April 15, 2016, Ottawa:?The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA/ACB) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award: Sidewalk Flowers, by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith, and published by Groundwood Books. This Award is generously sponsored by Library Services Centre.

Warm and touching, this wordless picture book follows a young girl returning home and her experiences on the way. Starting with bold black and white pen and ink strokes save for a child’s bright red coat, and gradually moving into full, gentle watercolours, illustrator Sydney Smith takes us into Lawson’s wordless poetic narrative to glimpse beauty in a gritty city landscape through a child’s eyes and heart. In this authentic setting and relevant tale, dad and daughter walk through a current city downtown completing errands as dad talks on his cell phone, not neglecting daughter but not seeing what she sees – the wild flowers and weeds she picks along the route and gives as gifts to various other characters, some joyous and some sad. The well-developed characters breathe through the artistic medium and original story sequence. Smith’s exquisite use of line, shape, colour and perspective are integral to creating deep meaning, character and mood.

Sydney Smith has created illustrations that make the book accessible on many levels for any age – this would be a great story for?a?child and their parent to explore together. Children will relate to the protagonist and her eye for “beauty amongst the ruins”, and her impulse to give away flower bouquets.

The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award Jury also selected an Honour Book: The Bus Ride, illustrated and written by Marianne Dubuc, published by Kids Can Press.

This charming book depicts a young girl’s first city bus trip by herself to grandma’s house. On the bus, other passengers appear mostly as animal caricatures suggestive of fairy tale creatures; perhaps the child imagines fellow passengers as animals to help make the trip less scary and more fun. The subtle watercolour and coloured pencil drawings with tiny playful details familiar to the author/illustrator’s style, complements the text superbly; depicting a sense of sweetness, fun and excitement throughout the tale. Marianne Dubuc’s mastery of the use of line, shape, colour and perspective invite us to take repeated journeys on this bus trip.

Since its inception in 1971, the CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award has been presented annually in recognition of excellence in English-language children’s books, published in Canada during the preceding year. The CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award Jury commends all Canadian illustrators of children’s books and their publishers for providing an exceptional collection of quality books for children.

This year’s award will be presented to Sydney Smith, illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers on June 2, 2016 at the CLA Book Awards Luncheon (click here to buy your tickets now!) during the CLA National Forum in Ottawa. The Book Awards Luncheon is generously sponsored by TD Bank Group.The award is sponsored by Library Services Centre.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award Jury:

  • Diana Gauthier, retired Teacher-Librarian, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
  • Zoe Pappas-Acreman, Librarian, Ottawa Public Library
  • Randi Robin, Children’s Librarian, Burnaby Public Library
  • Nicholle Plante, Community Outreach Librarian, Calgary Public Library
  • Judith Sykes, retired Principal/School Library Resource Evaluation Specialist, Calgary Board of Education

Media Contact:?Diana Gauthier, Chair, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award Jury?

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About CLA:
The Canadian Library Association 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 about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy. For more information please visit:

For more information on the CLA Book Awards, contact:
Agnieszka Arkuszewski
Office Manager and Executive Assistant
Email: info (at) ?

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