A Love Letter to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
By Vikki VanSickle
It’s November, month of #GivingTuesday, and I want to highlight the wonderful Canadian Children’s Book Centre, the only national, not-for-profit Canadian organization dedicated to “encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers.” The book centre is a great resource for authors (inspiring and established), educators, librarians, and anyone with an interest in kids’ books. When people ask me about writing children’s books, it is the first place I direct them to. Here’s a few reasons why.
Review and media coverage for children’s books is scarce. Enter the CCBC, which publishes reviews in their quarterly publication Canadian Children’s Book News and their bi-annual, juried resource, Best Books for Kids and Teens. In addition to these reviews, Canadian booksellers offer recommendation in the CCBC’s monthly newsletter and you can check out Amy Mather’s podcast on all things teens, YA Write! If you are a teacher or librarian, these are must-have resources.
TD Grade One Book Giveaway
I don’t think enough people know about this program, which is fully funded by TD Canada Trust and administered by the CCBC. Since its inception in 2000, every Grade One student in Canada is eligible to receive a free book. That’s more than 550,000 books a year, for a total of 11.4 million books since 2000.
You only need to spend 5 minutes on the internet to know that it’s all about video content these days. Bibliovideo is the CCBC’s YouTube channel that promotes curated content from Canadian kids’ book creators. Subscribe here for free author readings, illustrator demonstrations and educational resources.
Canadian Kidlit Merch
Who doesn’t love book merch? The CCBC has custom totes, phone cases, and greeting cards, all featuring art from Canadian creators. The next time you need to stock up on birthday cards or find a unique gift for the booklover in your life, consider the CCBC shop—you’ll also be supporting the book centre!
I’ve talked about awards before, and the CCBC administers 11 awards for Canadian-authored (and published) books, including the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Prize, which at $50,000 is the largest cash award given to Canadian children’s book creators. The spate of awards also includes genre-specific prizes, such as The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and the newly created David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award, which allows for a greater variety of books to be recognized.
Canadian Children’s Book Week
This is a much-sought after program in which selected authors and illustrators visit a Canadian province or territory (other than their own) for a week of school visits and events. Publisher touring budgets are small (or nonexistent), and this opportunity is rewarding for both the creators and the thousands of kids who get to meet them.
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is an integral part of the kids’ book ecosystem. If you haven’t already, sign up for their newsletter, check out Bibliovideo, give them a follow on social, become a member or donate.
The views expressed by Open Book columnists are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.
Vikki VanSickle is the author of a number of acclaimed novels for children including P.S. Tell No One, Words That Start With B, Summer Days, Starry Nights, and the 2018 Red Maple award-winning The Winnowing. She has also written the picture books If I Had a Gryphon, Teddy Bear of the Year, and Anonymouse. Vikki started her career as an independent bookseller and spent 12 years working in children's publishing. A devoted member of the Canadian children's book world, she curates and presents regular book segments at CTV Your Morning and balances her writing with arts education for all ages.