Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Books for Young Readers Preview

Our Fall 2017 Preview concludes with books for young readers, and the selection is amazing. 

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Picture Books 

The theme of gratitude is playfully explored in If You're Thankful and You Know It (August), a Thanksgiving treat written by Chrissy Bozik and illustrated by Patricia Storms. Sydney Smith illustrates Smoot (September), written by Michelle Cuevas, in which a shadow breaks free in search of a more colourful life. Danielle Daniel’s first book, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award; her second picture book is Once in a Blue Moon (October), which celebrates the magical moments that can be found in the wonders of nature. A young boy unabashedly loves his purse in (wait for it...) I Love My Purse (September), by Belle DeMont and Sonja Wimmer. Marianne Dumas’s acclaimed The Fox and Fisherman (September) is translated into English, the beautifully illustrated story of an unlikely friendship. Annika Dunklee and Lori Joy Smith team up again for Me, Me, Me (September), a lighthearted story about the virtues of working together instead of going solo. Wallace Edwards does something new with Woodrow at Sea (November), about a mouse and an elephant on an epic journey. A picture book inspired by the iconic poem “First they came for Socialists,” written by Martin Niemöller in opposition to the oppressive Nazi regime, I Didn’t Stand Up (October), by Lucy Falcone and Mathilde Cinq-Mars, looks at common circumstances of oppression that children encounter through the eyes of the bystander—until he or she becomes the victim. And it’s a new Buddy and Earl book! Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff’s latest is Buddy and Earl Go to School (August). 

The latest by Melanie Florence, who won the TD Children’s Litereature Award for Missing Nimama, is Stolen Words (September), illustrated by Gabrielle Grimaldi, which explores the intergenerational impact of Canada’s residential schools system. The Northern Lights shine, women gather to eat raw caribou meat, and everyone could be family in Only in My Hometown (September), an ode to small-town life in Nunavut, written in English and Inuktitut by Angnakuluk Friesen, illustrated by Ippiksaut Friesen, translated by Jean Kusugak. And The Way Downtown: Adventures in Public Transit (October), by Inna Gertsberg and illustrated by Mike Lowery, celebrates public transit systems around the world. 

When Planet Earth Was New (September), by James Gladstone and illustrated by Katherine Diemert, depicts the story of planet Earth’s evolution, from 4.5 billion years ago to today. Inspired by Amnesty International’s letter-writing campaigns to help free people who have been imprisoned for expressing their opinion and told entirely through illustrations, Letters to a Prisoner, by Jacques Goldstyn, is a wordless story about the power of hope and the written word. Award-winning author and spoken-word artist Shauntay Grant’s latest picture book is The Walking Bathroom (September), illustrated by Erin Bennett Banks, a Halloween story about standing out and fitting in.

When the Moon Comes (September), written by Paul Harbridge and illustrated by Matt James, is the atmospheric story of a group of kids playing hockey on a frozen lake by moonlight. In Seamus’s Short Story (August), by Heather Hartt-Sussman and Milan Pavlovic, a boy who is small in stature uses resourcefulness to reach new heights via stuff he finds in his mother’s closet. The sibling duo from Hat On, Hat Off are back in another household adventure, exploring and playing in the kitchen in Baby Cakes (October), by Theo Heras and Renné Benoit. Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher follow up the award-winning Malaika’s Costume with Malaika’s Winter Carnival (September), in which Malaika is reunited with her mother in Canada and takes part in a Carnival that is nothing like the celebration she knows from home. And Naseem Hrab shows the challenges of being the new kid in town in Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend (August), illustrated by Josh Holinaty. 

Marthe Jocelyn's board books, One Red Button (October) and One Piece of String (October) encourage the youngest readers to see the assortment of shapes and colors that decorate their own growing worlds. Julie Kraulis's A Pattern for Pepper (August) is a beautiful journey through the history of textiles. The life story of Andrew Carnegie, who funded the construction of more than 2500 public libraries around the world, is beautifully told in Andrew Larsen's picture book biography, The Man Who Loved Libraries (August), illustrated by Katty Maurey. Also by Andrew Larsen, Goodnight, Hockey Fans (October), illustrated by Jacqui Lee, tells a story of a young fan drifting off to sleep while listening to the hockey game on his portable radio. And award-winner JonArno Lawson's latest is Leap! (September), illustrated by Josee Bisaillon, a book that's also a game of tag, a romp of a satisfying circular story. 

In Yak and Dove (September), Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro shows that unlikely friendships are often the very best kind. Maud Lewis 1, 2, 3 (October) is a beautiful first counting book and introduction to the joy-filled art of Nova Scotia’s most famous folk painter, Maud Lewis, with text by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones. Stephanie Simpson McLellan reminds readers of the essential story of Christmas in The Christmas Wind (October), illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. Jennifer Mook-Sang's second book is Captain Monty Takes the Plunge (October), illustrated by Liz Starin, a story of love, courage...and stinky boots! Caitlin Dale Nicholson follows Niwechihaw/I Help with Nipehon/I Wait (September), translated into Cree by Leona Morin Nelson, the story of a child going to pick yarrow with her mother and grandmother. Addressing the topic of climate refugees, My Wounded Island (August), by Jacques Pasquet, illustrated by Marion Arbona, and translated by Sophie B. Watson is based on the challenges faced by the Iñupiat people who live on the small islands north of the Bering Strait near the Arctic Circle. 

Jean E. Pendziwol, whose previous works include the acclaimed Once Upon a Northern Night, releases Me and You and the Red Canoe (August), illustrated by Phil, a poetic text about an early morning summer canoe ride. Mr. Crum's Potato Predicament(September), by Anne Renaud and Felicita Sata, is a delicious story about the accidental invention of the hallowed potato chip. In Picture the Sky (August), the companion to her bestselling Picture a Tree, Barbara Reid has us look up...way up. I Quit Grade One (August), by Nancy Wilcox Richards and Tom Goldsmith, celebrates the incredible bond that children have with their teachers. The lines between wildlife and home-life are blurred in award-winner Scot Ritchie’s Frederica (August), with surprising results. And The Water Walker (September), written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, uses the story of a determined Objibwe grandmother to tell a story about the importance of water protection.

Book Cover You Hold Me Up

Kari Rust's debut is Tricky (October), whose stylized cartoon-inspired art adds a distinctive mood to this story about empathy. Award-winner Monique Grey Smith teams with Danielle Daniel for You Hold Me Up (October), encouraging children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other’s well-being in their everyday actions. Smith also releases Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (September), whose readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action. And celebrated fiction writer Carrie Snyder releases her second picture book, Jammie Day (October), illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan, a true-to-life depiction of family chaos, emotion and warmth. 

A magical gender variant child brings transformation and change to the world around them thanks to their mother's enduring love in From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li. Nimoshom and His Bus, by Penny M. Thomas and illustrated by Karen Hibbard, introduces Cree vocabulary and also tells the story of a memorable school bus driver. The Heart's Song (September), by Gilles Tibo and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, gently explores sadness and grief, is also a story of community, love and friendship.

The cousins in Spirit Trackers (November), by J. Bordeau Waboose and François Thisdale in  Ian Wallace’s The Curiosity Cabinet (September) is a pictorial memoir of amazing things the author/illustrator has collected in his travels across the country. Lively young readers are encouraged to "stretch like a cat and hang like a bat" in Wild One (November), by Jane Whittingham, illustrated by Noel Tuazon. Nicola Winstanley and Oliva Chin Mueller's Bedtime Yarn (August) will appeal to knitters, sleepy little bears and any parents dealing with their child's fear of the dark. And Augusta Garrick is back in Kari-Lynn Winters' latest pirate adventure, Best Pirate, illustrated by Dean Griffiths. And Yayo's Pikiq revels in fantastical creatures and mystical landscapes. 

Middle Grade/Early Chapter Books

The solution to the old monster-under-the-bed problem? In Linda Bailey's Under-the-Bed-Fred (September), illustrated by Colin Jack, it's simple: become his friend. Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault’s award-winning graphic novel Louis Undercover (October) is translated into English by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou, following on the pair’s success with Jane, the Fox and MeBlack Gold is Sara Cassidy's third book featuring Cyrus and Rudy’s adventures on the farm, and an exciting lesson about the wonders of worms. And Charis Cotter follows up her acclaimed novel The Swallow with The Painting (September), about about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Natasha Deen's latest Lark mystery is Lark and the Diamond Caper (September), with the rookie detectives on the case when a pair of earrings go missing from the local general store. In each of the nine stories in Sit (October), by Deborah Ellis, a child makes a decision and takes action, be it a tiny gesture or a life-altering choice. Marie-Louise Gay's latest early chapter book is another Princess Pistachio adventure, this time Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent (August). Acclaimed author Daphne Greer writes about summer camp and life as the brother of a kid with autism in Camped Out (October), the sequel to Maxed Out. And Eric Howling's newest sport novel is Plunge (August), in which a triathlete has to use his skills to save his family. 

Anna Humphrey's second book in the Clara Humble series is Clara Humble: Quiz Whiz (September), another adventure about the character described as “Ramona Quimby meets Timmy Failure.” Michelle Kadarushman's The Theory of Hummingbirds (September) is the uplifting story of an eleven-year-old girl dealing with the challenges of being different. Thomas King’s cheeky humour and master storytelling are on display in Coyote Tales (October), illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, two stories feshly illustrated and reissued as an early chapter book. And Jessica Scott Kerrin’s latest is The Thing Owen Wrote (October), about a boy whose biggest mistake requires an emergency trip to Iceland.

Book Cover the Artsy Mistake Mystery

From Julie Lawson, award-winning author of No Safe Harbour, comes A Blinding Light (October), a riveting middle-grade novel set during the Halifax Explosion. With Chinese New Year: A Celebration for Everyone (October), Jen Sookfong Lee weaves together the history, tradition and evolution of the Chinese New Year celebration. Book Two in Sylvia McNicoll's Great Mistake Mystery series is The Artsy Mistake Mystery (August), and this time an art thief is on the loose. And already acclaimed in Australia, Wendy Orr's latest is Dragonfly Song (October), an intriguing mythological portrayal of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization.

Marilee Peters' The Man Who Knew Everything (October), illustrated by Roxana Bikadoroff, is an autobiography of 17th-century German scientist Athanasius Kircher, one of the first scientific celebrities. Yolanda Ridge's Inside Hudson Pickle (September) is about a seventh-grader who just wants to make the basketball team, but he's distracted by his uncle's diagnosis of a genetic respiratory illness and the mysteries of his own DNA. The line between video game narrative and real life becomes disturbingly blurred in Sean Rodman's Firewall (October). In Ted Staunton's POV (October), a boy about to make a music video soon finds that he's in way over his head. A young boy goes to the roots of his family tree in search of answers when he finds out his mother is transgender in Sonia Tilson’s The Disappearing Boy (October). Seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe takes you through her own journey of understanding the earth beneath our feet in Fault Lines: Understanding the Power of Earthquakes (October). And celebrated author Paul Yee brings to young readers further adventures of Shu-Li just as she moves into her new home on Commercial Drive, Vancouver, in Shu-Li and the Magic Pear Tree (July).  

Young Adult 

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in S.M. Beiko's Scion of the Fox (October), the first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations. Nina Berkhout’s follows her acclaimed debut novel, The Gallery of Lost Species, with The Mosaic (September), in which a teenaged pacifist and a PTSD-afflicted Marine form an unexpected bond over a secret buried in a decommissioned nuclear missile silo. The final volume in Marty Chan's Keeper of the Vault trilogy is Shadow and Spell (October). Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale challenge stereotypes about Indigenous women in their stunning anthology, #NotYourPrincess (September). And Norma Charles' novel, Runner (October) is a biography of African-Canadian Harry Jerome, who overcame prejudice to become the fastest man in the world during the 1960s.

Lesley Choyce’s Thin Places (July) is a story told in verse about a sixteen-year-old boy and the centuries-old voice that rings in his head. He also releases the novel, Plank's Law (September) about a sixteen-year-old with Huntington's Disease who has to face the fact that he was just a year to live. In crime reporter Peter Edwards' YA novel Biker's Brother (October), Josh Williams navigates the complications of high school social life and also the inner workings of the murderous biker gang of which his brother is a member. And in On the Spectrum (September), by Jennifer Gold, a summer in Paris changes everything for a sixteen-year-old girl struggling with an eating disorder.

The sequel to Judith Graves' Exposed is Infiltrate (October), in which a wave of teen suicides is linked to an unauthorized drug trial. Darren Groth follows up the acclaimed Are You Seeing Me? with Munro Vs. the Coyote (October), about a young man surviving loss and working to overcome his demons on an exchange to Australia while working at an assisted living residence. Kirkus Reviews calls Alison Hughes' Hit the Ground Running (August) "a beautiful, if heart-wrenching story of two children left adrift due to the death of their mother and their father's mental illness." To Look a Nazi in the Eye (September), by Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz, is the true story of nineteen-year-old Lebowitz’s experience attending the war criminal trial for“the bookkeeper of Auschwitz.”

Ian Keeling's The Skids was long listed for a 2017 Sunburst Award, and he returns with its sequel, The Thread War (October). Warren Kinsella's Recipe for Hate (November), based on true events, is about how a group of punks defeated a murderous gang of neo-Nazis. Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s Prince of Pot (Septemebr) tells the story of a young man growing up on an illegal grow-op. She also releases Shadow Warrior (September), based on the true story of Mochizuki Chiyome and her all-female spy network, which takes readers on a journey through feudal Japan, from villages to castles to battlefields. And Norah McLintock's new Riley Donovan mystery is Out of Tune (October), a story of musical rivalry and teenage murder. 

Rick Revelle’s third book in the Algonquin Quest series is Algonquin Sunset (June). Strangers is the first novel in The Reckoner series by David Alexander Robertson, award–winning writer, and author of the acclaimed When We Were AloneCaterpillars Can’t Swim (September), by Lianne Shaw, is a coming of age story about disability, LGBTQ issues, and a road-trip to Comic Con. Kidlit superstar Vikki VanSickle describes her new novel, The Winnowing (September), as "a love letter to The X-Files and the worlds and concepts that show opened up for me." Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in a new series, A Girl Called Echo, by Governor General Award–winning Katherena Vermette. In 90 Days of Different (August), by Eric Walters, a teenage girl comes up with a plan to come out of her shell and discover her wild side. And Pam Withers’ Tracker’s Canyon (July) is an adventure story about a talented climber who is making his way through a deep ravine when he realizes that somebody is out to get him.

August 21, 2017
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