Writing For Children 2007 Winner

2007 Award Winner

The Writers’ Union of Canada, a national organization of over 1,550 trade-book authors, is pleased to announce the winner of its eleventh annual Writing for Children Competition. Jeff Pinkney of Peterborough, Ontario is the recipient of the $1,500 prize for “Soapstone Signs and Whispers.”

This story draws on the author’s experiences while travelling as a development consultant in Canada’s James Bay Frontier – where he acquired a deep appreciation for the people and the landscape. When he was transferred from South Porcupine to Peterborough, Jeff enrolled in part-time studies at Trent University, where he studied creative writing. “Soapstone Signs and Whispers” was written during this time. Jeff credits his daughters with helping him find his author’s voice, having spent many nights when they were small, reading them stories and inventing new ones with them. He hopes this is the first of many such stories for children.

The Union initiated the Writing for Children competition to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of children’s literature. Thirty-three Union members donated their time and expertise to read over 650 submissions from every region of Canada. Their shortlist was presented to the 2007 jury, who selected the winning story. For the 2007 competition, the jurors were: Barbara Greenwood, Maureen Hull, and Glen Huser.

" In this gentle, engaging story of a young boy creating his first soapstone carving, J.R. Pinkney builds narrative one detail at a time, starting with the familiar — the carvings of northern animals — and progressing back through the process from the look of the stone to finding the animal in the stone through one’s senses. Evocative opening images introduce us to Lindy, the master carver travelling south as the geese flock north, to ice breaking up, to the smell of campfires and outdoors, setting the scene for an unusual tale that vividly captures the essence of creativity. With skillful dialogue, warm interactions among characters in a small northern community, language and pacing that create a slow, elegiac feel, the storyteller wields the tools of a writer’s craft as deftly as the soapstone carver wields his rasp-file.” (Jury)


“Do You Know What I Like About You?” by Tracey Brown
“Ee-i-ee-i-o” by Tracy Byrne
“A Real Inuk” by Catherine Canzani
“One Warm Day” by Susan M. Chapman
“Have You Seen the Dragons Dance?” by Daniel Coghlan
“Ezra and the Crow” by Christy Goerzen
“We Make Bears” by Dorothy Griffiths, Jennifer Griffiths, and Victoria Griffiths
"A House That is Small" by Harriet G. Mulder
“When I Grow Up and You Grow Down” by Aimee Reid
“Fiezo the Book Burro” by Max Tell
“Amelia Meets the Sock Monster” by Janet C. Welling



Don Atkinson, Barbara Haworth-Attard, Erinn Banting, Helaine Becker, Ann Birch, Pauline Carey, Sean Cassidy, Lena Coakley, Jane Drake, Deborah Ellis, Ann Ewan, Maureen Foss, Celia Godkin, Lian Goodall, Carolyn Gossage, Nancy Graham,
Linda Granfield, Kristen den Hartog, Ann Jamison, John F. Jansen in de Wal,
Kim Kinrade, Heather Kirk, Susan Hughes, Jose Latour, Simon Leigh, Anne M. Logan, Michael Mirolla, Lynn Sinclair, Halli Villegas, Marg Wilson.


Barbara Greenwood, Maureen Hull, Glen Huser.

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