We are beyond excited to announce that Rachel Poliquin’s THE STRANGEST THING IN THE SEA is the Shining Willow Winner of the 2023 SASKATCHEWAN YOUNG READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS!

The 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

To learn more about the awards, click here: https://willowawards.ca/about-us/organization/

THE STRANGEST THING IN THE SEA is an intriguing look at some very strange creatures in the sea – but which is the strangest?

A feathery tutu dancing through the water? A tiptoeing rock wearing a wig? A mountain of skulls on the ocean floor? Not everything is quite as it seems in this fascinating exploration of 12 bizarre and little-known sea animals. Each creature is introduced with an imaginative first-person depiction of its appearance, accompanied by an artistic interpretation and the question, “Am I the strangest thing in the sea?” Then, open the gatefold, and an illustration and full description of the actual creature in its habitat are revealed, along with the tantalizing answer that, no, this is not the strangest thing in the sea. That is, until the last creature, which is the strangest. But what could it be?

The question-and-answer approach and gatefolds in this innovative and engaging book of wonderfully weird sea creatures are sure to pique children’s curiosity and encourage scientific inquiry. Rachel Poliquin has included a range of the very oddest sea creatures – the yeti crab, goblin shark and vampire squid, to name a few – and she provides unique, interesting and quirky information about each as well as their size, prey, habitat and depth. Award-winning illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler’s beautiful art gives the entire book an otherworldly feel, as all the creatures seem to be fantastically imagined. The material aligns with the elementary life sciences curriculum: animal adaptations and characteristics, evolution, ecology, habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity and food webs. A final gatefold shows all the creatures together. Includes a glossary.

Rachel Poliquin grew up in the country collecting curious bits of nature. She once wrote a small book about seahorses, but she lost it. She has a PhD in the history of science and a background in visual arts, museums studies and natural history.

She writes about animals, mostly. She is the author of Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game, The Superpower Field Guides (about unexpected animal heroes), and the Polite Predator series (containing very good advice on how not to get eaten by hungry snakes and hyenas). She lives in Vancouver with her husband and three children.

Rachel is represented by Amy Tompkins.

Congratulations Rachel!