about literacy, one of the issues that is important to him.  Author Kenneth Oppel was on hand to receive his award and meet the kids who picked his book from the shortlist.  

Five students in grade 3 and 4 chose Caramba as the best picture book because of its ìeyecatching illustrationsî and the story that made them ìwant to read it again and again.î  Five students in grades 7 and 8 chose Skybreaker as the best young adult/middle reader, saying that it had ìlots of surprises; a good ending and plotî and that they ìstayed up late to read itî.

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards recognize Canadian writers and illustrators who demonstrate excellence in children's literature.  They were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth Schwartz, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, their family renamed the awards to honour both sisters. The first award went to Mordecai Richler for Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang in 1976.

The administration of these awards is shared annually by the Ontario Arts Council, which selects the school and the juries, the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ruth Schwartz Foundation and the Canadian Booksellers Association, whose members select the short list of books.

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For more information, please contact:

Ann Boyd, Associate Director, Ontario Arts Foundation, 416-969-7411 or toll-free in Ontario at 1-800-387-0058 ext.7411 or email aboyd@arts.on.ca

Daphnée Nostrome, Communications Assistant, Ontario Arts Council, 416-969-7446 or toll-free in Ontario at 1-800-387-0058 ext.7446 or email dnostrome@arts.on.ca

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