OAF News

2009 Winners Announced Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Childrenís Book Awards

Toronto, May 20, 2009 – The students at Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School today announced the winners of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards:


Chester's Back!                               Libertad
By Mélanie Watt (Montreal, QC)      By Alma Fullerton (Midland, ON)
Kids Can Press                                Published in Canada by Fitzhenry & Whiteside


  • This is Mélanie Watt's second win, she previously won for Scaredy Squirrel in 2007; it is Alma Fullerton's first.
  • The two awards, of $6,000 each, recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in Canadian children's literature.
  • The winners were selected by two juries of young readers at Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School. Seven students in grades 3 and 4 chose the author/illustrator of the children's picture book award, while five students in grades 7 and 8 selected the recipient of the young adult/middle reader award.
  • Approximately 120 students participated in this year's event and book clubs were established in each of the classes.
  • The announcement took place at Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School, 246 The Esplanade, at 1 p.m. on May 20, 2009.


Student jurors in grades 3 and 4 commented on Mélanie Watt's picture book Chester's Back!:
ìIt could be a funny, short play. I liked the pictures.î
ìIt is a very original book.î
ìVery funny – I like it because of Chester's imagination.î

Student jurors in grades 7 and 8 said the following about Alma Fullerton's Libertad:
ìI was sad when it was over. I read it twice.î
ìI loved the way it was written in poem [verse]. It's not a happy book but realistic and believable. I really connected to the characters and wanted to know what happened to them.î
ìIt had mature themes that brought you into the book.î


  • The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards are funded by the Ruth Schwartz Foundation.
  • The administration of these awards is shared by the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council which manages the jury process, and the Canadian Booksellers Association whose members choose the short list of books.
  • The Ontario Arts Council supports numerous Canadian book publishers through its Block Grants to Book Publishers program, including Kids Can Press and Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

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Hamal Docter, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Arts Council
416-969-7434 / 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | Mobile: 647-831-4295 | hdocter@arts.on.ca

Janet Stubbs, Executive Director
416-969-7413 | jstubbs@arts.on.ca

The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) offers donors effective and creative opportunities for charitable giving – helping to build a foundation for the arts in Ontario. OAF works with donors to build lasting endowments in support of the arts – a gift for this generation and the next.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is the province of Ontario's primary funding body for professional arts activity. Since 1963, the OAC has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts and artists for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians.

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