Willow Awards Launch

Willow Awards Launch

Each year, every school in the province is encouraged to launch the new Willow Award finalists! We are interested in sharing the great work you have done to promote this quality literature. In the coming year, we are looking for ways that readership in the Diamond and Snow levels can be increased. We encourage everyone to include these great books in your plans! Launch submissions that focus on Diamond and Snow readers will get special consideration!
• Share your ideas with us!
• Send a picture or description of your launch activity(ies) to be entered for a book prize for your classroom or library.
• Whether it is a bulletin board, guest reader, special project – the sky is the limit!
• Send your information to us through our CONTACT US form. Please include an email address and other contact information so that we can reach you.
• One lucky entry will win the entire set of finalists.
• Runner up prizes are also awarded.
• Deadline is November 13th.
• Happy Reading!

Willow Launch 2022

It is truly amazing to hear about all of the creative and exciting ways that people are using to introduce the Willow finalists to their readers! Seeing all of the Launch submissions is one of the best parts of our job on the Board of the Willows! This year was no exception and we have been encouraged and inspired with many great entries. Here are some of the ideas shared:

  • Using Willow titles in an extracurricular book club
  • Incorporating Willow titles in Battle of the Books programs
  • Holding a “ fall Gala celebration” with music, dancing and reading of Willow titles 
  • Creating displays for book titles with the pdf book covers from the Willow website
    • Keep Looking for Your Diamond in the Rough
    • Your Favourite Book May Be Shining Right in Front of You
    • Look Out For An Avalanche of Great Snow Books
  • Special bins to hold the current Willow finalist titles
  • Incorporating Willow titles in an English As Second Language program
  • Holding a “Battle of the Books” or “Book Bracket” school-wide
  • Inviting guest readers to read Willow books on “Willow Wednesdays”
  • A Gallery Walk introducing Snow titles to readers
  • Using Willow titles as classroom read-alouds

Thank you to all who took the time to send us an explanation and/or pictures!

The Winner of a full set of the Willow finalist books (Shining, Diamond and Snow) is:

  • Archerwill School

Runners Up Winners of a set of Shining, Diamond or Snow Willow Books:

  • Kincaid Central School – Kincaid
  • St. Mary’s School – Yorkton
  • Ethel Milliken School – Regina
  • Ruth Pawson School – Regina
  • Englefeld School – Yorkton
  • Dr. Brass School – Yorkton



Willow Launch 2021

It is exciting to see so many schools promoting the reading of the Willow finalists in our  20th year! We recognize the challenges that many have been facing during this past year and are encouraged by the positive messages that we have received about the current titles, our 20th anniversary contests and the Willows Awards in general. Thank you to all who have submitted launch ideas and pictures!

The Winners of a full set of Willow books (Shining, Diamond and Snow):

  • Yorkton Regional High School
  • Bulyea Elementary School

Runners Up Winners of a set of Shining, Diamond or Snow Willow Books:

  • Kincaid School
  • Archerwill School

Honorable Mentions winning a selection of titles at various levels: 

  • Outlook Elementary School
  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Saskatoon
  • Harbour Landing School, Regina
  • Schell School



Willow Launch 2020

Many of the launch submissions that we received this year included ideas or combinations of ideas from previous years. It is encouraging to see what accommodations are being made around the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. The constant that is always so good to hear about is the excitement and enjoyment that classes and students are experiencing through their exposure to the Willows, regardless of how it is done.

There were some new variations to note:

  • Introducing the books to other classes through teacher created videos.
  • Student created booktrailers using WeVideo.
  • Booktalks and readings through video chats.
  • Partnerships between schools and public libraries with library staff giving booktalks and providing books
  • A pre-reading vote called “Judge a Book by It’s Cover” with results compared to post-reading votes.
  • A website created to share student reviews of the books read individually and as a class.
  • “Get Carried Away With Willow Books” – a hot air balloon delivering Willow books for story times.
  • Book brackets continue to be popular and get many classes excited throughout a school.

The Winner of a full set of Willow books (Shining, Diamond and Snow):

  • Oungre Public Library and Lyndale School 

Runners Up Winners of a set of Shining, Diamond or Snow Willow Books:

  • Ecole Holy Mary School,, Martensvillel 
  • Judge Bryant, Regina 
  • Fox Valley School 

Honorable Mentions winning a selection of titles at various levels: 

  • Cupar School 
  • Valley Centre Colony School
  • Henry Braun School, Regina 
  • Ecole Connaught School, Regina

Thank you to all for the work that you do in promoting reading and the Willows! Thank you for letting others know what you do!

Willow Launch 2019

Here are a selection of ideas submitted by some of the 2019 Launch winners:

  • Hold a reading contest where students who have read 4 of the 10 Willow finalists are entered in a draw to win a book.
  • Displays – covers hanging from the ceiling or on bulletin boards (pdf copies of book covers can be found on the Willow website here), books on counters, tables and special display shelves, book jackets and about the author blurbs in June to get kids excited for summer and fall reading, 
  • Book talk all of the books with visits to classrooms or the library
  • Get teachers on board with reading Willows aloud to their classes 
  • Hand out bookmarks to students so that they can keep track of those that they have read (pdf copies of these can be found on the Willow website here)
  • Enlist the help of older students to make book trailers to be viewed at an assembly or at literacy stations (examples from Deshaye Catholic School)
  • Set up an interactive bulletin board where students can indicate whether they liked or loved a book and tallies are kept 
  • Several schools reported using a book bracket idea to preview the books. The students get to choose (after a chapter of 2 books is read to them) which book moves on to hear more. Students are encouraged to check out the book not selected as well.
  • Last year, one school graphed their school’s results on a bulletin board, with each grade having a different colour, so that they could see each grade’s favourite books, the school’s favourite books, how many books received the same number of votes, and more; and some students have been asking if they will do this again — of course they will!
  • Bring in author’s and artists to help students understand the writing and illustration process

Thank you to all of the schools and libraries that submitted their launch ideas and plans! The winners of our book prizes this year are:

Three Winners of a Full Set of 2019 Finalists:
Henry Braun School, Regina
St. Ketari Tekakwitha School, Saskatoon
Archerwill School, Archerwill

Honourable Mentions who will receive a selection of books: 
Outlook Elementary School, Outlook
Kincaid School, Kincaid
Reynolds Central School, Melfort
Deshaye Catholic School. Regina
Hanley Composite School, Hanley
Rosetown Central High School. Rosetown
Punnichy Elementary, Punnichy

Willow Launch 2018

Here are a selection of ideas submitted by some of the 2018 Launch winners:

  • Displays of the Willow books on shelves, countertops and tables
  • Bulletin boards showing the finalist book covers. Some are adding pictures of students who have read the book, thumbprints when a book is read, or leaves when each book is read. Some add numbers as voting begins.
  • Willow Book Bracket – In an individual classroom, books were paired to go ‘head to head’. The teacher read aloud the first chapter of 2 books, and students would vote for which book they wanted to keep reading. In the second round, the teacher read the second chapter of the remaining books, etc. Finally, one book was chosen that the teacher finished reading to the class.  After books “lost” a round, many students wanted to keep reading them on their own. It was a great way to preview and build engagement in the novels. Students got very passionate about their picks.
  • Hogwarts theme with “The Whomping Willow”
  • Reading Challenge with prizes – see OutlookReadingChallenge


Thank you to the following schools for taking the time to share the wonderful things you are doing to promote The Willow books in your schools. We wish we had book prizes for you all!:


  • Outlook High School, Outlook
  • Ruth Pawson School, Regina
  • Traditions Elementary School, Warman
  • Schell School, Holdfast
  • Ecole Vickers Public School, Prince Albert
  • Indian Head Public Library, Indian Head
  • Rosetown Central High School, Rosetown
  • Regina Christian School, Regina
  • Westcliffe School, Marengo
  • Annaheim School, Annaheim
  • St Gregory School, Regina
  • McVeety School, Regina
  • Dr. Perry School, Regina
  • DeShaye School, Regina
  • Harbour Landing Schook, Regina
  • Barr Colony Elementary School, Lloydminster
  • Punnichy Elementary Community School, Punnichy

Willow Launch 2017

Here are a selection of ideas submitted by some of the 2017 Launch winners:

  • Make a bulletin board display using the book cover pdf files found on our website here. Consider having a “student recommendation component”. As students vote, consider adding a voting tally for each of the books.
  • Make a display area to highlight Willow books drawing attention to them and making them easy to find. Some people have used counter spaces, special shelving or baskets. Use The Willow Poster and or bookmarks as part of the display.
  • Add Willow stickersto the spine of books to help students find them on the library shelves.
  • Booktalk the Diamond and Snow books with each grade 4-8 class. Encourage teachers to use some of these as read-alouds.
  • Use the Shining books as read-alouds with classes during library visits or in the classroom literacy time.
  • Classes reading the Shining Willows might want to create a Willow booklet with a page where they can draw a picture of their favourite part after they read each book. This sometimes helps them to remember what the stories were about when they do their voting.
  • Plan to use some of The Willows for “Battle of the Books” selections.

Thank you to the following schools for taking the time to share the wonderful things you are doing to promote The Willow books in your schools:


  • Punnichy Elementary School
  • Deshaye Catholic School, in Regina
  • Kerrobert Elementary School
  • Ecole Harbour Landing School, in Regina
  • Maymont Central School
  • Maude Burke Elementary School in Melfort
  • Rosetown Central High School
  • Davin Elementary School in Regina
  • Judge Bryant School in Regina
  • Lloydminster Comprehensive High School.