Most Anticipated: Fall 2014 Kids' Books
Canadian children's literature is avowedly world-class, and the selection this season is up to the usual standard. Our Fall Preview offers hours and hours of bedtime reading for lit-lovers of all ages. And don't miss the rest of our Fall Previews: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry.
With Good Morning, Canada (September), Andrea Lynn Beck follows up her celebrated Goodnight, Canada, as children across the country welcome a brand new day. You probably know and love Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmerman's A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, so get ready for their latest, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells (October), which begins with Sasquatch upsetting Santa's sleigh and everyone getting the wrong presents. Sangeeta Bhadra's debut is Sam's Pet Temper (September), an amusing story about a boy who eventually learns to control his troublesome "pet," illustrated by Marian Arbona. In Winter Moon Song (August), award-winning writer Martha Brooks tells her own version of the "Rabbit in the Moon" story, which is shared by many cultures, her tender tale complemented by Leticia Ruifernández's illustrations.
How about some Lorna Crozier for the babies? For even the youngest Canadians deserve a book by one of our finest poets, and they'll find this in the board book Lots of Kisses (October). Goodnight, You (September) is Genevieve Côté's latest Piggy and Bunny story, perhaps her best one yet, in which the two friends go on a camp-out and learn that bravery only stretches so far. And just in time for Halloween, Côté also releases Bob’s Hungry Ghost (September), about a boy who gets a ghost for his birthday, a gift that turns out to be less straightforward than you'd think. Super Red Riding Hood (August) updates the fairy tale with a story of guts and girl power by author/illustrator/book designer Claudia Dávila.
Everybody's favourite goat, Gertrude Allawishes, makes a reappearance (and gets in trouble again!) in Gertrude at the Beach (October), by Starr Dobson and Dayle Dodwell. As he did with his Mixed Beasts, GG Award-winning illustrator Wallace Edwards blows our minds with amazing animal hybrids in his latest, Unnatural Selections (October). Everything you ever wanted to know about Marie Louise Gay is revealed in her new book, Any Questions (September), which delves into her creative process, includes advice about making books and art, and answers the most burning question of all: "Are you Stella?" And Doretta Groenendyk shows a day in the life of the hockey-obsessed with Hockey Morning Noon and Night (September).
In Work: An Occupational ABC (August), by Kellen Hatanaka, ordinary and extraordinary jobs are explored, set off by Hatanaka's illustrations, which are both amusing and so smartly designed. Bear on the Homefront (September), by Stephanie Innes, Harry Endurulat, and Brian Deines, follows up their acclaimed book, A Bear in War, to tell the story of Canada's "wartime guests," the British children who were evacuated to Canada during World War Two. The amazing Jon Klassen's latest collaboration with Mac Barnett is Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (October), which hopefully will recreate some of the magic of their Caldecott Honor title, Extra Yarn. In The Boy in Number Four (September), by Kara Koostra and Regan Thomson, the story of Bobby Orr's ascension from backyard rinks to hockey greatness is told for hockey fans of all ages.
Andrew Larsen and Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli's sequel to Bye Bye Butterflies is Charlie's Dirt Day (October), which explores the wonders of soil and compost. The world of world is explored in Work and More Work (November), by Linda Little and Óscar T. Pérez, in which a 19th century boy sets off to learn about the things people do in the days before steam, when nothing moved except through the power of wind, water, and muscle. Readers will know Irene Luxbacher's work from her Governor General's Award-nominated illustrations in The Imaginary Garden; in Mr. Frank (September), she tells her own story about a tailor, the changing fashions of the late 20th century, and the special bond between a grandfather and a child; there's also a superhero cape—in short, something for everyone.
Great children's lit forces collide in Julia, Child (July), by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad, a whimsical story of friendship that is loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child—a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter. Bunny the Brave War Horse (August), by Elizabeth MacLeod and Marie Lafrance, is a great introduction to the realities of WW1 from a kid-friendly perspective. Our Flag: The Story of Canada’s Maple Leaf (August), by Ann Maureen Owens and Jane Yealland, Bill Slavin, and Esperança Melo, uses great illustrations to give the lowdown on our national symbol. More hockey fun with There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Puck (September), by Stella Partheniou Grasso and Scot Ritchie.
Not Just Another Princess Story (September), by Sheri Radford and Qin Leng (from A Flock of Shoes, A Walk on the Tundra, and more!), twists the princess trope: this swashbuckling tale is brimming with romance, algebra problems, and at least one very large pickle. The Secret Life of Squirrels (October), by Nancy Rose, celebrates friendship and unusual rodents. Iconic Canadian painter Ted Harrison's own life story is told in A Brush Full of Colour (October), by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson, which is filled with full-colour examples of his work. And a dark tale takes a humorous and tender turn in Gustave (October), by Rémy Simard and Pierre Pratt, translated by Shelley Tanaka.
If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers (August), by David J Smith and Steve Adams, brings the sometimes incomprehensible size of the universe down to scale. Edie’s Ensembles (October) is a new one by the accomplished Ashley Spires, the story of a small girl whose obsession with her wardrobe starts to take over her life. In Dojo Daycare (September), by Chris Tougas, six little ninjas start a riot. Important life lessons are delivered in Don’t, by Litsa Trochatos and Virginia Johnson (October), a whimsical board book that warns against playing hide and seek with chameleons.
Readers who enjoyed Chieri Uegaki's Suki's Kimono are going to love Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin (August), with illustrations by Qin Leng, the story of a spirited girl who is inspired by her Japanese grandfather to play the violin. Loula returns in Loula and the Sister Recipe (August), in which Anne Villeneuve's heroine decides to cook herself up a sibling just like her—she just needs the right ingredients. In Lori Weber and Eliska Liksa's My Granny Loves Hockey, an elderly woman gets a chance to have her dream come true of taking a shot on net. And award-winner Cybèle Young's latest, Nancy Knows (August), is a refutation to that old chestnut about how elephants never forget.
A mischievous pup, a disgruntled fifth grader and a care home—Shady Oaks—whose practices seem as shady as its name are the ingredients for A Simple Case of Angels (September), a new novel by the award-winning Caroline Adderson. Dave Atkinson's Wereduck (September) is just another story about a girl werewolf who'd really rather turn into a duck with each full moon. What's an 11-year-old Secret Agent to do when his evil stepbrother gets hold of his top-secret notebook? The answer is to be found in Dirk Daring, Secret Agent (October), by Helaine Becker. And Pirates of the Silver Coast (September) is the sixth book in Scott Chantler's graphic novel series.
The Swallow: A Ghost Story (September), by Chris Cotter, is about two lonely girls in 1960s' Toronto who share an attic wall and talk to ghosts, revelling in their friendship until it is discovered that one girl is not what she seems. Acclaimed novelist Philippa Dowding's latest is Jake and the Giant Hand (September), about a summer of changes and a creepy story that just might the true. In Deborah Ellis' The Cat at the Wall, a black cat whose nine lives include a previous one spent as an ordinary North American middle-schooler is reborn in Israel's West Bank and has to practice feline diplomacy to diffuse a dangerous situation.
A young girl facing life's usual aggravations must also contend with the fact that her real parents are actually the king and queen of Papua New Guinea in Princess Pistachio (October), by Marie-Louise Gay. In The Market Wedding (October), Cary Fagan adapts The Ghetto Wedding story to a setting in Toronto's Kensington Market, with illustrations by Regolo Ricci. In Governor-General's Award-winning author Glen Huser's new novel, The Elevator Ghost (August), an eccentric babysitter moves into a haunted apartment building, and casts a sort of spell upon its inhabitants.
Kate Jaimet follows up her acclaimed Dunces Anonymous with Dunces Rock (October), in which the misfits start a rock band. To This Day is Shane Koyczan's celebrated anti-bullying poem (a Youtube sensation in 2013) set to illustrations by 30 international artists. Award-winner Martine Leavitt's latest is Blue Mountain (November), a story of bighorn sheep and a perilous quest. Off Pointe (September) by Leanne Lieberman is a tale of students at a dance camp. Lesley Livingston's Wiggins Weird series continues with The Haunting of Heck House (October), in which our heroines not only battle monsters, but also rival babysitters. Small town life is explored in Prairie Pictures (October), by award-winner Shirlee Matheson.
Another new title in Orca's Limelights series is Honeycomb (September), by Patricia McCowan, about teenage folksingers who discover that harmony—musical and otherwise—is hard to maintain. Based on real events, The End of the Line (August), by Sharon McKay, tells the story of ordinary citizens risking everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland. Gina McMurchy-Barber's newest Peggy Henderson Adventure is Bone Deep (November), in which Peggy is determined to take part in the archeological exploration of a 200-year-old shipwreck.
Get ready for Something Wiki (January), by Suzanne Sutherland, about an avid Wikipedia editor contending with multiple issues at home—the one page she can't edit for problems. Eric Walters' Walking Home (September) is set in both the wilds and slums of Kenya, a powerful story about a brother and sister's brave journey to find a place to call home. In Life Lines (September), Christine Welldon tells the story of Lanier Phillips, whose experiences as a American Serviceman just 18 years old when he was rescued from a sinking warship off the coast of Newfoundland would turn him into a campaigner for civil rights. And in Project Superhero, E. Paul Zehr and Kris Pearn combine science facts, lively illustrations, and comic-book trivia to tell the story of a young girl who discovers her own super talents.
Julian (September), by William Bell, is the store of a troubled boy who is bestowed with a new identity, but the gift comes with mysterious consequences. Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Leatherdale gather the stories of emerging and established Native artists in the anthology, Dreaming in Indian (September), whose contents will shatter commonly held stereotypes and challenge readers to rethink their own place in the world. The start of a new trilogy, Megan Crewe's Earth and Sky takes place here and now and asks the question, What if life on earth is part of big experiment? In other words, the aliens are already here!
In Guardian (September), by Natasha Deen, a teenage girl finds transitioning the dead is no challenge—until she discovers the biggest thug and dumbest jock at her high school dead, and his spirit is trapped in her bedroom. Book 3 of Catherine Egan's "The Last Days of Tian Di" series is Bone, Fog, Ash & Star, in which Eliza learns whether she is powerful enough to shape her own destiny, or if it will shape her. In Dance of the Banished(August), by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, an Anatolian refugee is thrown into a Canadian internment camp when World War One breaks out, leaving his fiancée in peril in their homeland.
Depth of Field (August), by Chantel Guertin, follows Pippa Greene from The Rule of Thirds to photography camp in New York City, where nothing is quite what she expected. Celebrated author Alice Kuipers' new novel, The Death of Us (September), is about a recovered friendship, a dark secret, and a love triangle with a deadly angle. The Art of Getting Stared At (September) by Laura Langston is about a young filmmaker who is horrified to find that a diagnosis of alopecia areata turns her into the kind of girl she's always scorned—one who's obsessed with her looks. And the next instalment in Lesley Livingston's Starling novels is Transcendent (August).
In About That Night (September), celebrated mystery writer Norah McClintock tells the story of a young woman who seems to be framed for her boyfriend's death. Summer love takes centre stage in Butterflies Don’t Lie (September), by B.R. Myers. When Everything Feels Like the Movies (October) by Raziel Reid is an edgy and extravagant novel about a glamorous boy who imagines himself director of the film set that is high school. The protagonist in Suri Rosen's Playing With Matches (September) is a young misfit who discovers she has a talent for matchmaking and reinvents herself as a cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker. Throwaway Girl (October), by Kristine Scarrow, tells the story of a young woman about to try and make it on her own after years in the foster care system. And Edward Willett's Twist of the Blade (September) is the second book in his "The Shards of Excalibur" series.