Canada’s Writers Honour Children’s Book Publisher, Patsy Aldana

John Degen
Press Release

Canada’s Writers Honour Children’s Book Publisher, Patsy Aldana 

Freedom to Read Award Given for Courageous Publishing



For immediate release

Toronto, February 15, 2013 – The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) recognizes the courageous work of children’s book publisher, Patsy Aldana, with its Freedom to Read Award for 2013. As head of Groundwood Books from 1978 to 2012, Ms Aldana produced beautiful, cutting-edge books for young readers.

 “Patsy Aldana has been a tireless promoter and defender of literature that digs into and examines challenging and often uncomfortable realities,” said John Degen, TWUC's executive director. “She has defended the right of children to read widely, and make up their own minds. She was the unanimous choice for our 2013 Freedom to Read Award.”

Several Groundwood titles have been challenged by groups unhappy with perceived political inaccuracies. The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, by Anne Laurel Carter and Three Wishes, by Deborah Ellis both deal with the Israel-Palestine question, and both have faced calls for removal from school libraries. In each case, Ms Aldana publicly defended the book and author.

“The Union has been offering this award for a number of years,” added Degen. “It’s one of the meaningful ways Canada’s writers participate in Freedom to Read Week.”

Born in Guatemala, Ms Aldana moved to Canada in 1971. She received the Order of Canada in 2010. In October of 2012 she stepped down as publisher of Groundwood. Previous recipients have included Quebec writer Charles Montpetit, Janine Fuller of Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver, lawyers Clayton Ruby and Alan Borovoy, novelist Lawrence Hill, and writer John Ralston Saul. 

Freedom to Read Week (February 24-March 2, 2013) is an initiative of the Book and Periodical Council ( The TWUC award will be presented at The Book and Periodical Council and Raconteurs Present: Censored, a night of true storytelling celebrating Freedom to Read Week 2013. This event will take place at the Garrison in Toronto on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information visit


The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing more than 2,000 professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.


For additional information:

John Degen, Executive Director                                         

The Writers’ Union of Canada                                             

416-703-8982, ext. 221