If you’re a children’s book writer, a teacher, a librarian, or a student in Ontario, you probably know about the Forest of Reading, Ontario’s children’s choice book award program. (It’s like the Hackmatacks on the East coast, the Red Cedars on the west, and the Willows and MYRCA in between, but larger in scope and population.)
Run by the Ontario Library Association, and delivered by dedicated librarians, teachers, and volunteers across the province, the Forest of Reading introduces new titles, from picture books to teen fiction, to thousands of young readers each year. And I mean thousands — more than 250,000 readers of all ages participate through their school or library every year.
Having your book nominated for one of the Forest’s 8 awards is a huge honour and a great opportunity to reach new readers. This year I was fortunate to have my teen novel, All Good Children, selected as one of the ten books nominated for a White Pine Award (the teen fiction “tree”). Last week, All Good Children was named a White Pine 2013 Honour Book. (That’s like a runner up at a beauty contest.) That means a lot of young readers got to know and love my book through this program — and I got to meet quite a few of them last week at the Toronto Festival of Trees. What an honour that was.
Here is a list of this year’s Forest of Reading winners, chosen by young readers themselves.