The Man with the Violin, a 2013 book that has already been a big critical and sales hit for Annick Press, took home the biggest prize for children’s books in Canada Thursday night.
Written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, the book that won the C$30,000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for the most distinguished book of the year is based on the true story of an experiment arranged by the Washington Post in which renowned violinist Joshua Bell played his Stradivarius in a busy subway station, but almost no one stopped to listen.
Stinson thanked Gene Weingarten for his original story in the Post and for mentioning “the fact that kids always wanted to stop and adults always rushed them along. Not an unusual occurrence in our rushing here and rushing there world, but I found myself imagining what it must have been like for those kids who wanted to stop that day in 2007 and listen to that man with the violin,” she said. It was from that thought that the book’s protagonist, Dylan, was born, she said.
Petričić said the book presented an exciting challenge to illustrate because it required finding a way to translate a musical experience into a visual art.
The jury for the award judged the effort to be a success. “Text and illustration dance together in this beautiful story, which celebrates the importance of seeing the wonder that surrounds us each day.”
According to Annick Press, the book has already sold over 25,000 copies.
The gala hosted by TD Bank, which annually gives about C$4 million to support various children’s literacy initiatives in Canada, also included the presentation of several other awards.
Erin Bow’s novel Sorrow’s Knot, published by Scholastic Canada, won the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Ted Staunton’s novel Who I’m Not, published by Orca Book Publishers, won the John Spray Mystery Award.
Rona Arato’s The Last Train: A Holocaust Story, published by Owlkids Books, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction.
How To written and illustrated by Julie Morstad, published by Simply Read Books, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.
Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass, published by Pajama Press, won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People award.