Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2017 Books for Young People Preview

All the best books this spring for young readers...and young-at-heart readers too. 

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Illustrated Books

The wonder and beauty of nature in Newfoundland and Labrador come to life in The Puffin Patrol (May), by Dawn Baker. Helene Becker and Mark Hoffman celebrate reading as an adventure that can take you anywhere in You Can Read (February). Jo-Ellen Bogart and Lori Joy Smith collaborate on Count Your Chickens (February), “a cute-as-a-button picture book” featuring dozens of chickens as they set out for the county fair. In Bill Bowerbird and the Unbreakable Beak Ache (March), by Tyler Clark Burke, a bird with a pain in his mouth appeals to his community to help get him through tough times. And an unlikely friendship blooms as an old man and a young boy create their own sunshine underneath a rainy-day umbrella in Under the Umbrella (March), by Catherine Buquet, Marion Arbona, and translated by Erin Woods. 

The Land Behind the Wall (May), by Veronika Martenova Charles, depicts a young immigrant’s journey to Halifax from behind the Iron Curtain. Kelly Collier’s debut picture book is A Horse Named Steve (April) about a fine horse who wants to be EXCEPTIONAL. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller’s whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is in More Than Balloons (April). How Nivi Got Her Names (January), by Laura Deal and Charlene Chua, is an easy-to-understand introduction to traditional Inuit naming, with a story that touches on Inuit custom adoption. And in time for Canada’s 150th, My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas (May), by Katherine Dearlove, illustrated by Lori Joy Smith, is a whimsical, informative look at our country from sea to sea sea. 

Book Cover My Beautiful Birds

Suzanne Del Rizzo’s My Beautiful Birds (March) tells the story of life in a camp for Syrian refugees, rendered in gorgeous, vivid plasticine illustrations. Marianne Dubuc follows up her fantastic Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds with Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip (April), although he’s bringing along a few parcels because a postmouse’s rounds are never done. Award-winning food writer Sara Elton provides an engaging and informative look at vegetarianism in Meatless: A Fresh Look at What You Eat (May), illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. In 14 gentle stanzas, sleepy-eyed children throughout history draw comfort from bedtime tales and tender lullabies in Song on the Wind (June), by Caroline Everson and illustrated by Anne Marie Bourgeois. And the amazing secret lives of an ordinary object are explored in The Little Blue Chair (January), by award-winner Cary Fagan and Madeline Kloepper. 

Book Cover A Cage Went in Search of a Bird

Fagan also releases A Cage Went in Search of a Bird (May), illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian, about two lonely souls who finally find each other. Spanning centuries, from Milton Acorn, Bliss Carman, and Rita Joe to Budge Wilson, Shauntay Grant, and Kathleen Winter, and with a broad thematic scope, Whispers of Mermaids and Wonderful Things (May), edited by Sheree Fitch and Anne Hunt, collects Atlantic Canadian poetry for children. Fitch’s Silver Birch and Hackmatack Award–winning picture book about children’s rights, If You Could Wear My Sneakers (April), is now available for a new generation of young reader in a new edition. And another award-winner, Alma Fullerton, brings us a new heroine, a young Filipino girl who’s eager to disprove her grandfather’s insistence that “a boat is no place for a girl,” in Hand Over Hand, illustrated by Renne Benoit.

Governor General's Award-nominated illustrator Josée Bisaillon’s latest book is Milo and Georgie, written by Bree Gilbraith, about a young boy’s experience adapting to his new home. Readers are excited about Marie-Louise Gay’s latest, Short Stories for Little Monsters (March), a collection that gives us a glimpse into the things children wonder about every day. Award-winner Celia Godkin’s The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park (January) is the true story of how one creature’s return from endangerment affected an entire river valley. Elise Gravel’s If Found… (June), translated by Helge Dascher, is a sneak peek into Gravel’s sketchbook, but it’s also so much more: an instructional handbook of sorts for young aspiring artists.

In Up (April), by Susan Hughes and Ashley Barron, collage art spreads explore the different ways that parents all over the world carry their babies. Martha Jocelyn’s latest is Sam Sorts (February), a fun look at counting and categories with Jocelyn's usual gorgeous illustrations. With Shark Lady (June), Jess Keating tells the story of scientist Eugenie Clark, with illustrations by Marta Alvarez Magueys. Line by line, in both official languages, and accompanied by sheet music, “O Canada” is brought to life by Peter Kuitenbrouwer, with collage illustrations by Ashley Spires in Our Song: The Story of Oh CanadaUncle Holland (April), by JonArno Lawson and Natalie Nelson, is a quirky story about crime, punishment, art and redemption. Jennifer Lanthier's new picture book is By the Time You Read This... (April), illustrated by Patricia Storms, about the emotional roller coaster than is childhood friendships. And all royalties from Where Will I Live? (April), by Rosemary McCarney, about life for child refugees, goes to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Book Cover Stop Feeding Da Boids

Celebrated Mi’kmaw writer Theresa Meuse and artist Leonard Paul depict a young Mi’kmaw girl’s first spiritual gathering (mawiomi) in The Gathering (May). Carolyn Huizinga Mills's debut picture book is The Little Boy Who Lives Down the Drain (June), a curious ode to bath time, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. Sara O’Leary and Karen Klassen complete their ode-to-toddlers trilogy with You Are Three (March), which celebrates the milestones of this monumental year. With artwork from 13 of Canada’s finest illustrators, a new edition of Heather Patterson's I am Canada (May) is a celebration and a reminder of the infinite variety of goodness in our home and native land. Pierre Pratt illustrates Stop Feedin’ da Boids (April), written by James Sage, about feeding pigeons in Brooklyn. And Robert Priest returns to children's poetry with The Wolf is Back (May), with pen and ink drawings by Joan Krygsman, rhyming about "People Like You and Me” and showing how everyone can make a difference in the world. 

Book Cover The Alphabet Thief

In The Alphabet Thief (March), Bill Richardson and Roxanna Bikadoroff, a peculiar thief steals one letter of the alphabet after another, and nobody can stop her until the Z’s finally send her to sleep. Itah Sadu’s new book is Greetings, Leroy! (May), illustrated by Alix Delinois, about a young boy on his first day at school and the happy discovery of a piece of his old home, Jamaica, in his new home. Joanne Schwartz’s new book, Town Is By the Sea (April), illustrated by Sydney Smith, is a story of life in Cape Breton that looks absolutely stunning. And Ashley Spires’ latest is The Thing That Lou Couldn’t Do (May), in which a young girl learns that the bravest adventurers are those who try. 

Book Cover the Dance of the Violin

Kathy Stinson and Dusan Petricic team up again on a story about Joshua Bell, who was the violinist in their award-winning book, The Man With the Violin. Their latest, The Dance of the Violin (March) is about Bell as a student and an experience in which he learned the value of second chances. Inuit Elder Donald Uluadluak tells the story of a young boy encountering a mermaid in The People of the Sea (February), illustrated by Mike Mots. And An African Alphabet (March), by Eric Walters and illustrated by Sue Todd, is an ABC book that introduces babies and toddlers to the unique variety of animals found in Africa. 

Early Chapter/Middle Grade

Shane Arbuthnott launches his Molly Stout series with Dominion (February), about fantastic adventures aboard an airship. Three of Margaret Atwood’s stories for children are collected in a chapter book, A Trio of Tolerable Tales (March), illustrated by Dušan Petričić. An absentee mother and a meddling principal make life complicated for Suze Tamaki, the protagonist of Joelle Anthony’s A Month of Mondays (March). Laura Best follows up Flying With a Broken Wing with Cammie Takes Flight (April), a coming-of-age story exploring values of perseverance, unlikely friendships, and what it means to be a family. And Sigmund Brouwer’s newest Justine McKeen title is Justine McKeen: Thermostat Chat (March).

Emma Donoghue’s first book for young readers is The Lotterys Plus One (March), a middle-grade title about an eccentric family. In Waiting for Sophie (April), by Sarah Ellis and Carmen Mok, a little boy wonders how long it will take before his baby sister becomes somebody he can play with. Short story star Anne Fleming’s novel The Goat (March) is her first book for young readers, the curious story of a mountain goat living on the roof of a building in downtown Manhattan. Cary Fagan and Zoe Si launch at new early chapter book series with Wolfie and Fly (January), the story of an unlikely friendship. 

Shari Green’s new summer story is Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess (May), the story of a multigenerational bond and the goodness that can come of change. The Best Medicine (March), by Christine Hamill, is about a twelve-year-old boy who deals with his mother's breast cancer diagnosis by reaching out to his idol, a comedian. Can a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity? Find out in Kings of the Court (March), by Alison Hughes. Gordon Korman balances humour and heart in Restart (May), the reinvention story about a bully who must come to terms with who he was and what kind of person he wants to become. In Mary Anning’s Curiosity (May), illustrated by Melissa Castrillón, Monica Kulling tells the story of how the world’s greatest fossilist made her first big discovery at age 12. 

Grandfather and the Moon (May), written by Stéphanie Lapointe and illustrated by Rogé, translated by Shelley Tanaka, which won a Governor General’s Award in 2016 in its original French, is a graphic novel about the relationship between a girl and her grandfather. Andrew Larsen’s Dingus (May) is a classic coming-of-age story told with humor and heart. In Stay (May), Katherine Lawrence tells the story of a family in crisis through a novel in verse. And Mary Beth Leatherdale’s Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees (April), illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare, depicts the experiences of five young people for whom a treacherous voyage by sea is a last hope for safety and freedom.

Sylvia McNicoll launches a detective series with The Best Mistake Mystery (January). The 8th instalment of Sarah Mlynowski's Whatever After series is Once Upon a Frog (January). The latest Tank and Fizz book, by Liam O’Donnell and Mike Deas, about two crime solving monsters, is The Case of the Missing Mage (April). Karen Rivers’ Love, Ish (March) is about a young girl with cancer who refuses to give up her dream of being one of the first settlers on Mars. David Skuy continues to write novels about young people engaging with sports in Run (April), about a boy who takes up running and finds that his athletic success only brings him closer to the bullies he’s been hoping to avoid. Jeff Szpirglas’ Wild Cards (February) is the story of a super-big problem that might require a superhero solution. And Long Live the Queen: Magnificent Tales of Misadventure (January), by Gerry Swallow and Valerio Fabretti, is about a young girl who finds herself in a land where storybook characters are real.

Young Adult

Linda Amyot’s Adele’s Garden (April), which won the Governor General’s Award for French-language children’s literature in 2014, is translated into English by Norman Cornett; a story of two women from different generations searching for love and truth. In Drawn Away (January), by Holly Bennett, Jack finds himself transported from math class into the world of one of Hans Christian Andersen’s grimmest tales, and it turns out this Little Match Girl is dangerous. Award-winner Julie Burtinshaw tells the story of a teen couple who decide to put their baby up for adoption in Saying Goodbye to London (March). And in The Marrow Thieves (March), award-winner Cherie Dimaline imagines a future world ravaged by global warming in which people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. 

Book Cover Undiscovered Country

Tyler Enfield's Hannah and the Magic Eye (March), "with a playful nod to Indiana Jones," is the story of Hannah and Samir, two unlikely friends who embark on a fast-paced treasure hunt though modern-day Jerusalem to find the famed treasure of King Solomon’s Temple—the largest unrecovered fortune in history. Acclaimed YA novelist Jennifer Gold’s Undiscovered Country (April) is about a volunteer trip to South America that teaches a young woman that you can’t run away from grief. 

Vicki Grant’s latest is Short for Chameleon (March), about a boy and his father who are rent-a-relatives, available to hire for anyone looking for an upgrade. In award-winner Dawn Green's How Samantha Smart Became a Revolutionary (May), a high school girl is transformed into a rebel chief. In the gritty novel Breaking Faith (March), E. Graziani’s protagonist just wants to be loved and to live without the darkness of addiction. Glynis Guevara’s debut, Under the Zaboca Tree (June), is a coming-of-age novel set in Trinidad. And Road Signs That Say West (May), by Sylvia Gunnery, is a summer read about three sisters navigating the difficult roads of adolescence, trauma, secrets, shame, and fear for the future. 

In Blood on the Beach (March), by Sarah N. Harvey & Robin Stevenson, eight teens stranded on an island take matters into their own hands. Alice Kuipers’ Me and Me (March) is about a young girl faced with an impossible choice in a moment of tragedy. In Leanne Lieberman’s The Most Dangerous Thing (March), a teenage girl wonders where sexual desire fits into a life that’s been defined by battles with depression. In Rough Patch (April), by Nicole Markotic, a quirky-but-shy teen navigates her first year in high school and her increasing interest in kissing boys and girls. And Melanie Mosher, author of the celebrated picture book, Fire Pie Trout, makes her YA debut with Goth Girl (May), the story of a fifteen-year-old coming into her own as a person and as an artist. 

With Blood Brothers (February), Colleen Nelson explores gang culture and the ties of brotherhood. In Karen Nesbitt’s debut, Subject to Change (February), a boy discovers the story of his parents’ divorce is more complicated than he realized. Award-winner Susin Nielsen’s latest is Optimists Die First (February), a quirky alternative to the sick-lit genre. And in Ursula Pflug’s Mountain (June)—part of Inanna Press’s Young Feminist Series—a young woman learns how to survive in a world where social and environmental breakdown favour the resilient.

Book Cover Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined

In Kristine Scarrow’s If This is Home (January), a girl whose mother is terminally ill goes searching for her estranged father with surprising results. Lorna Schultz Nicholson's Bent Not Broken (March) takes on issues including loss, brain injury, and living with special needs. Allan Stratton's The Way Back Home (May) is a coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of one family's secrets. Danika Stone follows up All the Feels with Internet Famous (June), about the price of online stardom. And Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined (February) by Danielle Younge-Ullman is described as “Wild for teens”, the story of a girl who must survive an intense wilderness experience to prove she has the strength to pursue her dreams. 

February 20, 2017
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