Personal Philanthropy

Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards

For 40 years, the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards have recognized artistic excellence in Canadian children’s literature. 

The Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were established in 1976 by Sylvia Schwartz to honour the memory of her sister, Ruth, a prominent bookseller in Toronto. The first award was given to Mordecai Richler for Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang. In 2004, their family renamed the awards to honour both sisters.

Two awards are presented annually, one for picture books and the other for young adult/middle readers. The winners are nominated by a three person awards committee comprised of a bookseller, a librarian and a children’s book reviewer. The winners are selected by juries of young readers from an Ontario public school. 

The administration of these awards is shared by the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council (which manages the jury process), and the Ruth Schwartz Foundation (which funds the awards). 


Prize: $6,000 each for Picture Book and Young Adult / Middle Reader


2018 Recipients

Children's picture book winner
Stolen Words
By Melanie Florence (Toronto Ont.)
Illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard (Montreal, Que.)
Second Story Press


Adult Middle Reader winner
The Agony of Bun O'Keefe
By Heather Smith (Waterloo, Ont.)
Penguin Teen              

 Pictured: Members of the 2018 Schwartz Awards student juries from Sprucecourt Public School with Jim Strathopoulus, Principal of Sprucecourt Public School, Heather Smith, author of Young Adult Middle Reader book The Agony of Bun O'Keefe, Alan Walker, Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation, Dorothy Ferreira, Teacher/Librarian at Sprucecourt, Melanie Florence, author of Children's Picture Book Stolen Words, and Carolyn Gloude, Awards Officer, Ontario Arts Council.


Past Recipients


News Releases 
Melanie Florence, Gabrielle Grimard, and Heather T. Smith honoured with the 2018 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards  June 20, 2018

Shortlist for the 2018 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards announced  May 3, 2018

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