The Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice’s Willow Awards promotes reading by granting a Willow Award to the Canadian books voted by students to be the best of those nominated in three categories: Shining Willow, Diamond Willow, and Snow Willow. The 2014 Willow Awards winners were announced at the SaskEnergy Willow Awards Gala 2015 on May 14, 2015.
Congratulations to K’naan, Sol Guy, and Rudy Gutierrez for winning the Shining Willow Award!
When I Get Older
The Story behind “Wavin’ Flag”
Written by K’naan and Sol Guy
Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
“Somali-Canadian musician K’naan’s first children’s book tells the inspirational story of his immigration to Canada to escape the Somali War. K’naan uses accessible yet poetic language to draw in young readers, exploring his adjustment to Canada and how music kept him connected to his family. Gutierrez’s artwork powerfully conveys a new immigrant’s sense of alienation.” – Parents Canada
The Willow Awards have been announced! We are very happy to see that three of our titles have been nominated for the Shining Willow Award and one for the Diamond Willow. Congratulations to Roy MacGregor, Geneviève Després, Eric Walters, Eugenie Fernandes, Elise Gravel, and Charis Cotter for their fantastic work!
Click here for a bookmark checklist for the Shining Willow nominees and click here for the Diamond Willow bookmark.
Shining Willow Nominees:
The Highest Number in the World
Written by Roy MacGregor
Illustrated by Geneviève Després
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
“MacGregor’s writing packs an emotional punch without relying on sentimentality (‘Gabe’s heart felt as if a skate had just run across it’). Expressive pencil drawings, brightened with color washes, perfectly capture the characters’ feelings. From the moment Grandma begins to share her past and her passion for hockey, the story’s context becomes broader, more complex, and more meaningful. A memorable, intergenerational picture book perfect for sharing.” – Starred Review, Booklist
My Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages |Ages 6-9
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply…. With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
“Gravel covers basics like worm anatomy and diet with simple text and bold, hand-lettered typography. But it’s the earthworm protagonist, sporting a beret and greeting readers with a worldly ‘Énchanté!’, that helps make the book so entertaining. It has a witty quip for every wormy fact…. But even the book’s more aesthetically challenged creatures—tapeworms, I’m looking at you—can’t help but woo with their cute dot-eyes and expressive mouths. The Worm is gross, silly, and informative—the perfect combo for maximum kid appeal.” – Science Friday
Diamond Willow Nominee:
The Swallow A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
“The novel alternates between Polly’s and Rose’s first-person points of view, and Cotter ably creates their two distinct voices, each of which is appealing in its own way. This is a novel about loneliness and friendship, feeling invisible, finding your voice, and long-buried secrets. But The Swallow is never heavy-handed, and, best of all, it’s genuinely spooky. Cotter builds suspense without artificially withholding information from the reader. And for bibliophiles, the author’s subtle hat tips to favourite books are a joy. Like all the best ghost stories, The Swallow tells us more about the living than the dead. It is a fantastic addition to Toronto literature, with all the makings of a classic.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire
The Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Award (SYRCA) has three awards—the Shining Willow Award, kindergarten to grade 3; the Diamond Willow Award, grades 4 to 6; and the Snow Willow Award, grades 7 to 9. Ten books written by Canadian authors are nominated at each level. We are happy to announce the following Tundra nominations for the 2013 Willow Awards:
Shining Willow: Here Comes Hortense!
Written by Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Georgia Graham
Hardcover | 32 Pages
What could be more fun for a six-year-old than having your nana and her new husband take you to a theme park? But Nana and Bob announce that they’ve planned a surprise: they are going to be joined by Bob’s granddaughter, Hortense. It turns out to be the worst surprise ever.
Diamond Willow: A Tinfoil Sky
Written by Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Hardcover | 224 Pages
Pub Date: January 2012
Twelve-year-old Mel and her mother Cecily live in poverty, and eventually end up homeless. When Cecily is jailed, Mel must live with her grandmother Gladys, who is very distrustful. Mel is determined to beat incredible odds and steer her own destiny, but she has some tough decisions to make.
Snow Willow: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson
Written by Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 256 Pages
Henry’s family is trying to put back the pieces of their lives, after the worst-case bully scenario leaves them each shattered in their own way. Henry tries to keep his past a secret, and his new group of oddball friends help him navigate the waters of life after “IT”.
Congratulations to our authors!
In 2011, over 13,000 children and young adults throughout the province voted for their favourite book. That same year, Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen won the Snow Willow Award.
We are very pleased to announce that two of our titles have been nominated for a 2012 Willow Award in the Shining Willow category:
Ella May and the Wishing Stone
Written by Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Hardcover | 32 pages | Ages 4-7
“…A great choice for children aged four and up, Ella May and the Wishing Stone is a story that invites readers to think about what it means to be a friend, how best to share treasured items and imaginative ways to solve problems.” – Storytime Standouts
In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
Hardcover | 32 pages | Ages 5-8
“…a delightful picture book biography of a little known inspiring woman…. I love stories about smart and determined young women and Kulling’s lively text tells an inspiring story about this determined woman who ‘never gave up without a fight.’ David Parkins’ charming illustrations are filled with carefully drawn period details and engaging humor. Each page turn reveals at least one full-page illustration in authentic-feeling sepia tones…. Don’t miss this really excellent book that opens the door to a multitude of curricular uses.” – Bookends, a Booklist Blog
The Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Award (SYRCA) has three awards – the Shining Willow Award, kindergarten to grade 3, the Diamond Willow Award, grades 4 to 6, and the Snow Willow Award, grades 7 to 9. Ten books written by Canadian authors are nominated at each level. Saskatchewan students may vote in any category in which they have read the minimum number of books required. In 2010, over 12,350 children and young adults throughout the province voted for their favourite book. Students are in the process of voting for the 2011 awards. Award winners will be announced on April 27, 2012 at our annual Gala in Moose Jaw, SK.