Nothing Plain about Erin Bow’s 2011 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award win

Oct 5, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group, and Erin Bow, 2011 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award Winner, enjoy her award-winning, debut novel Plain Kate (CNW Group/Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC))

First-time children’s author awarded $25,000 prize for excellence in children’s literature for Plain Kate

What’s the best way to inspire young Canadian readers?  The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) and TD Bank Group believe the answer lies in supporting Canada’s outstanding authors whose literature captures children’s imaginations.  For the seventh consecutive year, TD and the CCBC are proud to celebrate Canada’s best with the 2011 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

This year’s top prize went to Erin Bow for her moving children’s book, Plain Kate.  Bow was awarded $25,000 for her achievement during this evening’s 2011 Canadian Children’s Literature Awards gala at The Carlu in Toronto, where the country’s children’s literary elite gathered to celebrate the year’s best. In addition to the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the event honours exceptional children’s authors with the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award For Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award For Historical Fiction For Young People and the John Spray Mystery Award.

Bow’s book, Plain Kate, is an adventure filled coming-of-age story of an orphaned girl who sells her shadow to save her life. Inspired by Russian fairytales, the book follows Kate as she moves through a dangerous, but colourful world filled with magical creatures. Kate’s is a story about family and belonging, trust and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, perseverance and determination — and a talking cat.

“Erin Bow exemplifies the incredibly creative literary talent we have in Canada,” said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group and TD’s Literacy Champion. “TD is proud to celebrate the best of Canadian children’s literature, which inspires curiosity, a love for learning and appreciation for the written word in young Canadians.”

Plain Kate was selected from a shortlist that included: Canadian Railroad Trilogy, written by Gordon Lightfoot and illustrated by Ian Wallace (Groundwood Books); I Know Here, written by Laurel Croza and illustrated by Matt James (Groundwood Books); The Glory Wind written by Valerie Sherrard (Fitzhenry & Whiteside); and Burn, written by Alma Fullerton (Dancing Cat Books).

Since the awards were established in 2004, the best of English and French Canadian children’s literature has been honoured annually. The entries are judged for exceptional quality and their overall contribution to children’s literature.  Original English-language Canadian publications across all literary genres for children up to the ages of 12 were eligible for the awards given out this evening. The winners of Prix TD de literature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse will be announced at an invitation-only gala to be held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal on October 25.

“The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards shines the spotlight on Canada’s wealth of literary skill and creativity,” said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, Canadian Children’s Book Centre. “Each year, the winning authors and illustrators inspire young Canadians to discover the joy of reading.”

This year’s esteemed judging panel included: Carol-Ann Hoyte, children’s poet and Assistant Librarian, Selwyn House School; Dr. Dave Jenkinson, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba; Kathleen Martin, writer, editor and President, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia; Judith Saltman, Associate Professor, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and Chair, Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, University of British Columbia; Larry Swartz, Instructor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and author of Good Books Matter.

About the Author
Erin Bow was born in Des Moines, Iowa and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where she developed her love of books and writing. Since moving to Canada, she has published three books, a memoir and two volumes of poetry, for which she was awarded a CBC Canadian Literary Award. Bow is married to writer James Bow. They live together in Kitchener with their two daughters. Plain Kate is Bow’s first children’s book.

About The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization and registered charity founded in 1976 to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens. With book collections, programs and services and extensive resources in five cities across Canada, the CCBC is a treasure-trove for anyone interested in Canadian books for young readers. For more information, please visit

TD Community Giving
TD Bank Group invests in communities to make a positive impact where it does business and where our customers, clients and employees live and work. In 2010, TD Bank Group donated over $50 million to support community organizations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, we focus on Education and Financial Literacy, Creating Opportunities for Young People, and the Environment. For more information, visit

For further information:

Megan Hooper
[email protected] 
Mary Attard
MSL Group
[email protected] 

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