Canadian Children’s Literature Awards

Last night, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre handed out its Canadian Children’s Literature Awards at The Carlu in downtown Toronto (except for the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, which will be announced October 29 at a separate event in Montreal). As a proud member of the CCBC, I had the privilege of attending the ceremony.

The awards, sponsored by TD Bank Group, featured a fan’s choice award for the first time this year. Children voted online for their favourite book from all of the nominated titles. Young Annaka Leib won a trip to Toronto and had the honour of presenting the award (and looking adorable doing so as she stood on a step to reach the microphone). The award went to Polly Horvath for One Night in Coal Harbour. 

The remaining winners were:

Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

John Spray Mystery Award: The Lynching of Louie Sam by Elizabeth Stewart

The Lynching of Louie Sam

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People: The Lynching of Louie Sam by Elizabeth Stewart

The Lynching of Louie Sam

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction: Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely through a Never-Ending War by Deborah Ellis

Marilyn Balilie Picture Book Award: Mr. Zinger’s Hat, written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dušan Petričić

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award: One Year in Coal Harbour by Polly Horvath

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!


Review: The Darkest Powers

This was originally posted on another one of my blogs that I no longer update.

The Darkest Powers Omnibus (includes The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning)
Kelley Armstrong
Doubleday Canada

I was very excited to read Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy. Why? Because she’s well-known, successful Canadian author, and until  recently, I had never read any of her books. This trilogy was on my “must-read” list for some time, but school kept me from reading them for a while.

The books tell the story of Chloe, a teenager with a special ability – she can raise the dead! Chloe’s newfound powers lead to some admittedly strange behaviour that lands her in a group home. But Chloe isn’t the only one who’s special. Her new friends have their own special abilities, too, and now an organization called the Edison Group is hunting them down to try to control their powers. Can Chloe and her friends escape?

What I liked about the series is that unlike some YA heroines, Chloe is fairly competent. She can take care of herself anf stand up for herself. Her stuttering did get old after a while, especially as her confidence build. At times she’s a bit too much of a “good girl” but overall she’s a strong character. The books were full of twists, which kept me turning the pages. Although one of the characters is a werewolf, it was nice to read a supernatural series that wasn’t all about werewolves and vampires. A necromancer is an interesting choice for a heroine and gives teens who love paranormal something a little different. Also…


I also liked that Chloe didn’t end up with the obvious love interest. It was refreshing that Armstrong didn’t go the predictable route.

Review: Delirium

Lauren Oliver

Love is a disease.

At least, that’s what seventeen-year-old Lena has always been told. When she turns eighteen, she will receive “the cure” – a surgical process that will prevent her from ever catching amor deliria nervosa, a.k.a. love, a deadly disease. Once she has the cure, she’ll be paired off with a man chosen for her, attend a college chosen for her, and pursue a career chosen for her. Her old life, including her best friend, Hana, will be a distant memory. The city she lives in is surrounded by an electric fence to keep out “Invalids” who are uncured, and anyone who is suspected of being a “sympathizer” is put to death or locked in a prison called The Crypts. Lena looks forward to being cured, partly because she fears ending up like her mother, who committed suicide after several failed attempts at being cured. But a chance encounter with Alex, one of the “Invalid” rebels who has infiltrated the government, leads to a blooming relationship that has Lena questioning everything she’s ever been told  about amor delirium nervosa.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Delirium. As much as I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, in general I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels. I really liked the concept behind this book, though. The idea of a society in which telling someone you love them is a punishable offence is just plain terrifying. Oliver does an excellent job of demonstrating how blindly conforming to societal norms can turn us into unfeeling robots who don’t truly live. It’s certainly a chilling portrayal of adulthood. I did find the pacing slowed a bit in the middle, but the action really picked up in the last hundred pages or so, and the ending really surprised me. A second book,Pandemonium, is due out next year. I am curious to see where Oliver will take the story given the shocking ending. If you like dystopian YA, I highly recommend this book.