Announcing the 2016 Explore Your World School Contest Winners

This year we ran our first national contest for schools. We wanted to help promote the many talented Canadian authors and illustrators among students. The idea was to choose a book from our reading list for inspiration – and using our theme Explore Your World, students were asked to create an exploration in any medium.

The grand prize: three school author visits! We were impressed with the thought and creativity that went into each submission. We received creative and inspiring videos, pictures, and collages. Congratulations to all of the schools that entered the 2016 Tell Your Tale School Contest!

A special thank you is extended to our wonderful judges: Sandra O’Brien, from the Canadian Children’s Book Center, Janet Mowat from Art Gallery of Hamilton and Rick Hughes from CBC Hamilton. They evaluated the entries based on established criteria, then agreed on the top three winners.

An official awards ceremony was held at the 8th Annual Telling Tales Festival on Sunday, September 18, 2016. We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Tell Your Tale School Contest:

1st Place: Strathcona Elementary School, Hamilton

Grade: 2/3 SAGE
Book: The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen

The class read books about people turning ugly places into beautiful places, and wondered how they could make these spaces more beautiful. They read The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen and it tied in nicely to everything they were discussing. They created a painting with the theme: “making the world more beautiful”.


“We painted the background of our picture using tempera paints and we chose a monochromatic colour scheme.  We used different shades and tints of grey.  Then, we each drew a picture of something that we think is beautiful.  We thought about how different the scene would be if there were plants and nature in it.  We used a lot of bright colours – kind of like the way Irene Luxbacher used colour in her illustrations to show beauty being added to the colourless scenes.

Lauren was reminded of a quote that our class talked about earlier this year and thought it would be a good idea to add it to the art. “Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful” by Hazrat Inayat Khan.

We agreed that the quote really tells the story of our painting and the growth mindset that Poppa and Theo showed in the story.  They could have just kept being sad that their garden was gone but they made the balcony beautiful with their imaginary garden.”

The wining class are writers themselves and are looking forward to meeting an author to find out what inspires them.

Andrew Larsen presenting the 1st place award to teachers from Strathcona Elementary School.

Andrew Larsen presenting the 1st place award to teachers from Strathcona Elementary School.


2nd Place: John T. Tuck Public School, Burlington

Grade: FDK2/JK-SK
Book: Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid

The students read Barbara Reid’s book Picture a Tree and then created their own inspired plasticine artwork. Making personal connections to their natural world and their community, the class created a video of their experience.

“We chose to make our own collaborative piece of plasticine art with a tree growing out of an open book. This represents our growth and learning this year as well as the Telling Tales Festival. Each detail on the tree was made like Barbara Reid’s illustrations and we even watched some of her instructional videos to learn her techniques. Barbara Reid’s books show us beautiful snapshots of our natural world through her intricate illustrations.”


Students from John T. Tuck Public School accepted the 2nd place award from Barbara Reid.


3rd Place: Adelaide Hoodless Elementary School, Hamilton

Class/Grade: 1
Book: Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi

As a class they read Ruth Ohi’s Fox and Squirrel then explored their own world to discover individual similarities and differences.

“We had great class discussions about how having different interests, lifestyles, cultures and traditions can be a great thing between friends! Here are some of the things we learned we had in common, and things we learned that were different, just like Fox and Squirrel.”


Ruth Ohi presented the 3rd place award to Adelaide Hoodless Elementary School.

Thank you to everyone for entering, and congratulations to the winning schools. Due to the contest’s success and the creativity of the students and classes that worked together this year, we are pleased to announce we will offer this contest again next year! So kids (and teachers) YOU have the ability to win an author visit at your school! Stay tuned for more details in the spring. We look forward to seeing your creativity!