On October 30 IBBY Canada announced author Eric Walters as our nominee for the 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) — one of the highest international honours for creators of children’s and youth literature. Walters is one of 263 candidates in the running for the award, from 69 countries across six continents.
One of Canada’s most prolific authors of books for children and young adults, Walters has published more than 100 novels and picture books, received more than 120 awards, and presented to more than one million students across Canada and internationally.
Walters, a recipient of the Order of Canada, has also had a profound impact on the promotion of reading, literacy and other humanitarian causes through several charitable initiatives he has been instrumental in launching. These include National Run Day, which has raised millions of dollars in support of cancer research through the Terry Fox Foundation; The Creation of Hope, which provides food, water and educational support for children in Kenya; and most recently, I Read Canadian Day, a nationwide initiative to inspire families, schools, libraries and bookstores to support and celebrate the abundance, high quality and diversity of Canadian literature.
Winners will be announced on April 13, 2021.
IBBY Canada presents two Aubry Awards biennially: one for distinguished service within the field of Canadian children’s literature in English, and one for distinguished service within the field of Canadian children’s literature in French. Eligible nominees include authors, publishers, illustrators, translators, designers, editors, librarians, booksellers, teachers or any individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canadian children’s literature.
We are now inviting nominations from members for the 2021 Claude Aubry Award.
Nominations should include a short biographical profile of the nominee, highlighting their contributions. Send nominations to Susane Duchesne and Catherine Mitchell, Aubry Award Co-Chairs, at email@example.com. The honourees selected will be announced at the Annual Meeting of Members in March 2021.
The deadline for 2021 Aubry Award nominations, which may be submitted in English or in French, is December 10, 2020.
Visit IBBY Canada’s website to learn more about the Claude Aubry Award.
Claude Aubry, director of the Ottawa Public Library from 1953 until his retirement in 1979, was also an award-winning children’s book author and translator who travelled nationally and internationally to promote his own work and that of other Canadian authors. Aubry was named to the Order of Canada and made an officer of the Ordre International du Bien Public (France). To recognize his many achievements, IBBY Canada established the Claude Aubry Award in his honour in 1981.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to receive the 2020 Frances E. Russell Grant from IBBY Canada for my research proposal. The topic has been near and dear to my heart for quite some time: how do Canadian middle-grade readers consume journalism? This subject at last marries my two academic backgrounds: my Master of Arts in Writing for Children from the University of Winchester (2012) and my Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University (2019). I’ve long wanted to pursue this subject but did not have the means, resources or platform to do so until now.
While undertaking this research amid a pandemic has offered up sizable bumps in the road, it has allowed me to take full advantage of online resources offered through public libraries, archival newspaper websites and teaching curriculums. To unearth the current context of how children consume journalism now, I wanted to get at how it all began. This started with the early beginnings of journalism works geared at children, such as children’s columns in early periodicals, to newspapers and magazines for kids like The Toronto Star’s Brand New Planet (now-defunct), to Chickadee and OWL and emerging online journalism platforms such as CBC Kids News.
The next stage of my research includes interviews with academics, magazine publishers and writers in this area whose work directly involves publications for children. My hope is also to connect in some way with students in the middle-grade age range to discern their news consumption habits, especially in the time of COVID-19. Given the uncertain nature of these times, I consider this to be a crucial next step. Although travelling to meet these interview subjects in-person has been put on hold due to the coronavirus, I’m grateful for this grant to use technology such video conference platforms and transcription software to connect with sources who are located in other parts of the country. My hope is that getting this current context will help inform the question: where does journalism for children go from here?
My vision for the final product of my research is to incorporate visual and audio elements because illustrations are a useful tool in journalistic storytelling for children. As a radio producer, I’m also always looking for ways to blend sound with these stories and bring them to life. One thing that is clear from my research thus far: the media landscape is rapidly changing, and how young people consume journalism is too.
I would like to thank the 2020 jury again for this honour: Sarah Ellis, Aïda Hudson and chair Deirdre Baker. I strongly urge anyone who has a research idea that involves young people’s literature to submit it for the 2021 edition of this grant.
Contributed by Olivia Robinson