Creators: Shauntay Grant (Author) and Eva Campbell (Illustrator)
Nominator: Annick MacAskill, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia
Africville is a vibrant children’s book celebrating the community of the same name as it was and its legacy that remains. The jury felt the originality of this work lies in the ways in which it is presented: the book does not treat the Africville community as a tragedy, a relic of the past, or as a cautionary tale – instead it offers a profound child’s voice seeing the beautiful parts of her culture and community. The positive outlook and innocence of the narrative resonated with the jury, as the work embodies, gives voice to, and creates space for the hopeful spirit of Africville which endures despite the tragedies, injustices, and discrimination committed against the community.
Through their collaboration, Grant and Campbell have accomplished the difficult task of paring down this complex and controversial reality of Nova Scotian history. The language is accessible and straightforward and the illustrations are refined with a purposefully joyful quality. There is a vibrancy to the paintings that match the narrative perfectly.
As the jury commented: “A flawless pairing of words and imagery.”
“Africville challenges the sadness historically associated with marginalized peoples and communities.”