OAF News

Anne Villeneuve and Teresa Toten honoured with 2014 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

Markham, May 20, 2014 The 2014 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced today at Aldergrove Public School in Markham.

The winners were selected by two juries of young readers from Aldergrove P.S. – five students in grades 3 and 4 selected the recipient of the Children’s Picture Book Award, and five students in grades 7 and 8 selected the recipient of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award.

Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. This process makes it a unique literary award in Canada.


Children’s picture book award

Loula is Leaving for Africa
By Anne Villeneuve (Montreal, Que.)

Kids Can Press



  • Anne Villeneuve has written and illustrated close to 40 books.  She has also illustrated for newspapers and created games for magazines.
  • She is a first-time winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards.



“Loula has a great imagination,” said student jurors in grades 3 and 4. “Her trip to Africa was a great way to get away from her stinky brothers. The artwork helps us travel through the story. The drawings are like music and the bright colours are cheerful.”

“This amazing award, created in loving memory of Ruth Schwartz, bookseller extraordinaire, by her sister Sylvia, became that much more important to me when I discovered that the jury was composed of passionate young readers, the ones who inspire me every day to do what I do,” said author Anne Villeneuve.



Young Adult / Middle Reader Award

The Unlikely Hero in Room 13B
By Teresa Toten (Toronto, Ont)

Doubleday Canada



  • Teresa Toten is the author of the acclaimed Blonde series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse and, with Eric Walkters, The Taming.
  • She is a first-time winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards.



“This book is a must read,” said student jurors in grades 7 and 8. “Adam’s caring makes him a hero. The book is full of real emotion. The excellent humour helps to balance the serious issues.”

Added one juror: “I loved the twists and turns in the plot. The author created several excellent characters I really cared about and I’d love to read more about them all in a sequel.”

“I just can't stop smiling,” said author Teresa Toten. “To be on the same list with the truly prestigious past recipients of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Awards fills me with an undeniable pride."



  • The two awards, of $6,000 each,  are presented annually to recognize artistic excellence in writing and illustration in English-language Canadian children's literature.
  • This year's nomination committee was comprised of two librarians:  Margaret Kirkpatrick (Ottawa Public Library) and Greer Macdonnell (Lambton County Library). 



  • The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz in memory of her sister, Ruth Schwartz, a respected Toronto bookseller. In 2004, the family renamed the awards to honour both sisters. The Ontario Arts Foundation administers the awards with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, which manages the nomination and jury process. These awards are funded through the Ruth Schwartz Foundation. See the list of previous laureates.

Shoshana Wasser, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Arts Council

416-969-7434/1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434 | swasser@arts.on.ca


Alan Walker, Executive Director

416-969-7413 | awalker@arts.on.ca


The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) works with arts patrons to build long-term support for the arts in Ontario.

Now in it's 50th year,the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) plays a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2012-2013, the  OAC funded 1,793 individual artists and 1,076 organizations in 232 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.1 million.

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