All across Canada, each school year, thousands of students read books that appear on “tree award” lists and, come spring, vote on their favourites. I’ve been lucky enough to have had several of my books nominated over the years:
- King of the Castle (Silver Birch)
- One Year Commencing (Red Cedar)
- Marie-Claire: Dark Spring (Diamond Willow)
- Marie-Claire: A Season of Sorrow (Hackmatack).
My most recent – Highway of Heroes – is on three tree award lists this year, in the non-fiction category: the Hackmatack (for grades 4 to 6), the Silver Birch (for grades 3 to 6), and the Golden Oak (for readers in adult literacy programs).
It pleases me, of course, that my book will in the coming months be finding itself in the hands of lots of readers – of all ages. But as Remembrance Day nears, I can’t help but recall meeting people in New Brunswick a year ago who were grateful to me for writing Highway of Heroes because they’d had to travel that Highway with their loved ones. And honestly, much as a tree award nomination is nice, it’s hard to imagine any greater prize for writing what I did than a hug from the mother of a fallen soldier.
Let us remember them.