What Are The Willows? – Regina Teachers’ Convention Presentation March 2021

Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Awards is a volunteer-run, non-profit, registered charity begun in 2001.

The mission of SYRCA – Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Awards – The Willow Awards, Inc. is to promote reading and celebrate Canadian literature.  Each year, Saskatchewan children and youth vote for Willow Award recipients from finalists nominated in three award categories.

The three categories were established to encourage participation by all children, regardless of the level at which they are reading. They include:

  • The Shining Willow Award for books written for young readers
  • The Diamond Willow Award for books written for upper elementary readers in grades 4 to 6
  • The Snow Willow Award for books written for readers in grades 7 & up

Participation in the Willow Awards is free to Saskatchewan children and youth. They may vote for their favourite book in any category in which they have read the minimum number of books required. Individuals may vote. Teachers, librarians or teacher-librarians can submit tallies of votes made in their buildings.

In the first year of voting, 2002, more than 5,000 voters participated. In recent years, the number of votes collected has increased to more than 15,000.

Ballots and how to vote for the current Willow Awards may be found under the VOTE tab on the home page.

SYRCA publishes posters, bookmarks, and award stickers. We also manage a website to provide activities and information related to the nominated books, authors and illustrators.

The Willow Awards Gala is held annually where authors of the students’ favourite books are presented with their Willow Awards.

Each fall, schools and libraries are invited to submit the ideas and activities they have conducted around the Willows to be eligible for book prizes.

Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice – The Willow Awards Inc. depends on membership donations and sponsorships to operate. Please consider a membership donation. Our charity business number is: 87530 3919 RR0001. Download a donation form from our home page. Tax receipts are issued for donations of $25 or more and for donations under $25, upon request.

“Thanks for giving us the opportunity to participate! I get so much positive feedback from both the students and teachers!”

Adele Green, Outlook Elementary School

Author Ashley Spires 2012 Shining Willow Award Winner for Small Saul