Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Books for Young People Preview
Canadian children's literature has never been so good. To prove it, we bring you all the best books that kids and teens (and tweens and toddlers) are going to be reading throughout Fall 2015.
The Big Book of Little Fears (August), by Monica Arnaldo, is an alphabet book with a twist (and a few missing letters), in which children explore fears both common and quirky, and imagine how they can be conquered. The latest adventure of Stanley the Dog and his pals is Stanley at School (August), by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin. Bailey is also author of the Christmas book, When Santa Was a Baby (October), illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, profiling a very unusual child with a strange fascination with chimneys. In A Year of Borrowed Men (November), illustrated by Renné Benoit, Michelle Barker draws on her mother's memories of World War Two to tell a story of kindness during extraordinary times. And Kate Beaton follows up her bestselling Hark, a Vagrant with The Princess and the Pony (July), a farting pony tale for the younger set.
Lucy Tries Luge (October), by Lisa Bowes and illustrated by James Hearne, is the first title in the "Lucy Learns Sports" series which aims to promote physical literacy and encourage young readers to get involved in sports. Just in time for Halloween, The Ghosts Go Spooking (August) by Chrissy Bozik and illustrated by Patricia Storms, will get little readers in a spooky mood. Michel Chikwanine's true story of being kidnapped and forced to be a child soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo is told in Child Soldier (September), written by Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, with illustrations by Claudia Dávila. Young people explore choices and doing the right thing in Fifteen Dollars and Thirty Five Cents (September), by Kathryn Cole, illustrated by Qin Leng. And Lorna Crozier's rhymes accompany illustrations by Laura Watson in So Many Babies (August), a board book celebrating itty bitty creatures of all kinds.
Prize-winner Jennifer Couëlle has her French-language Kiss Kiss (December), illustrated by Jacques Laplante, translated into English. Métis artist and writer Danielle Daniel introduces the Anishinaabe tradition of spirit animals in her beautiful picture book debut, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox (August). Willow Dawson's The Wolf-Birds (September)—the accomplished illustrator's debut as a picture book writer—considers the extraordinary relationship between wolves and ravens. Marianne Dubuc continues her streak of surprising beautiful books with Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds (August), about a letter-carrier's trip through a very interesting woodland neighbourhood.
Once Upon a Line (September) is the latest magical creation by Wallace Edwards, exploring the world of storytelling with the aid of an enchanted pen. Maureen Fergus's Buddy and Earl (August), illustrated by Carey Sookocheff, is a winner, a funny and original story of two unlikely friends. Fergus has also teamed up with award-winner Dušan Petričić for Invisibill (July), a tongue-in-cheek story about a middle-child who is overlooked by his family. Cree writer Melanie Florence's story of a young girl growing up without her mother is paired with illustrations by Francois Thisdale (of the award-winning The Stamp Collector) in Missing Nimama, a story of love, loss, and acceptance, showing the human side of a national tragedy. And Mayann's Train Ride (October), illustrated by Tamara Thiebaux-Heikalo, is a autobiographical picture book by The Honourable Mayann Frances, the first African-Nova Scotian Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Suspenseful and emotionally-engaging, Five Thousand Years of Slavery (September), by Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen, tells the stories of enslaved peoples through the ages. Splendid bunting and bounding felines bedeck the pages of A Carnival of Cats (September), by Charles Ghigna and illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman. Joyce Grant's and Jan Dolby's fabulous Gabby is back with Gabby: Wonder Girl (September), in which powers are solved by magic and the power of punctuation. Robert Heidbreder and Rae Maté team up again for their third poetic reptilian romp, Crocs at Work (October). And speaking of teams, Tomson Highway and Julie Flett are a talent powerhouse in Dragonfly Kites (September), the second book in Highway's Songs of the North Wind Trilogy. Our amazing Pacific west coast ecosystem is celebrated in West Coast Wild (September), an A-Z by Deborah Hodge, illustrated by Karen Reczuch. And Alison Hughes's story about the secret lives of gerbils is wonderfully rendered in plasticine illustrations by Suzanne Del Rizzo in Gerbils Uncurled (September).
The old story of King Midas is made new again in The Golden Touch (October), by Glen Huser, illustrated by Philippe Béha, with music by Giannis Georgantelis. The tragedy of broken crayons is recounted in Snap (September), by Hazel Hutchins, illustrated by Dušan Petričić. Hockey player Zachary Hyman follows up The Bambino and Me with Hockey Hero (October), illustrated by Zachary Pullen. The wonderful and terrifying possibilities of zombiedom are explored in If I Were a Zombie (October), written by Kate Inglis and illustrated by Eric Orchard. Toronto municipal affairs writer Edward Keenan encourages young people to develop a passion for politics in The Art of the Possible (October), illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. And the life of artist Grant Wood (who is most famous for his painting, "American Gothic") is portrayed in Grant and Tillie Go Walking (August), by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Sydney Smith, showing how Wood was inspired by the people and places—and even animals—that he knew best.
Activist and author Rob Laidlaw and award-winning illustrator Brian Deines tell the story of three elephants from the Toronto Zoo journeying to a wildlife sanctuary in California in Elephant Journey (November). In All Year Round (August), Emilie Leduc has written and illustrated a charming secular book about months and seasons, translated to English by Shelley Tanaka. Kyo Maclear fans get a double-shot this fall: The Good Little Book (August) is about the relationship between a boy and a beloved book (and how the book can make it in the world alone—even without a jacket!)—with illustrations by Marion Arbona. And in The Specific Ocean (August), illustrated by Katty Maurey, a young girl yearns for unattainable things and learns of the deep connection between humans and their natural world.
Lindsay Mattick, whose great-grandfather Henry Coleburn rescued a bear in White River, ON, that would go along with him to World War One and eventually inspire A.A. Milne to write Winnie-the-Pooh, tells the story of Coleburn and the bear in Finding Winnie (October), illustrated by Sophie Blackall. The latest from Rosemary McCarney and Plan International is The Way to School (September), whose text and photographs describe the remarkable, and often dangerous, journeys children make every day on their way to and from school. The board book Where Are You Little Red Ball? (October), by Juliet McMaster, is made perfectly delightful with illustrations by Yayo. And Fatima and the Clementine Thieves (October), by Mireille Messier with illustrations by Governor General's Award-winner Gabrielle Grimard, is the story of a young girl and her friends, the spiders, who fight to save her grandfather's orchard.
Award-winners Barbara Nickel and Gillian Newland's A Boy Asked the Wind (October) uses text and illustration to evoke winds from around the world. Neil Pastiche (of The Book of Awesome fame) spreads his awesome to the picture book set with Awesome is Everywhere (September). Barbara Reid is back with a brand new book of Mother Goose rhymes, this time sleepy-style with Sing a Song of Bedtime (September). In P'ésk'a and the First Salmon Ceremony (September), Scot Ritchie explores what life was like 1000 years ago for the Sts'ailes people on Harrison River, BC—and the text includes an introductory letter from Chief William Charlie. Nancy Rose follows her hit The Secret Life of Squirrels with Merry Christmas, Squirrels (October). The life of ballerina Anna Pavlova is captured in the gorgeous picture book, Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova (August), by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad. Mi’kmaw artist Alan Syliboy’s The Thundermaker (October) is based on Alan’s spectacular mixed-media exhibit of the same name which tells the story of Big Thunder teaching his son about the responsibility of creating thunder for his people. And Jan Thornhill and Ashley Barron team up for Kyle Goes Alone (August), the story of a three-toed sloth who finds his way to independence.
The Little Knight is back in The Little Knight Who Battled Monsters (September), by Gilles Tibo (two-time winner of the Governor General's Award and the Mr. Christie's Book Award) and Geneviève Després. The little ninjas who delighted readers in Dojo Daycare also return in Dojo Daytrip (September), in which the kids are rowdier than ever on a field trip to a farm. The latest by Sarah Tsiang, award-winning poet and author of picture books including A Flock of Shoes, is The Night Children (August), illustrated by Delphine Bodet, about the mischievous kids who rule the streets after the day children go to bed. Anne Villeneuve's Loula attempts to train her naughty dog in order to save his socks in her latest book, Loula and Mister the Monster (September). With Bug in a Vacuum (August), Melanie Watt delivers a visually stunning book that manages to be both funny and based on the five stages of grief. A birthday is no ordinary day, even in the Kenyan orphanage depicted in Today is the Day (October), by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes. And Cybèle Young's amazing paper creations take on new lives of their own in her latest, Some Things I’ve Lost (September).
We are so so so excited about the newest instalment of Caroline Adderson's Jasper John Dooley series, Jasper John Dooley Lost and Found (September). Victoria Allenby follows up the award-winning Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That with an early-readers chapter book, Timo's Garden (October), illustrated by Dean Griffiths. Playing With Fire (October) is the second title in Gail Anderson-Dargatz' Rapid Reads series featuring journalist and sleuth Claire Abbott; in this book, Claire attempts to find out who's behind a string of suspicious fires. Set in the early 1920s, Sammy and the Headless Horseman (October), by Rona Arato, is about a twelve-year-old boy who becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious occurrences. Readers have two Kelley Armstrong books to look forward to this season: The Masked Truth (October) is about troubled teens who are part of a therapy group that is taken hostage and must escape masked gunmen, and The Unquiet Past (September), about a young girl with a tragic past who finally confronts her paranormal powers—part of Orca Books' new SECRETS series of linked novels.
Linda Bailey's Seven Dead Pirates (September) has got everything: a boy in a tower, pirate ghosts, brave deeds, and unlikely friendships. Transferral (September), the debut novel by Kate Blair, takes place in present-day London but with a twist: the government now uses technology to cure the the sick by infecting criminals with their diseases, and inevitably this takes society in a troubling direction. Leah Bobet follows up Above with An Inheritance of Ashes (October), an epic fantasy with a touch of the strange. In Sight Unseen (October), by David Carroll, a boy who is losing his sight finds himself drawn to a strange glimmering island that no one else can see. And acclaimed author Marty Chan's latest is Fire and Glass, Keepers of the Vault (September).
With Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City (October), Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Leatherdale follow up Dreaming in Indian and offer unique insight into the lives and experiences of young urban Natives. Don Cummer has written a sequel to Brothers at War (which was nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction) with Blood Oath (September), set in the battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams—a period when Canada came closest to losing the War of 1812. Megan Crewe concludes her Earth and Sky Trilogy with A Sky Unbroken (October). Jennifer Dance, author of the acclaimed YA novel Red Wolf, releases Hawk (January), about a young First Nations man who, when he rescues an osprey from a tailings pond, has no idea that soon he and the bird will be fighting for their lives. And Natasha Deen's Burned (October) is part of the high-interest trilogy, "Retribution," about a young woman who has to find a way to get off the streets and bring a crooked cop down.
Linda DeMeulemeester's first instalment in the Grim Hill Series is The Secret of Grim Hill (October), a spooky mystery for middle-grade readers. Myles and the Monster Outside (September), by Philippa Dowding, is her second book in a series of tall tales, the story of a boy who must defeat a monster only he can see. The novel 44 Hours or Strike! (October), by Anne Dublin, is set against the Toronto Dressmakers' Strike of 1931, portraying two young sisters, with their union, battling for decent wages and better working conditions. Case #3 in LM Falcone's The Ghost and Max Monroe series is The Dirty Trick (September), in which Max has to help his favourite writer solve a mystery. And Melodie Fitzpatrick's debut novel, Operation Josh Taylor (October), is about a teenage girl who is is prepared to face bullies, learn terrible secrets, and discover hidden talents in order to see her favourite teen idol in concert.
Darren Groth's new novel, Are You Seeing Me? (August), about a road trip with two siblings, one with Austism Spectrum Disorder, received rave reviews internationally, and now appears in Canada. Leading Lines (September) is Chantel Guertin's new Pippa Greene novel, about a young woman navigating love and other high school dramas, and learning about photography. In In the Swish (September), by Dawn Green, a champion basketball player must learn how to fit in with her rival team. The acclaimed novelist Robert Hough's first book for young people is Diego’s Crossing (September), about a 17-year-old boy who runs drugs across the Mexican-US border. And in Beatrice More Moves in (November), by Alison Hughes and illustrated by Helen Flook, a perfectionist third-grader learns that not everything in life needs to be under control.
Stay Strong: A Musician’s Journey from the Congo (September), by Natalie Hyde, is the first book in Clockwise Press's Arrivals series, about the experiences of musician Gentil Misigaro on his way to Canada. Marthe Jocelyn's latest novel is A Big Dose of Lucky (September), part of the SECRETS series , this one about a mixed-race orphan who learns that her origins are more unbelievable than she ever supposed. The ever-original Martine Leavitt's new book is Calvin (November), about a schizophrenic teenager plagued by hallucinations who decides to walk across Lake Erie. In After Dark (August) by James Leck, a fifteen-year-old stuck in a sleepy town for the summer discovers something sinister afoot. And Heartache and Other Natural Shocks (October), by Glenda Leznev, explores teen rivalry against the backdrop of the October Crisis.
Give Me Wings (August), by Kathy Lowinger, is the narrative non-fiction tale of Ella Sheppard, a black girl in the 1800s who became a founding member of a travelling choir that followed the path of the Underground Railroad and raised money for the Fisk Free Colored School, later known as Fisk University. Eisha Majara's Faerie (October), a novel about a South Asian teenager struggling with anorexia, is described as "the fierce yet gently unfolding story of a hyper-imaginative girl who is on a collision course to womanhood." Stacey Matson's sequel to A Year in the Life of a (Total and Complete) Genius is Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius (September).
Jennifer Maruno follows up When the Cherry Blossoms Fell (which was nominated for several awards) with Cherry Blossom Baseball (December), about a Japanese girl adjusting to a new life in Ontario who challenges gender expectations when she tries out for the local baseball team. C.K. Kelly Martin's latest is Delicate (September), about the perilous navigation of a teenage summer. Norah McClintock is also contributing to the SECRETS series, and her instalment sounds intriguing: in My Life Before Me, an aspiring reporter's investigation into a long-ago murder earns her a hard lesson in race relations, and leads her to be both fearing for her life and also on the cusp of learning the truth about her origins. Gina McMurchy-Barber's latest Peggy Henderson adventure is A Bone to Pick (November), in which Peggy is off to a Viking site in North America where she unearths the remains of a brave young warrior
Award-winning poet and novelist Anne Michaels releases The Adventures of Miss Petitfour (November), illustrated by Emma Block, about an iced cakes aficionado who "enjoys having adventures that are just the right size—fitting into a single, magical day." Upside Down Magic (October) is so good they needed three people to write it: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins tell a story of a wonky shape-shifter who flunks out of magic academy and has to navigate her way through public school. Jennifer Mook-Sang's first novel is Speechless (September), about standing up to bullies and finding one's own voice. The third book in Evan Munday's hit series is Loyalist to a Fault: The Dead Kid Detective Agency #3 (September), in which October Schwartz and her five deadest friends are back solve an American Revolution-era crime while dealing with the shenanigans of a present-day ghost pirate
B.R. Myers follows Butterflies Don't Lie with Girl on the Run (September), about a track and field star who overcomes heartbreak at the death of her dad, and learns to run again. Award-winner Colleen Nelson's latest is 250 Hours (October), about two teens whose worlds apart are what bring them together. The third instalment in Andreas Oetel's The Shenanigans Series is Trouble at Impact Lake (October), in which the three curious friends go on a quest to find the real story behind a doomed Second World War aircraft. Kenneth Oppel's new novel, The Nest (September) is said to be his most haunting yet, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Anne Patton's second Barr Colony Adventure is Through Flood and Fire (October), with Dorothy and her family struggling with the challenge of making their home on the Canadian prairies.
In Saving Stevie (October), by Eve Richardson, a young girl runs away with her sister's abandoned baby in order to keep their family together. Trudy Romanek's Raising the Stakes (October) chronicles a year in the life of a high school improv team. At Ease (November), by Jeff Ross, explores the experiences of a young violinist who must face his fears about playing on stage. In Young Man With Camera (October), by Emil Sher, a teenage photographer devoted to the work of Diane Arbus captures his bullies' abuse on film, and learns that a picture doesn't always tell the whole story. And in Brother XII's Adventure (October), by Amanda Spottiswode and Molly March, seven children (aged eight to sixteen) are sprung from their respective boarding schools in England to the coast of British Columbia in 1936 to embark on a summer sailing adventure like no other.
In The Summer We Saved the Bees (September), by Robin Stevenson, a boy tries to resist his mothers efforts to recruit him in her activism. Bagels on Board (October) is the third book in Joan Betty Struchner's series about Bagels Bernstein, illustrated by Dave Whamond. Ripple Effect (September), by Sylvia Taekema, is the story of two friends whose plans for grade six are interrupted by a biking accident that lands one of them in the hospital, and how in the ensuing distance, they only grow further apart. The Governor General's Award-winning Theresa Toten's new novel is Shattered Glass (September), another instalment in the SECRETS series. Strange Lights Afar (September), by Rui Umezawa, illustrated by Mikako Fujita, is a haunting revisitation of eight popular Japanese folktales. Regenesis (September) is the latest by Eric Walters, about the beginning life at the end of the world. And John Wilson's Dark Terror (August) shows readers a little-known side of war and the role of one brave and determined young man.