The Governor General's Children's Illustration Winners

View all Canadian Children's Awards book lists; This list was last updated on 10/8/2014
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The Governor General's Literary Awards – known affectionately as “the GGs” – were first awarded in 1936. The GGs were initiated by Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan), a prolific writer himself who published more than 100 works in his lifetime. Each year, the Governor General's Literary Awards honour the best in Canadian literature. As Canada's national literary awards, the GGs represent the rich diversity of Canadian literature. Some 1,600 books are submitted each year from English and French-language publishers representing authors, translators and illustrators from across Canada, in seven categories: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, 

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

1 - 26 of 26 results
release date: Jan 01, 1989
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Rainy Day Magic
Indoors on a boring, rainy day, Victor and Joey create an imaginary adventure in the basement.
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Amos's Sweater
Amos the sheep is old and cold and sick of having his wool taken away. Despite his noisy objections, Aunt Hattie shears Amos once again and knits his precious wool into a beautiful, brightly colored sweater for Uncle Henry. Poor Amos decides that enough is enough and sets out to claim what is rightfully his. Kim LaFave's whimsical watercolors perfectly complement this hilarious tale of a curmudgeonly sheep's fight to get his wool back.
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The Magic Paintbrush
A story of magic and wonder inspired by a Chinese folk tale.  Full-colour throughout

Nib, a young orphan, has but one wish- to paint pictures so real people will think they are alive.  One night Nib rescues an old man from a gang of thugs, and receives his wish as a reward for his bravery.  But Nib's dream is nearly his downfall, as a greedy king tries to take advantage of the boy's gift.  Nib finally triumphs, but only after he has learned a valuable lesson.
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The Orphan Boy
Governor General's Award for Illustration

International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour Book Award for Illustration

American Library Association Notable Book Award, 1991

The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award

Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for Illustration

One night the old man looked at the stars but one was missing! Suddenly he heard footsteps. He turned his head to see an orphan boy. The man and the boy lived together. The boy had a special secret that he said he couldn't share. The man's curiosity got the better of him and his life was changed forever.

This award-winning picture book is based on a Maasai legend about the planet Venus and tells of a loyal affection despite broken trust.

Accompanied by magnificent paintings of Africa.

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Doctor Kiss Says Yes
Doctor Kiss is quite prepared to say yes when she finds a letter asking her to come to the aid of a young knight who has been injured in battle. She waits until after her usual goodnight kisses and hugs from her parents, and then she takes her medical bag and climbs through her bedroom window into a gilded, magical world from the age of chivalry.

Teddy Jam and Joanne Fitzgerald have created a richly satisfying story about a very imaginative young heroine. Winner of the Governor General's Award (Children's Illustration) when it was first published in 1991, this new edition will delight a whole new generation of young readers.

All royalties from the sales of this book will be donated to the Joanne Fitzgerald Fund at IBBY Canada.
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Waiting for the Whales
In this timeless story set on the West Coast, an old man lives alone on a bluff overlooking the sea and tends his garden. And waits. Only when the whales return each year to the bay in front of his cottage is his loneliness eased. One day, his daughter and her baby return home to live with the old man, bringing a renewed sense of purpose to his life. As his granddaughter grows, the old man passes on a wealth or knowledge and wisdom as well as his passion for the whales. And each year they wait together for the whales to appear. A gentle story that illuminates the unique friendship between grandparent and child, Waiting for the Whales also suggests that aging and death are only part of a greater cycle of rebirth and continuity.
release date: Aug 01, 1993
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Sleep Tight, Mrs. Ming

The much-anticipated third and final book in the Jeremiah and Mrs. Ming series is just as captivating and humorous as its predecessors.

Mrs. Ming is having a hard time getting to sleep. Each time she begins to relax she hears a cry from Jeremiah's room. "Something took my bear," says Jeremiah. In her calm, assured way Mrs. Ming addresses the problem: "If something is bothering Jeremiah, please stop at once!" At the end, Jeremiah comforts Mrs. Ming, who is afraid of thunderstorms, and they finally do manage to sleep tight.

This is a perfect bedtime story. The warm and subtly humorous illustrations by award winning artist, Mireille Levert, along with the repetitive and resonant nature of the story, will entertain and amuse young children night after night.

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Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration winner
Elizabeth Mrazik Cleaver Picture Book Award winner
Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Text nominee

The time is 1900, in the midst of the great waves of European immigration to North America. Standing in the dust and wind of the prairie, a young boy prepares to say good-bye to Josepha, his older classmate, who is leaving the alienating world of the classroom where no one speaks his language.

But what a wonderful friend he has been! And without a common language between them, how will his younger friend ever say good-bye? What gift can he give Josepha to show how special their friendship has been?

Josepha depicts a facet of pioneer life seldom considered - the immigrant child's struggle to begin again in a strange land.

release date: Apr 25, 1998
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The Last Quest of Gilgamesh
In his final quest, Gilgamesh, still mourning the death of his dear friend Enkidu, sets out to find the key to immortality. His journey is perilous. He must fight ferocious serpents and wild lions. He travels through bitterly cold caves, across scorching deserts, and over the fatal waters of the Sea of Death. Finally he arrives at the palace of Utnapishtim, the only human who knows the secret of immortality. Utnapishtim sets Gilgamesh a test to stay away for six days and seven nights, but Gilgamesh fails. His last hope, a flower of eternal youth, is eaten by the goddess Ishtar, who exacts her revenge. Finally, Enkidu comes from the underworld to show Gilgamesh true immortality: the king will be remembered for his good deeds, courage, and love for his people.
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The Rooster's Gift
Cot Cot Cot Cot Ca-toodle Tooooo! 1996 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
1996 Choices: The Year's Best Books (Publishers Weekly)
Notable Children's Books of 1997 (Booklist)Rooster has a special Gift.He believes that when he calls 'Cot Cot Cot Ca-toodle tooooo' he makes the sun come up.All the chickens, especially Smallest Hen, are in awe.And Rooster is pretty proud of his Gift as well . . . too proud.Until one morning he oversleeps, and the sun rises without him!Pam Conrad is in top form with this heartwarming story of self-affirmation and unconditional love that's as funny and endearing as Ferdinand the Bull.The artwork by Eric Beddows is as glorious and inspiring as a sunrise.

1996 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
1996 Choices: The Year's Best Books (Publishers Weekly)
Notable Children's Books of 1997 (Booklist)

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A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes

This delightfully illustrated paperback and CD set contains more than seventy-five of the best-loved rhymes and songs of childhood, from soothing lullabies to schoolyard chants. Popular classics such as "Pat a Cake," "Humpty Dumpty," and "Jack and Jill" are joined by lesser-known rhymes and ditties from many different cultures. Kady MacDonald Denton's illustrations add liveliness and humor. Together, parents and children will enjoy sharing A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes.

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The Great Poochini
By day Signor Poochini is a dog, lying peacefully in his master's living room and listening to music. But by night he is the Great Poochini, the most acclaimed singer in all opera — dog opera that is. One evening, when Poochini is ready to leave home and the opera hall is filling with dogs excitedly awaiting his performance, Poochini's master leaves the window locked, and Poochini cannot get out. He is in despair, until suddenly a cat burglar appears, and what might have been a disaster becomes an opportunity. This beautiful and hilarious book works on two levels — the exciting story of Poochini's adventure is accompanied by wonderful punning jokes on the world of opera, which run through the text and pictures.
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Yuck, a Love Story
Winner of the 2000 Governor General's Award for Children's Illustration

Finalist for the CBA Illustrator of the Year Award

Austin Grouper had a brown dog named Fresco, a best friend named Sternberg, and a red bicycle. His life was full. And then a girl named Amy moves in next door. Austin decides that she, like all girls, is yucky. But when the invitation to her birthday party arrives, it seems the only suitable present for Amy is the moon itself, and Austin is prepared to go to the ends of the earth to get it.

Yuck, a Love Story will strike a familiar chord with anyone who has survived that earth-shattering first crush, and is written with the wit and wisdom of one who has been to the moon and back. Marie-Louise Gay's charming illustrations express a youthful innocence that matches the text perfectly.

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An Island in the Soup
Fish soup is not exactly appetizing to young Victor, so he sets out to spice things up by diving into his bowl. Pelted by peas and carrots, he struggles toward an island of overgrown celery stalks, where he battles a ferocious pepper dragon. Overcoming the onslaught of each dreaded ingredient, Victor finds that he's hungrier than he thought, and discovers to his surprise that Mom's fish soup is the best he's ever tasted. “Young children who go with the game will enjoy the playful combination of the wild and the mundane... ” — Booklist
release date: Aug 01, 2008
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From the weird and wonderful imagination of an amazing new artist comes an alphabet book like no other. Kids will delight in discovering animals from A to Z living together in an old Victorian mansion. They'll meet an elephant in the ballroom playing with a model train, an octopus hanging from the foyer chandelier --- and even a zebra enjoying a soak in the bathtub!

Using watercolours and colored pencils, Wallace Edwards has created a bizarre and luxurious world, rich in texture and detail. An engaging mix of art and alphabet book, Alphabeasts provides the basis for hours of animated discussion and quiet contemplation.
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The Song Within My Heart
Renowned Native painter Allen Sapp's inspired and stunning artwork beautifully complements this sweet story of a boy preparing for his first powwow. The young boy's Nokum -- his beloved grandmother -- guides him through the events of the day and helps him to understand what the singing and dancing are about. Award-winning author David Bouchard adds rhythmic and informative text based on remembrances from Allen Sapp's own Cree childhood. A portion of the royalties for The Song Within My Heart will be donated to the Indian Federated College.
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The most celebrated nonsense poem in the English language, Lewis Carroll's ?Jabberwocky? has delighted readers of all ages since it was first published in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, in 1872. Stéphane Jorisch's stunningly inventive art adds a vibrant, surprising dimension to an already unforgettable poem.
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Imagine a Day
Imagine a day when your swing swings you higher than the highest treetops. Imagine a day when you can ride your bike up a path of falling leaves into the very tree they are falling from. Imagine a day when you release a handful of blue balloons into a cloudy, gray sky to create a postcard-perfect day. Imagine a day when the ordinary becomes the extraordinary...a day when anything is possible.

Imagine a Day is the companion book to the critically acclaimed Imagine a Night, which School Library Journal declared "a fascinating foray into the imagination." Renowned Canadian artist Rob Gonsalves once again stretches the limits of visual exploration with his breathtaking paintings and encourages parents and children alike to look beyond the limits of the everyday world and imagine.
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Ancient Thunder
Leo Yerxa, an artist of Ojibway ancestry, brings us this visionary, beautiful art book in which he celebrates wild horses and the natural world in which they lived in harmony.

Using an extraordinary technique he makes paper look like leather so that his illustrations seem to be painted on leather shirts. Each unique leather shirt is laid on a page and is accompanied by a rich, wild, free song of praise for the wild horses that came to play such an important role in the lives of the First Peoples.

Author and illustrator of the noted and multi-prize-winning Last Leaf, First Snow Flake to Fall, Yerxa has once again devoted years to creating a book that is simply a piece of art reflecting his sense of nature and the place of native people within it.
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The Boy from the Sun

The Boy from the Sun starts on an ordinary day. As three children sit on the sidewalk after school, wondering what to do to make the day special, a little boy with a yellow shining head floats down beside them. The children soon make friends with the strange new boy, and thus begins a magical journey that helps all the children see the world through new eyes. Duncan Weller combines evocative illustrations and poetic text — “For here, with everyone, / You are splinters of the sun” — in this enchanting story about taking the time to appreciate the natural world.

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The Owl and the Pussycat
Visions in Poetry is an innovative and award-winning series of classic poems re-interpreted for today's readers by outstanding contemporary artists in distinctively beautiful editions.

The sixth Visions in Poetry book is The Owl and the Pussycat, a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, brilliantly illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. The artist's vision begins in a segregated world where different species never mix and everyone hides behind a mask. Against this backdrop an aristocratic owl from Owl Heights and a bohemian pussycat from the other side of the tracks find each other.

They escape society's disapproval by sailing in their pea green boat to ?the land where the bong-tree grows,? a utopia of mismatched creatures living together, their masks doffed for good. Jorisch's playful and fantastic interpretation, inspired in part by Lear's own illustrations as well as the films of Fellini, the art of Miro and The Beatles' Yellow Submarine, is a celebration of love and an exhilarating journey that takes us beyond the quirky charm of this favorite poem.
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Bella's Tree
Bella's Tree tells the story of a grandmother who has become "crooked" because she's too old to go out and find the perfect Christmas tree. Her spunky granddaughter, Bella, and Bruno the dog are certain they can do the job and put a smile on Nan's face. They sing for inspiration and enlist the help of some birds to help them pick the right tree. Will it be "the beauty, the beautier," or "the beautiest?" Will they come through for Nan? Janet Russell's rich, Newfoundland-infused language and Jirina Marton's evocative images of snowy woods and cozy interiors bring this sweet holiday tale to life for young readers.
release date: Mar 23, 2010
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Cats' Night Out
From two cats waltzing to twenty cats in a conga line, dancing felines take to the streets, the fire escapes, and the rooftops in this charming concept picture book that is part counting and part introduction to music, dance, and rhythm. The short rhyming text makes it a perfect read-aloud treat, and with vivid illustrations from a breakout DreamWorks animator, readers and listeners alike will be thrilled to see what happens one night on Easy Street when a pair of cats start to groove to the beat.
release date: Mar 01, 2011
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Ten Birds
A clever counting book and fable unlike any other. Ten birds are trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the river. The bird they call "Brilliant" devises a pair of stilts. The bird they call "Highly Satisfactory" engineers a raft. One by one, nine resourceful birds make the crossing until a single bird is left behind ? the one they call "Needs Improvement." This bird's solution proves surprising ? and absurdly simple. More than a counting book, Ten Birds is a witty story that highlights ingenuity, common sense and the inadequacies of labels. Cybele Young's intricate chiaroscuro pen-and-ink drawings depict a rich alternative world that both children and adults will marvel over.
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Virginia Wolf
Vanessa's sister, Virginia, is in a ?wolfish? mood --- growling, howling and acting very strange. It's a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing ?so that what was down could climb up.? Before long, Virginia, too, has picked up a brush and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf is an uplifting story for readers of all ages.
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