Every year since 1982, the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award has allowed students across Washington state to vote for their favorite picture book from a shortlist of 20 titles. We would like to congratulate Eric, Terry, and Devin Fan who won this year’s award for The Barnabus Project!
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.
#WindowWednesday: We are incredibly fortunate to have stores create window features of our books. We want to highlight their amazing work here on our blog for you to see (and perhaps you’ll discover a new local bookstore).
The Forest of Reading® is Canada’s largest recreational reading program which helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors, and illustrators. The winners and honour books were announced this week and we’d like to congratulate our authors and illustrators!
2022 Silver Birch Express Award® Fiction Winner
Mellybean and the Giant Monster
By Mike White
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593202548 | Razorbill
Melly loves to play games. All her feline friends want to do, though, is take a nap. So when she doesn’t leave them alone, the cats trick her into burying a shoe in the backyard. But the small prank turns into a big problem when Melly falls down the hole . . . and is magically transports her to another world! Melly lands smack-dab in the middle of a scuffle between a group of knights and a huge monster. But Melly soon befriends the grumpy giant, learning he isn’t as scary as he seems. He’s being hunted by a greedy king. One who has also been stealing from his people and locking them up in the dungeons. So although Melly is desperate to find a way back home to Mama and Papa (her human owners), she makes it her mission to help her new friend and the kingdom. But how could someone so tiny defeat such a powerful king? It may just take a game that only Melly can win.
2022 Silver Birch Award® Fiction Winner
By Iain Lawrence
256 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446551 | Margaret Ferguson Books
When Igor was five, his father witnessed a terrible crime – and ever since, his whole family has been hunted by a foreboding figure bent on revenge, known only as the Lizard Man. They’ve lived in so many places, with so many identities, that Igor can’t even remember his real name. But now he’s twelve years old, and he longs for a normal life. He wants to go to school. Make friends. Stop worrying about how long it will be before his father hears someone prowling around their new house and uproots everything yet again. He’s even starting to wonder–what if the Lizard Man only exists in his father’s frightened mind? Slowly, Igor starts bending the rules he’s lived by all his life – making friends for the first time, testing the boundaries of where he’s allowed to go in town. But soon, he begins noticing strange things around them – is it in his imagination? Or could the Lizard Man be real after all?
2022 Silver Birch Award® Fiction Honour Book
Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster
By Rachelle Delaney
256 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269279 | Puffin Canada
Alice Fleck’s father is a culinary historian, and for as long as she can remember, she’s been helping him recreate meals from the past – a hobby she prefers to keep secret from kids her age. But when her father’s new girlfriend enters them into a cooking competition at a Victorian festival, Alice finds herself and her hobby thrust into the spotlight. And that’s just the first of many surprises awaiting her. On arriving at the festival, Alice learns that she and her father are actually contestants on Culinary Combat, a new reality TV show hosted by Tom Truffleman, the most famous and fierce judge on TV! And to make matters worse, she begins to suspect that someone is at work behind the scenes, sabotaging the competition. It’s up to Alice, with the help of a few new friends, to find the saboteur before the entire competition is ruined, all the while tackling some of the hardest cooking challenges of her life . . . for the whole world to see.
2022 Red Maple Award™ Fiction Honour Book
By Susin Nielsen
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271203 | Penguin Teen Canada
We all have moments that define us. For the comically clueless Wilbur, his moment happened on the first day of middle school, when someone shared his private letter with the entire student body. It revealed some of Wilbur’s innermost embarrassing thoughts that no one else should ever know. Now it’s the start of ninth grade and Wilbur hasn’t been able to escape that major humiliation. His good friend Alex stuck by him, but Alex doesn’t have as much time since he started dating Fabrizio. Luckily, Wil can confide in his best friend: his elderly neighbor Sal. Also, Wil’s in the school band, where he plays the triangle. They’re doing an exchange program with students from Paris, and Wilbur’s billet, Charlie, a tall, chic young woman who plays the ukulele and burps with abandon, captures his heart. Charlie likes him, but only as a friend. So Alex, Fabrizio, and Sal host a Queer Eye-style intervention to get Wil in shape and to build his confidence so he can impress Charlie when their band visits Paris, and just maybe replace humiliation with true romance in the City of Love.
2022 White Pine Award™ Honour Books
The Montague Twins: The Witch’s Hand
By Nathan Page
Illustrated by Drew Shannon
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525646761 | Knopf BFYR
Pete and Alastair Montague are just a couple of mystery-solving twins, living an ordinary life. Or so they thought. After a strange storm erupts on a visit to the beach, they discover there is more to their detective skills than they had thought. Their guardian, David Faber, a once prominent professor, has been keeping secrets about their parents and what the boys are truly capable of. At the same time, three girls go missing after casting a mysterious spell, which sets in motion a chain of events that takes their small town down an unexpected path. With the help of David’s daughter, Charlie, they discover there are forces at work that they never could have imagined, which will impact their lives forever. An exciting new graphic novel from innovative creators Nathan Page and Drew Shannon that is at once timely and thrilling.
Thanks to CBC Books for hosting and presenting the virtual awards! If you missed the ceremonies, you can catch up with them online here.
Each year, the Dublin Literary Award receives nominations for its longlist from libraries all over the world. We would like to congratulate Heather Smith whose wonderful novel, Barry Squires, Full Tilt was one of eight Canadian titles nominated for this year’s award. The jury will announce the shortlist on March 22 and a winner will be announced on May 19 as part of the opening day of International Literature Festival Dublin.
Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather T. Smith
232 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267466 | Penguin Teen Canada
It’s 1995. When the Full Tilt Dancers give an inspiring performance at the opening of the new bingo hall, twelve-year-old Finbar (Barry) Squires wants desperately to join the troupe. Led by Father O’Flaherty, the Full Tilt Irish Step Dancers are the most sought-after act in St. John’s, Newfoundland (closely followed by popular bagpiper, Alfie Bragg and his Agony Bag). Having watched Riverdance twice, Barry figures he’ll nail the audition. And good thing too – it’d be nice to be known for something other than the port wine stain on his cheek. With questionable talent and an unpredictable temper, Barry’s journey to stardom is jeopardized by his parents’ refusal to take his dreams seriously. Thankfully, Barry has the support of a lively cast of characters: his ever-present grandmother, Nanny Squires; his adorable baby brother, Gord; an old British rocker named Uneven Steven; a group of geriatrics from the One Step Closer to God Nursing Home; and Saibal, a friend with whom Barry gets up to no good.
“Barry Squires has a port wine birthmark on his face. This both marks him as special but also foreshadows the cruelty of a random and indifferent universe. Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith is a rare young adult book which deals with a riotously funny yet sensitive teenaged boy. This novel follows Barry as he copes (or doesn’t) with family strife, bullying, class and racial divisions, and even greater tragedy. A well-drawn community surrounds and supports Barry and his family as they get knocked down and struggle back up again in a story that refuses to give up its optimistic bent, even in the very darkest of times. Barry Squires is a kid you will never forget.
Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith has been longlisted for the 2020 Winterset award and is a CBC Best Book (Young Adult) among many other accolades. Through this and previous works, Heather Smith has established herself as one of the leading young adult authors in Canada.” – St. John’s Public Libraries (Provincial Resources Division), Canada
The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back! For the last four years, we’ve put together gift guides – inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 – featuring our current roster of illustrators. We have something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.
Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, and she has illustrated many beautiful children’s books including Finding Wild, Fort Building Time, Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin and the Anne Chapter Book series (Anne Arrives, Anne’s Kindred Spirits, Anne’s School Days).
Alexandra Bye works as a freelance illustrator specializing in fun, colorful illustrations for a variety of media such as advertising, animation, licensing, editorial and children’s publications. Her work reflects the energy she is inspired by from friends, family and her flourishing New England community. In her free time she enjoys mountain biking, Nordic ski racing, trail running, paddle boarding, camping, Jiu Jitsu, yoga, reading, cooking and hiking in the White Mountains with her fiancé Alex and their dog, Oliver.
Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something Extraordinary; Rex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Seattle, Washington.
Benjamin Flouw graduated from a CG animation school in France and moved to London to create backgrounds for Cartoon Network’s show The Amazing World of Gumball. He is now based in Paris where he works as a freelance designer and illustrator for films and advertisements, with clients such as Variety, Martha Stewart Living and American Express. His influences run from mid-century illustrators like Miroslav Sasek and Mary Blair to 90’s low-poly video games.
Cale Atkinson is an illustrator, writer and animator living lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, whose books include Sir Simon: Super Scarer, Where Oliver Fits, Monsters 101, Unicorns 101, Simon and Chester: Super Detectives! and Simon and Chester: Super Sleepover!, to name a few. Cale is assisted in his artistic endeavors by Charlie, a wise and noble floof.
Christian Robinson received a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his art in Last Stop on Market Street. He is the author and illustrator of the picture books Another and You Matter, and he has illustrated many more, including Carmela Full of Wishes, the Gaston and Friends series, School’s First Day of School, and The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade.
Dena Seiferling is a highly acclaimed picture book author and illustrator and needle-felt artist who graduated with a B.F.A. and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta University of the Arts, where she now works as an instructor. She is the illustrator of King Mouse, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and its companion book Bear Wants to Sing.
Elly MacKay is an acclaimed paper artist and children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture book Red Sky at Night, as well as Waltz of the Snowflakes, If You Hold a Seed, Butterfly Park, among others. Elly’s art was also featured on the covers of Tundra’s reissues of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theater and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. She frequently collaborates with author Kallie George and their first picture book together is The Secret Fawn. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her two children.
Emma Yarlett is an award-winning author, illustrator and typographer based in the UK. From her studio by the sea, Emma works with international publishers, brands, festivals and media to create her distinctive illustrations and stories. Emma’s bestselling book series Nibbles has sold over half a million books across five continents, won numerous awards and accolades and has nibbled its way onto the bookshelves and imaginations of children across the world. Emma’s self-penned picture books Beast Feast, Dragon Post, Orion and the Dark, Sidney Stella and the Moon and Poppy Pickle have all achieved global success, won numerous awards and led to international book tours, touring theatrical plays and further adaption into other media across the world. Emma lives in Falmouth, Cornwall with her husband Alex and daughter Beatrix.
Esmé Shapiro grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has previously written and illustrated Ooko, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2016, as well as Alma and the Beast, which received two starred reviews, and, most recently, Carol and the Pickle-Toad. Esmé also illustrated Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Margaret McNamara. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators, and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, live in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Born and raised in Quebec, Geneviève Godbout studied traditional animation in Montreal and at the prestigious Gobelins school in Paris. She is the illustrator of a number of books for children, including The Pink Umbrella, When Santa Was a Baby, Kindergarten Luck (Chronicle) and Joseph Fipps (Enchanted Lion). Some of her clients include The Walt Disney Company, Chronicle, HMH, Flammarion, Bayard, Les éditions Milan and La Pastèque. She also works for clothing designers like Nadinoo and Mrs. Pomeranz, creating illustrations and prints for their collections.
Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal.
Jaime Kim was born and raised in South Korea and now lives in North Carolina. Although she was a timid child who was afraid of just about everything, she discovered a sense of serenity in drawing. As a grown-up, Jaime finally stopped being afraid of everything, but kept on drawing and painting. She works with gouache, watercolors and acrylics to create nostalgic and dreamlike illustrations, inspired by childhood memories of her family, as well as movies, art, and the outside world. Her favorite things are the sun, the moon, the sky and stars – which is why they always creep into her artwork.
Josée Bisaillon has illustrated more than 30 children’s books, including the award-winning The Snow Knows, as well as magazines and newspapers for adults, all around the world. Josée lives just outside of Montreal with her spouse, their three children, one hairless cat and many paper characters.
Julie Flett is a Cree-Métis author, illustrator and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General Literary Award for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp, and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki and My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith. Her own Wild Berries was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-2015.
Julie Kwon is an artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn. A graduate of the Brown/RISD Dual-Degree program, her work is heavily inspired by the steady diet of manga, comics, and young adult novels she consumed growing up, as well as her many fond childhood memories. In her spare time, Julie enjoys reading, petting dogs, knitting and going on long walks with friends.
Julie Morstad is an award-winning author and illustrator. She has written the picture books Today and the Governor General’s Literary Award finalist How To. Her beautiful illustrations can be found in numerous books such as It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way; Julia, Child; This Is Sadie and, most recently, Girl on a Motorcycle. In 2018 she designed a permanent stamp for Canada Post. Julie lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family.
Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Kathryn Durst is a graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. She has a background in animation, having interned with Pixar Animation Studios. Kathryn has illustrated numerous children’s books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller from Paul McCartney, Hey Grandude!. When she is not illustrating books, she can be found playing the accordion, growing vegetables, folk dancing or putting on shadow puppet shows. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her grumpy mini dachshund named Chili Dog.
Lori Joy Smith is an illustrator and fine artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries across Canada and the United States. Her illustrations have appeared on greeting cards and in Chirp, American Girl, Teen and Today’s Parent magazines, among other places. Lori has illustrated several picture books including Count Your Chickens by Jo Ellen Bogart, Run Salmon Run by Bobs & LoLo and My Canada by Katherine Dearlove. She has written and illustrated another picture book about Albert the sheep called We Adopted a Baby Lamb. Lori enjoys knitting, drawing and sewing. She lives with her family in Prince Edward Island, along with a growing menagerie of pets – three cats, two bunnies, one dog and two sheep.
Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations full of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.
Phoebe Wahl’s work focuses on themes of comfort, nostalgia and intimacy with nature. She grew up unschooled in Washington State, and credits her free spirited childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and work ethic. She works in a variety of mediums, from watercolor and collage to fabric sculpture. Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington. She is the award-winning author and illustrator of Sonya’s Chickens, Backyard Fairies and The Blue House.
Xavière Daumaire is a French artist who has created designs and illustrations for several book series by Kelley Armstrong: Women of the Otherworld, including two graphic novels, Becoming and Bounty Hunt; Age of Legends; Cainsville; and The Blackwell Pages series by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. She lives in France.