Award of the Week – The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People


The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is named for Geoffrey Bilson, an avid reader from a young age who went on to publish historical novels for children as well as several adult books. The award is presented annually in Canada by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Below are past winners starting with the most recent 2016 title.


Uncertain Soldier
By: Karen Bass

Erich, a teenaged prisoner of war in a logging camp near Lethbridge, Alberta, and Max, who is bullied because his parents are German, become friends as Erich worries about sabotage at the camp, which is controlled by Nazi prisoners.  Ages 11-18

Dance of the Banished
By: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Ali, an Alevi Kurd who has immigrated to Canada, is sent to an internment camp in northern Ontario as an enemy alien during World War I, while his fiancee, Zeynep, back in Anatolia, tries to protect her Armenian neighbors from massacre.  Ages 12-15

1927485533 Graffiti Knight
By: Karen Bass

In post-war Leipzig, teen Wilm feels justified in spray painting messages at night on police buildings in order to voice his displeasure, until one night his actions go too far.  Ages 12-18

1554514398 The Lynching of Louie Sam
By: Elizabeth Stewart

After Native American Louie Sam is suspected of killing someone, he is chased into Canada and lynched, but teenager George Gillies, a newcomer to Washington Territory, doesn’t think Louie was guilty and sets out to investigate.  Ages 11-15

9781554513567 The Hangman in the Mirror
By: Kate Cayley

After her poor parents die of smallpox in New France, sixteen-year-old Francois Laurent takes a job in the home of a wealthy fur trader, but her life takes a turn for the worse when she is caught stealing and sentenced to death by hanging.  Ages 13-18

1554551706 The Glory Wind
By: Valerie Sherrard

Gracie and Luke immediately become friends when Gracie moves to a small town in Canada, but secrets about her mother’s past threaten their friendship.  Ages 11-15

9780887768521 Vanishing Girl
By: Shane Peacock

In broad daylight, a high society girl vanishes on a crowded street. Days pass, then weeks; the daring abduction remains an impenetrable mystery, without a ransom note, a single clue, or even public information. The moment young SherLCk reads about it, he knows that it’s the case that will make his name.  Ages 10-14

9781554532346 The Landing: a novel
By: John Ibbitson

After the Great Depression, Ben, who sneaks in violin practice between chores, gets a job fixing up an old cottage on nearby Pine Island where he is introduced to a world of wealth that makes him desperate to escape Cook’s Landing.  Ages 12-18

9780739367193 Elijah of Buxton
By: Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family’s freedom.  Ages 9-14

088776729X Kanada
By: Eva Wiseman

When fourteen-year-old Jutka and her Hungarian Jewish family are sent to Auschwitz during World War II, her only hope lies in dreaming about the free land of Canada, which is in harsh contrast to the “Kanada” found in the camp–a storehouse for the belongings of those who died.  Ages 12-18



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