New Canadian Children’s Book Award Announced

I grew up loving mystery stories, so was thrilled to see this press release!

Toronto, January 19, 2011 — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is
very pleased to announce a major new Canadian children’s literature
award. The John Spray Mystery Award will honour excellence in the
children’s mystery book format and comes with a $5,000 cash prize
which will be awarded annually beginning in November 2011. To be
eligible the book must be an original work in English, aimed at
readers ages eight to sixteen, and written by a Canadian author. A
mystery book can be a thriller, a crime novel, or a ‘whodunit’.

John Spray, President of the Mantis Investigation Agency, is delighted
to give the prize, saying that reading mysteries made him a passionate
reader at an early age and helped him find his chosen career. “For
many years, through the publishing career of my wife, Gail Winskill, I
became acquainted with both contemporary children’s literature as well
as the unwavering support of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for
children’s writers and illustrators. While attending the 2010 Canadian
Children’s Book Centre Awards, I was struck by the absence of an award
for mystery writing. My childhood was spent rapidly turning the pages
of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, which morphed into the
Spillanes and le Carres on my adult bookshelf. Offering a prize for
children’s mystery books seemed to me to be a modest payback for a
lifetime of joy spent reading great mysteries.”

The John Spray Mystery Award is organized and administered by the
Canadian Children’s Book Centre, a national, not-for-profit
organization founded in 1976 to encourage the reading, writing and
illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. “We are thrilled
that John Spray has entrusted us with the co-ordination of this
important and generous new award that will recognize all the elements
that make a great mystery book. The winning book will be recognized
for its high literary qualities as well as for a great story with lots
of suspense and thrills. Although there already exist a few Canadian
literary awards for the mystery genre, this is the first one that
comes with a cash prize and such a generous one at that. This new
award is yet another way of bringing national recognition to the great
Canadian creators writing for young people.” said Charlotte Teeple,
Executive Director of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

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