Our 2021 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalists

Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honours the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year, we have three finalists in the Young People’s Literature categories, one in text and two in illustrated books. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

Out Into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265592 | Tundra Books
It’s Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents on her own at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. And she makes best friends with her grandparents’ dog, Parbuckle. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate – but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart and feisty character who will capture your heart in this gorgeous and moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Text

Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field
By Angela Ahn
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
312 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268241 | Tundra Books
Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L.B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust. Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L.B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once – he needs time to sketch out a plan.

Special thanks to the peer assessment committee: Kyrsten Brooker, Catherine Hernandez, Aviaq Johnston, Karen Rivers, and Ken Setterington.

Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. The winners of the 2021 Governor General Literary Awards will be announced on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Our 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award Winner

Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honors the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. We would like to congratulate The Fan Brothers whose gorgeous picture book, The Barnabus Project, won the award in the Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books category!

The Barnabus Project
By Terry Fan, Eric Fan, and Devin Fan
72 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263260 | Tundra Books
Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are.

Congratulations as well to our other nominees in the Young People’s Literature – Text category, Polly Horvath and David A. Robertson!

Pine Island HomePine Island Home
By Polly Horvath
240 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268623 | Puffin Canada
From Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning author Polly Horvath comes a story of four sisters searching for home. Fiona, Marlin, Natasha, and Charlie McCready are left on their own when their missionary parents are washed away in a tsunami. Fortunately, their great aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls — a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own. Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night. As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family. But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona can’t help but worry that it is only a matter of time before they are caught. What she needs to do is find them a real guardian.

The Barren GroundsThe Barren Grounds
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.

Our 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalists

GGbooks2019

Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honours the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year, we have four finalists in the Young People’s Literature categories, one in text and three in illustrated books. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Albert’s Quiet Quest
By Isabelle Arsenault
ISBN 9781101917626 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 4-8
“In Arsenault’s ideal neighborhood, independent children make their own decisions and form their own community, and they resolve their own conflicts, too.” – Publishers Weekly

How to Give Your Cat a Bath
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
ISBN 9780735263543 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
“This laugh-out-loud picture book can serve as a beginning reader. . . . The inevitable ending will delight both children and adults and this title will be requested over and over.” – Starred Review, Booklist

King Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
ISBN 9780735264045 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
“Graceful and perceptive in both illustration and text, the timeless theme is particularly pertinent today.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Text

The Grey Sisters
By Jo Treggiari
ISBN 9780735262980 | Penguin Teen Canada
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Ages 12+
“Dark and gripping. . . . [R]eaders will have a hard time putting the book down.” – School Library Journal

Special thanks to the peer assessment committee: Shauntay Grant, Jon Klassen, Kathryn Shoemaker, Kagiso Lesego Molope, Kenneth Oppel, and Ellen Schwartz.

Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. The winners of the 2019 Governor General Literary Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

Our 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalists

GGBOOKS
Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honours the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year, we have two finalists in the Young People’s Literature categories, one in text and one in illustrated books. Congratulations to Wab Kinew, Joe Morse, and Jonathan Auxier!

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books
Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
ISBN 9780735262928 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 40 Pages

  • “A beautiful celebration of Indigenous excellence.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • “The reverberation of the central theme—you matter—and the gorgeous illustrations will resonate with readers” – School Library Connection
  • “Kinew . . . underlines the key idea that ‘we are people who matter./Yes, it’s true./ Now let’s show the world what people who matter can do.’” – Publishers Weekly
  • “This is a forever book; one that the child can grow with from the youngest age[.]” – Windspeaker

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Text
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
by Jonathan Auxier
ISBN 9780735264359 | Puffin Canada
Hardcover | 368 Pages

  • “This dazzling, warmhearted novel contemplates selflessness and saving, deep love and what makes a monster.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
  • “As heartbreaking as bleak midwinter — and as hopeful as early spring.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
  • Sweep’s ambition and sophistication are impressive.” – Quill & Quire
  • “. . . a tale that is both uplifting and heartbreaking.” – The New York Times

Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. The winners of the 2018 Governor General Literary Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

Finalists for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Awards

ggla2016Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honours the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year, we have two finalists in the Young People’s Literature categories, one in text and one in illustrated books. Congratulations to Trilby Kent and Esmé Shapiro!

Young People’s Literature – Text

Once in a Town Called MothOnce, in a Town Called Moth
Written by Trilby Kent
Hardcover | 224 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN: 9781101918111
eBook: 9781101918135
“Kent writes with refreshing emotional sophistication.… As literary as it is smart, Kent’s novel reflects life beautifully in its rigorous denial of pat, easy answers.” 
– Starred review, Quill & Quire

Congratulations to the other finalists in this category: Mikaela Everett for The Unquiet, E.K. Johnston for A Thousand Nights, Martine Leavitt for Calvin, and Tim Wynne-Jones for The Emperor of Any Place.

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

OokoOoko
By Esmé Shapiro
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 9781101918449
eBook: 9781101918456
“Shapiro is onto something here: a hard to define ‘Ooko-ness,’ that is lovely, invigorating and pure.”
Quill & Quire

Congratulations to the other finalists in this category: Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith for The White Cat and the Monk, Lucy Ruth Cummins for A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka for Tokyo Digs a Garden, and Mireille Messier and Pierre Pratt for The Branch.

Go online to discover the year’s best books and their authors, illustrators and translators, on the new interactive GG website. Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. Like the GGs on Facebook for all the latest updates.

The winners of the 2016 Governor General Literary Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.