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SWCC Book Awards Winners

12 Jun 2018 3:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is pleased to announce the winners of this year's book awards for books published in 2017. 

Science Writers and Communicators of Canada offer two annual book awards to honour outstanding contributions to science writing 1) intended for and available to children/middle grades ages 8-12 years, and 2) intended for and available to the general public. Books are judged on literary excellence and scientific content and accuracy. In addition the two book juries look for initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, relevance and value in promoting greater understanding of science by the general reader. The independent juries are composed of writers, scientists and members of the intended audience. Winners receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,000 that will be presented during Science Literacy Week in September. 


youth book winner


The Sockeye Mother by Hetxw'ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson) | illustrated by Natasha Donovan 

Portage & Main Press, High Water Press

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the sockeye salmon is more than just a source of food. Over its life cycle, it nourishes the very land and forests that the Skeena River runs through and where the Gitxsan make their home. The Sockeye Mother explores how the animals, water, soil, and seasons are all intertwined.

Brett D. Husonis from the Gitxsan Nation, an Indigenous people from an unceded territory in the Northwest Interior of British Columbia, Canada. For the past decade, Brett has worked in the film and television industry, and has volunteered for such organizations as Ka Ni Kanichihk and Indigenous Music Manitoba.

Growing up in a strong matrilineal society, Brett experienced and learned about the culture, land, and political landscape he was born into. From this came a passion to create and share the knowledge and stories of his people, which reflect the importance of environmental balance and a cultural knowledge that spans thousands of years.

The jury for this award was: 

Teresa MacDonald

Middle School Math/Science Teacher

The York School, Toronto


Neelam Mal (Grade 6 Teacher)

Student Services

Twelve Mile Coulee School, Calgary


Eileen van der Flier-Kelle

Teaching Professor

Dept of Earth Sciences

Simon Fraser University, Vancouver


Romilla Karnick

Documentary Producer

New York, New York


Jury Chair:

David McKay

Communications Dept.

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto


general book winner


Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik

Island Press

For two months in the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast.” It acted like a mythical animal, alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. A glance at international headlines shows a remarkable increase in higher temperatures, stronger winds, and drier lands– a trifecta for igniting wildfires like we’ve rarely seen before.

This change is particularly noticeable in the northern forests of the United States and Canada. These forests require fire to maintain healthy ecosystems, but as the human population grows, and as changes in climate, animal and insect species, and disease cause further destabilization, wildfires have turned into a potentially uncontrollable threat to human lives and livelihoods.

Our understanding of the role fire plays in healthy forests has come a long way in the past century. Despite this, we are not prepared to deal with an escalation of fire during periods of intense drought and shorter winters, earlier springs, potentially more lightning strikes and hotter summers. There is too much fuel on the ground, too many people and assets to protect, and no plan in place to deal with these challenges.

In 
Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.


Edward Struzikhas been writing about scientific and environmental issues for more than 30 years. A fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, his numerous accolades include the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, awarded for outstanding contributions to the understanding of science. In 1996 he was awarded the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and spent a year at Harvard and MIT researching environment, evolutionary biology, and politics with E.O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. His 2015 book, Future Arctic, focuses on the effects of climate change in the Canadian Arctic and the impacts they will have on rest of the world. His other books include Arctic Icons, The Big Thaw, and Northwest Passage. He is an active speaker and lecturer, and his work as a regular contributor to Yale Environment 360 covers topics such as the effects of climate change and fossil fuel extraction on northern ecosystems and their inhabitants. He is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, a citizens’ organization dedicated to the long-term environmental and social well-being of northern Canada and its peoples. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

The jury for this award was: 

Annie Locas

Technical Food Safety Specialist 

Gatineau, QC


Kelly Crowe

Journalist CBC

Toronto ON


Jim Davies

Cognitive Scientist, Playwright, Artist, and Author, Carlton University

Ottawa ON


Mark Winston

Biologist and Writer, Simon Fraser University

Vancouver, BC


Jury Chair:

Veronique Morin

Journalist

Québec, Québec