Honor roll: Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature – Illustration

Each of these books has been nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature – Illustration. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Northwest Passage (Stan Rogers)

Northwest Passage

Stan Rogers, Matt James

For hundreds of years explorers attempted to find the Northwest Passage—a route through the islands of Canada’s north to the Pacific Ocean and Asia. Others attempted to find a land route. Many hundreds of men perished in the attempt until finally, in 1906, Roald Amundsen completed the voyage by ship. Today, global warming has brought the interest in the passage back to a fever pitch as nations contend with each other over its control and future uses.

The historic search inspired Canadian folk musician Stan Rogers to write “Northwest Passage,” a song that has become a widely known favorite since its 1981 release. It describes Stan’s own journey overland as he contemplates the arduous journeys of some of the explorers, including Kelsey, Mackenzie, Thompson and Franklin. The song is moving and haunting, a paean to the spirit of the explorers and adventure, and to the beauty of the vast land and icy seas. …[more]

Book:Virginia Wolf (Kyo Maclear)

Virginia Wolf

Kyo Maclear, Isabelle Arsenault

Vanessa’s sister, Virginia, is in a “wolfish” mood—growling, howling and acting very strange. It’s a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing “so that what was down could climb up.” Before long, Virginia, too, has picked up a brush and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf is an uplifting story for readers of all ages.

Book:Ten Birds

Ten Birds

Cybèle Young

A clever counting book and fable unlike any other. Ten birds are trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the river. The bird they call “Brilliant” devises a pair of stilts. The bird they call “Highly Satisfactory” engineers a raft. One by one, nine resourceful birds make the crossing until a single bird is left behind—the one they call “Needs Improvement.” This bird’s solution proves surprising—and absurdly simple.

More than a counting book, Ten Birds is a witty story that highlights ingenuity, common sense and the inadequacies of labels. Cybèle Young’s intricate chiaroscuro pen-and-ink drawings depict a rich alternative world that both children and adults will marvel over.

Book:The Dark (Lemony Snicket)

The Dark

Lemony Snicket, Jon Klassen

Lazlo is afraid of the dark. It hides in closets and sometimes sits behind the shower curtain, but mostly it lives in the basement. One night, when Lazlo’s nightlight burns out, the dark comes to visit him in his room. “Lazlo,” the Dark says. “I want to show you something.” And so Lazlo descends the basement stairs to face his fears and discover a few comforting facts about the mysterious presence with whom all children must learn to live.

Beautifully rendered with sympathy and wit, this first collaboration between Snicket and Klassen offers a fresh take on a universal childhood experience.

Book:How To (Julie Morstad)

How To

Julie Morstad

This imaginative ‘how to’ book explores whimsical ways of doing a host of different tasks, including ‘how to wonder’,  ‘how to see the breeze’, and ‘how to be brave’.  With text and images by award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad, this book will be beloved by all ages. How to read this book? That is up to you!

Book:Miss Mousie's Blind Date

Miss Mousie's Blind Date

Tim Beiser, Rachel Berman

A charming story about self-acceptance, and love lost and found, told through the eyes of a dear little mouse, and her possibly-not-so-handsome suitor, Mole. Charmingly illustrated, cleverly told, the message is timeless, and the illustrations endearing.

Book:Oy, Feh, So?

Oy, Feh, So?

Cary Fagan, Gary Clement

Every Sunday Aunt Essy, Aunt Chanah, and Uncle Sam drive up in the old Lincoln for the afternoon. They plop themselves down in the living room, and no matter what anyone says their response is always the same—“Oy,” “Feh,” “So?” One afternoon the three children try to provoke a different reaction. They fake a robbery, produce a terrifying child-eating dragon, and pretend to be kidnapped by space invaders, but their aunts and uncle remain unimpressed. In exasperation the children take to mocking them, and soon they are all laughing so hard they’re practically crying.

Cary Fagan’s characteristically dry humor and Gary Clement’s witty illustrations perfectly depict a family with loveable quirks in this story that is sure to become a favorite.

Book:Big City Bees

Big City Bees

Maggie de Vries, Renné Benoit

For city kids like Sophie and Matthew, growing pumpkins is a big thrill. But they’re worried. They know they need bees to make their pumpkins grow, but will the bees find their garden? Are there even bees in the city?

So one day, Grandpa and the children set out to look for bees. They arrive downtown just in time to see something amazing: a buzzing ball of bees hovers from the branch of a nearby tree. And high on the terrace of a towering hotel are four brightly coloured beehives!

For Matthew and Sophie, this is the beginning of an exciting adventure. All summer they tend their plants, eagerly watching as their seeds sprout and turn into shoots, then vines and leaves. But they’re still worried. Will the bees come when they’re needed?

Finally, the golden pumpkin flowers appear among the leaves. The female flowers will be open for just one day, and Matthew and Sophie arrive at the garden early in the morning to wait and watch. Will the bees arrive in time to pollinate the plants?

Book:House Held Up by Trees

House Held Up by Trees

Ted Kooser, Jon Klassen

From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and rising talent Jon Klassen comes a poignant tale of loss, change, and nature’s quiet triumph.

When the house was new, not a single tree remained on its perfect lawn to give shade from the sun. The children in the house trailed the scent of wild trees to neighboring lots, where thick bushes offered up secret places to play. When the children grew up and moved away, their father, alone in the house, continued his battle against blowing seeds, plucking out sprouting trees. Until one day the father, too, moved away, and as the empty house began its decline, the trees began their approach. At once wistful and exhilarating, this lovely, lyrical story evokes the inexorable passage of time—and the awe-inspiring power of nature to lift us up.

Book:In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up

In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps it Up

Monica Kulling, David Parkins

Tundra’s Great Idea Series is comprised of biographies of inventors for early readers. The third book in the series introduces the fascinating Margaret Knight. Known as Mattie, she was different from most American girls living in 1850. She loved to make things with wood and made the best kites and sleds in town. Her father died when she was only three, and by the time she was twelve, she was working at the local cotton mill alongside her two older brothers. One day, she saw a worker get injured by a shuttle that had come loose from the giant loom, and the accident inspired her to invent a stop-motion device. It was the first of her many inventions.

Margaret Knight devoted her life to inventing, and is best known for the clever, practical, paper bag. When she died in 1914, she had ninety inventions to her name and over twenty patents, astounding accomplishments for a woman of her day. Monica Kulling’s easy-to-read text, peppered with lots of dialogue, brings an amazing, inspiring woman to life.

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