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Two prestigious $20,000 prizes celebrate the most distinguished English and French-language Canadian children's books of the year MONTREAL, Aug. 6 /CNW/ - The Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank Financial Group are proud to announce the finalists of the 2008 TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards for the most distinguished books of the year. This annual award recognizes excellence in Canadian children's literature with $20,000 for the most distinguished book written in English and $20,000 for the most distinguished book written in French. "Starting to read at an early age is an important first step in living a happy and healthy life. That's why children's authors are so important - they help introduce the wonderful world of reading to young Canadians," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair and Literacy Champion, TD Bank Financial Group. "In recognition of their good work, we have set up a children's literature award that is among Canada's most prestigious literary prizes. We're giving back to our homegrown talent by awarding them with a $20,000 cash prize so they can continue to follow their dreams and author children's books that inspire us all." This year's nominated titles will captivate the hearts and imaginations of children and adults everywhere. Readers will be introduced to characters such as the young Sherlock Holmes and the crime-ridden streets of 1867 inner-city London; 11-year-old Elijah, the first African Canadian child to be born into freedom in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement for runaway slaves; and a young girl named Kate who is fraught with jealousy after being selected by artist John Singer Sargent to be a model for a painting. "At the Canadian Children's Book Centre we encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers, and what better way to do that than to recognize rising authors with a highly regarded award such as the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award," said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, The Canadian Children's Book Centre. "We are proud to be joining efforts with TD on this exciting journey to reward our talented Canadian children's authors." All books, in any genre, written by a Canadian for children ages one through 12 were eligible for the awards. Entries were judged on the quality of the text and illustrations and the book's overall contribution to literature. The winner of the English-language award will be announced at a gala at The Carlu in Toronto on November 6, 2008. The English-language finalists for the 2008 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, with jury comments, are as follows: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting By Hugh Brewster with paintings by John Singer Sargent Kids Can Press "An outstanding information book... Beautifully written and produced, with a fine balance of illustration, biographical and historical detail and insight into the creative process, all through the viewpoint of a child whose humanity makes it true." Darkwing By Kenneth Oppel HarperCollins Publishers "Darkwing continues Oppel's reputation for creating textured, engrossing animal societies that win generations of fans. The exceptional writing is filled with descriptive details, emotive connotations and visual sightings that give a richly plotted, fact-filled glimpse into this prehistoric world." Elijah of Buxton By Christopher Paul Curtis Scholastic Canada "Tears of laughter and sadness commingle as Curtis immerses readers in the daily happenings of the nineteenth century Ontario community of Buxton whose inhabitants are slaves who have escaped from the United States. This novel engagingly and dramatically brings to life a little known segment of Canadian history." Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case By Shane Peacock Tundra Books "Historical fiction at its finest! The plot, speculating on the childhood adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is well-constructed, fast paced and embedded with details. Superb characterization is accompanied by witty dialogue and the author's love of vivid descriptive words." Please, Louise! By Frieda Wishinsky Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay Groundwood Books "A gem of a picture book delighting in the warm relationship between brother and younger sister. Lively watercolours explode across the pages adding detail and humour to the powerful simplicity of the text. The words sing as they are read!" The 2008 English jury members were Maya Munro Byers, owner, Livres Babar Books, Montreal; Theo Heras, Children's Literature Resource Collection Specialist, Lillian H. Smith Library, Toronto Public Library; Dr. Dave Jenkinson, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba; Ron Jobe, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia; and Norene Smiley, author, Pugwash, Nova Scotia. The French-language finalists for the 2008 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, with jury comments, are as follows: Chester Texte et illustrations de Mélanie Watt Editions Scholastic "Cet album humoristique est d'un concept innovateur. Chester le chat, personnage prétentieux et taquin, se joue de son auteure-illustratrice afin de ravir à la souris le rôle principal de l'histoire. Ce livre comporte une magnifique mise en abîme où... les souris gagnent!" Farouj le coq Texte de Badiâa Sekfali Illustrations de Jean-Marie Benoit Editions Les 400 coups "Ce conte, issu de la tradition arabo-berbère, nous transporte dans l'intemporalité. Le récit avec une grande délicatesse et limpidité transmet de nombreuses valeurs; le respect d'autrui, la persévérance, la détermination, la bonté, la sincérité et la foi en un monde meilleur. Les illustrations de couleurs chaudes sont de véritables oeuvres d'art." Le Mur Texte d'Angèle Delaunois Illustrations de Pierre Houde Editions de l'Isatis "Ce conte moderne a une portée universelle. Il permet de voir la naissance et l'absurdité d'un conflit ainsi que les conséquences qui en découlent, pour soi et pour les autres. Les illustrations arrivent à transmettre, avec une luminosité touchante, l'hostilité que l'on retrouve dans le récit. L'ensemble permet de saisir comment une peccadille peut devenir un mur d'incompréhensions." La Petite rapporteuse de mots Texte de Danielle Simard Illustrations de Geneviève Côté Editions Les 400 coups "Cet album tout en finesse raconte une histoire de tous les jours. Le thème difficile de la maladie d'Alzheimer est rarement présent dans la littérature jeunesse, mais l'est par contre de plus en plus dans la vie actuelle. Le texte, sensible et touchant, est porté par des illustrations évanescentes comme les mots dans la bouche de la grand-mère, elles savent à merveille transmettre les émotions. La complicité intergénérationnelle règne au coeur de ce magnifique album." Un cadeau pour Sophie Texte de Gilles Vigneault Illustrations de Stéphane Jorisch Editions La montagne secrete "Une histoire réaliste tout en poésie, aux couleurs de bord de mer. Le texte et les illustrations s'harmonisent en une véritable ode à l'enfance et à la vie. Un cadeau pour tous. Ce livre transmet le sens de la continuité, l'importance de se souvenir, la valeur que peut avoir un cadeau..." The 2008 French jury members were Charlotte Guérette, professeure retraitée-associée à l'Université Laval, Québec (Québec); Pascale Grenier, bibliothécaire Espace jeunes, responsable du Centre québécois en littérature pour la jeunesse - Direction des services à la clientèle Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montréal (Québec); Manon Richer, chargée de cours en littérature jeunesse et spécialiste en littérature jeunesse, Montréal (Québec); Céline Rufiange, enseignante ressource en lecture et collaboratrice à la revue Lurelu, Montréal (Québec); Nathalie Tremblay, libraire jeunesse à la Librairie Alire, Longueuil (Québec). The winner of the French-language award will be announced at a gala at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal on October 29, 2008. About The Canadian Children's Book Centre The Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization, founded in 1976 to encourage, promote and support the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. The CCBC's programs, publications and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers. For more information visit TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the three main areas of focus for community giving at TD. Flagship programs within these areas include: TD Children's Hospital Fund; TD Friends of the Environment Foundation; TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; TD Canadian Children's Book Week; TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership; and the TD Summer Reading Club. With support from customers and employees, TD is also involved with a host of national, regional and local causes benefiting diversity, arts and culture and other community programs. In 2007, TD donated $33 million to more than 2,000 organizations across Canada. For further information: Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, (416) 975-0010,; Matthew Cram, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 983-1514,; Jill Quinn, GCI Group on behalf of TD and the CCBC, (416) 486-5906,

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