Governor General's Award for English-language children's literature

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The Governor General's Award for English-language children's writing is a Canadian literary award that annually recognizes one Canadian writer for a children's book written in English. It is one of four children's book awards among the Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit, one each for writers and illustrators of English- and French-language books. The Governor General's Awards program is administered by the Canada Council.

In name, this award is part of the Governor General's Award program only from 1987 but there was a single award for "Juvenile" literature from 1949 to 1958, and the four present-day "Children's" awards were established in 1975 under a Canada Council name. In the event, the "Canada Council" and "Governor General's" awards have recognized writing in an English-language children's book every year from 1975.[1][2]

Juvenile fiction[edit]

The oldest of now-14 annual Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit were inaugurated in 1936. One award for a "juvenile" book was introduced in 1949, and conferred every year to 1958. Throughout those ten years, the juvenile literature award was one of five in the program, all for English-language books.[2]

Two of the Governor General's Award-winning writers also won the Canadian Library Association award for children's book writing, recognizing the same book: Richard Lambert in 1949 and Farley Mowat in 1958. The CLA Book of the Year for Children Award was conferred six times during these ten years.[3]

Canada Council Children's Literature Prize[edit]

In 1975 the Canada Council established four annual prizes of $5000 for the year's best English- and French-language children's books by Canadian writers and illustrators. Those "Canada Council Children's Literature Prizes" were continued under the "Governor General's Awards" rubric from 1987, and continue today. Among them the English-language writing prize was awarded every year from 1975.[1]

Three of the CCCLP-winning English-language writers also won the annual Canadian Library Association award for children's book writing, recognizing the same book. Their CLA Book of the Year for Children Awards are dated one year later: Kevin Major 1979, Cora Taylor 1986, and Janet Lunn 1987. The CLA Book of the Year was inaugurated in 1947 and has been awarded every year since 1963.[3]

Two of the CCCLP-winning English-language writers also won the CLA Young Adult Book Award, recognizing the same book, namely Monica Hughes in 1983 and Janet Lunn in 1987.[4] That is, Janet Lunn and Shadow in Hawthorn Bay (1986) won both the CLA awards for children's and young-adult books.

According to one WorldCat library record The Trouble With Princesses (McClelland & Stewart, 1980) "retells stories about Northwest Coast princesses and compares them with similar Old World princesses", OCLC 9085067. For their collaboration Christie Harris won the CCCLP prize for English-language writing and Douglas Tait won the CLA award for children's book illustration, the 1981 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award.[5]

Children's literature (writing)[edit]

Four books listed below, winners of the English-language writing award under the "Governor General's" name, were also named CLA Book of the Year for Children: Bedard 1991, Wynne-Jones 1994, Porter 2006, and Nielsen 2013.[3] Four of them also won the CLA Young Adult Book Award: Wieler 1990, Johnston 1995, Wynne-Jones 1996, and Brooks 2003.[2]


Year Author Title
1987 Morgan Nyberg Galahad Schwartz and the Cockroach Army
Welwyn Wilton Katz False Face
Donn Kushner A Book Dragon
Russell McRae Going to the Dogs
1988 Welwyn Wilton Katz The Third Magic
Martha Brooks Paradise Café and Other Stories
Brian Doyle Easy Avenue
Jean Little Little by Little
1989 Diana Wieler Bad Boy
Kit Pearson The Sky Is Falling
Eliane Corbeil Roe Circle of Light


Year Author Title
1990 Michael Bedard Redwork
Jan Andrews The Auction
Brian Doyle Covered Bridge
Welwyn Wilton Katz Whale Singer
1991 Sarah Ellis Pick-Up Sticks
Martha Brooks Two Moons in August
Roch Carrier A Happy New Year's Day
Jean Little Stars Come Out Within
Monty Reid The Last Great Dinosaurs
1992 Julie Johnston Hero of Lesser Causes
Margaret Buffie My Mother's Ghost
John Ibbitson 1812: Jeremy and the General
Thomas King A Coyote Columbus Story
Kit Pearson Looking at the Moon
1993 Tim Wynne-Jones Some of the Kinder Planets
Mitzi Dale Bryna Means Courage
James Archibald Houston Drifting Snow: An Arctic Search
Carol Matas Daniel's Story
Shirley Sterling My Name Is Seepeetza
1994 Julie Johnston Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me
Sarah Ellis Out of the Blue
Carol Matas The Burning Time
Jim McGugan Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story
Ken Roberts Past Tense
1995 Tim Wynne-Jones The Maestro
Beth Goobie Mission Impossible
Hazel Hutchins Tess
Welwyn Wilton Katz Out of the Dark
Diana Wieler RanVan A Worthy Opponent
1996 Paul Yee Ghost Train
Jan Andrews Keri
David Boyd Bottom Drawer
Gillian Chan Glory Days and Other Stories
Don Gillmor The Fabulous Song
1997 Kit Pearson Awake and Dreaming
Cheryl Foggo One Thing That's True
James Heneghan Wish Me Luck
Teddy Jam The Fishing Summer
Barbara Nichol Dippers
1998 Janet Lunn The Hollow Tree
Gayle Friesen Janey's Girl
Julie Johnston The Only Outcast
Janet McNaughton Make or Break Spring
Sarah Withrow Bat Summer
1999 Rachna Gilmore A Screaming Kind of Day
Don Gillmor The Christmas Orange
Graham McNamee Hate You
W.D. Valgardson The Divorced Kids Club and Other Stories
Frieda Wishinsky Each One Special


Year Author Title
2000 Deborah Ellis Looking for X
Martha Brooks Being with Henry
Sharon E. McKay Charlie Wilcox
Sheldon Oberman The Shaman's Nephew
Duncan Thornton Kalifax
2001 Arthur Slade Dust
Brian Doyle Mary Ann Alice
Beth Goobie Before Wings
Julie Johnston In Spite of Killer Bees
Teresa Toten The Game
2002 Martha Brooks True Confessions of a Heartless Girl
Alan Cumyn The Secret Life of Owen Skye
Deborah Ellis Parvana's Journey
John Lekich The Losers' Club
Karen Levine Hana's Suitcase
2003 Glen Huser Stitches
Sarah Ellis The Several Lives of Orphan Jack
Barbara Haworth-Attard Theories of Relativity
Kevin Major Ann and Seamus
Judd Palmer The Maestro
2004 Kenneth Oppel Airborn
Martine Leavitt Heck Superhero
Sharon MacKay Esther
Judd Palmer The Wolf King
Ange Zhang Red Land, Yellow River: A Story from the Cultural Revolution
2005 Pamela Porter The Crazy Man
Francis Chalifour After
Barbara Nickel Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach
Gail Nyoka Mella and the N'anga: An African Tale
Shyam Selvadurai Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
2006 William Gilkerson Pirate's Passage
André Alexis Ingrid and the Wolf
Glen Huser Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen
Teresa Toten Me and the Blondes
Budge Wilson Friendships
2007 Iain Lawrence Gemini Summer
Hugh Brewster Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting
Christopher Paul Curtis Elijah of Buxton
John Wilson The Alchemist's Dream
Eva Wiseman Kanada
2008 John Ibbitson The Landing
Alma Fullerton Libertad
Dianne Linden Shimmerdogs
Shenaaz Nanji Child of Dandelions
Mariko Tamaki Skim
2009 Caroline Pignat Greener Grass: The Famine Years
Shelley Hrdlitschka Sister Wife
Sharon Jennings Home Free
Robin Stevenson A Thousand Shades of Blue
Tim Wynne-Jones The Uninvited


Year Author Title
2010 Wendy Phillips Fishtailing
K. L. Denman Me, Myself and Ike
Lesley Fairfield Tyranny
Gina McMurchy-Barber Free as a Bird
Cheryl Rainfield Scars
2011 Christopher Moore From Then to Now: A Short History of the World
Jan L. Coates A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk
Deborah Ellis No Ordinary Day
Kenneth Oppel This Dark Endeavour
Tim Wynne-Jones Blink & Caution
2012 Susin Nielsen The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Rachel Hartman Seraphina
Deborah Kerbel Under the Moon
Judd Palmer The Umbrella
Allan Stratton The Grave Robber's Apprentice
2013[6] Teresa Toten The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Beverley Brenna The White Bicycle
Shane Peacock Becoming Holmes
Jean E. Pendziwol Once Upon a Northern Light
Valerie Sherrard Counting Back from Nine
2014[7] Raziel Reid When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Jonathan Auxier The Night Gardener
Lesley Choyce Jeremy Stone
Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley Skraelings
Mariko Tamaki This One Summer
2015 Caroline Pignat The Gospel Truth
Dan Bar-el Audrey (cow)
Darren Groth Are You Seeing Me?
Susin Nielsen We Are All Made of Molecules
Emil Sher Young Man with Camera
2016 Martine Leavitt Calvin
Mikaela Everett The Unquiet
E. K. Johnston A Thousand Nights
Trilby Kent Once, in a Town Called Moth
Tim Wynne-Jones The Emperor of Any Place
2017 Cherie Dimaline The Marrow Thieves
Alison Hughes Hit the Ground Running
Aviaq Johnston Those Who Run in the Sky
Allan Stratton The Way Back Home
Danielle Younge-Ullman Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
2018 Jonathan Auxier Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
Christopher Paul Curtis The Journey of Little Charlie
Janice Lynn Mather Learning to Breathe
Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut Winnie's Great War
Heather Smith Ebb & Flow

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Canada Council Children's Literature Awards" [English-language books]. online guide to writing in canada ( Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  2. ^ a b c "Governor General's Literary Awards" [winners, 1936–1999]. online guide to writing in canada. Retrieved 2015-08-07.
  3. ^ a b c "Book of the Year for Children Award" Archived 2015-07-22 at the Wayback Machine [winners]. Book Awards. Canadian Library Association ( Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  4. ^ "Young Adult Book Award" Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine [winners]. Book Awards. CLA. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  5. ^ "Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award" Archived 2015-07-06 at the Wayback Machine [list of winners]. Book Awards. CLA. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  6. ^ "Governor General Literary Award finalists announced". Vancouver Sun, October 2, 2013.
  7. ^ "Thomas King wins Governor General’s award for fiction". The Globe and Mail, November 18, 2014.