Tundra Top Ten: March 2021

Want to know what everyone else has been reading and loving lately? Every month we will share our list of top ten bestselling kids’ books that we publish into North America. Here are the Tundra and Puffin Canada titles for the month of March 2021 – how many have you read?

narwhal unincorn of the sea1. Narwhal and Jelly Series
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

By Ben Clanton
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918265 | Tundra Books
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever – even though it doesn’t have any words . . . or pictures!

The Barren Grounds2. The Barren Grounds
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

The Barnabus Project3. The Barnabus Project
By The Fan Brothers
72 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263260 | Tundra Books
Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are. This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.

4. If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Colin Jack
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495685 | Tundra Books
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it . . . why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur – from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs – and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all – is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations. If you read carefully, you’ll learn how to make your dinosaur last a very long time.

5. Carson Crosses Canada
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918838 | Tundra Books
Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson’s favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky – and grasshoppers! – in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie – and a surprise for Carson!

6. The Darkest Dark
By Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918623 | Tundra Books
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem – at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is – and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company. Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

7. Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

8. The Hockey Sweater, Anniversary Edition
By Roch Carrier
Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen
Translated by Sheila Fischman
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770497627 | Tundra Books
In the days of Roch’s childhood, winters in the village of Ste. Justine were long. Life centered around school, church, and the hockey rink, and every boy’s hero was Montreal Canadiens hockey legend Maurice Richard. Everyone wore Richard’s number 9. They laced their skates like Richard. They even wore their hair like Richard. When Roch outgrows his cherished Canadiens sweater, his mother writes away for a new one. Much to Roch’s horror, he is sent the blue and white sweater of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs, dreaded and hated foes to his beloved team. How can Roch face the other kids at the rink?

9. Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field
By Angela Ahn
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
312 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268241 | Tundra Books
Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L.B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust. Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L.B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once – he needs time to sketch out a plan.

10. How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other
By Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270060 | Puffin Canada
Temperatures are rising all over the world, leading to wildfires, droughts, animal extinctions, and ferocious storms – climate change is real. But how did we get to this state, and what can we do next? What if we could work to protect the planet, while also taking action to make life fairer and more equal for the people who live on it? We can – if we’re willing to change everything. In her first book written for young readers, internationally acclaimed, bestselling author and social activist Naomi Klein, with Rebecca Steffof, lays out the facts and challenges of climate change and the movement for climate justice. Using examples of change and protest from around the world, including profiles of young activists from a wide range of backgrounds, Klein shows that young people are not just part of the climate change movement, they are leading the way. How to Change Everything will provide readers with clear information about how our planet is changing, but also, more importantly, with inspiration, ideas, and tools for action. Because young people can help build a better future. Young people can help decide what happens next. Young people can help change everything.

Guest Post: My Spunky Little Sister by Paul Harbridge

Today is Down Syndrome Day and we asked author Paul Harbridge if he wanted to share a little bit about his sister, Linda, who is the inspiration for his upcoming picture book, Out into the Big Wide Lake. Keep reading for Paul’s reflection as well as a note from his editor, Samantha Swenson.

Paul Harbridge: My Spunky Little Sister

Linda is my younger sister. When Linda was born, I had just started school. I remember my mother crying when a nurse told her my pretty little sister might never talk and my father getting angry when a doctor suggested she live in an institution.

The Harbridge Family

Almost as if to prove them wrong, Linda grew to be a very active girl. When we went swimming at Muskoka Beach, she was the first one in and the last one out. She loved to go out onto Lake Muskoka in our family’s little boat, usually accompanied by our black-and-white family dog. Benjie trotted along, too, on her long bike rides, and one day she came back and said, “We met a bear.” When she got cross-country skis, the first time she went down a hill without falling, she raised her ski poles triumphantly above her head and cried, “I did it!”

Linda played T-ball and hit the ball a mile. She was a member of a swimming group and later won a medal for Canada at the Special Olympics in Vancouver. Her bedroom was full of ribbons, medals, and trophies from all the sports she played, and she even won $1,000 at a bowling tournament!

Contrary to those early predictions, Linda learned to speak very well. She was an expressive, warm, and social young woman with an exceptional sense of humor.  She liked to show off the ASL signs she had picked up at school and when I taught her some Spanish words like leche, patatas fritas, hamburgesa, she remembered them for years.

Linda Catherine Harbridge

When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her seventies, Linda’s support workers suggested she move into a group home in town, but Mom would have none of it. When my mother passed away, Linda made the move into a group home at age 47 and told us, “I’m big now. I have my own place.” In her early fifties, Linda’s own memory started to weaken but that did not slow her down. At 58, she took up snowshoeing and, although I wasn’t there, after she successfully made her way down the first snowy trail, I’m sure she raised her arms and cried, “I did it!”

A couple of years ago I visited my father who still lives in the house he built us up in Gravenhurst. Looking through an old family photograph album, I got the idea for a story about a spunky girl with Down Syndrome and her best friend, a black-and-white dog. I wrote it with the encouragement from my agent Amy Tompkins, and my editor at Tundra Samantha Swenson loved it immediately. Josée Bisaillon did the brilliant illustrations, and Out Into the Big Wide Lake was born. For her 59th birthday, I sent Linda an advance copy of the book and she was absolutely thrilled, especially since there is a photograph of a her as teenager hugging Benjie on the very first page.

Linda and Benjie

I hope Out Into the Big Wide Lake will inspire children facing challenges to give it their best shot and say, like Linda, “I did it!”

————

Samantha Swenson: A Note on Out into the Big Wide Lake

What spoke to me immediately about this book was two words: Why not?

To me this encapsulates the beauty of picture books, the ability for a minuscule number of words to hold infinite possibilities. In this story, at every moment of something new, Kate asks “Me?” and her grandmother responds “Why not?” And with those two words, the world opens up. Why not, indeed? Those words are empowering, those words are life-changing, those words are even a little scary (especially for Kate’s rightfully nervous mom!). These two words allow Kate to ask the question of herself and answer with bravery and spirit.

After reading this story for the first time and sitting with it, I also realized how meaningful it is to have a character with Down Syndrome inhabit the space of the every-character. Her Down Syndrome doesn’t define her character here; her challenges aren’t defined by it either. These are challenges that all kids face: trying something for the first time, overcoming fear, being given a level of responsibility that’s new. And challenges that all parents face as well: letting go and trusting in your child – trusting that you’ve given them the tools to take on this new thing. It could be going on bike ride with a friend for the first time, a first sleepover, a first walk to school on their own, a solo plane trip to see parent in a different city, piloting a boat for the first time. Having a Down Syndrome character embody this freedom and this universal experience felt so important and so exciting.

Linda Catherine Harbridge

Paul’s respect for the character is evident in every line. As a writer, he knew how to create a character who leapt from the page to grab you. But as a brother to someone with Down Syndrome, he knew how to honor that character’s life and experience in a way that is singular. Kate is not just a picture book version of his sister Linda Catherine; Kate is a beautiful embodiment of Paul’s love and respect for Linda Catherine and a celebration of her spirit and personality.

I hope that everyone who reads this book feels that warmth and love and admiration, and I hope you all fall as in love with Kate as I did. And I hope when you or your loved ones are challenged, you think of those two little words: why not?


Out into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265592 | Tundra Books
It’s Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents on her own at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. And she makes best friends with her grandparents’ dog, Parbuckle. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate – but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart and feisty character who will capture your heart in this gorgeous and moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.

Tundra Top Ten: February 2021

Want to know what everyone else has been reading and loving lately? Every month we will share our list of top ten kids’ books that we publish into North America. Here are the Tundra and Puffin Canada titles for the month of February 2021 – how many have you read?

narwhal unincorn of the sea1. Narwhal and Jelly Series
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

By Ben Clanton
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918265 | Tundra Books
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever – even though it doesn’t have any words . . . or pictures!

The Barnabus Project2. The Barnabus Project
By The Fan Brothers
72 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263260 | Tundra Books
Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are. This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.

The Barren Grounds3. The Barren Grounds
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

4. If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Colin Jack
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495685 | Tundra Books
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it . . . why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur – from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs – and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all – is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations. If you read carefully, you’ll learn how to make your dinosaur last a very long time.

5. This Is Sadie
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495326 | Tundra Books
Sadie is a little girl with a big imagination. She has been a girl who lived under the sea and a boy raised by wolves. She has had adventures in wonderland and visited the world of fairytales. She whispers to the dresses in her closet and talks to birds in the treetops. She has wings that take her anywhere she wants to go, but that always bring her home again. She likes to make things – boats out of boxes and castles out of cushions. But more than anything Sadie likes stories, because you can make them from nothing at all. For Sadie, the world is so full of wonderful possibilities . . . This is Sadie, and this is her story.

6. Carson Crosses Canada
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918838 | Tundra Books
Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson’s favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky – and grasshoppers! – in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie – and a surprise for Carson!

7. The Darkest Dark
By Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918623 | Tundra Books
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem – at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is – and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company. Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

8. Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

9. Shattered
By Eric Walters
216 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780143187790 | Razorbill Canada
Fifteen-year-old Ian must complete community volunteer service to pass social studies. Choosing to work at “The Club” sounds like fun, until he arrives at what turns out to be a soup kitchen for the homeless. It is here that he meets Sarge, the pipe-wielding homeless man who saved Ian from a near-mugging. His real name is Jacques, and he was a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. His last tour of duty was as a peacekeeper stationed in Rwanda, an African nation Ian knows little about. What he learns will change Ian’s view of the world – and may just help Jacques, too. With a Foreword by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d), force commander for the United Nations Mission to Rwanda, Shattered is an unforgettable story, one that asks what one person can do to make a difference.

10. Underground to Canada
By Barbara Smucker
216 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780143187899 | Puffin Canada
There’s a place the slaves been whisperin’ around called Canada. The law don’t allow no slavery there. They say you follow the North Star, and when you step onto this land you are free. . . . Taken away from her mother by a ruthless slave trader, all Julilly has left is the dream of freedom. Every day that she spends huddled in the slaver trader’s wagon travelling south or working on the brutal new plantation, she thinks about the land where it is possible to be free, a land she and her friend Liza may reach someday. So when workers from the Underground Railroad offer to help the two girls escape, they are ready. But the slave catchers and their dogs will soon be after them. . . .

The Global Read Aloud

Since 2010, the Global Read Aloud program has chosen one book to read aloud and share with students around the world, making a global connection with readers everywhere. We are thrilled to share that David A. Robertson’s The Barren Grounds has been chosen as the 2021 middle school title. Congratulations, David!

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

Here’s what you need to know about the Global Read Aloud:

  • Kick off will be October 4th and the project will run for six weeks, ending on November 12th.
  • You can start reading later but try not to read too far ahead!
  • The official hashtag for the year is #GRA21 and the hashtag for this book will be #GRABarren
  • To join the main Facebook group, please go here. To join the early reader’s Facebook group, please go here.
  • Check out their comprehensive FAQ here.

Here’s the reading schedule:

Week 1: Oct. 4th – 8th : Chapters 1 – 5
Week 2: Oct. 11th – 15th: Chapters 6 – 10
Week 3: Oct. 18 – 22nd: Chapters 11 – 14
Week 4: Oct. 25th – 29th: Chapters 15 – 18
Week 5: Nov. 1st – 5th: Chapters 19 -22
Week 6: Nov. 8th – 12th: Chapters 23 – end

Looking for an Educators’ Guide? Click here and watch David A. Robertson tell you more about the book and series in his Bookformercial here.