The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk Brings Home Top Prize at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards

Alec Morley, Senior Vice President, Digital Channels, TD Bank Group, congratulates Canadian children’s author Jan Thornhill as the winner of the 2017 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for her book, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk.


For over a decade, the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award has recognized the best literary works by Canadian children's authors and illustrators in both English and French. This year's winner, author, Jan Thornhill, was selected from five finalists for her book, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk.

Presented by TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children's Book Centre, Thornhill was awarded the $30,000 top prize –the largest of its kind in Canadian children's literature – and the title of the most distinguished children’s book of the year at a gala in Toronto on November 21. The remaining four finalists  will share a $10,000 prize. Author Iain Lawrence won the CBC Fan Choice Contest for his book The Skeleton Tree, as voted on by young readers across Canada.

“This year’s TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award finalists have created engaging, thoughtful stories about determination, the human spirit and overcoming adversity that will pull young readers in,” says Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. “We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding literary work of Canada’s talented authors and illustrators and to celebrate the stories that stand apart such as The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk.”

Drawing readers into a world that is both haunted and haunting, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk is a story about an unlikely hero, a bird, whose fate the reader knows in advance: extinction. A stunningly illustrated picture book, readers will feel compelled to root for the Auk's success in the face of adversity.

“Each finalist has created compelling works of literature that are important for young readers today,” says Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, Canadian Children’s Book Centre. “We are proud to celebrate the incredible work of these Canadian authors and illustrators and to work with TD to promote literacy for young Canadians.”

Five French-language books  were also celebrated at a gala in Montreal on November 8, 2017 with Larry Tremblay and illustrator Guillaume Perreault receiving top honours for their book, Même pas vrai.