Illustrator Cynthia Nugent and  author Tom Saunders with an original newspaper front page celebrating the 1969 moon landing at the I Want To Go To The Moon book launch in 2011.

Illustrator Cynthia Nugent and author Tom Saunders with an original newspaper front page celebrating the 1969 moon landing at the I Want To Go To The Moon book launch in 2011.

Saunders ‘over the moon’ with book award

White Rock writer/musician receives junior readers' vote for I Want To Go To The Moon

Well-known White Rock multi-talent Tom Saunders has a new accolade.

The singer/composer/writer/humourist (each year he supplies the special lyrics for the White Rock Pantomime song The Wonderful Year We Fell In Love) is now the recipient of a 2013 Chocolate Lily Young Readers’ Choice Award for best picture book, for I Want To Go To The Moon.

The award, which each year honours the best children’s writers and illustrators in B.C., is based on votes from grade school students.

Children from kindergarten to Grade 3 across B.C. voted I Want To Go To The Moon ahead of its competition for the award, which was presented June 13 at a ceremony at Heath Elementary in Delta.

I Want To Go To The Moon, illustrated by Vancouver artist Cynthia Nugent, is based on a song written by Saunders which imagines the early life of NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, who in 1969 became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.

The text imagines the well-meaning advice of parents and friends who believe young Neil’s goal of journeying to the moon is hopeless – with the implicit message for children that it’s best to follow your dreams and not be dissuaded.

Saunders said he’s particularly pleased that the award was given on the basis of reaction from children to the book.

“That’s kind of nice – it’s like the people’s choice award for little folk,” he said.

“In a way, I kind of like that a touch more. It’s the intended audience, rather than someone adult looking at it analytically – or counting my spelling mistakes.”

Another unexpected accolade, he said was having the whole gym full of children at the school join him in singing the song.

“They just knew it – they drowned me out on the choruses,” he said.

The award, Saunders said, is “really another out-of-the-blue thing with this book – everything’s been a bonus with this thing.”

He recalled his surprise in first hearing from Nugent – who he’d met through the Vancouver Ukelele Circle – that she wanted to illustrate his song, originally written for a private album recorded to entertain the children of family members and friends.

“I thought, at the very least, I’d get a couple of sketches of hers that would illustrate the song, but to see the book published – every step of the way has been a bonus,” he said.

The book was also given the Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice-Principals Association Award last May, he noted, adding that it appears the book, first published in 2011, may still be eligible for other awards for a while yet.

“I understand very little of these things.”

The award, a glass plaque cut in the shape of B.C., is actually named for an plant indigenous to the province, he said.

“It’s kind of a cool shape if you’re going to have a big chunk of broken glass lying around,” he said.

“But I also got some chocolate as well – I wasn’t leaving there without chocolate.”

I Want To Go To The Moon is published by Simply Read and is available at Kidsbooks and Chapters, all online retailers and at libraries.


Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read