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IN MEMORIAM Judith (Judy) Tye, 1954-2019.

Judy Tye, former Resources Coordinator at the CCBC, passed away on August 9, 2019 after a short battle with lung cancer. Judy is survived by her husband of 45 years, Allan, her daughter Emily Rivers (Wyatt), her grandchildren Delilah and Felix and her son Tristan Tye (Michelle).

Judy was a proud teacher-librarian in the former Lincoln County Board of Education, the East York Board of Education and the Toronto District School Board. She also worked as the Resources Coordinator for the Canadian Children's Book Centre from 1981-1988, a position that she particularly enjoyed. In 2010, Judy and Allan retired to their favourite city, Stratford, Ontario. During her teaching career, Judy was always active in volunteer work, especially serving on boards of directors for non-profit organizations. She continued her volunteer work during her retirement, most recently serving on the board of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. During her retirement, Judy also had a business, Judy Tye Arts Management.

There will be no funeral, however, there will be a celebration in the near future. Judy would be extremely pleased to know that any donations made in her name would be to the Stratford Symphony Orchestra on She was passionate about helping this fine orchestra until the end.

Peter Carver remembers that Judy was already on staff when he arrived at the CCBC in 1981. He recalls, "She was an exuberant, well-informed, dynamic supporter of Canadian children's books and in a way, she mentored me in the field. We were a pretty energetic team at that time, led by Virginia Davis as the executive director. It was a close-knit team, and it was a privilege to be there at a time in our cultural history when Canadian children's books were beginning to have an effect on the lives of Canadians, after so many years of our being told that this country had no stories worth passing on to our young people."

Peter was hired as the publications editor and after being hired on, he discovered that his job also included being the national coordinator of Children's Book Week--which was a bit of a shock since he'd never done anything like that in his years as a high school teacher of English in the Ottawa area. "Judy was a great encourager, though, as was Virginia, and it was always exciting and fulfilling to plan and see the results of the annual touring of children's authors and illustrators across the country," says Peter.

Housed on the fifth floor of a building on College street at the time, just across from what was then Boys and Girls House, a branch of Toronto Public Library, there was constant liaising between the CCBC and that great institution. "Since our large room was lined with all the books published since the Centre had been established, it was easy for me, as a recently hired employee, to make sure I read all the books on the shelves.

And, as more books arrived annually, Judy and I and other staff members made a point of keeping up that practice," Peter recalls. Visitors to the Centre included publishers, authors, illustrators, teachers--as well as would-be authors and illustrators.

Eventually, after Kathy Lowinger took on the position of executive director, the Centre began offering a course that would describe ways in which people could find publishers who would consider their work. They offered a four-week course which was essentially 'How to Get Published.' The instructors were Judy Tye, Peter Carver and Fred Boer, who had first been hired to stand in for Judy when she went on maternity leave and who stayed on after she returned. After maybe a year of running this course, they realized that rather than simply making it easier to approach publishers, what would help aspiring writers even more would be to set up a more extensive course that would concentrate on teaching writing skills for those who wanted to develop manuscripts for young readers.

Starting in 1985, the CCBC partnered with George Brown College in running workshops in writing for children--and again Judy, Fred and Peter were the ones who designed and taught the courses. Peter remembers that Judy set up some of the key elements of the 10-week workshop through her understanding of what would best illuminate strong stories for children. Eventually, the workshop program was so successful that they started offering an advanced version for people who had completed the first series. One could argue that this is one of the longest standing contributions of the Canadian Children's Book Centre to the children's book community in Canada, in that the workshop program still continues through the George Brown Writing for Children courses held at Mabel's Fables bookstore in Toronto and currently taught by author, Ted Staunton.

According to Peter, "Judy Tye was a vital part of these early years of the Centre's history. Her knowledge of, and her enthusiasm for, children's books were vital elements in the success of the Centre in fulfilling its mandate to provide information about and support for the development of a distinctive Canadian children's literature. Now Canadian children's books are known across Canada--and around the world. And Judy's work at the Centre has to be seen as a major contribution to that success."
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Publication:Canadian Children's Book News
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 22, 2019
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