Mysterious Book Awards

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the Edgar Awards nominees for 2011. The following titles are shortlisted in the Young Adult category:

  • The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • 7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando
  • The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price
  • Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

    Speaking of mystery writing prizes, this week the Canadian Children’s Book Centre announced a new children’s book award. The John Spray Mystery Award will honour excellence in the children’s mystery book format and comes with a $5,000 cash prize. Eligible books must be original works in English, aimed at readers ages eight to sixteen, and written by Canadian authors. For more information about John Spray Mystery Award, visit the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

    I love a good mystery, don’t you?


    Join LWB! Call for Executive and Board of Directors Nominations

    As some of you may know, I’m involved with an awesome socially-minded organization called Librarians Without Borders.

    Librarians without Borders is now accepting nominations for our 2011 Executive team and Board of Directors. For more information, including job descriptions and details for applying, visit our  Volunteer page.

    By the way, I’ll be speaking about recent Librarians Without Borders service projects in Costa Rica and Guatemala at the 2011 Canadian Library Association conference in Halifax this May!

    YA Roundup

    I apologize to my readers for neglecting this blog. I’ve been really busy with work (I took on a short term contract to supplement my library job), volunteer commitments, allergic reactions, and holiday parties. Oh boy!

    It’s time for another YA links round-up. Some are a few weeks old now (sorry!) but I hope you will find them as interesting as I did:

    • There was an excellent interview with Suzanne Collins, author of The Huger Games trilogy in the Huffington Post recently. It’s well worth reading.
    • GreenBeanTeenQueen on running a Teen Library Council. I personally found this post very helpful as I’m thinking about starting a TRAC (Teen Reader’s Advisory Committee) at the library I work at.
    • is a new writing community for teens. It’s a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. Check out this article about it from the New York Times.  It sounds quite similiar to the Canadian-based Wattpad, which has a sizeable community of teenaged writers.
    • Today, the Free Technology for Teachers blog highlighted a resource called Own Your Space, a free, ebook for tweens and teens on how to protect themselves and their stuff online. I’ve only had time to browse through it quickly, but it looks to be a very comprehensive and informative resource.  I really like the anime-style artwork.

    2010 Canadian Children’s Book Award Winners

    The annual Canadian Children’s Book Awards celebration was probably my favourite event when I worked in publishing. I was thrilled when my former colleague, who now works at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, invited me to this year’s gala. I really, really wanted to attend, but, *sigh* I wasn’t able to trade my Tuesday night shift at the library with any of my co-workers due to a host of scheduling complications.

    By all accounts it was a fabulous evening and waaaaay better than that other Canlit fête happening that night.  You know, this one (or well, that one).  The following books and authors were announced as this year’s award winners:

    TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award:

    The Hunchback AssignmentsThe Hunchback Assignments
    by Arthur Slade

    What the jury said: “Arthur Slade’s foray into the steampunk genre is of world-class quality and makes The Hunchback Assignments a fresh and unexpected addition to Canadian children’s literature… A mystery thriller, the novel’s tone is grippingly suspenseful… Literary allusions to characters and plots, from the Hunchback of Notre Dame to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, enrich the subtext of reality and illusion.”

    Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

    Timmerman Was HereTimmerman Was Here
    by Colleen Sydor; illustrated by Nicolas Debon
    Tundra Books

    What the jury said: “This is a sublimely humanistic and memorable story about the way we discover the difference between truth and appearances… Dramatic pictures equally involve the reader, while the artistic use of dark and light further affect our emotional response… This intriguing tale with a twist delves exceptionally well into values and perceptions, the rational and the irrational, achieving a conclusion that is profoundly self-affirming for the child… This emotionally rich and suspenseful story is capped by an uplifting ending that will stir hearts from 8 to 80… A perfect pairing of text and illustration.”

    Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

    Adventures on the Ancient Silk RoadAdventures on the Ancient Silk Road
    by Priscilla Galloway with Dawn Hunter
    Annick Press

    What the jury said: “A gripping account of three remarkable historic journeys; cultural, spiritual and commercial, enable the reader to imagine this fabled ancient route taken by the adventurous of long, long ago. Galloway’s excellent research, clear text, stunning photographs, art and maps updates this history for our times. A wonderful resource for research and reports.”

    Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

    Vanishing GirlVanishing Girl
    (The Boy Sherlock Holmes, Book 3)
    by Shane Peacock
    Tundra Books

    What the jury said: “Peacock delves into the young mind of one of the best-known characters in literature, creating a story that is well-plotted, with plenty of action, adventure and plot twists… Beautifully written and fast-paced… Peacock’s writing has a distinctive voice and tone that is perfectly suited to the story being told.”

    I happen to have a copy of The Hunchback Assignments sitting in my To-Be-Read pile right now. Hmmm, perhaps I should move it to the top of the heap in honour of its taking home the top prize?

    I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to attend next year’s awards gala. And you can too, if you become a member of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre! Giller Schmiller. (Really, I have nothing against the Giller or the Giller Light.  I would have liked to be at the Giller Light party, too. Next year, let’s try not to hold all of the major Canadian Book Award ceremonies on the same night. Okay?)

    In My Mailbox (3)

    In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren. It is a list of what books you have received over the previous week, either for review, from the library, from the bookstore, etc.

    How serendipitous! Moments after I posted my Waiting on Wednesday piece featuring Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston, HarperCollinsCanada announced they were giving away an ARC on Twitter…and I won! Yay! The book arrived last week, but was accidentally delivered to my upstairs neighbour and didn’t make it into my hands until this morning.

    At work (a.k.a the library), I checked out Fire by Kristen Cashore. This is a sort of prequel/companion book to Cashore’s Graceling. It appeared on quite a few “Best of” lists for 2009, and was the winner of the 2010 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction.

    I also borrowed Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This book has been on my radar for months, but of course, I was at the mercy of the holds queue. I’ve heard that it is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is one of my all-time favourite classics.

    My third library book of the week was Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield. I want to try to read most (or all) of this year’s Governor General’s Award nominees for children’s text.  Tyranny is a bit of an anomaly in this category in that it’s actually a graphic novel.

    For review, I received Annexed by Sharon Dogar. This book tells a fictionalized account of the Anne Frank story from the point-of-view of Peter van Pel, the teenage boy who was in hiding with the Frank family. This definitely piqued my interest since not too long ago I worked as  Research Assistant on a project exploring Holocaust literature for children. This may go to the top of my To Read pile. Thanks to Thomas Allen & Sons for sending it to me. I’ll definitely be reviewing this on Erin Explores YA in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

    That’s all for this week. What did you get?

    YA Roundup

    Here are some interesting YA-related links which caught my attention this week:

    2011 Forest of Reading Award Nominees Announced

    The Forest of Reading nominees were announced yesterday!

    This Ontario program is one of Canada’s largest recreational reading programs with more than 250,000 young people participating each year through their school or public library. Kids who participate in the registered program and read a minimum of five of
    the ten books in their reading category get to cast a vote the week of April 23, 2011. The nominated authors are honoured at a  ceremony in May, and the winning author presented with their award.

    I’m always curious to see what books are nominated in all of the six categories, but I pay special attention to Red Maple and White Pine categories as those are where the YA titles are represented.

    The Red Maple Award is for grades 7 & 8 and is split into two sub-categories, fiction and non-fiction. This year’s fiction selections are:

    • The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (Random House)
    • Ghost Ride by Marina Cohen (Dundurn)
    • Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard (HarperCollinsCanada)
    • My Name Is Henry Bibb by Afua Cooper (Kids Can Press)
    • Nieve by Terry Griggs (Biblioasis)
    • Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant (HarperCollinsCanada)
    • Only in the Movies by William Bell (Random House)
    • POP by Gordon Korman (Scholastic Canada, Ltd.)
    • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Random House)
    • Wounded by Eric Walters (Penguin Group Canada)

    The White Pine award is for high school-aged teens. This year’s selections are:

    • Borderline by Allan Stratton (HarperCollinsCanada)
    • Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay (Random House)
    • Fishtailing by Wendy Phillips (Coteau Books)
    • Gravity Brings Me Down by Natale Ghent (Random House)
    • Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey (Penguin Group Canada)
    • The Monkeyface Chronicles by Richard Scarsbrook (Thistledown Press)
    • The Second Trial by Rosemarie Boll (Second Story Press)
    • Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (HB Fenn)
    • Swim the Fly by Don Calame (Random House)
    • The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers (HarperCollinsCanada)

    I’m thrilled to be participating on the White Pine steering committee again this year.  Looks like I have some serious reading to do! I’ve read many of the Red Maple selections, but only one of the White Pines.

    For more information about the Forest of Reading program, including the complete list of nominated titles, go to:

    Let the reading begin!

    Finalists for the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Awards Announced

    This year, the titles shortlisted in the “Children’s Literature” category are all for young adults. I guess this is a testament to how much great writing for teens Canadian authors are producing these days! I can’t help but wonder if YA should have its own category…

    The finalists are:

    Children’s Literature — Text

    Me, Myself and IkeMe, Myself and Ike by K.L. Denman (Orca Book Publishers)

    What the committee said: “Me, Myself and Ike is a gripping novel full of surprises. K.L. Denman’s masterfully-crafted first-person narrative on schizophrenia sweeps the reader along as Kit Latimer descends into a terrifying world where the real and imagined have no discernible divide. Denman manages to portray Kit in a way that is both realistic and sympathetic.”

    TyrannyTyranny by Lesley Fairfield (Tundra Books)

    What the committee said:Tyranny is a powerful piece of writing crafted as a graphic novel. Lesley Fairfield convincingly delves deep into the psyche of a young woman suffering from anorexia. The strength of the book lies in its simplicity, which carries the reader along on Anna’s horrifying journey to wellness.”


    Free as a Bird Free as a Bird by Gina McMurchy-Barber (Dundurn Press)

    What the committee said: Free as a Bird is a poignant journey through the life of Ruby Jean Sharp, a child living with Down syndrome. In this compelling tale of perseverance, trust and hope, Gina McMurchy-Barber takes the reader from the isolation and abuse of an institution, to the warmth and opportunity of a home, to the danger and camaraderie of the streets.”

    FishtailingFishtailing by Wendy Phillips (Coteau Books)

    What the committee said: Fishtailing is the story of four teenagers, four lives intertwined in the complex world of relationships and power struggles. In passionate poetic language that both chills and caresses, Wendy Phillips breathes life into these unforgettable characters whose stories offer insight, warning and endless possibilities. This compellingly-crafted poem is impossible to put down.”

    ScarsScars by Cheryl Rainfield (WestSide Books)

    What the committee said: “Cheryl Rainfield’s Scars asks: When hurt is deeply buried, how do you bring it to the surface? For Kendra, the possibilities lie between self-destruction and the redemptive powers of creativity. Teetering between these polarities until the very end, she is a memorable character whose struggle captivates.”

    The winners will be announced on Tuesday, November 16 in Montreal.

    For information on the finalists in the other categories, read the Canada Council’s press release.

    2010 Saskatchewan Book Award shortlist

    The shortlists for the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards have been announced. Winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony in Regina on November 27.

    The nominees in the Young Adult category are:

    • Arthur Slade, The Hunchback Assignments (HarperCollins Canada)
    • Arthur Slade, The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments II (HarperCollins Canada)
    • Alice Kuipers, The Worst Thing She Ever Did (HarperCollins Canada)
    • Beverley Brenna, Something To Hang On To (Thistledown Press)

    Starting in 2010, the awards for Young Adult and Children’s Literature will alternate from year to year.

    To be eligible for a Saskatchewan Book Award, authors must be Saskatchewan residents.

    To find out the nominees in the other categories, go to the Saskatchewan Book Awards website.

    Waiting on Wednesday (1)

    “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

    This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


    by Lesley Livingston

    Release date: December 21, 2010

    Publisher’s blurb: “In the days after Darklight, the Avalon Theatre has burned to the ground. The shadowy figure poisoning King Auberon is still at large. And Kelley and Sonny are torn asunder—because of the lie Kelley told that changed everything.

    Now Kelley tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, while Sonny takes refuge with a band of Lost Fae in an abandoned reservoir beneath Central Park. But those who would steal the Green Magick are not finished yet. A final showdown is coming, one that will put Sonny and Kelley’s love for each other to the ultimate test—if they survive that long.

    A vivid cast of characters returns—among them, Summer Fae Tyff, trickster Bob, Mabh and Titania, and the dangerously alluring Fennrys Wolf.”

    I am eagerly awaiting Tempestuous, the third and final book in the Wondrous Strange series by Canada’s Lesley Livingston. Book 2, Darklight, left me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!