The Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award is a literary program designed for young
readers in Atlantic Canada. Each year, thousands of children aged nine to twelve (grades
four to 6) read from the selection of outstanding Canadian books and vote for the winners.
The award is designed after similar successful programs in Ontario
(The Silver Birch Award) and British
Columbia (The Red Cedar Award).
The Hackmatack Award was established with young readers in mind and serves to achieve the
to promote and advance reading and literacy among school-aged children in Atlantic Canada
to participate in and promote a regional program in schools that will encourage young
to foster the development and appreciation of writing in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New
Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, in both official languages, through a reading program
to work with public libraries to encourage readers through a developed reading program
to encourage a greater official public recognition of the work of Canadian writers
The Hackmatack Selection Committee nominates renowned Canadian books for young readers to
the Hackmatack shortlist. The forty books nominated for the Hackmatack Award are divided into
four categories - English Fiction, English Nonfiction, French Fiction and French Nonfiction.
Children in registered reading groups read the nominated books and vote for the winners of
the award in the spring of each year. The winners of the Hackmatack Award in each category
are announced at the final award ceremony in May.
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(Carr McLean, 2009 catalogue p. 21 Spine Labels,
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Who can participate?
grade 4, 5, or 6 class in a school
group formed by staff in a public or school library
group formed by a parent or a community organization
Not part of a group? Ask at your public library for how to participate on
your own. Organizers may add children who are either younger or older if they feel
that they would benefit from the program.
How it works:
groups buy books at bookstores or borrow from public libraries
groups can choose to read from either English or French selections or both
each reader casts votes for their favourite books in the spring
to be eligible to vote, children must be enrolled in a registered reading
group or participating through their public library
each reader is entitled to one vote in each category in which they have completed
at least 5 titles. Organizers should encourage children to read as many books as they
can to make informed decisions. However, organizers may be flexible and exercise their
discretion to encourage all readers' participation.
group coordinators enter the results of their readers' voting on the official tally
sheet and submit this sheet to the Hackmatack office. Votes for each book are counted by
the Hackmatack Award Committee and the winner in each category (Fiction, Nonfiction and
French) is determined by the number of children's votes. The winners in all three
categories are presented the Hackmatack Award at the May ceremony.
Hackmatack Timeline 2012/2013
February 2012 - nominated book selections
September 2012 - registration brochure and poster mailouts
September 2012 - Kit becomes available online
Deadline for registrations: December 31, 2012
September 2012 to March 2013 - reading
February 2013 - Voting reminder, bookings to host author readings and attend award ceremony
April 1, 2013 - Deadline for voting
May 6 - 9, 2013 - Nominated author reading tours in Atlantic region
May 10, 2013 - Award Ceremony, Halifax, NS, 10 am - 12 pm
May 10, 2013 - Press releases out re award winners
Although there is no set minimum of readers to form a group, we recommend a minimum of 10 readers.
The recommended maximum group size is approximately 30 children (one class).
Each year, the Hackmatack Selection Committees review dozens of books submitted by Canadian publishers
in each category. The books on the nominations list are chosen for their reader's appeal, quality of
writing, subject matter and other criteria. The final list is carefully selected to appeal to readers
with a variety of interests and to accommodate different reading levels.
Need support for book purchases or increased access to the nominated books? Try asking your
Parent-Teacher Association or local business for their support. Your local public libraries are
involved with the Hackmatack program and are interested in collaborating with schools to support
The NS Teacher's Association for Literacy and Learning offers Hackmatack book-buying grants to
teachers attending their inservice in late October each year. Contact Bonnie Boulter,
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Several independent bookstores in Atlantic Canada carry complete sets of
Hackmatack-nominated titles. Hackmatack selections can be found in the following stores: