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The Willow Awards

willowlogoIt is an honour to have my latest middle-grade comedy, 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6, selected as a 2016 Diamond Willow Nominee!

For those who may not know, Willows are not just gorgeous trees. They are also Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Awards (SYRCA). Every year, the Willow Awards offer Saskatchewan students an opportunity to vote for their favourite book among ten nominated titles in each age category. Books nominated for a Willow are thus introduced to thousands of students in the province.

My book is in excellent company as one of these ten 2016 Diamond Willow nominees, selected for readers in grades 4-6:

audreyAudrey by Dan Bar-el


 Finding Grace by Becky Citra


Friend or Foe by Etta Kaner


Frostbite Hotel by Karin Adams


Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes


Masterminds by Gordan Korman


Rain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard


Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey


Speechless by Jennifer Mook-Sang


28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 by Catherine Austen (me)

winniegospelYounger readers have a beautiful selection of ten titles (including Lindsay Mattick’s Finding Winnie, at left) nominated for the Shining Willow Award.

Older readers have an excellent selection of titles (including Caroline Pignat’s Gospel Truth, at right) nominated for the Snow Willow Award.

This year’s nominated titles will be read by students throughout the summer, fall and winter months, with student votes being tallied in April, 2017.

Last year’s Willow Awards have just ended and the winners are being announced today. You can check out today’s award ceremony online via the “Gala 2016 Live Event Video” on the SYRCA website. And check out all the nominated titles from 2015 on the CanLit for LittleCanadians blog.

willowtreeFor more information on SYRCA and the nominated titles from this year or earlier years, visit the Willow Awards website. If you’re a student or teacher in Saskatchewan, be sure to get involved in this children’s choice contest. I and the other authors will soon be adding suggested activities to supplement our books on the SYRCA website. (Because it’s not all about reading. It’s also about writing and drama and arts and crafts.)

A big congratulations to all of this year’s and last year’s nominated titles. And a big thanks to the teachers and students of Saskatchewan, and the volunteers at SYRCA, who keep this reading program going strong.


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