Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2018 Books for Young Readers Preview

And Books for Young Readers is the final instalment of our Fall Preview. Whew! It's all shaping up to be an amazing literary season. Happy reading, everybody. 

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Picture Books 

The Imperfect Garden (September), by Melissa Assay and April dela Noche Milne, celebrates naturally grown food in all its imperfection. Cale Atkinson’s Sir Simon: Super Scarer (September) is a haunted house story with a twist—perfect for Halloween. Timed for the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein’s publication, Linda Bailey tells the story of its author in Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein (August), illustrated by Julia Sarda. Sloth at the Zoom (August), by Helaine Becker and Orbie, is the story of a sloth trying to make friends in a fast-paced world. Award-winning author-illustrator Rebecca Bender pushes Giraffe and Bird to new heights of courage, ingenuity, and humour in Giraffe and Bird Together Again (November). And Florence and Leon (September), by Simon Boulerice and Delphie Cote-Lacroix, nominated for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Children's Illustration (French), now appears in English translation by Sophie B. Watson.  

With charming details and lots of kid appeal, Poppy and Sam and the Leaf Thief (August), by Cathon, is an easy-to-read book with friendly characters and a suspenseful story line. A magical pair of shoes takes a young girl on a journey where she meets Frida Kahlo, Gloria Steinem, Sally Ride, and other influential women—and their shoes!—in Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, by Eva Chen, illustrated by Derek Desierto. If you loved Kelly Collier's first book, A Horse Named Steve (and who didn't?), then get ready for Team Steve (September), which is just as exceptional. Award-winner Marianne Dubuc’s new picture book is Up the Mountain Path (October), a story full of lessons about love, generosity, and following one's heart. And the latest from Wallace Edwards is Out of the Blue (August), a tale of friendship discovered in an unexpected place. 

A West Coast Summer (September), with watercolours by Carol Evans and text by Caroline Woodward, is a gorgeous book about summer on the Pacific Northwest coast. The latest Buddy and Earl book, written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Carey Sookocheff, is Buddy and Earl Meet the Neighbors, which gives this dynamic duo a superheroic twist. Fergus also releases The Reptile Club (September), illustrated by Elina Ellis, the story of a school club that's all about reptiles—or is it a club for reptiles? In Mustafa (August), superstar Marie-Louise Gay tells the story of a young refugee who has arrived in his new home and feels invisible—until he finds a friend. And Kallie George’s Goodnight Anne (September) is a good night book inspired by Anne of Green Gables

From superheroes and mermaids to dragons and aliens—everyone is welcome at Hotel Fantastic (October), a wild tale by Thomas Gibeault. Earthrise (October), by James Gladstone and Christy Lundy, tells the story of the first photograph of the earth from space and how it galvanized people to come together to protect a troubled world. The Eleventh Hour (October), by Jacques Goldstyn, is a First World War story of friendship to mark the hundredth anniversary of the armistice. Award-winner Shauntay Grant tells the story of Nova Scotia’s historic Africville community in Africville (September), illustrated by Eva Campbell. Discover the forgotten life and true adventures of Alexander Milton Ross, Canadian activist, who risked everything to help bring freedom and dignity to the heroic men and women enslaved in the American South in Birdman (October). In The Log Drivers’ Waltz (October), illustrator Jennifer Phelan reimagines Wade Hemsworth’s iconic log driver in a beautiful, contemporary picture-book adaptation of a beloved Canadian classic. Two young brothers welcome pets into their home in Our New Kittens (November), by Theo Heras and Alice Carter. Naseem Hrab follows up her first book about Ira Crumb with Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings (October), illustrated by Josh Holinaty. And in The Cold Little Voice (September), by Alison Hughes and Jan Dolby, readers learn how to make a friend out of that little voice in your head. 

Anna at the Art Museum (September), by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, illustrated by Lil Crump, is a perfect prelude to a child’s first visit to a gallery. Nahid Kazemi’s I’m Glad That You’re Happy (August) is a charming story about friendship between two plants. Crafty Llama (October), by Mike Kerr, introduces a new character from New York Times bestselling illustrator Renata Liwska. And Wab Kinew’s Go Show the World (September) is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea, and former NASA astronaut John Herrington.

Book Cover I Am Small

Monica Kulling tells the story of public health crusader, Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, in Dr. Jo (October), illustrated by Julianna Swaney. Drawing on the myth of the Chinese zodiac, The Animals of Chinese New Year (August), by Jen Sookfong Lee, follows twelve animals as they speed across a river, competing to represent the imminent new year in a race held by the Jade Emperor, the most powerful Chinese god. I Am Small (October), by award-winner Qin Leng, is the perfect book for any child trying to make their way in the world. And acclaimed illustrator Irene Luxbacher’s second picture book is Deep Underwater (August), a gorgeous voyage to the bottom of the sea. 

Island in the Salish Sea (September), by Sheryl McFarlane and Leslie Redhead, is a celebration of summer vacation and West Coast island life. Ruth Ohi continues her Fox and Squirrel series with Fox and Squirrel Make a Friend (August), in which the two very different friends come together to care for a little one. Sara O’Leary’s latest is the unusual animal alphabet Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets (December), illustrated by Jacob Grant. And one of the most delightful books of the season (and something we all need right now!) is World of Kindness, written by the editors at Pajama Press and illustrated by celebrated artists, exploring everyday social interactions where a kind word or act could have a transformative effect on others.

Andree Poulin and Felix Girard tell the story of Jacques Plante—the hockey goalie who changed the game forever when he defied orders and donned a mask—in That’s Not Hockey! (September). GG-Award-nominated writer Betty Quan’s first picture book is Grandmother’s Visit (September), illustrated by Carmen Mok, a touching story about life and loss. Fame, world travel, true love! Anna Swan, a real-life giantess in the 19th century lived a real-life storybook adventure, as demonstrated in The True Story of a Giantess: The Story of Anna Swan (September), by Anne Renaud and Marie Lawrence. And Bill Richardson and Roxanna Bikadoroff follow up their acclaimed title The Alphabet Thief with The Bunny Band (August). 

Ara discovers that the superpower of science and friendship can solve any problem, and be lots of fun in Ara the Star Engineer (October), by Komal Singh. Joanne Schwartz (whose most recent book was Town Is By the Sea) follows up her delightful first Pinny book with Pinny in Fall (August), about a young girl who finds joy in nature and her friends. A story of acceptance, generosity and friendship, Angus All Aglow (September), by Heather Smith and Alice Carter, reminds us that it only takes one kind gesture to restore your sparkle, and returning the kindness can make you glow from the inside out.

Based on the original 1934 novel by P. L. Travers with beautiful illustrations by Genevieve Godbout, Mary Poppins (October) is sure to become a favorite of Mary Poppins fans old and new. David Whamond's latest book is Rosie's Glasses (September), a wordless picture book about how perspective lies in the eye of the beholder. Jane Whittingham and Noel Tuazon's A Good Day for Ducks (September) celebrates the joys of rainy days. Packed with rhyme, repetition, and lots of humor, The Sinking of Captain Otter (October), by Troy Wilson and Maira Chiodi, is a read-aloud with a heartwarming message about following your dreams. And Werner Zimmerman's At the Pond (August) serves both as a counting book and also as a spectacular meditation on the wonders of nature.

Early Reader/Middle Grade

Jonathan Auxier’s latest is Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster (September), a tale of two outcasts who carve out a life together. Readers take a trip back in time in Stowing Away With the Vikings (October), by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin. A Google search releases a genie in Sara Cassidy’s The Great Googlini (October). When Rose enters a fiddle competition with a unique prize for the winner, she hopes to show her mom she can really can make it as a folk musician in Megan Clendenan’s Offbeat (August). And award-winner Lena Coakley’s newest book is Wicked Nix (September), about a woodland fairy who is up to no good but has the best of intentions.

Book Cover Blackwells and the Briny Deep

Charis Cotter’s The Ghost Road (September) is a new novel about ghosts, a family curse, and buried secrets. Lark Takes a Bow (October) is the third title in Natasha Deen’s Lark Ba Detective series. Emma Donoghue’s second novel for middle-grade readers is The Lotterys More or Less (September), the latest in her series about a family who likes to say, “Why not?” The Blackwells face zombie pirates, terrifying mermaids, and a shipwrecked group of cursed ship’s figureheads in Philippa Dowdling’s latest in the Weird Stories Gone Wrong series, Blackwells and the Briny Deep (September). And Joseph, a Jewish slave boy in 14th century West Africa, survives by a combination of luck, quick wits, and the hope of freedom in Anne Dublin’s A Cage Without Bars (September). 

Filled with colorful photos and positive stories, Ann Erickson’s Dive In!: Exploring Our Connection to the Ocean (September), is as informative as it is inspirational. In Rescue in the Rockies (October), by Rita Feutl, a sequel to Rescue at Fort Edmonton, 14-year-old Janey tries to disentangle her time-hopping dilemma and save not just her own life, but the past lives of others, before it's too late. Award-winner Kallie George adapts the Anne of Green Gables series for young readers starting with Anne Arrives (September). And in her third and final installment in the Nameless City trilogy, Faith Erin Hicks delivers a heart-thumping conclusion with The Divided City (September). 

Van Ho tells her story of life in Vietnam after the war and once the rest of her family had settled in North America in Too Young to Escape (September), with Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. From Newbery Honor—and National Book Award-winning author Polly Horvath comes Very Rich (September), a magical novel featuring a time machine, money, food, and lots of family. Anna Humphrey's third and final novel about Clara Humble (described as “Ramona Quimby meets Timmy Failure,”) is Clara Humble and the Kitten Caboodle (September). Sara Leach follows up Slug Days, the story of a girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with Penguin Days (November), also illustrated by Rebecca Bender. A 12-year-old girl comes to appreciate that in everyone’s life there are moments that counterbalance the sorrows we all must experience in Deb Lougheed’s Bright Shining Moment (September).

The second title in a new chapter book series by Roy MacGregor and his daughter, journalist Kerry MacGregor, is The Ice Chips and the Haunted Hurricane (September), where a young Sidney Crosby teaches the team about perseverance and creativity. My Life as a Diamond (September), by Jenny Manzer, the story of a boy who fears his new friends finding out that he used to be a girl, is a funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost. And Naomi M. Moyer’s Black Women Who Dared (September) features inspiring and indomitable Black women whose stories need to be told.

A new novel by Evan Munday! The latest in his Dead Kid Detective series is Connect the Scotts (October), about fraudulent occult psychics, funeral home ambushes, and band wars, all set at the site of the end of the Underground Railroad. From beloved Governor General Literary Award-winning author Susin Nielsen comes No Fixed Address (September), a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship, and growing up when you’re one step away from homelessness. In the third West Meadows mystery, Myron and friends solve a fruit fiasco in The Case of the Berry Burglars (October), by Liam O'Donnell and Aurelie Grand. Kidlit stars Kenneth Oppel and Sydney Smith team up for Inkling (September), about an little inkblot who helps a family through their struggles. 

Swallow's Dance (October) is a thrilling new Bronze Age survival story from Wendy Orr, the award-winning author of Dragonfly Song and Nim's Island. Lindsay Mattrick and Sophie Blackall team up again for Winnie’s Great War (September), which tells parts of the story left out of their award-winning Finding Winnie, about the real-life bear behind Winnie the Pooh. Award-winner Shane Peacock re-releases two new books in the Dylan Maples Mystery series—The Secret of the Silver Mines (July) and Bone Beds of the Badlands (October). And Monique Polak explores themes of grief and loss in Planet Grief (September). 

A class takes a trip to the Drumheller Dinosaur Museum in Bus to the Badlands (September), by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Claudia Davila. A young girl works to overcome her stage fright and pursue popstar dreams in Raw Talent (August), by Jocelyn Shipley. Award-winner David Skuy’s The Band of Merry Kids (September) is a rollicking adventure set in the mythical age of Robin Hood. Counting sheep is not the surefire cure for insomnia it's cracked up to be in Kerry Lyn Sparrow's Sleep, Sheep! (October), illustrated by Guillaume Perreault. Joel A. Sutherland's latest spooky tale is Haunted: Night of the Living Dolls (August).  Kevin Sylvester launches The Almost Epic Squad series with Mucus Mayhem (September), with four ordinary kids about to learn that they are on deck to save the world—and the next three books in the series will appear in 2019, each by a different author. And Coop is an aging, cynical, down-and-out dachshund who faces the ultimate test when his new owners run into trouble in Coop the Great (November), by Larry Verstraete. 

YA  

From the author of Suitors and Sabotage comes Carols and Chaos (October), by Cindy Anstey, a Christmas adventure, perfect for fans of Jane Austen and Downton AbbeyThe House of One Thousand Eyes (September), by Michelle Barker, is a story of courage and defiance set in 1980s’ East Germany. With The Story of My Face (September), Leanne Baugh writes about a 17-year-old girl who returns to school with facial scars after a terrifying attack by a grizzly bear. When the new government begins a crackdown in Lesley Choyce’s The Thing You’re Good At (August), Jake is determined to help his friend Maria, the daughter of illegal immigrants.

Becky Citra’s latest is Murder at the St. Alice (October), in which a summer job brings forth murder, mayhem and mystery for 16-year-old Charlotte in 1908. Mackenzie Common’s debut novel is The Lives of Desperate Girls (October), which takes place in a small, northern community with two girls gone—one missing, the other dead. Anita Dahler's latest is Forgetting How to Breathe (June), about a teenage girl in foster care who gets a job at a pony ranch and finds a way to deal with the hurt of the past while accepting the love that surrounds her. Claire Duffy demystifies the world of debate and makes it fun in The Teen’s Guide to Debating and Public Speaking (May). And award-winner Sara Ellis’s Dodger Boy (September) is the story of an American draft-dodger who turns up to stay with 13-year-old Charlotte and her family. 

Nora Dector’s debut novel is How Far We Go and How Fast (September), about a young woman who uses music to navigate loss. Inspired by the stories of her newcomer students and their families, Meghan Ferrari's The Garden (September) is a poignant yet inspiring novel that sheds light on the social impact of modern military conflict and the plight of innocent victims displaced by it. Maureen Garvie’s Almost Invisible (August) is the story of a young girl who needs to decide whether or not to keep the secret of her friend’s abusive homelife. And based on the author's own experiences at this very convent school, Daphne Greer’s Finding Grace (September) is an emotional look into the lives of girls in the strict world of convents, both in the 1940s and the 1970s, from the author of Silver Birch-shortlisted Jacob's Landing.

Acclaimed writer Darren Groth’s latest is Infinite Blue (September), with Simon Groth, a contemporary fairy tale about love and loss, flesh, and water. Glynis Guevara’s second YA novel is Black Beach (October), a coming-of-age story about environmental activism. Shelley Hrdlitschka follows up the Governor General’s Award-nominated Sister Wife with Lost Boy (October), which continues the story of her characters. When Emily, Tess, Cam and Dylan decide to ignore the new town curfew during their Friday-night game of hide-and-seek, they get more than they bargained for in Hide and Shriek (August), by Alison Hughes. And Isabelle Lafleche’s latest is Bonjour Girl (August), an exciting romp into the world of high fashion and New York City dating. 

S.J. Laidlaw’s Fifteen Lanes (September) explores the lives and relationship of two very different girls—a resilient Indian girl and a troubled Canadian teen—set in the 15 lanes that comprise Mumbai’s red light district. Award-winner Ashley Little’s latest is Confessions of a Teenage Leper (September) is an ugly duckling story with a surprising twist. Being a teenager is hard enough, but it’s even more difficult when you have supernatural powers you barely understand, which is the story of Susan M. MacDonald’s Treason’s Edge (August). And why would someone willingly approach an inferno that swirls with fireballs and whirls with temperatures that can reach 1000 degrees Celsius? The answers lie in Barry McDivitt’s Rank 6: Firestorm (October). 

Shannon McFerran’s first novel is Synchro Boy (November), about a high school jock who discovers he has a talent for synchronized swimming. In Sylvia McNicholl’s Body Swap (September), a teenage girl is killed in an auto accident and gets to return to life after switching bodies with the 82-year-old driver who hit her. The second book in S.M. Neiko’s The Realms of Ancient series is Children of the Bloodlands (September). Can Your Conversations Change the World? (September), by Erinne Paisley, provides insight into the origins and history of feminism, how it plays out on the global stage and what it means to be a young feminist and activist today. And Raziel Reid follows up the award-winning When Everything Feels Like the Movies with Kens (September), billed as “the gay Heathers meets Mean Girls.”

Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PhD, have reclaimed the stories of 25 remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them in History Vs. Women (October). YA superstar Courtney Summers’ latest novel is Sadie (September), a gripping novel about the depth of a sister's love. Owen’s plan to sail away on an adventure puts him on a collision course with some very dangerous people in Pam Withers’ Stowaway (August). Lori Weber’s latest book is Deep Girls (September), a collection of short stories about the complexities of young adulthood and family life. And The Third Act (September), by John Wilson, based on the screenplay by Xiaoming Yao, deals with the intercultural struggles faced by Chinese students studying in North America in the present day and by an American playwright, Neil Peterson, caught up in the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. 

August 20, 2018
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