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The Rocky Mountain Book Award is an Alberta-based readers’ choice program which invites students in grades 4-7 to choose the best book from a shortlist of exemplary Canadian literature. The books submitted must have been published in the last two years in Canada. The winner receives a Gold medal specially designed for the Rocky Mountain Book Award. The winning author is also asked to tour the province of Alberta.

2009 Gold Medal Winner

Safe As Houses
By Eric Walters

The date is October 15, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Weston, is a typical grade 8 girl. She has a secret crush on a boy in her class and she thinks Elvis Presley is "dreamy." Elizabeth also has a part-time job babysitting an adorable little grade 2 girl named Suzie, and Suzie's not-so-adorable grade 6 brother, David. Elizabeth's job is to walk Suzie and David home after school and then stay at their house with them until their mother gets home from work. David resents Elizabeth because he thinks he is too old for a babysitter, and he goes out of his way to make life miserable for her.

On this particular evening, however, Elizabeth has more than a badly behaved boy to contend with. It is on this October night that Hurricane Hazel roars down on Toronto, bringing torrential rains that cause extensive flooding. David and Suzie's house is on Raymore Drive, a street that will be practically wiped out by the floodwaters.

David and Suzie's parents are unable to reach the house, which means the children's safety on this most deadly of nights is Elizabeth's responsibility. She finds herself increasingly isolated. They are surrounded by rising water. The electricity goes out. The phone goes dead. Still, Elizabeth is sure they will be safe as long as they remain in the house.

But are Elizabeth and the children really as "safe as houses"? Before this terrifying night is over, Elizabeth and David will have to learn to communicate and cooperate if they are to save their own lives and Suzie's. Their survival in the midst of one of Canada's worst disasters will depend upon their resourcefulness, maturity and courage

2009 Shortlist

Very Serious Children B Caroline Adderson
Rise of the Golden Cobra
, Henry Aubin
Mother Goose Unplucked,
Helaine Becker
Earth Magic,
, Dionne Brand
At Vimy Ridge, ,
Hugh Brewster
Kids Who Rule
Charis Cotter
Elijah of Buxton,
Christopher Curtis
The Strongest Man in the World,
Nicolas Debon
The Painted Circus,
Wallace Edwards
Factory Girl,
Barbara Greenwood
Almost Eden,
Anita Horrocks
The Inuit Thought of It.
Alootook Ipellie
Baboon: A Novel ,
David Jones
Gemini Summer
, Iain Lawrence
Ann Love
Eye of the Crow,
Shane Peacock
A Perfect Gentle Knight,
Kit Pearson
Orphan Ahwak,
Raquel Rivera
This is My Planet,
Eric Walters

2008   Sean Cullen, Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates of the Arctic
2007 Pamela Porter The Crazy Man. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2005.
2006 Kenneth Oppel Airborn. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.
2005 Tim Wynne-Jones Ned Mouse Breaks Away. Illustrated by Dušan Petri?i?. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2003.
2004 Karen Levine Hana’s Suitcase. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2002.
2003 Deborah Ellis The Breadwinner. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2000.
2002 Ting-Xing Ye White Lily. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2000.
2001 Kenneth Oppel Sunwing. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.


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