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The Uncommon Quest for a Great Children's Novel



The Uncommon Quest is a writing competition for authors of novels for children and teens.

GOLD WINNER: BROKEN SHARDS OF TIME by Nyah Nichol (Young Adult Science Fiction)


“Action! Time machines! Force fields! This story has all the good stuff. The readers who made The Hunger Games and Divergent best sellers will love the action of Broken Shards of Time.

An intricate web of thrilling adventure stories, creating one compelling and exciting journey that will have you wanting more.”  – The Jurors


Wren Derecho is the lone survivor of a mysterious accident that took the lives of her parents. As Wren tries to navigate through the pain of grief and loss, she crosses paths with three other individuals and soon realizes that something beyond coincidence has intertwined their lives together. Each of their journeys are marked by immense tragedy, fate, a time machine, and a mysterious power source that seems to be alive   


Nyah Nichol was born and raised in Cold Lake, Alberta and attends the local high school. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and crocheting. She has three younger siblings who can be annoying at times, but sweet and awesome the rest of the time. She has a mom and dad who love her very much and support her in everything she does. 

She says, “It has been my dream ever since I can remember to write a novel, and have it published. I’ve always enjoyed writing short stories and essays but had never attempted anything longer until now. One day, I started writing this story intending for it to just be a short story but then it grew and grew. I felt like giving up a few times but the thought that kept me going throughout was, “If I don’t finish it, I can’t read it.” This manuscript was written with my three younger siblings in mind. I wanted to write something that they would enjoy reading one day.  In fact, the main character is loosely based on my little sister, Everett. She is strong, intelligent, and brave. My mom and dad helped me edit my novel which basically made it into a family project, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

SILVER WINNER: THE GIRL FROM THE ATTIC by Marie Prins (Middle Grade, Historical)


 “The friendship of Maddy and Clare is timeless in every sense. The Girl from the Attic is a creative story with endearing characters that vividly transports you through time, allowing the reader to experience the timelessness of family and friendship. I loved it and didn't even see the twist coming at the end!” – The Jurors


Maddy Rose lives in two worlds, one-hundred years apart, in the same strange house built as an octagon. When a mysterious black cat leads her into its unknown attic, she meets Clare and his very sick sister Eva. Will Maddy be able to deal with hardships of two lives? Will the skills she learned in the past help her solve the problems of the present?

For Marie Prins, her life has been, in one way or another, about books. As a child, she devoured them, at university, she studied them with a BA in English Literature, as an adult, she sold them at The Toronto Women’s Bookstore and Parentbooks. Now she teaches children how to read them.

BRONZE WINNER: JUST WATCH ME by Erin Silver (Middle Grade Contemporary)

Erin Silver.jpeg

“We can all relate to Simon Rosen's attempts to navigate the trials and tribulations of middle school and social media, and his journey to class hero is a nice ride. A captivating story of a modern middle grader. Delightfully funny and modern, Just Watch Me tells an endearing childhood story of friendship, acceptance and the frenzied world of social media.”  - The Jurors


Twelve-year-old Simon Rosen has qualified for the Canadian Video Game Championships in Vancouver. If he can get straight A’s in school, his parents have agreed to take him. The stakes are especially high. His parents are always fighting, and if he can just get them to Vancouver—the place where they fell in love—maybe he can save his family from the brink of divorce.

Erin Silver has a postgraduate journalism degree and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Globe & Mail, Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping. One of her picture books was named a finalist in the 2017 CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition.


Cate Carlyle began her career as a teacher and is now a curriculum resource coordinator and librarian at a university in Nova Scotia. She reviews children’s and young adult books for CM Magazine. Cate’s upcoming YA thriller, #NotReadyToDie will be released this fall.


Caroline Fernandez is a children’s author, parenting blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her first picture book, Stop Reading This Book! will be released this fall.


Shannon O’Toole is a Toronto based illustrator, painter and elementary school teacher. Her playful illustration work is inspired by unique and humorous characters in her life.

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