2022 was a great year for youth titles. Here are some of the books that won this year’s many prestigious literary awards.
Winner of the 2022 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
The critically acclaimed Firekeeper’s Daughter explores the implications involved for an Indigenous girl when the lines between helping and harming her community begin to blur.
Eighteen-year-old Ojibwe girl Daunis Fontaine unwittingly becomes witness to a shocking murder and is thrust into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. Daunis has no choice but to cooperate and go undercover; so, she draws on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source, but even as her investigation continues, Daunis wonders whether what she’s doing is really helping her community or tearing it apart. Firekeeper’s Daughter is a YA thriller and a statement on the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous people in America. As such, the novel works on both levels: as a gripping page-turner and a sobering portrait of a community not often portrayed in YA fiction. Grades 9-12
Winner of the 2022 Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
The concept of time is both simple and profound. What is time? This question could just as easily form the basis of a doctoral thesis as it could a picture book, such as this one, which is a joyful meditation on the subject aimed at the little ones. In this book, author and illustrator Julie Morstad shows us how time is the tick tick tock of a clock and numbers and words on a calendar, but it is also so much more than that. Time is a seed waiting to grow, a flower blooming, a sunbeam moving across a room. Time is slow like a spider spinning her web or fast like a wave at the beach. Time is a wiggly tooth, or waiting for the school bell to ring, or reading a story . . . or three! But time is also morning for some and night for others, a fading sunset and a memory captured in a photo taken long ago. Time is a Flower aims to demystify the concept of time for young readers in a fun, joyful way and at the same time remind older readers to see the wonders of our world, including children themselves, through the lens of time. Grades Preschool-2
Co-winner of the 2022 First Nation Communities READ PMC Indigenous Literature Award
Lisa Boivin is a Deninu Kue First Nation interdisciplinary artist and PhD candidate at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. Her background in medicine and her Dene heritage influences her writing and artwork and her exploration of human life and death. In her previous book, I Will See You Again, we follow the author as she learns of her brother’s passing, journeys to collect his ashes, and then gives him a traditional funeral. In We Dream Medicine Dreams, death looms large too, but so does life and the lessons that animals impart to us in medicine dreams, which are dreams that heal and teach. In this book, a little girl is very close to her grandfather. When she dreams about the bear, hawk, caribou, and wolf, the grandfather explains how we connect with the knowledge of our ancestors through dreams. All these animals have teachings to share to help us live a good life. But when Grampa gets sick and falls into a coma, the little girl must lean on his teachings as she learns to say goodbye. This is a moving and deeply personal book accompanied by Boivin’s colourful collages that pay homage to Dene artwork traditions. Grades K-2