By Lena Coakley
This week 6000 people attended Canada’s largest children’s literature event, the Forest of Reading, Festival of Trees—two days of award ceremonies, writing workshops, author signings, and other exciting activities that celebrate the shared experience of reading.
Child readers from participating schools across the province of Ontario chose the winning books. The awards in each age category are named for a different Canadian tree, and the winner plaques feature original art by a child reader.
|Blue Spruce award winner Martin Springett
2013 Silver Birch® Non-Fiction Award Winner (grades 3-6): No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw (Pajama Press)
|Red Maple Non Fiction winner Bill Swan
2013 Red Maple™ Non-Fiction Award Winner (grades 7-8): Real Justice: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death by Bill Swan (James Lorimer & Company)
|White Pine winner Jeyn Roberts and nominee Lena Coakley
Le Prix Tamarac 2013 (French language fiction, grades 5-6): Le mystère des jumelles Barnes by Carole Tremblay (Bayard Canada Livres)
Le Prix Tamarac Express 2013 (French language fiction, grades 3-4): Billy Stuart: 1. Les Zintrépides by Alain M. Bergeron and Sampar (Éditions Michel Quintin)
Le Prix Peuplier 2013 (French language fiction, grades K-2): Le zoo de Yayaho by Geneviève Lemieux and Bruno St-Aubin (Bayard Canada Livres)
Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only class she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College.
She became interested in young adult literature when she moved to Toronto, Canada, and began working for CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers, where she eventually became the Administrative Director. She is now a full-time writer living in Toronto.
See also New Voice: Lena Coakley on Witchlanders.