Forest of Reading Awards

Today is the day that the nominees for the Ontario Library Association's (OLA) Forest of Reading awards are announced. Though it comes out of Ontario, the Forest of Reading is billed as Canada's largest recreational reading program. It encompasses nine awards spanning various age ranges from junior kindergarten up to adult. There are two adult programs, one for those who are learning to read or who are reading English as their second language, and the other for adults of any age or reading level. The children's programs include four English children's awards that are segmented by grade level plus three French awards segmented by picture books, chapter books, and shorter chapter books/mature picture books. 

We don't often blog about children's book awards because, while we often see distinct sales increases for shortlisted and winning titles, the sales increase tends to take place over a longer period than adult literary awards, where there is usually a very distinct and discernible spike in sales. The Forest of Reading tends to be another unique situation because, while many sales are made directly to consumers, the spike we see can also often be attributed to sales to libraries.

Since we can't report on the sales of individual titles, we've created a redacted graph so you can get an idea of the impact of the Forest of Reading awards. Included below are the sales for the Blue Spruce Award, which are JK - grade 2 picture books. Sales trend significantly higher for a period of three to four months after the shortlist announcement and then, for many of the titles, they come back closer to the pre-award sales trend. Also included is a trend line of sales for the Juvenile Fiction market so you can have an idea of how the market is performing as a whole. 

While winning these awards is an incredible honour, just getting a nomination is where it's at for sales. The first few months after the shortlist announcement is where the bulk of sales for all titles take place. The winner of each award, as selected by students who have read the books, is announced in May, close to the end of the school year. 

Sales of Blue Spruce Nominees – September 2016 to May 2017

A full list of the nominated titles is available at the Forest of Reading website.

As a sampling, congratulations to the authors and publishers of the following shortlisted Blue Spruce titles:

The Branch
Written by Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Pierre Pratt
Kids Can Press
The Darkest Dark
Written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by Eric Fan and Terry Fan
Tundra Books
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
Written by Shelly Becker
Illustrated by Eda Kaban
Sterling Publishing
French Toast
Written By Kari-Lynn Winters
Illustrated by François Thisdale
Pajama Press
Written by Glen Gretzky and Lauri Holomis
Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Puffin Canada
The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain
Written by Carolyn Huizinga Mills
Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Milo and Georgie
Written by Bree Galbraith
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
Owlkids Books Inc.
The Owl and the Lemming
Written by Roselynn Akulukjuk
Illustrated by Amanda Sandland
Inhabit Media Inc.
Shark Lady
Written by Jess Keating
Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
A Squiggly Story
Written by Andrew Larsen
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
Kids Can Press