The Red Cedar Book Award: Introducing the 2017/2018 Fiction Nominees

Hey! In case you’ve never heard of it, the Red Cedar Book Award is British Columbia’s Young Reader’s Choice Award for middle grade Canadian books. Meaning that middle graders are the ones who choose which book gets the award.

Actually, it’s books and awards, because the Red Cedar has two categories, and thus two awards: Fiction and Information. In November, students across BC will start reading (if they haven’t already! some of the titles are very popular) the nominated books. In order to vote, a student must have read five or more of the twelve nominated titles. Voting takes place in April, and the results are announced at the celebratory gala, which involves author readings and student-created presentations on each of the nominated books. At the end of the gala the Red Cedar Book Award is presented, and the nominee lists for the next year’s Red Cedar are released.

Basically, kids who love books get to meet the authors who wrote those books. Everyone talks books, collects signatures, and eats sweets. It’s a party.

During the year, readers get the chance to review the nominated books, and their reviews are posted on the Red Cedar website. For the next few months, I’m going to post my own reviews of the 2017/2018 Red Cedar Fiction nominees. (The year thing is confusing, I know. I trip over it each year. Basically, all the Canadian middle grade fiction published within a certain period (one year) is read by a selections committee formed from professionals people who know a lot about and care a lot about children and books: typically, one children’s librarian, one teacher, one teacher-librarian, one bookseller, and one author or other children’s lit expert. This committee reads ALL THE BOOKS over the course of about two and a half months (usually 75-80 books, or just under a book a day) and decides on the nominated list just in time for it to be released at the gala in April. These books are read over the next school year, so that a book published in 2016 is a contender for the 2017/2018 awards, so named because that is the reading period for the children involved. *takes a deep breath* Does that make sense now?)

So yay! Canadian content! Middle grade novels! And at some point, probably at the end of this miniseries of posts, I’ll do a run down of stats, things like the ethnicity, gender, age of protagonists and authors. (Though maybe not the age of authors, eh?) I’m interested in seeing who and what is being written about and by whom, and who and what are not being written about, and who is not writing being published.

Onward, ho!

The 2017/2018 Red Cedar Fiction Nominees, in alphabetical order (Ignoring “The”s):

Links will be added as each post goes up. Whether you’re joining in the fun of reading for the Red Cedar, or have thoughts about particular books, as ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts.