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Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Books for Young Readers Spring Preview

Last but certainly not least in our 2019 Spring Preview is our Books for Young Readers list: books that will delight readers of all ages. 

Last but certainly not least in our 2019 Spring Preview is our Books for Young Readers list, featuring books that are sure to delight readers of all ages. 


Picture Books

Book Cover A Little House in a Big Place

A little girl growing up on the prairies stands at the window and waves to the train engineer going by in A Little House in a Big Place, by Alison Acheson, illustrated by Valériane LeBlond, a book that explores the magic of a connection made between strangers while also pondering the idea of growing up. Albert just wants to read his book in peace—why won't his friends give him some quiet? Isabelle Arsenault's latest is Albert's Quiet Quest (May), and it  explores the importance of finding alone time. Cale Atkinson's Where Oliver Fits (April) looks at the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit. Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu,The Pencil introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely. Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s When I Found Grandma (March), illustrated by Qin Leng, is an insightful and endearing portrayal of a cross-cultural grandparent-grandchild relationship that is evolving and deeply loving. Summer North Coming-Winter North Coming (March), by Doris Bentley and Jessica Bromley Bartram, celebrates the magic of summer and winter in Canada’s North. And the poems in Climbing Shadows (March) were inspired by a class of kindergarten children whom poet and playwright Shannon Bramer came to know over the course of a school year. She set out to write a poem for each child, sharing her love of poetry with them, and made an anthology, which now appears with illustrations by Cindy Derby. 

Book Cover A is for Awesome

Robert Budd’s Paul the Penguin (May) takes readers on a journey to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia to admire and learn about the life cycle of the penguin population that calls the area home. Instagram superstar Eva Chen, author of Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, is back with an alphabet board book depicting feminist icons: A Is for Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World (February), illustrated by Derek Desierto. Acclaimed author Jan L. Coates and award-winning illustrator Josée Bisaillon join forces in Dancing With Daisy (June), a charming picture book that crafts a tale both touching and amusing about aging and the bond between a grandfather and his grandson. And A Friend Like Iggy (April), by Kathryn Cole, is the true story of a special-trained facilitator dog that helps children navigate difficult experiences. 

Book Cover Paint the Town Pink

5 Rhinos (May), by celebrated scientist Anne Innis Dagg, is an engaging and informational look at the world of the rhinoceros through verbal portraits of five actual animals. A visit to the museum with an elephant has an unexpected outcome in Through the Elephant’s Door (April), by Hélène de Blois and France Cormier. A lyrical poem, In the Sky at Nighttime (May), by Laura Deal and Tamara Campeau, sends readers sailing through the Arctic night sky to see and hear the unique beauty of a Northern night. A Ticket Around the World (March), by Natalia Diaz and Melissa Owens, illustrated by Kim Smith, will leave readers feeling like they’ve toured the globe without ever having left home. Lori Doody is back with another charming and quirky picture book—this time about a flamingo blown off course in Paint the Town Pink (July). Otto and Pio (March), by Marianne Dubuc, is a heartwarming tale about finding love and family when it is expected least and needed most. And Annika Dunklee and Carey Sookocheff’s Sprout, Seed, Sprout (March) is about the patience required to grow a seed into a tree. 

Book Cover Pencil

Carey Fagan and Kady MacDonald Denton team up on a story of sibling relationships, the charming What Are You Doing, Benny? (April). Theo Heras’ latest picture book is My Puppy Patch (June), illustrated by Alice Carter, about the challenges of training a new puppy. Readers will be happy to see how the animal friends from Bear’s Winter Party are doing in Cooking With Bear (April), a story, with recipes from award-winning author Deborah Hodge and art by Lisa Cinar. When the party's over and the baby finally falls asleep, when the dog is all barked out and the screens are dark, the Silence pads in on soft, furry feet in The Silence Slips In (March), by Alison Hughes and Ninon Pelletier. And Pencil: A Story With a Point (February), by Ann Ingalls and Dean Griffiths, is a gentle reminder that technology is no match for imagination. 

Book Cover One Patch of Blue

Based on a true story, Paseka: Little Elephant, Brave (April), by Ruth James, illustrated by Kent Laforme, is the incredible story of an orphaned elephant calf who, having escaped the poachers who killed her mother, now faces other dangers in the African savanna. Zoe and her father are delighted to come across a fawn in the forest, but the fawn is alone—where is its mother? Join Zoe on her quest for the deer, as she encounters animals and learns their Okanagan (syilx) names along the way in Zoe and the Fawn (February), by Catherine Jameson and Julie Flett. And Marthe Jocelyn’s two latest for young readers are One Patch of Blue (March) and One Yellow Ribbon (March), beautifully designed books that showcase the different roles that shapes play in our lives. 

Book Cover My Cat Looks Like My Dad

From the creators of You Are Stardust and Wild Ideas, You Are Never Alone (April), by Elin Kelsey and by Soyeon Kim, is a new informational picture book that explores how humans are inextricably connected to nature. In Before You Were Born (May), Deborah Kerbel and Suzanne Del Rizzo team up to create a touching and evocative story about welcoming a new baby to the world. A reluctant camper discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers in The Not-So-Great Outdoors (May), by Madeline Kloepper. With art supplies in tow, a young boy explores the urban forest near his home, and then interprets what he sees with his art in My Forest Is Green (April), by Darren Lebeuf and Ashley Barron. And My Cat Looks Like My Dad (April), by Thao Lam, is about the love that makes a family a unit, no matter how unusual it may look from the outside. 

Book Cover Me Toma and the Concrete Garden

An urban space blossoms and so does friendship in Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden (May), by Andrew Larsen and Anne Villeneuve. Drawing on the myth of the Chinese zodiac, Jen Sookfong Lee’s board book The Animals of Chinese New Year (January) 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, complemented by appealing photographs of babies. What if your imagination runs wild? New York Times-bestselling creator Renata Liwska explores what-if scenarios from silly to serious in The Little Book of Big What-Ifs (May). Based on the annual Christmas dance contest in the community of Taloyoak, Nunavut, Simonie and the Dance Contest (February), by Gail Matthews and Ali Hinch, shows how a lot of hard work—and a little inspiration—can go a long way.

My Mom, My Mama

“And these are the things we find by the sea, My mommy, my mama, my brother, and me.” With this gentle refrain, the debut picture book from celebrated author and playwright Natalie Meisner reflects on Meisner's own two-mom, two-son family's early days in My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother, and Me (April), illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars. Award-winner Susin Nielsen's latest is a picture book, Princess Puffybottom...and Darryl (February), illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller. When you get invited to a kitchen party at your grandmother’s house, there may be certain things you don’t expect to find, like moose and foxes and bears, in Rebecca North’s Nanny’s Kitchen Party (June), illustrated by Laurel Keating. Carmen Oliver's inspiring true story, A Voice for the Spirit Bears (May), illustrated by Katy Dockrill, is based on the early life of Simon Jackson, who founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition. Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris’s The Magic Boat (March), illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, is about a new friend who sets one little girl’s imagination free. And Valérie Picard’s award-winning The Invisible Garden (April), with illustrations by Marianne Ferrer, is translated into English; it's the story of a young girl whose imagination carries her into another world. 

Book Cover Pride Colors

When You’re Scared (March), by Andrée Poulin and by Véronique Joffre, is a sweet story about facing your fears. From Peter H. Reynolds, the bestselling creator of The Word Collector, comes Say Something (February), an empowering story about finding your voice, and using it to make the world a better place. A young boy is determined to make his ailing grandfather smile in A Plan for Pops (February), by Heather Smith, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. Robin Stevenson celebrates LGBTQ Pride with the littlest readers in Pride Colours (March). Touching on themes of optimism and determination in the face of failure, Kathy Stinson and Brandon James Scott’s The Dog Who Wanted to Fly (March) is a book anyone—even a cat—will love.

Book Cover Moon Wishes

The moon shines to guide a journey home, glistens beautifully on icy snow, and wishes peace and safety for travellers, friends and troubled hearts in Moon Wishes (March), by Patricia and Guy Storms, and illustrated by Milan Pavlovic. Themes of making amends for past mistakes, giving back to the community, the importance of teamwork and learning one’s limits all come to play in Kevin Sylvester’s Gargantua (Jr!) (April), about a baby monster and his mom. Chieri Uegaki explores family ties that stretch across continents and generations in Ojiichan's Gift (April), illustrated by Genevieve Simms. And Susan Vande Griek’s gentle prose poem describes the true story of a Short-eared owl who plummeted onto the deck of an oil rig in the North Sea in An Owl at Sea (May); Ian Wallace’s stunning watercolours show gorgeous seascapes, the subtle beauty of the owl, and the oil rig and its workers.

Book Cover The Girl and the Wolf

Katherena Vermette teams up with celebrated artist Julie Flett for The Girl and the Wolf (February), an empowering Indigenous twist on a classic wolf narrative. In Always With You (April), a heartfelt new picture book from bestselling author Eric Walters and Halifax-based artist Carloe Liu, readers follow young Emily who has recently lost her grandfather. Holman Wang celebrates the many things that parents get up to in two new beautiful felted art picture books, Great Job, Dad! and Great Job, Mom! (March). From Jane Whittingham, Queenie Quill Can’t Keep Up (March)is a story about slowing down to notice the world and speaking up when it matters; it's illustrated by Emma Pedersen. A beloved pet tries everything to be top dog when pitted against a canine superhero in Dog vs. Ultra Dog (April), written by Troy Wilson and illustrated by Clayton Hanmer. The five easy steps turn out to be more complicated than originally supposed in Nicola Winstanley's playful How to Give Your Cat a Bath (January), illustrated by John Martz. And Frieda Wishinsky tells the story of Emily Roebling, the woman who built the Brooklyn Bridge in How Emily Saved the Bridge (May), illustrated by Natalie Nelson. 

Middle Grade

Book Cover The Magpies Library

Caroline Adderson’s latest is The Mostly True Story of Pudding Tat, Adventuring Cat (April), about a cat born in 1901 who turns out to be anything but ordinary. Former Owl Magazine Editor Craig Battle launches a new series with Camp Average (April), about a group of campers who rebel against their competitive camp director by deciding to fight to lose. Kenojuak Ashevak, one of Canada’s best-known Inuit artists, was born in 1927 in Ikerrasak camp, South Baffin Island, NWT, and in Kenojuak, Jan Beaver tells the story of her upbringing in the traditional nomadic hunting lifestyle, and her life as an artist. The latest by Kate Blair is The Magpie’s Library (May), about a secret, magical room where books come to life. Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life (February), by Beverley Brenna and Tara Anderson, explores themes of family, friendship, togetherness, and self-identity. And Sigmund Brouwer tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission from the astronauts' point of view in Moon Mission (May). 

Book Cover Fierce

Marina Cohen’s A Box of Bones (May) is about a twelve-year-old girl whose conviction that there’s a rational explanation for everything becomes shaken when her own world begins to blur with another. Through the teachings of their sensei, Riley and his classmates come to understand that aikido is not about winning or losing or about being perfect in John Corr’s Eight Times Up (April). Discover the untold stories of the fierce women who shaped Canada's legacy in Fierce (January), by Lisa Dalrymple and Willow Dawson. And imagining a spin on The Hardy Boys and the Three Investigators books, Michael Hutchison’s The Case of Windy Lake (March)—winner of Second Story Press’s Indigenous Writing Contest—tells the story of four cousins solving a mystery on the fictional Windy Lake First Nation. 

Book Cover Masters of Silence

Masters of Silence (March) is Kathy Kacer’s second book in her middle grade series about heroic rescues during WWII; it tells the tale of siblings Helen and Henry, and history’s most famous mime. Michelle Kadarusman’s second novel is Girl of the Southern Sea (May), in which a girl from the slums of Jakarta dreams of an education and the chance at a better life. Gordon Korman’s newest standalone novel is Whatshisface (April), a fun, funny ghost story about a nobody kid who becomes a somebody while helping a ghost right a wrong from the past. And Alice Kuipers’s second Polly Diamond novel is Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair (May). 

Book Cover Penguin Days

Sara Leach follows up Slug Days with Penguin Days (January), illustrated by Rebecca Bender, drawing on the author’s experiences teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to create an energetic character who stomps off the page. If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? What about being able to turn yourself into what you draw? But what if drawing is not exactly what you’re best at? These questions are explored in The Almost Epic Squad: Super Sketchy (June), the latest title in this multi-authored series, this time written by Lesley Livingston. And the third title in Roy MacGregor and Kim MacGregor’s bestselling Ice Chips series is The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck (March). 

Book Cover Operatic

Kyo Maclear’s graphic novel Operatic (April), illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard. The latest in the Scholastic Canada Biography series is Meet Tom Longboat (January), by Elizabeth MacLeod, about the Onondaga runner who broke world records on his own terms. Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered Through History (April), by Alison Matthews-David and Serah-Marie McMahon, illustrated by Gillian Wilson, is equal parts fab and frightening: a stylishly illustrated mash-up of STEAM content, historical anecdotes, and chilling stories. And Melinda McCracken tells the story of solidarity, justice and one strong papergirl set against the Winnipeg General Strike in Papergirl (March). 

Book Cover Home Sweet Neighbourhood

Abby and Jonah fall into the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in Spill the Beans (April), the 13th instalment of the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. In Michelle Mulder’s The Vegetable Museum (March), a thirteen-year-old girl reconnects with her grandfather via his prolific garden. Mulder also releases Home Sweet Neighborhood (April), whose stories include Dutch families who drag couches and tables onto sidewalks for outdoor suppers to Canadians who build little lending libraries to share books with neighbours, showing people who do things that make life more fun and strengthen neighbourhoods. While spying on his estranged father at a nearby anti-logging protest camp, Charles finds himself at the centre of a mystery involving a saboteur-turned-kidnapper in Cedar Dance (April), by Monica Nawrocki. 

Book Cover Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

In The Mozart Girl (March), award-winning author Barbara Nickel blends fact and speculation to imagine Mozart’s sister, Nannerl Mozart, getting her moment in the spotlight. Julia Nobel’s debut is The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (February), set at an English boarding school filled with secrets. Clare O’Connor’s Skateboard Sibby (March) is about an eleven-year-old girl who doesn’t let the loss of her skateboard (in addition to other losses) defeat her. The Case of the Tentacle Terror (April) is the fifth book in the Tank & Fizz series, by Liam O’Donnell, about two crime-solving monsters living under a mountain. Kit Pearson’s Be My Love (February) is about a summer that changes everything. And our favourite pretend princess, Angelica, aka Jelly, is back in Princess Angelica, Part-time Lion Trainer (February), by Monique Polak and Jane Heinrichs. 

Book Cover Shout Out for the Fitzgerald Trouts

Written as a simple chapter book for younger readers, Valerie Sherrard's Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady (April) focuses on the tribulations of Cooper Clark, who needs a babysitter after school every day until his working parents come home. Esta Spalding's next book in the excellent Fitzgerald Trout series is Shout Out for the Fitzgerald Trouts (June), in which the unconventional family finds a permanent home, and this brings unexpected challenges.  In Follow Your Stuff (April), award-winning children’s author Kevin Sylvester and business professor Michael Hlinka team up to tackle the dynamics of the global economy, examining the often-complex journey of ordinary goods from production right to our doorsteps. And Frieda Wishinsky’s How to Become an Accidental Genius (April) is full of inspiring tales of famous and lesser-known inventors who have changed the world.

Young Adult

Book Cover Love from A to Z

S.K. Ali follows up her amazing debut Saints and Misfits with Love from A to Z (May), an unforgettable romance that is part The Sun Is Also a Star mixed with Anna and the French Kiss, following two Muslim teens who meet during a spring break trip. Manuelito (April), by Elisa Armado, is the story of a child refugee seeking asylum in America. In To See the Stars (February), her deeply affecting final novel, acclaimed children's writer and storyteller Jan Andrews gives us Edie Murphy—an indomitable and engaging heroine on the cusp of womanhood. From Cindy Anstey, the author of Suitors and Sabotage, comes The Hummingbird Dagger (April), a suspenseful and enthralling new Regency novel, perfect for readers who like their Jane Austen classics with a side of mystery and murder.

Book Cover What Makes Girls Sick and Tired

Kate A. Boorman's What We Buried (February) is a psychological thrill ride that explores how memories can lie, how time can bend, and how reconciling the truth can be a matter of life or death. From Louis XIV to Kanye West, Jennifer Croll takes us on a tour of daring and different men throughout history who have all used fashion to get what they want in Bad Boys of Fashion (April). Eileen Cook’s latest is You Owe Me a Murder (February), in which seventeen-year-old Kim gets more than she bargained for and ends up set up for a crime. What Makes Girls Sick and Tired (March), by Lucile de Peslouan and Genevieve Darling, is a graphic-nonfiction book, a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination against and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. 

Book Cover The Big Dig

In Patrick Downes’s Island (May), seventeen-year-old Rad comes home to find his father dead at the bottom of the ravine behind their house...and his brother might have pushed him. L.E. Flynn follows up Firsts with Last Girl Lied To (April), a gripping emotional thriller. With a bright and funny voice, Lisa Harrington’s The Big Dig asks big questions of its readers: Are secrets ever okay? What defines a family? And can we ever really know our parents? Acclaimed writer Brenda Hasiuk’s new novel is Swan Dive (May), about a boy whose family escapes the Siege of Sarajevo in the early 1990s and makes a new life in Winnipeg, where making friends and keeping friends proves complicated. And a novel of court intrigue and action-packed military adventure, Joanna Hathaway's Dark of the West (February), is a fantasy, first in the Glass Alliance series.

Book Cover Comics Will Break Your Heart

Comics Will Break Your Heart (February) is a funny contemporary teen romance for the inner geek in all of us from graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks. Sue Farrell Holler’s latest book is Cold White Sun (March), about a boy whose life in Ethiopia is left behind when he’s smuggled to a new life in Canada. Piracy, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores (May), a thrilling first novel in a fast-paced new YA fantasy series by bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen. Sabrina Khan’s The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali (January) is an honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture. On the heels of Miriam Körner’s critically acclaimed first novel, Yellow Dog, comes the highly anticipated young adult adventure—Qaqavii—set amongst the unforgettable land and people of Canada’s majestic North. And in Trail of Crumbs (March), by Lisa J. Lawrence, seventeen-year-old Greta finds the support that’s been missing in her life with a new and eccentric chosen family. 

Book Cover Changling of Fenlen Forest

Katherine Magyarody’s The Changeling of Fenlen Forest (April) begins when Elizabeth’s treasured unicorn fawn goes missing, and she's tracked into a strange land where the people think Elizabeth is a changeling, a malignant being who too closely resembles a missing girl. Something sinister is at work in Shantallow (May) by Cara Martin, a pseudonym for acclaimed novelist C.K. Kelly Martin. Mark McCreary’s unique and hilarious memoir, Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum (March), breaks down what it’s like to live with autism for readers on and off the spectrum. What is feminism? Why does it still matter? What exactly does intersectionality mean? Monique Polak answers those questions and more in I Am a Feminist: Claiming the F-Word in Turbulent Times (May). 

Book Cover My Body My Choirce

Amber Fang: Hunted (April) is the first book in a new vampire series by Arthur Slade. Heather Smith follows up the celebrated The Agony of Bun O’Keefe with Chicken Girl (March), a coming-of-age story about a girl who loses faith when a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter is mocked online, and who decided to trade her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. Robin Stevenson’s My Body My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights (May) is about the history and the future of the fight for abortion access. Switchback (May) is an epic YA adventure story about two friends lost in the Canadian wilderness from Danika Stone, the author of All the Feels. And in The Center of the Universe (April), by Ria Voros, a young aspiring astrophysicist has her world upended when her celebrity mother goes missing. 

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