Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Finalists Announced

You all wondered why I was so busy in January. I had over 45 books to read and I read each one cover-to-cover. It felt like a huge responsibility and honor to judge my peers and narrowing down the final five was extremely difficult. Anyway, I had to keep it all hush-hush until the announcement came out today — And the finalists are:

Supported by the BC Library Association
Judges: Julie Burtinshaw, Shelley Hrdlitschka and David Ward

The Alchemist’s Dream
by John Wilson
Publisher: Key Porter Books
The Alchemist’s Dream

In the fall of 1669, the Nonsuch returns to London with a load of fur from Hudson Bay. It brings something else, too-the lost journal from Henry Hudson’s tragic search for a passage to Cathay in 1611.In the hands of a greedy sailor, the journal is merely an object to sell. But for Robert Bylot-a once-great maritime explorer-the book is a painful reminder of a past he’d rather forget. As Bylot relives his memories of a plague-ridden city, of the mysterious alchemist John Dee, and of mutiny in the frozen wastes of Hudson Bay, an age-old mystery is both revealed and solved.

Baboon: A Novel
by David Jones
Publisher: Annick Press

Fourteen-year-old Gerry Copeland has mixed feelings about flying back to his parents’ research camp in the African savanna. While his biologist mom and dad study baboon behavior, he’ll be thinking about the video arcade and restaurants back in the city. Suddenly, their small plane’s engine stutters and dies. They go down hard. Gerry wakes up thinking a baboon has broken his fall. He’s shocked to realize the furry arm is his own. Somehow, he’s become one of the beasts his parents are studying. Gerry’s only chance is to stay with the baboon troop. His parents don’t recognize him and he begins to lose hope he’ll ever be human again. His final, desperate bid to turn back means giving up the animal family he’s come to care about for the human family where he truly belongs.

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane
by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Like her National Book Award-winning The Canning Season, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is filled with plot twists and extraordinarily strange characters. It is also a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places. Following the death of their parents, two cousins are sent to live with their distant, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff. Told in four characters’ voices, the novel is a layered account of one bad year from multiple points of view linking humour and pain. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and young adults including The Trolls and Everything on a Waffle.

For Now
by Gayle Friesen
Publisher: Kids Can Press

In Friesen’s previous book, Losing Forever, Jeslearned to accept the inevitability of change. But the change is moving at a heartbreaking pace and her world shifts by the day. There’s lots of uncertainty in Jes’s life, but the biggest uncertainty of all is love. Everyone has a different opinion on it. Dell says love should be so intense that it makes you puke – this from a girl who’s swept off her feet as easily as a dust bunny. Jes’s teacher says that love is about reuniting what was once divided – this from a guy who’s going through a divorce. If anything’s for sure, it’s that love is never predictable, always confusing and may hurt sometimes. But, as Jes begins to see, no one ever gives up on it.

Porcupine
by Meg Tilly
Publisher: Tundra Books

When her father is killed in Afghanistan, twelve-year-old tomboy Jack Cooper (or Jacqueline, as her mother insists on calling her) watches helplessly as her mother crumbles. Before long, with her younger siblings, Jack moves from her Newfoundland home to a run-down farm on the Prairies with a great-grandmother they didn’t know existed. In the process, she learns that families come in many different forms and that love, trust, and faith can build a home anywhere. A moving and inspiring tale, Meg Tilly’s Porcupine is a novel about adaptation and new understandings. Formerly a film actress, Meg Tilly is the author of two adult novels, Singing Songs and Gemma, and is currently at work on her second novel for young adults.

For Details on all the finalists in every category and to get tickets for the gala event on April 26th, visit BC Book Prizes.

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