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Ever wonder who are the people responsible for selecting the winner? Read about the background to the selection committee members.
Rita Cox is an award-winning, master storyteller who has performed across North America, in Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean, on stage, radio and television. She teaches courses, leads workshops and seminars, and performs for adults and children. She has been on the Board of Storytelling Toronto and has served as chairperson. Her stories have appeared in many anthologies and school readers. She tells stories from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world. Rita was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1997 and is a recipient of honourary degrees from York and Wilfred Laurier Universities and of the 1995 Black Achievement Award.
On Oct 22, 2008 the City of Toronto dedicated a new park in honour of Dr. Rita Cox, community activist, librarian and renowned storyteller.
The Pre School Story Hour
How Trouble Made the Monkey Eat Pepper
Theo Heras was a children's librarian with the Toronto Public Library for 24 years, the last twelve as the Children's Literature Specialist at the Lillian H. Smith Branch. In that capacity, she provided programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children and teens. Her favourite and most rewarding activity by far was to create a welcoming and entertaining library program for babies and their parents.
Theo has performed at The Franklin Children's Garden on Toronto's Centre Island, Toronto's Word on the Street, and at storytelling festivals and other events. She has conducted "Ring Around the Moon", a weekly program of circle games at Dufferin Grove Park. Since her retirement, Theo has facilitated baby and toddler programs at Theatre Direct and at other venues in the city. Theo is branching out and creating cabaret shows for the grown-up crowd. Her most recent show was "A Trip to the Library". She is currently working on a program about the life and work of lyricist Dorothy Fields.
Theo's book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire, Resource Links, School Library Journal, Children's Book News, and Books in Canada. Her articles have appeared in Horn Book, CCL (Canadian Children's Literature), and Children's Book News. Theo contributed regular columns to CANSCAIP News and Music Time, the newsletter of the Early Childhood Music Association and is the current editor of the latter.
Jeffrey Canton has been a lecturer at York University since 2003 and teaches in the Children’s Studies Program in the Department of Humanities and is a founding member of the Children's Studies Advisory Committee.
His academic work focuses on the interaction of children's literature texts with topics including ethnography, memory, philosophy and critical thinking, social justice and activism and children's rights. A writer, storyteller and reviewer, he is also a long-time member of the jury for the IODE's national Violet Downey's Children's Literature Award as well as serving on the jury for The Herbert and Violetta Halpert Writing Award in Children's Studies at York University since the inception of the prize in 2009-2010.
He is also currently the Chair of the Board for the Toronto arts organization, Big Pond Small Fish.
Ken Setterington is an international authority on children's books. He is a storyteller, author, children's book reviewer and a retired librarian.
His most recent position was as the children and youth advocate for the Toronto Public Library. He is a respected storyteller and author, and his awards include the Toronto Arts Awards, Librarian of the Year (Ontario Library Association), Champion of Canadian Children's Literature (Canadian Children's Book Centre), and Jubilee Award (University of Toronto).
He was named the first Children and Youth Advocate for Library Services for the Toronto Public Library. He has been on the award committees for the Newbery, Caldecott and Sibert awards. Ken received the title Librarian of the Year in 2000 from the Ontario Library Association and won the prestigious Toronto Arts Award for Writing and Publishing in 2001.
He has been an active storyteller with Queers in Your Ears and others, and published retellings of The Snow Queen and The Wild Swans. He is the co-author, with Deidre Baker, of A Guide to Canadian Children's Books. He is the author of Mom and Mum are Getting Married and Branded by the Pink Triangle.