2022 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards

The Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards are held annually to recognize excellence in writing by authors residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the category of Children’s/Young Adult Literature, Charis Cotter was the 2022 Winner for her book, The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, presented at the A.C. Hunter Children’s Library on September 28, 2022. Congratulations Charis!

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story
By Charis Cotter
360 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735269088 | Tundra Books
Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip – the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady. The house is huge, imposing, and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect – not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed – a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse. . . . When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house?

A cross between Alice in Wonderland and Narnia with some time travel thrown in for good measure. Cleanly and beautifully written, Charis Cotter’s style is consistent and never flags.

Twelve-year-old Alice finds her summer plans upended when her parents suddenly separate. She must go with her mother who takes a job with a mean elderly lady in a creepy old house in a small town far away. When Alice discovers an exquisitely detailed dollhouse in the attic of the house, it provides a portal to people and events of decades past and Alice is drawn into these experiences.

The character of Alice is real and well-drawn. Lily and Bubble, who are developmentally challenged, are sensitively portrayed, adding an extra dimension of sweetness to the story. There’s an even pull of events as the plot unfolds in a gentle fashion.

Like Alice, the reader is unsure what is real and what is imagined. The haunted house within a haunted house concept is unique and original. Scary without being too frightening, an excellent spooky story written to be savoured. —The Children’s/Young Adult Literature Jury

2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards

The Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards are held annually to recognize excellence in writing by authors residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. We would like to congraulate Charis Cotter whose middle grade novel, The Ghost Road won this year’s Bruneau Family Award for Children’s/Young Adult Literature.

The Ghost Road
By Charis Cotter
368 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735263253 | Tundra Books
“Spanning across seven generations from Ireland to a small outport in Newfoundland, newly introduced cousins, Ruby and Ruth, work together to unravel a mysterious family secret that was carried by their ancestors across the Atlantic more than a century ago. Ruth, who is analytical and skeptical, and Ruby, who is energetic and adventurous, are the perfect pair to eke out the truth about the secrets that have been woven into the very fabric of the small coastal community their family has long-resided in.

Charis Cotter’s eloquent, enchanting prose brings Newfoundland’s folklore and natural history alive — you can almost hear the voices of fairies dancing on the breeze intermingled with the smell of the saltwater and wildflowers. A story of folklore and family, in which the two heroines are both helped and hindered by an ornery witch, a mischievous old storyteller, and a swath of ghostly characters — The Ghost Road will appeal to young readers and adults alike.” – Bruneau Family Award jury