Julie Flett wins $50K TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for picture book Bird Song


Julie Flett has won the 2020 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for her picture book Birdsong.

The $50,000 prize recognizes the best Canadian book for readers up to age 12 in any genre.

Birdsong is about a lonely girl who becomes friends with her new neighbour, an elderly woman. Together, they watch the seasons change, but as they both grow older, the young girl learns to cope with her friend’s declining health.

Birdsong was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature — illustration.

Unreserved8:05Illustrator Julie Flett brings light to a dark period of history

How do you make pictures for a book about life in residential school, kid-friendly? And how do you bring that lightness to a difficult and dark period of history? That’s something Julie Flett had to figure out. 8:05

Flett has illustrated several other picture books including Little YouMy Heart Fills with Happiness and We Sang You Home.

The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award is one of six English-language awards given out by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The awards, which include prizes for nonfiction, YA and picture books, annually recognize the best in Canadian children’s literature.

Nova Scotia author and illustrator Sydney Smith won the $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award for Small in the City.

Small in the City is about a young boy on the hunt for a precious item he has lost on a snowy day in a big city. Along the way, he navigates special shortcuts and shares secrets about the city he lives in. 

Small in the City won the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature — illustration. It was the first book both written and illustrated by Smith. 

Other books he has illustrated include Town is by the Seawritten by Joanne Schwartz, and Sidewalk Flowerswritten by JonArno Lawson. 

Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through Historywritten by Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David, illustrated by Gillian Wilson won the $10,000 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non‐Fiction. The prize recognizes nonfiction for readers up to age 18.

Killer Style digs into the history of fashion and finds examples of times when clothes literally killed or harmed people, from flammable flannel to mad hatters.

Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaide won the $5,000 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. The prize recognizes historical fiction for readers up to age 18.

Orange for the Sunsets is about Asha and her best friend Yesofu. They never worried about the fact that she was Indian and he was African. But when Idi Amin expels Indian families from the country, everything between them changes.

The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones won the $5,000 John Spray Mystery Award. The prize recognizes mystery books for readers between the ages of eight and 18.

The Starlight Claim follows a boy named Nate who is suffering from bad dreams after his best friend goes missing. Nate decides to embark on a treacherous solo journey to find out what happened that fateful day. Nate is forced to rely on his wits in a wilderness full of strangers, secrets and a blustery winter storm. 

In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen won the $5,000 Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. The prize recognizes Canadian young adult books for readers between the ages of 13 and 18.

In the Key of Nira Ghani is about a girl named Nira, who dreams of becoming a professional musician, but her parents are pushing her to follow a more secure career path. Striving to prove herself on the trumpet, Nira also faces rough friendship waters with her crush Noah, mean-girl McKenzie, new friend Emily and cousin Farah.




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