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Announcing the 2018 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award Winners, Selected by Student Jurors

Ruth and Sylvia

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards are unique in Canada, presenting two $6,000 awards to authors chosen not by a jury of peers by but the young readers their work was created for. 

This year's winners were announced yesterday at Toronto’s Sprucecourt Public School, which was selected to supply the young jurors for this year's awards. 

The winners were selected by two juries from the school – one jury comprised of grade three and four students selected the recipient of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and a second jury of grade eight students selected the recipient of the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award. Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner.

Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category:

Stolen Words

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence, illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard (Second Story Press)

The student jurors praised Stolen Words, saying "This book tells a difficult story, but in a way that young people can understand... It reminds us that children can help adults and bring hope for the future.”

Winner of the Young Adult/Middle Reader Award Category:

The Agony of Bun OKeefe

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather T. Smith (Penguin Teen)

One of the young jurors praised The Agony of Bun O'Keefe by declaring, “Bun and Busker Boy are my favourite characters of all time!”

The 2018 nomination committee included Heather Kuiper (owner, Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore, Toronto), Ben Robinson (Children and Teen Librarian, Guelph Public Library) and Kristan Fowkes (teacher-librarian, Frontenac Public School, Burlington). 

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the family renamed the awards to honour both sisters. The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), which manages the nomination and jury process. The awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation. 

Congratulations to Melanie Florence, Gabrielle Grimard, Heather T. Smith and their publishers, and also to the young jurors for their excellent work!