White Pine Award celebrations at the Festival of Trees
Today was the first of a two-day celebration of reading and Canadian authors at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Each year, the Ontario Library Association hosts the Festival of Trees to celebrate the Forest of Reading Programs and announce the winners in each award category.
I was there today representing the White Pine steering committee. The White Pine award is for fiction aimed at readers in grades 9 to 12. In other words, it’s the the YA category. I was thrilled to finally meet the two authors I was responsible for liaising with over the past couple of months: Courtney Summers and Susan Juby.
It was hard not to be starstruck by Susan Juby—she’s one of the superstars of Canadian YA and I’ve loved everything she’s written. It was especially great to hang out with Courtney Summers before the award ceremony. It’s not easy to find great young adult literature that’s written by a young adult. It’s inspiring to see someone so young and talented make a splash on the YA writing scene. She’s super nice, too!
I managed to snap a few photos during the award ceremony. I would have taken more but my hands were too cold. There was a nasty wind coming off the lake. Kudos to everyone who braved the chilly temperature!
Congratulations to Pam Bustin who won for her book Mostly Happy.
Other highlights of the day: meeting Kenneth Oppel and Jeremy Tankard; bumping into my two favourite authors to work with from my book publicist days, Helaine Becker and Frieda Wishinsky; and the adorable little boy I met on the GO Train who asked to look at the copy of Boo Hoo Bird I was carrying (which won the Blue Spruce Award).
If you’re a librarian or teacher-librarian in Ontario, I highly recommend getting involved with the Forest of Reading program. It was a wonderful experience and I’d definitely love to participate again next year (if I’m still in Ontario).