Announcing the finalists for the Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award

The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable is pleased to announce the shortlist for the first annual Sheila Barry Best Picturebook of the Year Award. This year’s award is for a book published in Canada in 2019.

The winning book and three honour books will be announced on September 7, 2020. A virtual award ceremony is planned for late fall.

The shortlist of ten books

King Mouse by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dena Seiferling (Tundra)

Birdsong by Julie Flett (Greystone)

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe (Simon & Schuster)

Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden byAndrew Larsen and Illustrated by Anne Villeneuve (Kids Can)

Encounter Brittany Luby and illustrated by Michaela Goade (Tundra)

It Began with a Page by Kyo Maclear and Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Tundra)

Princess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl by Susin Neilsen and illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller (Tundra)

The House at the End of the Road by Kari Rust (Owlkids)

The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden by Heather Smithand illustrated by Rachel Wada (Orca)

Small in the City by Sydney Smith (Groundwood)

Announcing the 2020 Information Book Award Shortlist

The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada announce the 2020 Information Book Award Shortlist

The Information Book Award committee will adjudicate the shortlist and announce the winner later this fall.

(Nine terrific non-fiction titles published in 2019, listed alphabetically)

A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies. By Mia Pelletier. Illustrated by Danny Christopher. Published by Inhabit Media.

Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game. By Rachel Poliquin. Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler. Published by Kids Can Press.

Caribou. By Dorothy and David Aglukark. Illustrated by Amanda Sandland. Published by Inhabit Media.

Digging Deep: How Science Unearths Puzzles from the Past. By Laura Scandiffio. Published by Annick Press.

I Am a Feminist: Claiming the F-Word in Turbulent Times. By Monique Polak. Published by Orca Book Publishers.

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way. By Kyo Maclear. Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Published by Tundra Books

Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through History. By Alison Matthews David and Serah-Marie McMahon. Illustrated by Gillian Wilson. Published by Owlkids.

Moon Mission. By Sigmund Brouwer. Published by Kids Can Press.

Orcas Everywhere: The Mystery and History of Killer Whales. By Mark Leiren-Young. Published by Orca Book Publishers.

Information Book Award Jury: Sarah Fast, Brooklyn Cribdon, Lauren Hathaway, Fiona Trotter, Danielle Wing, Sarah Bagshaw, Chair: Natalie Schembri

Announcing the First Annual Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award

Submission deadline March 31, 2020.

Administered by the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable, the Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award will be awarded each year at what has previously been known as the VCLR Annual Fall Illustrator’s Breakfast, but will now be the Annual VCLR Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award Breakfast.

The $2500 cash award is specifically for books in the acknowledged picturebook format famously defined by Barbara Bader in 1976 as

an art form [that] hinges on the interdependence of pictures and words, on the simultaneous display of two facing pages, and on the drama of the turning of the page”

Submissions are due by Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The submission fee is $30 per title. For each submission please include a completed submission form for each title and three copies of the book. If the book is shortlisted we will request brief bios for each author and/or illustrator, their photos, and contact information.

Criteria:

  • The book must exhibit a seamless integration of the verbal and visual modes. In the case of a wordless book then it must be a seamless integration of the unwritten narrative that can be inferred from the well sequenced series of images. 
  • The book must be written in English by a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and must be published by a Canadian publisher during 2019.
  • Revisions and reprints of previously published works are not eligible for the award.
  • In the case of self-published books, proof of professional editing must be submitted along with a confirmation that there is a current print run of at least 350 copies.
  • A three-person jury will select the winning book and four honour books
  • The cash prize will go to the author/illustrator. In the case of a separate author and illustrator, the prize will be split 50/50.

The winning title and four honour books will be announced on Canada Day July 1, 2020.

The winner(s) will be invited to be the featured speaker(s) at the Annual VCLR Sheila Barry Best Picturebook of the Year Award Breakfast in fall 2020 at which time the prize will be officially awarded to the winner (s).  VCLR will cover the cost of hotel accommodation and meals but will request transportation cost support from the publisher.    

Please complete a submission form and mail your submission, including 3 copies of each book plus a fee of $30 per title in a cheque made out to the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable.

Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

About Sheila Barry and why we named this award after her.

Celebrate!

CWILL BC and VCLR present

CELEBRATE!

An event to honour BC Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Featuring Linda Bailey, winner of the 2019 Information Book Award for Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

6:00pm – 9:00pm

University Golf Club

5185 University Blvd.

FREE to members

Enjoy appetizers, bubbly beverages and a silent auction

Spotlight on Tara Walker, guest speaker at the Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16

Tara Walker, vice-president and publisher of Tundra Books (a division of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers), will be speaking at our annual Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16. This year’s theme is a tribute to the late Sheila Barry a highly regarded publisher at Groundwood Books and a beloved editor to all who worked with her. Her legacy includes many wonderful award-winning books for children.

What is your favourite memory of Sheila?

My fondest memories of Sheila are the regular check-ins we used to have with one another long after we worked together at Kids Can. Mostly our meetings consisted of funny stories we traded back and forth of everyday happenings at work and at home. There were many laughs and very little discussion of actual work. Almost all of them began with Sheila saying, “Tara Walker, I have the funniest thing to tell you” and many of them ended with “I love you, Tara Walker.”

What particular quality or ethic did Sheila bring to her editing work?

Sheila had a feather-light touch and gave her authors and illustrators—and her editors—a lot of freedom to roam in their work. That’s what I loved most about Sheila as my editor-in-chief: I felt she gave me a safe space to be creative and let me realize my vision for a book in a way that I never could if I didn’t feel so supported.

What three qualities do you think a great picturebook possesses?

The best picture books don’t talk down to children and don’t let the words do all of the storytelling. Truly great picturebook makers leave room for the art to do much of the talking, and they create memorable characters that kids can identify with, whether it’s a bear who wants his hat back or a boy who is sent to bed without his supper.

What are some of the books that you’ve edited?

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey
This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary & Julie Morstad
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield & the Fan Brothers 
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear & Isabelle Arsenault
Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt
Narwhal and Jelly series by Ben Clanton

Spotlight on Deborah Hodge, guest speaker at the Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16

Deborah Hodge will be speaking at our annual Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16. This year’s theme is a tribute to the late Sheila Barry a highly regarded publisher at Groundwood Books and a beloved editor to all who worked with her. Her legacy includes many wonderful award-winning books for children.

What is your favourite memory of Sheila?

Sheila was a lot of fun and we often laughed together. Once when she was heading to Bologna for the Children’s Book Fair, I told her I was envious of her trip. As a consolation, the next time I was in Toronto, she treated me to a dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant where we shared yummy pasta and glasses of sparkling prosecco.

What particular quality or ethic did Sheila bring to her editing work?

Sheila was a gifted editor who believed deeply in her creators and their creative process. She trusted the authors and illustrators she worked with and provided a warm, supportive space where creators could feel comfortable taking risks and trying new things. She used to say to me, “I’ll read anything you write.”

What three qualities do you think a great picturebook possesses?

Wonderful writing, beautiful art and a seamless (and happy!) marriage between them.

What books did you work on with Sheila?

Cooking with Bear, Groundwood Books, 2019
Bear’s Winter Party
, Groundwood Books, 2016
West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet, Groundwood Books, 2015
Watch Me Grow! A Down-to-Earth Look at Growing Food in the City, Kids Can Press, 2011
Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm, Kids Can Press, 2010
The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration, Kids Can Press, 2006

(I would also consider these books to be among my best ones.)

Register to attend the Illustrator’s Breakfast today!

8:00 am – 12:00 pm | November 16, 2019 | University Golf Course

Early Bird Rates end October 20, 2019
Registration closes November 13, 2019

Spotlight on Caroline Adderson, guest speaker at the Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16

Carline Adderson will be speaking at our annual Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16. This year’s theme is a tribute to the late Sheila Barry a highly regarded publisher at Groundwood Books and a beloved editor to all who worked with her. Her legacy includes many wonderful award-winning books for children.

What is your favourite memory of Sheila?

Once I brought a 400 word “manuscript” to lunch. I asked if I could share an idea. “Of course!” As I pulled it out of my purse, a look of horror crossed Sheila’s face. “Are you going to read that to me in a restaurant?”  I said, “Yes!”  I only got a couple of stanzas in, her eyes darting around for the exit, when the waiter approached.  It was her chance to cut me off. Instead, her protective instinct kicked in. “Do you mind?” she told him. Then she bought the book.

What particular quality or ethic did Sheila bring to her editing work?

Humour!  She was so very, very funny that even when she was telling you you had to write yet another draft, you didn’t mind prolonging the process.  

What three qualities do you think a great picturebook possesses?

Great art (even more important than the text, in my opinion), a child-centred text, love.

What books did you work on with Sheila?

The first three Jasper John Dooley books, Norman Speak! and I Love You One to Ten. 

Register to attend the Illustrator’s Breakfast today!

8:00 am – 12:00 pm | November 16, 2019 | University Golf Course

Early Bird Rates end October 20, 2019
Registration closes November 13, 2019

Spotlight on Bob Heidbreder, guest speaker at the Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16

Bob Heidbreder will be speaking at our annual Illustrator’s Breakfast on November 16. This year’s theme is a tribute to the late Sheila Barry a highly regarded publisher at Groundwood Books and a beloved editor to all who worked with her. Her legacy includes many wonderful award-winning books for children.

What is your favourite memory of Sheila?

Sheila and I did not meet often because of distance, but with emails and phone conversations I felt we were both discovering again and again a valued, happy friendship.

Every aspect of living engaged Sheila. Liveliness, lovingness, warmth and care are what I will always remember about Sheila. She willingly shared her spirit.

What particular quality or ethic did Sheila bring to her editing work?

Big ears—to listen to the creator and to catch the rhythms of the story as it is told.

Big eyes—to see the beauty, power and strength that even an unfinished manuscript is hiding.

Big heart—to embrace books, to cherish editing and to esteem others.

What three qualities do you think a great picture book possesses?

Great picture books are like great choreography. The words and the pictures dance together to create a moving musical whole.

Great picture books are like great poetry. They send you along linguistic and visual paths you didn’t know and challenge you here and there on the way.

Great pictures books are like great gifts. They surprise you, enrich you and become a lasting part of your life.

What books did you work on with Sheila?

There were only two books that Sheila and I worked on together directly:

Song for a Summer Night and Rooster Summer, but I know she was behind the scenes in many of my other books at KCP: Lickety-Split, Drumheller Dinosaur Dance, A Sea-Wishing Day, etc. And we were just to begin editing Our Corner Store, which in an email to me when she accepted the book she called “pure joy.”

Register to attend the Illustrator’s Breakfast today!

8:00 am – 12:00 pm | November 16, 2019 | University Golf Course

Early Bird Rates end October 20, 2019
Registration closes November 13, 2019

Events for the 2019-20 Membership Year

Annual VCLR Illustrator’s Breakfast: A Tribute to Sheila Barry
Join us in a starry tribute to the brilliant picturebook editor and publisher, the late Sheila Barry, nurturer of books such as Sidewalk Flower, Speak Norman, Speak, Small in the City, and so many more.

Featuring some of Canada’s children’s lit stars: Caroline Adderson, Linda Bailey, Sarah Ellis, Robert Heidbreder, Deborah Hodge, and Tundra editor/publisher, Tara Walker.

We will also be formally announcing the new Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award.

We welcome donations to help us cover the cost of offering reduced rates to students. Vancouver Kidsbooks will be on hand to sell books.

We are also holding a silent auction of great books, illustrations, and items related to picturebooks and children’s literature.

8:00 am – 12:00 pm | November 16, 2019 | University Golf Course

Early Bird Rates end October 20, 2019
Registration closes November 13, 2019


Celebrate! Award-Winning B.C. Children’s Writers and Illustrators
A celebration of BC award winning children’s authors and illustrators of 2019. The guest speaker will be the winner of the 2019 Information Book Award (the winner will be announced November 16, 2019 at the Illustrator’s Breakfast).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Free to members. Bubbly beverages and appetizers at the University Golf Club.


Special Picturebook Event
June 2020
Stay tuned . . . more details to come!

Register online here or download a mail-in registration form here.


Don’t forget that except where noted, these are member-only events. Don’t miss out. Please make sure your membership is up-to-date. Renew your VCLR membership here.