Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gala Awards Night!

Tuesday evening was a biggy in Toronto - two major awards ceremonies were held, celebrating the best in Canadian literature. More than $90,000 in prizes was handed out. Anyone who is anyone in the world of books  put away their birkenstocks and slipped into fancy party shoes for the bestest bash of the season.

That bash was NOT in honor of the Giller Award, the prize most people across our fair land know about.

The best party was the one held by The Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank, sponsors of the TD Book Awards for Children's Books.

I've got nothing against the Giller, mind you. In fact, I'd be delighted to win one some day - wouldn't that be a hoot! But it does kind of irk me that the media pretty well ignores the children's book prizes. Again. And Again. And Again. No matter what they are, when they are, or what fab outfits we are wearing.

That's me on the left with kidliterati Patricia Storms, Helene Boudreau, Marina Cohen and Deborah Kerbel. Aren't we all gorgeous???

Maybe I'm thick. But why are children's books so consistently overlooked? Were we not all children once, inspired to become the people we are by books we read in our own day?

Quite frankly, I think kid's books are MORE important than ones written for adults. Most of the books we read as adults give us nothing more than passing pleasure; a rare few will inspire us or open new doors for us. How many will literally change your life from here on in?

Yet every single child's book does all of those things. They bring pleasure to readers, both new ones and experienced ones, through shared experience and closeness with a beloved family member (being read to remains one of life's greatest joys) and through moments of cozy escape. Every single book a child picks up opens new doors for her - to far away worlds, or the microscopic one at her feet; to imaginary Shangrilas, or the gritty reality of life here and now. And every single book a child reads has the potential to change his life, to spin him in new directions that will orient his chosen path long into the future.

In fact, I would dare say that it doesn't even matter what book a child reads, because the act of reading itself is life-changing.

So I know, I'm stomping on the soapbox, shaking up the soap flakes. This little rant won't make much difference to whether or not the CBC provides splashy coverage for the TD Book Awards next year. Or does a major five-part special on the awesome Forest of Reading awards program that shakes up kids' lives here in Ontario every Spring.

But I can tell you this - those media folks missed one helluva party.

PS if you want to see who won all the $$$, the TD Book Award list is here and the Giller Prize bumpf is here. Apparently you can only find the Giller Prize winner on Kobo since they are O/S, so may I suggest you hurry up and go buy Art Slade's fabulous Hunchback Assignments instead? It's terrif.

AND - if you want to come to the party next year, you're invited! Just join the Canadian Children's Book Centre. Your membership gets you the hottest ticket in town. So please join, and start shopping for party clothes today!


  1. You ladies look awesome in that photo! And great post. The snobbery in the publishing world never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Great looking authors and I agree ... it's shameful the way the media ignores children's literature.

  3. Arthur Slade deserved it - his books are fab. And you're absolutely right about children's literature being ignored - along with all other things to do with children, like excellence in children's films and television. Grown-ups are on the whole pretty self-centered and short-sighted, and they have super-short-term memories. It's why schools are chronically underfunded while the money for new baseball stadiums is coming out of city budgets, and it's shameful.

    Maybe we can write the kinds of books that would re-train the kids who will be the next generation of adults. Wouldn't that be great?


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