Children's books about suburban sprawl, residential schools up for TD prize

TORONTO - Books about the young Emily Carr, suburban sprawl, and a bird's extinction are in the running for a lucrative children's book award.

The TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards announced five stories in contention for the $30,000 prize.

They include "A Day of Signs and Wonders," written by Victoria's Kit Pearson for HarperTrophy Canada. The fictional tale for ages eight to 12 centres on a young Carr and Victoria socialite Kitty O'Reilly.

"The Skeleton Tree," written by Iain Lawrence of Gabriola Island, B.C., for Tundra Books, is a high seas adventure for ages 10 to 14. "Tokyo Digs a Garden," written by Jon-Erik Lappano of Guelph, Ont., and illustrated by Toronto's Kellen Hatanaka for Groundwood Books, is a "modern fable about suburban sprawl" for ages five to nine.

Also in the running is "The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk," written and illustrated by Jan Thornhill of Havelock, Ont., for Groundwood Books. The tale follows a resourceful bird facing great adversity and is for ages nine to 12.

And "When We Were Alone," written by Winnipeg's David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Vancouver's Julie Flett for HighWater Press, centres on a grandmother who reclaims her culture and language after the horrors of residential school. It's for ages six to nine.

The winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Nov. 21.

Young readers can also vote online for their favourite in early October as part of the $5,000 fan choice award.


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