I’m very excited to announce that Ankylosaur Attack, my first paleofiction storybook for young children (illustrated with Jim W.W. Smith) is among the 2013 Forest of Reading® Silver Birch® Express Award nominees revealed this morning by the Ontario Library Association. This will make the book part of Ontario’s province-wide school and library reading program—the largest such program in Canada.
I’d like to express my immense gratitude to the Ontario Library Association for this nomination (and of course to my publisher, Kids Can Press). The Forest of Reading awards are exceptionally competitive in every category, and it’s an honor to be in such fine company. (My nonfiction Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be was nominated for the Silver Birch nonfiction award, which went that year to my friend Valerie Wyatt—Editor of both Evolution and Ankylosaur Attack, and veteran of over a hundred other children’s books).
The Ontario Library Association describes the Silver Birch:
The Silver Birch Award is comprised of three separate lists of Fiction, Non-Fiction, and an Express list that is made up of both Fiction and Non-Fiction, geared to the more reluctant reader. The Silver Birch® program is meant for readers aged 8 to 12, from Grades 3-6, with the Express list focusing on the lower grade level and the Fiction and Non-Fiction focusing on the Grade 5 and 6 readers.
The Forest of Reading program runs throughout the Spring, and includes video and essay contests (PDF) as well as many other opportunities for kids to get more involved in reading and the love of books. The whole thing culminates with events in Parry Sound, North Bay, Thunder Bay, and finally Toronto’s Festival of Trees,™ Canada’s largest literary event for younger readers—a massive award celebration at the Harbourfront Centre in front of an audience of 8000 people (May 15 and 16, 2013).
Winners of the Silver Birch Express and other Forest of Reading awards are selected by the kids of Ontario. Any of the 250,000 participating young readers who read a minimum number of the books in their reading category become eligible to vote for the award in that category.
Will Ankylosaur Attack’s lonely, armored young dinosaur find a place in the hearts of Ontario’s Grade 3 students, as he has in mine? We’ll find out on May 16, 2013!