In Canada, we have the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award which is our version of the US Newbery award and the kidlit version of the Giller Prize (in Canada) and the US National Book Award. These prestigious prizes were awarded to Canada's carefully selected books for young people. Although I served on last year's jury for the Norma Fleck non-fiction award and my book Malaika's Costume was not nominated, I felt it important to come out to support my colleagues. Tributes for my publisher Sheila Barry were in order throughout the night. You can see how her influence reached beyond award nominees (and one winner, Jan Thornhill author/illustrator The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk), her work with different Canadian publishers (Groundwood Books, Owl Kids, Kids Can Press), and organisations that support and promote children's literature in Canada (The Canadian Children's Book Centre, IBBY Canada). It was wonderful to remember Sheila with my colleagues, catch up, and get inspired and motivated.
The Groundwood Books family. (Above) Part of the team that worked on my Malaika books- editor Nan Froman, publicist Cindy Ma, editorial assistant Emma Sakamoto (missing illustrator Irene Luxbacher, art director Michael Solomon, and publisher/editor the late Sheila Barry). (Below) Assortment of @Groundwood Books authors and illustrators and award nominees Jo-Ellen Bogart, Sydney Smith, Helaine Becker, Jon-Erik Lappano, and Keller Hatanaka.
We need to have more diverse voices and representation too. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for the evening.