Today I found myself surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of enthusiastic, high-school age readers from the Ontario school system, and was honoured to receive a popular award for best Canadian young adult novel of 2008. The award was the White Pine, part of the Ontario Library Association’s “Forest of Reading” program — librarians nominate ten books in each of several age-divided categories and students from across the province are encouraged to read all ten on the roster and vote for their favourite.
All in all, 250,000 students participate in Forest of Reading, and over 8,000 were in attendance today for the awards ceremony at Harbourfront in Toronto. I was mobbed by group after group of vibrant, intelligent, engaged students, passionate readers who wanted to talk about my book and the other books they’d enjoyed (the other nine nominees were all very good, and the authors were fascinating people).
To top it all off, I was delighted to discover that Little Brother won the White Pine award, making it the popular choice for best YA book among Ontario’s high-school students. I could not be more delighted!