Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2016 Books for Young Readers Preview

There's still plenty of summer left, but we're looking forward to the excellent new books that are coming our way this fall. This time we're focusing on books for young readers (and also for readers whose hearts are young).

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Picture Books

Book Cover King Baby

Victoria Allenby and Tara Anderson follow up their award-winning Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That with Rhino Rumpus (September); expect more rhyming couplet fun. Cale Atkinson (who illustrated Vikki VanSickle's If I Had a Gryphon in the spring) releases Maxwell the Monkey Barber (August), about a jungle barber who can handle all the wild animals' coiffures, but then must comfort the poor elephant who is sad because he doesn't have hair at all. Kate Beaton tops The Princess and the Pony with King Baby (September). Rebecca Bender (of Giraffe and Bird fame) releases How Do You Feel? (November), about feeling, textures, and delightful animal creatures. And Stompin’ Tom Connors has his classic song put into print with The Hockey Song (October), with pictures by Gary Clement.

Book Cover In the Red Canoe

Paul Covello's Canada ABC (September) follows up his gorgeous Toronto ABC. With In the Red Canoe (October), by Leslie A. Davidson, illustrated by Laura Bifano, a child and her grandpa celebrate the wonders of the natural world. Marianne Dubuc’s new book is Lucy and Company (September), three short stories about a young girl and her animal friends. I Am Not a Number (September), by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland, is based on the life of Dupuis’ grandmother who was removed from her family and placed in a residential school.

Book Cover Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby

Is it possible that Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby (August) is the best Buddy and Earl yet? Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff complete their wonderful trilogy about a dog and a hedgehog with this latest title. Award-winners Alma Fullerton and Kim LeFave team up for When the Rain Comes (October), about a young Sri Lankan girl determined to save her family's rice harvest. Charles Ghigna follows up A Carnival of Cats with A Parade of Puppies (August), also illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman. And illustrator Gabrielle Grimard’s first authorial venture is Lila and the Crow (October), about a girl in a new town who learns to embrace her differences.

Book Cover Maggie McGillicuddy

The Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) illustrate Chris Hadfield's debut picture book, The Darkest Dark (September), about his boyhood decision to become an astronaut. Bear’s Winter Party (September), by award-winning Deborah Hodge and Lisa Cinar, is the story of a bear who gets lonely being the biggest animal around, and decides to have a party to make friends with the other forest creatures. Alison Hughes (Spare Dog Parts) releases What Matters (September), illustrated by Holly Hatam, about how small acts can have big consequences. And in Maggie McGillicuddy’s Eye for Trouble (October), written by Susan Hughes and illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan, an unlikely friendship takes root through imaginary play.

Book Cover A Squiggly Story

The latest book in the Great Idea series about inventors is Zap!: Nikola Tesla Takes Charge (August), by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Bill Slavin. Kulling also releases a picture book biography of labour reformer Mother Jones with On Our Way to Oyster Bay (September), illustrated by Felicita Sala. Hurry Up Henry (September), by Jennifer Lanthier and Isabelle Malenfant, shows the advantages to slowing down in a fast-paced world. The excellent Andrew Larsen follows up The Not-So Faraway Adventure with A Squiggly Story (October), illustrated by Mike Lowery, about a young boy who only knows his letters, not words, but is determined to write a story all the same.

Book Cover The Liszts

Award-winning children's poet JonArno Lawson presents The Hobo's Crowbar (October), illustrated by Alec Dempster, a collection of poems brimming with whimsical wordplay, rollicking rhymes, and funny, profound, occasionally contrarian life lessons for children of all ages. Kyo Maclear's latest is The Liszts (October), illustrated by Julia Sarda, billed as The Royal Tenenbaums meets The Addams Family. She also releases The Wish Tree (September), illustrated by Chris Turnham, which evokes true essence of the holiday season and inspires wishers everywhere. Author-Illustrator Roz Maclean celebrates bodies in all their glorious diversity in The Body Book (August). And Canada Year By Year (October), by Elizabeth MacLeod and illustrated by Sydney Smith, takes readers through 150 years of Canadian history with a different milestone for every year.

Book Cover Pablo Finds a Treasure

Because I am a Boy (September), by Rosemary McCarney, with Plan International, is an affirmation that boys throughout the world have a role to play and much to benefit from in improving gender equality. The Snow Knows (October), by Jennifer McGrath and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon (who are both acclaimed for their previous works), introduces readers to the joys of winter. We all know dogs bark woof and cats mew meow—but what noises do ostriches or peacocks or kookaburras make? The answers can be found in What Noise Do I Make? (September), by award-winning writer Brian McLachlan. The resourcefulness of children in situations of poverty is highlighted in Pablo Finds a Treasure (September), by Andrée Poulin and illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant, in which two siblings help support their family by foraging at the local dump.

Book Cover A Family is a Family

Governor-General’s Award-winning illustrator Pierre Pratt creates the scene for Mireille Messier’s new book, The Branch (September), about a tree damaged by an ice storm and how what’s old becomes new again. Sara O’Leary (This is Sadie) partners with illustrator Qin Leng for A Family is a Family is a Family (September), a book that explores the many forms a family can take. O'Leary, with illustrator Karen Klassen, also follows up last spring's You Are One with (get ready...) You Are Two (September), which celebrates all the milestones (terrible and otherwise) of a child's second year. In Boonoonoonous Hair (October), written by Commonwealth Prize-winning author Olive Senior and illustrated by the much-acclaimed artist of Anna Carries Water, a little girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage curly hair.

Book Cover Ooko

Esme Shapiro's gorgeous debut is Ooko (July), about a little fox just looking for a Debbie to play with. Award-winner Emil Sher evokes the wonder of the winter season in Mittens to Share (September), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher. The Boy and the Bindi (September), by Vivek Shraya, author of the acclaimed God Loves Hair, and illustrated by Rajni Perera, celebrates the beauty of gender and cultural difference. Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch tells the real life story of Vietnamese refugee Tuan Ho in Adrift At Sea (November), illustrated by Brian Deines. And Friend or Foe? (October), by John Sobol and Dasha Tolstikova, is a simple, surprising story about a cat, a mouse, and friendship.

Book Cover Dojo Surprise

In Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems (October), Carey Sookochef (whose work you will recognize from the Buddy and Earl books) presents practical and creative solutions for the problems of a young girl's life. Award-winner Jan Thornhill’s latest is The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk (October), about the creatures who thrived for thousands of years in the icy seas of the North Atlantic and whose disappearance led to the birth of the conversation movement. Award-winner Gilles Tibo's tribute to poetry is illustrated by Manon Gauthier and translated by Erin Woods as All the World A Poem (August). And the characters from Dojo Daycare and Dojo Daytrip are back for a third adventure in Dojo Surprise (August), by Chris Tougas; the six little ninjas plan a surprise birthday party for their master. 

Book Cover We Sang You Home

Fans of Richard Van Camp and Julie Flett’s board book, Little You, are legion, and they’re looking forward to a new collaboration by the duo, We Sang You Home (October), which celebrates the bond between parent and child. Gloria Ann Wesley, whose previous books include historical children’s novels, gives a window into the life of a Black loyalist family in Nova Scotia in Abigail’s Wish (October), with illustrations by Richard Rudnicki. Kari-Lynn Winters and François Thisdale (The Stamp Collector) are behind French Toast (November), in which descriptions of favorite foods from both of a young girl’s cultures celebrate the varied skin tones of her family. And Hawksley Workman's holiday song of the same name is rendered in picture book form, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall, with Almost a Full Moon (September). 

Middle Grade/Early Readers

Book Cover All the Dirt

Victoria Allenby's Timo's Party (October), illustrated by Dean Griffiths, is another early reader that follows the adventures of the creatures we first encountered in Timo's GardenThe Ship to Nowhere (October), by award-winning author Rona Arato, is based on the true story of Exodus, a ship that smuggled 4500 Jewish refugees during World War Two to Palestine. Katherine Ashenberg translates her history of cleanliness for the younger set in All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean (October). With Cure for Wereduck (September), Dave Atkinson follows up his Hackmatack Award-nominated Wereduck.

A Boy Named Queen (October), by Sara Cassidy, is about a straight-laced girl whose horizons are broadened by the arrival of an eccentric classmate. The seventh and final book in Scott Chantler’s Three Thieves adventure series is The Iron Hand (October). With The Griffin of Darkwood (August), acclaimed author Becky Citra tells the story of a young man who finds himself living in a run-down castle with an aunt he loathes, who has lost his desire to write, and whose town has a curse on it—and the solution to most of these problems involves magic. In Bad Girls of Fashion (September), Jennifer Croll explores the lives of ten famous women whose fashion statements have changed the world.

The Mask That Sang (September), by Susan Currie, was one of the winners of Second Story Press’s Aboriginal Writing contest, the story of a young girl who discovers her Cayuga heritage when she finds a mask that sings to her. The sequel to The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden, which was shortlisted for the OLA Red Maple Award, is Phillipa Dowding’s Everton Miles is Stranger Than Me (October), in which flying girl Gwendolyn meets a boy with similar talents. And Melody Fitzpatrick’s new Hannah Smart book is Hannah Smart: In Over Her Head (September), with our heroine pulling herself out of another series of scrapes.

Book Cover Root Beer Candy

Victoria Forester's The Boy Who Knew Everything (October) is the long-awaited sequel to her bestselling The Girl Who Could Fly. Shari Green's first book for children is Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles (September), a novel in verse about a young girl, summertime, and a prophecy from the sea. Elise Moser’s What Milly Did (August), illustrated by Scot Ritchie, is the biography of Milly Zantow who pioneered plastics recycling in North America. In The Bermuda Shipwreck (October), by Eric Murphy, a family vacation turns into a battle with crooks searching for a centuries-old treasure. Eric Orchard's new book is Bera the One-Headed Troll (August), a fantasy adventure with all the sweetness, spookiness, and satisfaction of your favorite childhood bedtime story.

Book Cover A Day of Signs and Wonders

CanLit icon Kit Pearson's new book is A Day of Signs and Wonders (August), inspired by the childhood of artist Emily Carr. In Pandas on the Eastside, by Gabrielle Prendergast, a young girl who lives on Vancouver’s Eastside rallies her friends to save a pair of threatened pandas. Laura Scandiffio profiles children in Canada and around the world who’ve had to fight for their right to an education in Fight to Learn: The Struggle to Go to School (September). Orca’s Seven series returns with The Seven Prequels, seven stories by seven authors including Ted Staunton, Norah McClintock, and Shane Peacock. David Skuy’s new book is Memoirs of a Sidekick (October), about an underdog who dares to believe in the impossible.

Book Cover Batcat and the Seven Squirrels

Award-winner Jillian Tamaki illustrates Gertie's Guide to Greatness (October), the debut novel by Kate Beasley. The newest book in Kim Thompson’s Eldrich Manor series is Darkling Green (December), in which Willa has to deal with the arrival of the King of Fairies, on top of all the other usual family drama. Eric Walters’s Batcat and the Seven Squirrels (October), illustrated by Kasia Charko, is one of three new releases in the Orca Echoes series for emerging readers. John Wilson's A Dangerous Game (September) is a gripping World War One saga about a teenage girl who is working as a nurse, but is actually a trained spy. 

Young Adult

Book Cover Aluta

In Sand (September), by Luanne Armstrong, a young woman who is injured in a car accident has her life transformed through her involvement in therapeutic riding. Aluta (September), by Adwoa Badoe, is about a young woman becoming exposed to new political ideas in Ghana in 1981, a prospect as exciting as it is dangerous. With Malice (June), by Eileen Cook, is a fast-paced thriller about a girl who wakes up from a devastating accident during her senior trip to Italy...except that it was not an accident, and her affluent father has hired her a lawyer, and now she has to figure out what happened and just what she has done.

Book Cover Across the Floor

Natasha Deen’s Across the Floor (August), about a football player-turned-dancer, is one of three titles being released in Orca’s Limelights series, with a focus on the arts. 2015 Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Deborah Delaronde releases her tenth book, The Stone Gift (September), about a boy who is beaten into a coma which he awakes from and then begins experiencing visions. Catherine Egan's Julia Vanishes (June) is the first book in a brand new fantasy trilogy about thievery, witchcraft and betrayal.

Book Cover Good Girls

With Good Girls (October), Shalta Dicaire Fardin and Sarah Sahagian launch Inanna Publicans' Young Feminist series, which will follow the experiences of a group of young women through their high school years. Girl Mans Up (September) by Lambda Literary fellow M-E Girard, is a story about a girl who wants to be the kind of girl she wants to be. In The Pain Eater (September), by Beth Goobie, a collaborative writing assignment  exposes the rape of a fourteen-year-old girl. And in The Hunt of the Dragon (October), by C.C. Humphreys, moves between the modern world of a teenager and a dangerous world where mythical legends live.

Book Cover The Skids

Kari Jones’ At the Edge of the World (October) tells the story of a girl struggling to support a friend who is hiding a family secret. The Skids (October), by Ian Donald Keeling, is described as Part Hunger Games, part X-Fiiles, with a little Monster's Inc. and the Matrix smashed into the mix. Trilby Kent follows up her TD Children's Literature Prize-winning Stones for My Father with Once, in a Town Called Moth (September), a fish-out-of-water story of a young Mennonite girl from Bolivia trying to find her way in a big city. 

Book Cover My Demon's Name is Ed

With My Demon’s Name is Ed (October), teen author Danah Khalil shares the story of her own struggle with an eating disorder. How It Ends (June), by Catherine Lo, is a tale of friendship from first meeting to breakup, set against a tumultuous year of bullying. In Trial by Fire (October), Norah McClintock’s new Riley Donovan mystery, Riley has to clear a friend’s name when he’s accused of being behind the death of a football player who has fallen to his death. Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones in Every Hidden Thing (September), a new YA epic from international bestselling author Kenneth Oppel.

Book Cover Watching Traffic

Jane Ozkowski was the winner of House of Anansi’s Broken Social Scene Story contest, and her first novel is Watching Traffic (August), which captures the bittersweet uncertainty of that weird, unreal summer after high school. Award-winner Caroline Pignat's Shooter (May) throws five very different high school students into a room together during a lockdown drill...that turns out not to be a drill. In David A. Poulsen’s And Then the Sky Exploded (October), a young man decides to make amends when he learns that his great-grandfather was a member of the Manhatten Project. And in Missing Piece (October), Book 3 of Robert Priest’s Spell Crossed series, Tharfen has to save Phaer Isle, but only after she finds a missing piece of herself.

Book Cover The Darkhouse

Mystery, science, and dreams of a better life collide in The Darkhouse (October), by Barbara Radecki, about a girl who discovers that her single father may not be who he says he is. Award-winner Robert Rayner’s new novel is Black Water Rising (September), which explores environmentalism and corruption in small-town New Brunswick. Before We Go Extinct (June), by Karen Rivers, is about a boy dealing with grief after the death of a friend who learns how to live and love again. And Richard Scrimger's Downside Up (September) is a humourous novel about loss.

Freedom’s Just Another Word (September), by Caroline Stellings, is about an aspiring blues singer growing up in Saskatchewan in 1970 who gets to sing with Janis Joplin. YA superstar Courtney Summers' latest is All the Rage (June), which examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them. GG-Winner Theresa Toten's Beware That Girl (May) is getting lots of buzz, the story of a scholarship student at an elite school in New York City who is determined to get what she wants in the world. In The Art of Picking Up Girls (and Other Dangerous Things) (September), Eric Walters tells the story of a boy in his senior year of high school who learns that meeting girls is not just a game after all. And Governor-General's Award-winner Eve Wiseman's latest historical novel is Another Me (Oct).

August 15, 2016
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