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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award 2009 Announced

(Ottawa, April 8, 2009) - From an astounding collection of children’s literature produced by Canadian authors and publishers in 2008, the Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA/ACB) has selected its 2009 Book of the Year for Children Award.  This year’s winner is The Shepherd’s Granddaughter by Anne Laurel Carter, published by Groundwood Books. The award is generously sponsored by Library Services Centre.


The Shepherd’s Granddaughter is the story of Amani, a young Muslim girl, eagerly learning shepherding from her grandfather, Seedo.  He teaches her how to protect her flock while recognizing the threat of the wolf and the need to “respect his dignity.” But, with the escalating encroachment of Israeli settlement, Amani’s life is now peppered with soldiers with guns, checkpoints, bulldozers and new laws that make even delivering her family’s harvest of olives or grapes difficult, if not impossible.

Anne Laurel Carter, a Toronto teacher-librarian and author of The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, experienced life on kibbutzim in Israel and the lives of Palestinian families living under occupation (while teaching creative writing in Ramallah) as  prompts for this moving story. Carter presents “an authentic, compassionate, but devastating real, depiction of the complexities of this troubled region”, praised Helen Kubiw, Chair of the Book of the Year for Children Award Committee.

The CLA’s Book of the Year for Children Award also selected two honour titles this year: Libertad by author Alma Fullerton (published by Fitzhenry Whiteside) and Starclimber by Toronto author Kenneth Oppel (published by Harper Collins Canada ).



Alma Fullerton’s Libertad, written in free verse, tells the story of Libertad and his younger brother Julio, as they resolve to journey from their home in a Guatemalan City garbage dump through Mexico to the United States to search of their father.


Starclimber, the third book in Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series, features recurring characters Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries joining a unique crew of scientists and astralnauts to travel aboard the Starclimber, an innovative ship for space travel.

The CLA award committee salutes the efforts and accomplishments of all our writers of children’s literature for providing our children with a superb collection of quality books that triumphantly meets the interests and reading abilities of all children.

The CLA Children’s Book of the Year Award has been presented annually since its inception in 1947 to recognize excellence in children's books written and published in Canada during the preceding year. This year’s award will be presented to Anne Laurel Carter for The Shepherd’s Granddaughter on May 31, 2009 during the CLA/ACB National Conference and Tradeshow in Montréal.

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned with enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy. 

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Media Contact:  Helen Kubiw

Chair, Book of the Year for Children Award committee

328 Frank StreetOttawa ONCanada K2P 0X8
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