Three Cheers for Sergeant Billy!

I am thrilled to announce that my picture book, Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War, has recently won not one, not two but THREE young readers’ choice awards.

That’s right! Saskatchewan’s young readers voted and, yesterday, the very exciting news came that Sergeant Billy is this year’s winner of the Shining Willow Award.

Being that Sergeant Billy is a goat that came from the town of Broadview in Saskatchewan, I am especially happy that this true story resonated with the readers of this province.

Thank you to all the kids who voted for Billy and to all the teachers, librarians, parents and organizers that make these litterary awards possible.

2021 Forest of Reading Prix Mélèze for Sergent Billy

I am thrilled to announce that Sergent Billy : La vraie histoire du chevreau devenu soldat ( the French edition of Sergeant Billy) has won the Prix Mélèze 2021! The Prix Mélèze is one of the three French prizes awarded by the Forest of Reading program – a “readers’ choice” award run by the Ontario Library Association.

My books have often been long-listed for various Forest of Reading awards. Last year, my picture book Tellement sauvage was even an honour book. That’s pretty cool. But this is the first time that I win!

Who knew that a true story from over 100 years ago would still resonate with today’s young readers? I am truly honoured!

Congratulations to all the finalists as well as all the young readers, their teachers, librarians and all the volounteers that make the Forest of Reading program possible.


Sergeant Billy is a Hackmatack Award Finalist!

I am thrilled to announce that my picture book, Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War, has been selected as a finalist for the 2021-2022

Prix Littéraire Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award! (English non-fiction category). This is my first time having a book on this list and I am so excited to be in such great company! Congratulations to all the finalists!

The French version of Sergeant Billy is a Forest of Reading nominee!

Good news! My historical picture book Sergent Billy : La vraie histoire du chevreau devenu soldat (the French version of Sergeant Billy) is a finalist for the Prix Mélèze in ABO’s Forest of Reading program!

I am thrilled and honoured because not only is this an award for young readers in my home province (yeah Ontario!) I am also a finalist amongst a great number of authors and illustrators that I respect and admire!

To see a video of all the Prix Mélèze nominees, click here!

The winning title will be announced in May 2021. This gives you tons of time to enter your class. Just sayin’ 😉

Bonne chance à tous les finalistes!

Sergeant Billy WINS the Christopher Award!

I have a confession to make… I’ve often been a finalist for literary awards but I have never won. And that is fine. Being nominated truly IS an honour.

BUT… I am thrilled to announce that Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the goat who went to war has won (yes, WON!) the 2020 Christopher Award for best children’s book!

First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively.

In these especially trying time, I am so honoured that Sergeant Billy’s story is being recognized for shining a light in young reader’s hearts.

Because of the pandemic, I was not be able to attend the awards ceremony that usually takes place in NYC in May. Nonetheless, I will cherish this recognition and am happy to abide by the Christopher Award motto: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”. #blessed


Sergeant Billy Finalist for the 2020 Shining Willow Awards!

Good news! My historical picture book, Sergeant Billy: The true story of the goat who went to war is a finalist for the 2020 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Shining Willow Awards.

The Shining Willows are for readers from JK to Grade 3. The young participants will be the ones to read the 10 selected books and then vote for their favourite. What an honour it would be to be picked by the very readers I write for! I have my fingers crossed.

Of course, the announcement of the winners won’t be for a very long time – not until May 2021. But it prospect of having hundreds of children discovering Billy and his fabulous true story (a story that starts and ends in Saskatchewan, no less) is very exciting!

To see the selected books in the Shining Willow category and for more information about the Willow Awards, click here!


I’m a Prix Peuplier Finalist!

Yipee! The finalists for the OLA Forest of Reading program have been announced! In this 2020 edition there are 13 different award programs with over 90 English nominees, 46 French nominees, 37 English publishers, and 16 French publishers – whew! That’s a lot of great books!

I’m very happy to announce that my picture, Tellement sauvage, is a finalist in the Prix Peuplier program (French picture books). I am excited and honoured to be amongst the selected titles. This means that hundreds of students (francophones and francophiles) will read my silly story about what nocturnal animals are up to while we sleep. I giggle just thinking about it!
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The Branch in the Willows!

Good news! The Branch is a finalist in the 2018-2019 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Awards in the Shining Willow category (picture books).

My book is in amazing company with the likes of authors and illustrators like the very talented Linda Bailey, Kass Reich, Nadia L. Hohn, Irene Luxbacher, Claire Eamer, Thomas Gibault and David A. Robertson! What more can a person ask for? I am truly thrilled to be nominated!

Thank you for making The Branch a Willow 😉

A Spruce and a Poplar…

A spruce and a poplar… Sounds like the start of a nerdy tree joke or maybe a garden centre list. But it isn’t!

Photo le 2017-11-06 à 12.21 PMMy picture book The Branch / Ma branche préférée is a finalist for two literary awards – the Blue Spruce (for the English version) and Prix Peuplier (for the French version). Both awards are in the Forest of Reading program of the Ontario Library Association.

Between now and May 2018, thousands of young Ontario students will read the books in their selected categories (French, English, fiction, non-fiction, picture book, chapter books & YA). They will then vote for their favourite book. The winners will be announced mid-May at a huge (and I mean HUGE!) book party at Harbourfront in Toronto with hundreds of young readers going wild for their favourite books and authors. If you ever had any doubt as to whether kids can still get excited about books, this is THE must-attend event of the year!

This is my 6th time being a finalist for the Forest of Reading but this is my FIRST TIME having one of my books in both a French and an English category simultaneously. I’m honoured… and a little stunned. This year, in the Blue Spruce finalists there is a book written by an astronaut, a book with a foreword by a hockey legend and a book that will have you running for your pencils to write your own story. And that’s just a few of the amazing books that The Branch is up against! The list is just as impressive on the French side with books that will have you laughing, rhyming, thinking and maybe even shedding a little tear! One thing is for sure – the readers will have a fantastic time discovering all these wonderful Canadian authors and illustrators!

Happy reading to all the participants and congratulations to all the finalists!