Skip to main content

Author and illustrator share $25,000 prize - one of the largest for children's literature in Canada

TORONTO, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - The Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank Financial Group announced this evening that author Nicola I. Campbell and illustrator Kim LaFave are this year's recipients of the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for the book, Shin-chi's Canoe.

Shin-chi's Canoe was selected as the most distinguished English-language children's book of the year from a list of five notable finalists, representing some of the most talented children's literature authors Canada has to offer. The $25,000 award, which Campbell and LaFave will split, is one of the largest of its kind for children's literature in Canada.

All of the short-listed books were written and illustrated by Canadians for children between the ages of one and 12. Entries were judged on the quality of the text and illustrations, and the books' overall contribution to literature.

"Shin-chi's Canoe is a haunting yet beautifully written account of the challenges facing Native children in Canada in the residential school system," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group and TD's Literacy Champion. "This compelling story will help children develop a greater appreciation for reading as they learn about the rich history and culture of Canada's First Nations people."

Originally from British Columbia's Nicola Valley, Campbell now resides in North Vancouver. Of Interior Salish and Nsilx ancestry on her mother's side and Métis on her father's side, many of Campbell's family members attended residential schools. Campbell's first book, Shi-shi-etco, published in 2006, was named co-winner of the Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year.

Shin-chi's Canoe is the story of a six-year old native boy, who leaves home with his sister to enter a residential school. Once there, Shin-chi must give up his language and many of his traditions in favour of European customs. Shin-chi misses his family and looks to the river for the returning salmon; a sign that spring is coming and he will soon return home. He returns home to find his father carving a dugout canoe for Shin-chi and his sister, just as he promised he would when they left for the residential school.

Other nominated finalists include Shane Peacock for Death in the Air, Alma Fullerton for Libertad, Cary Fagan for Thing-Thing, illustrated by Nicolas Debon and Susin Nielsen for Word Nerd.

Other awards presented at the gala included the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

"These finalists are just a few examples of our immensely talented Canadian authors," added McKenna. "As literacy and education is a primary focus of TD's Community Giving program, partnering with the Canadian Children's Book Centre is a tremendous opportunity to champion children's literature all across the country."

This year's jury members included Nancy Cohen, Children's Librarian, Moncton Public Library; Theo Heras, author and Children's Literature Specialist; Dr. Ron Jobe, Librarian, Toronto Public Library; Dr. Dave Jenkinson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia and Josiane Polidori, Head, Children's Literature, Library and Archives Canada.

"Nicola I. Campbell has written a poignant story that is beautifully complemented by Kim LaFave's illustrations and we celebrate this recognition with them," said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, Canadian Children's Book Centre. "This is truly the most prestigious award in the field of children's literature and we want to thank TD for their generous support. It is enormously gratifying to be part of an event that honours such gifted writers and illustrators."

The TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for the most distinguished French-language book of the year was presented to Anne Villeneuve for her book Chère Traudi, (Dear Traudi,). The French-language awards gala took place on November 2, 2009 in Montreal.

The TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards takes place in conjunction with TD Canadian Children's Book Week. This week, the Canadian Children's Book Centre distributed more than 500,000 copies of Let's Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here to grade one students across the country, courtesy of TD Bank Financial Group. Let's Go! was written by Lizann Flatt and illustrated by Scot Ritchie.

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 are the three main areas of focus for TD's community giving. 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 Scholarships for Community Leadership; and the TD Summer Reading Club. With support from customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national, regional and local causes benefiting diversity, arts and culture and other community programs. In 2008, TD donated $35 million to more than 2,100 organizations across Canada.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/

See you in a bit

You are now leaving our website and entering a third-party website over which we have no control.

Continue to site Return to TD Stories

Neither TD Bank US Holding Company, nor its subsidiaries or affiliates, is responsible for the content of the third-party sites hyperlinked from this page, nor do they guarantee or endorse the information, recommendations, products or services offered on third party sites.

Third-party sites may have different Privacy and Security policies than TD Bank US Holding Company. You should review the Privacy and Security policies of any third-party website before you provide personal or confidential information.