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Librarian in Residence: The best Canadian children’s books from 2014

By Jessica Green on June 16, 2015

Jessica Green has been a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips.

 Last week saw a massive conglomeration of librarians descend upon Ottawa for the Canadian Library Association Conference. I was able to attend and saw some great presentations about libraries, digitization, open data, makerspaces and, of course, books! My next few posts will discuss some of the cool ideas happening in libraries. This week, I’ll start off by with books, specifically the Canadian Library Association Awards for Children and Young Adult literature.

Many people don’t know that the CLA hands out three awards to outstanding children’s books written or illustrated by Canadians and published by Canadian publishers. I attended the presentation where the chairs of the three committees spoke about their top books and why they picked the winners they did.  The first award is the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, which goes to an outstanding illustrator of a children’s picture book. You can see the past winners of this award here.

This year, Marie-Louise Gay won this year for her book Any Questions?, a very clever book where Gay answers all the questions sent in by children about her writing process. The book also becomes a collaborative story where all the children asking questions create a new story. Definitely for older readers (6-12 years), it’s a useful book to learn about writing and to help spark your very own tales.

Here are some of the other books that were in fierce competition for the Award:

The CLA Book of the Year for Children Award goes to an outstanding written work (prose or fiction) for children and this year, after narrowing it down from a long list of 51 titles, the award went to The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. It’s a spooky tale that follows Molly and Kip who are Irish orphans trying to find work in Windsor, England. They stumble upon a creepy estate with an evil tree, both haunted by the Night Gardener. Molly and Kip need to end the Night Gardener’s enchantments, but it won’t be an easy task. For more titles from past years, see the list here.

Some of the other notable titles that vied for the award:

Finally, the CLA Young Adult Book Award is for the best book that appeals to young adults age 13-18. This year, the winner is This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, a very well deserved nod, and one of the many, this book has picked up since being published. It’s a graphic novel that follows two girls, Rose and Windy, as they are at a cottage for the summer in the last year before they both become ‘official’ teenagers. The girls watch the drama of the older teenagers who work at the local corner store and try to make sense of what it means to grow up. For past winners of the Young Adult Book Award, click here.

Here are the other books that were well received by the committee this year: