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Author receives $20,000 prize, one of the largest for children's literature in Canada TORONTO, Nov. 6 /CNW/ - The Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank Financial Group announced this evening that author Christopher Paul Curtis received the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for the most distinguished English-language children's book of the year. Curtis's book, Elijah of Buxton, was selected as the best from among five excellent home-grown choices, representing some of the most talented children's authors in Canada. Curtis was awarded $20,000, one of the largest prizes for children's literature in Canada. All entries were written and illustrated by Canadians for children ages one to 12 and judged on the quality of text and illustrations in addition to the book's overall contribution to Canadian children's literature. "We are honoured to present Christopher Paul Curtis with the 2008 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and hope that parents and children across Canada will be delighted and entertained by this book," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group and TD's Literacy Champion. "TD takes great pride in knowing that this award not only helps recognize the creative talent in this country, but that it also helps alleviate some of the challenges faced by many Canadian authors in seeing their dreams realized in the form of published work." Curtis originally hails from Flint, Michigan but has been living in Windsor, Ontario for the past 25 years. His other award-winning children's books include The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Bud, Not Buddy, and Bucking the Sarge. Elijah of Buxton is the story of an 11-year old boy living in an Ontario settlement of runaway slaves, who embarks on a journey back to the United States and discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled. Curtis uses his trademark humour and vibrant narrative style to tell this gripping and sometimes hilarious tale that is an unforgettable testament to the power of hope. "I am so proud to be honoured with this prestigious award," said Curtis. "One of the reasons I write children's literature is because I want to bring joy to children through their love of reading. The positive response I've had to Elijah of Buxton from Canadian readers has been extremely gratifying and winning this award is the icing on the cake." The remaining four finalists: Hugh Brewster for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting; Kenneth Oppel for Darkwing; Shane Peacock for Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case; and Frieda Wishinsky for Please, Louise! will share a $10,000 award. Other awards presented at the gala included the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction. "We have a terrific pool of talented children's literature authors in this country including many of our nominees and I'm sure the judges had a difficult time selecting the winner," said McKenna. "Thanks in part to the great work of the Canadian Children's Book Centre, literacy in this country is being recognized and supported and TD is a very proud sponsor of this award." This year's judges included: Maya Munro Byers, owner, Livres Babar Books; 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. "Christopher Paul Curtis has written an exceptional and inspiring story and we are delighted that he won this award," said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, Canadian Children's Book Centre. "It's immensely satisfying to witness a truly talented group of Canadian writers honoured by being nominated for Canada's top prize in their field. We'd like to thank TD for providing that recognition for the fourth year in a row." The TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for the most distinguished French-language book of the year was presented in Montreal on October 29, 2008 to author Gilles Vigneault and illustrator Stéphane Jorisch for Un Cadeau pour Sophie (A Gift for Sophie). 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. /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on the CNW Photo Network and archived at Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive website at Images are free to accredited members of the media/ For further information: Matthew Cram, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 983-1514, (647) 504-5013 (cell),; Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, (416) 975-0010,; Stephanie Sayer, GCI Group on behalf of TD and the CCBC, (416) 486-9783,

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