The winner in the Children’s Picture Book Award category is A Hen for Izzy Pippik (Kids Can Press), by Aubrey Davis and illustrated by Marie Lafrance. Susin Nielsen won in the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award category for her book The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (Tundra Books). They are all first-time winners.

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in honour of her sister Ruth Schwartz, who was a Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the awards were renamed to honour both sisters. These awards are given out annually and recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children’s literature. Each award comes with a prize of $6,000.

A highly unique award, the winners were selected by two juries of young readers at North Kipling Junior Middle School. Students in Grades 3 and 4 selected the winner of the Children’s Picture Book Award, having responded to A Hen for Izzy Pippik’s message to do the right thing, even if it’s difficult, and having recognized the creativity of the illustrations and the fact that they match the story. Student jurors in Grades 7 and 8 connected with The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, remarking on its “raw perspective on life,” its relevance in terms of bullying issues and its focus on what happens to friends and family after a suicide or an act of violence.

The Ontario Arts Foundation administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.

Please visit the Ontario Arts Foundation website for further information about the award.