Eid al-Fitr 2022

This year, the holy month of Ramadan will occur for Muslim people from April 1 to May 1, culminating with Eid al-Fitr on May 2. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or just want to learn more about Muslim culture, here are some suggestions:

My Name Is Bilal
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrated by Barbara Kiwak
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781635925135 | Astra Young Readers
After a family move, Bilal and his sister Ayesha attend a new school where they find out that they may be the only Muslim students there. Bilal sees his sister bullied on their first day, so he worries about being teased himself, thinking it might be best if his classmates didn’t know that he is Muslim. Maybe if he tells kids his name is Bill, rather than Bilal, then they will eave him alone. But when Bilal’s teacher Mr. Ali, who is also Muslim, sees how Bilal is struggling. He gives Bilal a book about the first person to give the call to prayer during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. That person was another Bilal: Bilal Ibn Rabah. What Bilal learns from the book forms the compelling story of a young boy grappling with his identity.

The Secret Diary of Mona Hasan
By Salma Hussain
296 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271494 | Tundra Books
Mona Hasan is a young Muslim girl growing up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, when the first Gulf War breaks out in 1991. The war isn’t what she expects – “We didn’t even get any days off school! Just my luck!” – especially when the ground offensive is over so quickly and her family peels the masking tape off their windows. Her parents, however, fear there is no peace in the region, and it sparks a major change in their lives. Over the course of one year, Mona falls in love, speaks up to protect her younger sister, loses her best friend to the new girl at school, has summer adventures with her cousins in Pakistan, immigrates to Canada, and pursues her ambition to be a feminist and a poet.

For older readers:

Huda F Are You?
By Huda Fahmy
192 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593324318 | Dial BFYR
Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can’t rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn’t a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She’s not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She’s miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it’ll take finding out who she isn’t to figure out who she is.

Perfectly Parvin
By Olivia Abtahi
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109427 | Putnam BFYR
Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped – only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all. There’s just one problem: Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself hasn’t worked for her in the past (see aforementioned dumping), she decides to start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. Those women aren’t loud, they certainly don’t cackle when they laugh, and they smile much more than they talk. But Parvin discovers that being a rom-com dream girl is much harder than it looks. Also hard? The parent-mandated Farsi lessons. A confusing friendship with a boy who’s definitely not supposed to like her. And hardest of all, the ramifications of the Muslim ban on her family in Iran. Suddenly, being herself has never been more important. Olivia Abtahi’s debut is as hilarious as it is heartfelt – a delightful tale where, amid the turmoil of high school friendships and crushes, being yourself is always the perfect way to be.

Salaam, with Love
By Sara Sharaf Beg
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593482629 | Underlined
Being crammed into a house in Queens with her cousins is not how Dua envisions her trip to New York City. But here she is, spending the holy month of Ramadan with extended family she hasn’t seen in years. Dua struggles to find her place in the conservative household and to connect with her aloof, engaged-to-be-married cousin, Mahnoor. And as if fasting the whole day wasn’t tiring enough, she must battle her hormones whenever she sees Hassan, the cute drummer in a Muslim band who has a habit of showing up at her most awkward moments. After just a month, Dua is surprised to find that she’s learning a lot more than she bargained for about her faith, relationships, her place in the world – and cute drummers.

Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270879 | Penguin Teen Canada
Fifteen-year-old Fawad Chaudhry loves two things: basketball and his mother’s potato and ground-beef stuffed parathas. Both are round and both help him forget about things like his father, who died two years ago, his mother’s desire to arrange a marriage to his first cousin, Nusrat, back home in Pakistan, and the tiny apartment in Regent Park he shares with his mom and sister. Not to mention his estranged best friend Yousuf, who’s coping with the shooting death of his older brother. But Fawad has plans: like, asking out Ashley, even though she lives on the other, wealthier side of the tracks, and saving his friend Arif from being beaten into a pulp for being the school flirt, and making the school basketball team and dreaming of being the world’s first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. All he has to do now is convince his mother to let him try out for the basketball team. And let him date girls from his school. Not to mention somehow get Omar, the neighborhood bully, to leave him alone.

For more books, check out our list from last year!

Kwanzaa Reading List

Kwanzaa is an annual week-long holiday that is observed from December 26 to January 1 and is celebrated by Black families around the world. Here are a couple of books to teach you a bit more about this special occasion.

Happy Kwanzaa Mad Libs
By David Tierra
48 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593094013 | Mad Libs
Time to light the PLURAL NOUN and celebrate Kwanzaa with your family, closest friends, and Mad Libs. It’s the holiday season and Mad Libs is joining in the celebrations with Happy Kwanzaa Mad Libs. These 21 inspiring stories will have the whole family laughing and enjoying the holiday together for years to come!

Together for Kwanzaa
By Juwanda G. Ford and Shelly Hehenberger
24 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375803291 | Random House BFYR
Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.

Holiday Spotlight: DK 2021

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, we’re lucky to work with so many different publisher lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post spotlights DK.

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals
By DK
224 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465477026 | DK Children
This animal book for children will delight and inspire kids who love animals. They will discover incredible facts and fascinating stories about their favorite animals and some they have never heard of! Find out why the slow-motion sloth is so sluggish and how the plodding pangolin protects itself from predators, and more! Throughout the book, each specially chosen animal is revealed in stunning photos and gorgeous illustrations. Kids will be intrigued by all the small, exciting details. The animal factbook also explores some of the stories and mysterious myths surrounding their favorite beasts. Curious kids can pour over the index, which is packed with reference information, including the size and location of each species, and a tree of life shows how the animal groups are connected. Find the animals that interest you and uncover new favorite along the way.

Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life
By Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
224 Pages | Ages 7+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780744039436 | DK Children
The perfect storybook for children to explore prehistory! Fascinating descriptions in this dinosaur book cover myths and legends about these animals, and surprising facts about the natural history of prehistoric life. Find out why Pachycephalosaurus had such a thick head, how a coral fossil can be used to work out how long a prehistoric year was, and which fossil was thought to protect people from poison! This beautifully illustrated prehistoric book unfolds the history of earth and answers questions kids commonly ask like, “What happened to dinosaurs?” Organized into the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras, and packed with fascinating details, children will return to these colorful pages time and time again.

LEGO City Build Your Own Adventure: Catch the Crooks
By Tori Kosara
80 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Book & Toy
ISBN 9781465493286 | DK Children
Get ready for an exciting LEGO® City adventure! Discover building tips and ideas to inspire your own LEGO® models. Follow the instructions inside to build an exclusive model – a police patrol car – with the bricks in this book. Then grab your own LEGO bricks and the minifigure that comes with this book to help the LEGO City Police track down a missing jewel – and the crooks! 

LEGO Jurassic World Build Your Own Adventure
By Julia March and Selina Wood
80 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Book & Toy
ISBN 9781465493279 | DK Children
Build yourself an exciting dinosaur adventure with more than 50 ideas to inspire your own LEGO® Jurassic World™ models. LEGO® Jurassic World™: Build your Own Adventure combines an action-packed, thrilling story inspired by the Jurassic World movies and LEGO Jurassic World animations, with more than 50 fun ideas for building. Once you have built new creations, play out exciting adventures of your own using your personal LEGO collection. This book comes with a minifigure and the bricks to build an awesome exclusive vehicle that features in the story.

LEGO NINJAGO Build Your Own Adventure: Greatest Ninja Battles
By DK
80 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Book & Toy
ISBN 9781465473356 | DK Children
All the bricks you need to make an exclusive LEGO® NINJAGO® Hover-Bike, plus a book filled with more than 50 ideas to inspire your own LEGO NINJAGO models. Also contains a Master of Water Nya minifigure, two bookmarks and a fun poster. The perfect gift for LEGO NINJAGO fans, LEGO NINJAGO Build Your Own Adventure features adventures involving all your favourite Ninja. Each adventure is illustrated with exciting models, designed to inspire you to pick up your bricks and build your own! Avoid the Anacondrai’s jungle traps with Lloyd and Zane. Escape a spooky ghost town with Cole. Join Jay as he stows away on the Sky Pirate ship. Help Kai destroy a dangerous Vermillion snake egg.

My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things
By DK
224 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781465449689 | DK Children
The world is so much bigger than young minds can fathom and there is always more to learn. My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things is a mind-boggling collection of everything interesting to get you on your way to knowing it all. Full of fun facts for kids, colorful illustrations, and games that will feed your imagination. This kids encyclopedia is filled with age appropriate knowledge on a range of topics that is complementary to your school’s Curriculum. Explore our world and its place in the galaxy – from animals and people, to planets and very importantly about yourself! Go on a journey to discover a world of information. Learn about just how many animals are there and how they live and communicate. Find out about our history – cavemen, the first explorers, ancient Egyptians and even dinosaurs. There’s so much crammed into one place and it’s all put into colorful and engaging ways suitable for young inquisitive minds.

Nature’s Treasures
By Ben Hoare
192 Pages | Ages 7+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780744034950 | DK Children
A lump of coal, a cacao pod, a mermaid’s purse, a fossil, a pine cone, an owl pellet and a chrysalis – all tell a story. Learn how bristly mouths help huge whales capture tiny animals, marvel at rocks and minerals forged through time, and discover how studying a leaf skeleton can tell us how it transports food.  Nature’s Treasures takes you on a tour of our planet through incredible objects made by nature itself. Objects are shown with truly stunning photography and colorful illustrations to help explain the science behind them. The lively descriptions explore the remarkable tales of each item, and all are packed with fascinating information. It’s the perfect first book about nature for inquisitive children ages 7 and up who love to spot things when exploring outside and want to know more about nature.

Picturepedia, Second Edition
By DK
360 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465438287 | DK Children
From incredible insects and musical instruments to spacecraft and prehistoric life, and from art and earthquakes to American football and dogs, Picturepedia gives you a world of information on every page. Did you know that more than half of the human body’s weight is water and that a koi carp can live for more than 200 years? Or how about there being more than 20,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, or that Turkey eats the most bread, with each person getting through 104.6 kg (230.5 lb) of it per year? First published in 2015, Picturepedia has been revamped into a more thrilling edition that will take you on a visual odyssey. This brilliant book is crammed with stunning photographs, gripping information, and explanatory diagrams that allow for fascinating discoveries.

Pokémon Visual Companion Third Edition
By DK
304 Pages | Ages 7-11 | Paperback
ISBN 9780744021974 | DK Children
Learn all about your favorite Pokémon in this fact-packed guide to the animated series. Discover every region from Kanto to Alola, including the people and Pokémon who live there. If you want to be the very best, then you need to know Ash, Pikachu, and all the rest! Inside this go-to companion to Pokemon the Animated series you’ll find content from over the past 20 years, covering everything from video games, to mobile apps, the Pokemon Trading Card game, movies, tv shows, and much much more! Trace Ash’s journey and get to know his friends and travel companions, discover the secrets behind some of your favorite gym battles, plus see epic battles and meet Legendary and Mythical Pokémon along the way. Start the journey towards being a Pokemon master today!

Tabbed Board Books: My First Trucks and Diggers
By DK
28 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9781465416735 | DK Children
For little ones who enjoy big noisy vehicles like tankers and fire engines or construction vehicles like excavators and dump trucks. Help expand your toddler’s vocabulary with this attractive tabbed board book. Packed with bright, colorful photos of real-life vehicles, your toddlers will learn to identify different types of trucks and diggers, and the things that come with them! Learning different names and terms is an exciting stimulation for early childhood language development. This fun book includes everything from building sites and emergency vehicles to a school bus! Each page is dedicated to a different type vehicle, such as tractors and rollers. Easy-to-read labels help kids to sound out the words with you. Each page also shows objects associated with the truck, like the fire hose and the ladder engine. The interactive book encourages kids to count the firefighters in the picture, name the colors and match jobs with each vehicle.

The Animal Book
By David Burnie
304 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465414571 | DK Children
This inspiring children’s reference guide welcomes you to the animal kingdom where you can meet more than 1,500 species, ranging from ants to zebras and everything in between. Stunning pictures bring you face to face with giant predators you know and love, including polar bears and tigers, as well as mysterious microscopic life, including amoebas and bacteria. A variety of animal habitats are shown in beautiful detail, while accessible information, additional fact boxes, and amazing galleries complete the stories. A jaw-dropping spectrum of animal types – from fish and birds to reptiles and mammals – provides a learning experience like no other.  Whether you’re a budding naturalist or simply want to complete a school project, The Animal Book has got it covered!

The Dinosaur Book
By John Woodward
208 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465474766 | DK Children
Engage in amazing interesting facts about dinosaurs – the most awe-inspiring creatures to have ever lived. The Dinosaur Book brings you face-to-face with incredible creatures in fully colored images and realistic digital reconstructions. The largest footprints in history aren’t just a footnote. Believed to have lived millions of years ago, this book contains everything prehistoric from dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs, to marine reptiles and early mammals, even prehistoric plants, some of which still live today. Find out about great herbivores and ferocious predators such as the Tyrannosaurus, Hadrosaur, Quetzalcoatlus, and Stegosaurus. Learn about fun facts and recent discoveries like the amazing uncovering of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur named Nodosaur. Go on the journey of history’s longest-lived periods of life on the planet. Find out how amazing fossilized remains inform us about how they lived and how new feathered dinosaurs were discovered. The Dinosaur Book is filled with fun educational facts that will answer your young dino-lovers curiosity and take a detailed approach in explaining the “what, why and how’s.”

The Mysteries of the Universe
By Will Gater
224 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465499332 | DK Children
From planets and asteroids to black holes and galaxies, every page of this captivating book reveals the secrets behind more than 100 celestial objects. Get ready to explore fun facts and exciting new scientific discoveries! For centuries, the mysteries of space have captured our imaginations. This picture book will illuminate imaginations and spark curious minds to explore the vastness of space. Take your little astronaut on a journey from our planet out into the furthest reaches of the universe! Filled with gorgeous illustrations and incredible photography, young readers will be intrigued by the detailed close-up images of each celestial body. The engaging storybook-style descriptions and simple text shed a light on facts, myths, and key discoveries about the universe. Explore the wonders of our solar system and beyond. This educational book also includes reference pages packed with fascinating information.

The Secret Explorers and the Rainforest Rangers
By SJ King
128 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780744021363 | DK Children
In this fact-stuffed children’s science book, we follow rainforest expert Ollie on an exciting mission to rescue a lost baby orangutan in the steamy rainforest of Borneo. Accompanied by engineering expert Kiki, they set out in a glider to search for the friendly ape. Along the way, they encounter greedy plantation owners who are plotting to destroy the forest to expand a palm oil plantation! They also learn about the threat that endangered animals and plants face due to deforestation. Kids will love turning the pages to find out if the Secret Explorers manage to succeed in their mission! It’s the perfect gift for children aged 7-9 who love all things rainforest. Packed with lots of information on animal and plant life, this epic adventure book gives them a thrilling introduction to nature. 

The Wonders of Nature
By Ben Hoare
224 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465485366 | DK Children
From opals to orchids and tapirs to toadstools, this beautiful collection brings more than 100 incredible items from the natural world to life. Perfect for all the nature-loving readers on the planet we call home. Every page of this reference book reveals fascinating animals, plants, rocks, minerals and microorganisms that will wow children and adults alike. Fantastic photography and illustrations showcase the wonders of planet Earth beautifully. Children will love exploring the detailed close-up images of different plants, animals and rocks. Curious kids can pour over the reference pages packed with new information. Find out how the dragon blood tree got its name, why a sundew means big trouble for insects and what on Earth a radiolarian is. From orchids to opals and lichens to lizards, this beautiful book lets you find the things that interest you and uncover new favorites along the way.

Holiday Spotlight: Holiday House 2021

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, we’re lucky to work with so many different publisher lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post is all about Holiday House.

Amira’s Picture Day
By Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Fahmida Azim
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440191 | Holiday House
Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is? Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.

Bear Outside
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jen Corace
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446131 | Neal Porter Books
In this imaginative picture book by Jane Yolen, acclaimed author of many distinguished children’s books including Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, a girl explores the many ways she expresses herself by imagining that she wears a bear as her personal protective shell. They go everywhere and do everything together. The Bear is like a suit of armor and a partner all in one, protecting her from bullies and giving her strength to be bold when she needs it. In turn, she listens to and takes care of the Bear.

Bright Star
By Yuyi Morales
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443284 | Neal Porter Books
Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier. Yuyi Morales’ first book since her New York Times bestseller  Dreamers is a book for very young children looking for their place in a world full of uncertainty. It is a book with resonance for all children, especially those whose safety is threatened due to the immigration crisis in the US.

Cardboardia 1: The Other Side of the Box
By Lucy Campagnolo
Illustrated by Richard Fairgray
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781645950998 | Pixel+Ink
When Mac, Masie, and Bird find mysterious tokens in their cereal boxes, they’re transported to Cardboardia, a magical land made of paper and cardboard. In this parallel universe to ours, creativity thrives: Every time a box of anything is created in our world, a replica appears there, bringing residents art supplies, food, books, and more. But an evil presence is slowly moving in, threatening to wipe all art and beauty from this paper paradise. It’s no mistake that the three friends have been transported through their cardboard portals. Each has a special talent they never knew existed. And only when they figure out to harness them together will they be able to stop the destruction.

Deadman’s Castle
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?

Dear Beast
By Dori Hillestad Butler
Illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823448432 | Holiday House
Simon has taken care of his owner, Andy, for many years. He’s a good cat. Clean, responsible, and loyal. What more could a boy want? Even when Andy’s dad moves out, Simon is certain that Andy doesn’t need another pet. So why would Andy’s dad adopt a DOG?! To make matters worse, the animal is a rude, rowdy troublemaker. Simon’s job is clear: the beast has got to go. He decides to write him a letter. Strongly worded, of course. But when the dog’s response sets off an unexpected correspondence, Simon realizes the beast may be here to stay. Can he make room for another pet in Andy’s life?

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By Crystal Maldonado
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447176 | Holiday House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing – he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it’s time people did.

Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens
By Elizabeth Lilly
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443253 | Neal Porter Books
First my family drives through the mountains to stop at Mamaw and Papaw’s house in rural West Virginia. We share blueberry jam and toast for breakfast the next morning, then munch cookies and cut bananas to make banana pudding with Mamaw. After the last bite of pudding, we get ready for the next part of the journey, down to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo for crispy tostones, fresh squeezed juice, and arepas with queso blanco. This celebration of family and our diverse, delicious traditions is sure to leave readers hungry for more! Elizabeth Lilly’s tale of a joyous road trip, drawn from her own experience, is illustrated with quirky charm that captures all the warmth and love of her family’s two distinct cultures.

Salt Magic
By Hope Larson
Illustrated by Rebecca Mock
240 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823450503 | Margaret Ferguson Books
When Vonceil’s older brother, Elber, comes home to their family’s Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren’t what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn’t have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind. Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town’s water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil’s old uncle Dell know about her? To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself – the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she’ll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up.

Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix
By Charles R. Smith Jr.
Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
56 Pages | Ages 7+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443338 | Neal Porter Books
From his turbulent childhood through his epical appearance at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals, Charles R. Smith Jr. covers it all in this rich and rhythmic account of a singular life, accompanied by the psychedelic splendor of Edel Rodriguez’s acid-tinged artwork. Written as a series of verses beginning with intro and ending with outro, this unique mix of rhythm and rhyme captures the essence of rock icon Jimi Hendrix and his struggle to live life on his own terms.

The Bear House
By Meaghan McIsaac
368 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446605 | Holiday House
Moody Aster and her spoiled sister Ursula are the daughters of Jasper Lourdes, Major of Bears and lord of all the realm. Rivals, both girls dream of becoming the Bear queen someday, although neither really deserve to, having no particular talent in . . . well, anything. But when their Uncle Bram murders their father in a bid for the crown, the girls are forced onto the run, along with lowly Dev the Bearkeeper and the Lourdes’s half-grown grizzly Alcor, symbol of their house. As a bitter struggle for the throne consumes the kingdom in civil war, the sisters must rely on Dev, the bear cub, and each other to survive – and find wells of courage, cunning, and skill they never knew they had.

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess
By Tom Gauld
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446988 | Neal Porter Books
For years, the king and queen tried desperately to have a baby. Their wish was twice granted when an engineer and a witch gave them a little wooden robot and an enchanted log princess. There’s just one catch, every night when the log princess sleeps, she transforms back into an ordinary log. She can only be woken with the magic words “Awake, little log, awake.” The two are inseparable until one day when the sleeping log princess is accidentally carted off to parts unknown. Now it’s up to her devoted brother to find her and return her safely to the kingdom. They need to take turns to get each other home, and on the way, they face a host of adventures involving the Queen of Mushrooms, a magic pudding, a baby in a rosebush, and an old lady in a bottle.

Toasty
By Sarah Hwang
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447077 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Toasty loves dogs – so much so that he’d like to be one. He knows there are some differences – most dogs have four legs, but Toasty has two arms and two legs. Some dogs sleep in dog houses, but Toasty sleeps in a toaster. All dogs have hair and fur, but Toasty has neither because he’s made of bread. In spite of these differences, he decides to go to the park to play with the dogs but runs into trouble when they want to eat him. Lucky for Toasty, he is rescued by a little girl who has always wanted a dog but can’t have one because she is allergic. Toasty is the perfect dog for her.

Watercress
By Andrea Wang
Illustrated by Jason Chin
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446247 | Neal Porter Books
Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can. At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress. Andrea Wang tells a moving autobiographical story of a child of immigrants discovering and connecting with her heritage, illustrated by award winning author and artist Jason Chin, working in an entirely new style, inspired by Chinese painting techniques. An author’s note in the back shares Andrea’s childhood experience with her parents.

The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie
By Erin Soderberg Downing
256 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781645950349 | Pixel+Ink
After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read all of the books on the summer reading list. Freddy wants to work on his art projects (when he isn’t stuck in summer school). Herb wants to swim every day. Then their dad makes a big announcement: one of the inventions their mom came up with before she passed away has sold, and now they’re millionaires! But Dad has bigger plans than blowing the cash on fun stuff or investing it. He’s bought a used food truck. The Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies. It will be the Great Peach Experiment – a summer of bonding while living out one of Mom’s dreams. Summer plans, sunk. And there’s one more issue Dad’s neglected: none of them knows how to bake . . . . A perfect blend of humor, heart, and family antics, When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie is a delectable treat to be gobbled down or savored slowly. (Slice of pie on the side, optional, but highly recommended.)

Holiday Spotlight: Candlewick Press 2021

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, we’re lucky to work with so many different publisher lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post spotlights Candlewick Press.

20 Big Trucks in the Middle of Christmas
By Mark Lee
Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
32 Pages | Ages 3-7  | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536212532 | Candlewick
The snowy town is filling up with a procession of trucks of all shapes and sizes, including a snowplow, a crane, a digger, a semitrailer transporting the town’s majestic Christmas tree, and even a flatbed carrying Santa’s sleigh. All in all, twenty trucks roll in full of sparkle and anticipation, ready to set up the holiday festivities. But when the star being hoisted to the top of the Christmas tree wobbles and crashes to the ground, what could possibly be used to replace it? Thankfully, a pair of siblings scan the scene and come up with the perfect solution. Author Mark Lee and illustrator Kurt Cyrus team up again for a buoyant story delivering satisfying rhymes, holiday spirit, and most importantly, twenty trucks for counting.

Amber and Clay
By Laura Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Julia Iredale
544 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201222 | Candlewick
In a warlike land of wind and sunlight, “ringed by a restless sea,” live Rhaskos and Melisto, spiritual twins with little in common beyond the violent and mysterious forces that dictate their lives. A Thracian slave in a Greek household, Rhaskos is as common as clay, a stable boy worth less than a donkey, much less a horse. Wrenched from his mother at a tender age, he nurtures in secret, aided by Socrates, his passions for art and philosophy. Melisto is a spoiled aristocrat, a girl as precious as amber but willful and wild. She’ll marry and be tamed – the curse of all highborn girls – but risk her life for a season first to serve Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Bound by destiny, Melisto and Rhaskos – Amber and Clay – never meet in the flesh. By the time they do, one of them is a ghost. But the thin line between life and death is just one boundary their unlikely friendship crosses. It takes an army of snarky gods and fearsome goddesses, slaves and masters, mothers and philosophers to help shape their story into a gorgeously distilled, symphonic tour de force. Blending verse, prose, and illustrated archaeological “artifacts,” this is a tale that vividly transcends time, an indelible reminder of the power of language to illuminate the over- and underworlds of human history.

Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook: Fun and Healthy Recipes for Young Cooks
By David Atherton
Illustrated by Rachel Stubbs
88 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536219364 | Candlewick
Gather your frying pan, mixing bowls, and rolling pin – it’s time to cook! David Atherton, 2019 winner of The Great British Baking Show, walks readers through delicious and delightful recipes such as banana bear pancakes, tasty tacos, and mega-chocolatey cake. From tomato soup (served in a teapot!) to brownies made with sweet potatoes, David Atherton offers a kid-friendly collection of recipes that feels at once timeless and modern. Accompanied by warm illustrations from Rachel Stubbs that capture the joys of cooking together, Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook features sweet and savory recipes for any time of day, a list of needed equipment, a glossary of cooking terms, and some important tips. Don your apron and grab your favorite little sous-chef – this will be a first cookbook to cherish.

Idol Gossip
By Alexandra Leigh Young
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213645 | Walker Books US
Every Friday after school, seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong to sing karaoke. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, her only musical outlet is vamping it up in a private karaoke booth to an audience of one: her loyal sister. Then a scout for Top10 Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop companies, hears her and offers her a spot at their Star Academy. Can Alice navigate the culture clashes, egos, and extreme training practices of K-pop to lead her group onstage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans – and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way. . . . This debut novel is about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true. It will speak to fans of K-pop and to anyone who is trying to take their talents to the next level.

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Donkey Called Mistletoe
By Helen Peters
Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon
160 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536222463 | Walker Books
When Jasmine and her best friend, Tom, visit their neighbor Mr. Hobson to help him with some chores, they discover that he is selling his farm and moving to a nearby assisted living facility. Because Mr. Hobson won’t have a home for his beloved donkey, Mistletoe, anymore, he is planning to send him to a faraway sanctuary. Jasmine doesn’t want to see them separated, so she hatches a plan to keep Mistletoe at Oak Tree Farm, where Mr. Hobson could visit him whenever he liked. But caring for a donkey is lots of work (as Jasmine’s parents often remind her), especially with her mischievous younger brother around. When the school nativity play encounters a mishap, though, Jasmine realizes she may have the perfect understudy right in her backyard. From author Helen Peters and illustrator Ellie Snowdon, this latest book in the Jasmine Green Rescues series offers a heartwarming tale of multigenerational friendship and holiday spirit.

Jingle Bells: A Musical Instrument Song Book
By James Lord Pierpont
Illustrated by Nicola Slater
10 Pages | Ages 0-2  | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536222036 | Nosy Crow
Listen and sing along as the merry band of musicians go on a sleigh ride, playing their instruments along the way. Then join in as they all play together in the festive finale! Nicola Slater’s charming illustrations combined with real instrumental music make this sound-button board book an irresistible Christmas gift.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Stink: The Stupendously Super-Sonic Collection
By Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Ages 6-9 | Paperback Box Set
ISBN 9781536223002 | Candlewick
Stink Moody: fact freak, science star, and encyclopedia enthusiast. He’s always up to learning more and sharing some out-of-this-world comics! Readers won’t want to miss out on this paperback boxed set of Stink’s first six books, with fresh covers sure to catch the eye. Included are: The Incredible Shrinking KidStink and the Incredible Super-Galactic JawbreakerStink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky SneakersStink and the Great Guinea Pig ExpressSolar System Superhero, and Stink and the Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown.

The Beatryce Prophecy: Gift Edition
By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
256 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536218671 | Candlewick
This collector’s edition of The Beatryce Prophecy, packaged in a keepsake box with a ribbon enclosure, includes an exclusive full-color piece of artwork, as well as a special beautifully decorated scroll with a story written by two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and illustrated in full color by two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall. In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all – for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why. And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories – powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves – ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead.

The Heartbreak Bakery
By A.R. Capetta
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536216530 | Candlewick
Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. And everyone who eats Syd’s breakup brownies . . . breaks up. Even Vin and Alec, who own the Proud Muffin. And their breakup might take the bakery down with it. Being dumped is one thing; causing ripples of queer heartbreak through the community is another. But the cute bike delivery person, Harley (he or they, check the pronoun pin, it’s probably on the messenger bag), believes Syd about the magic baking. And Harley believes Syd’s magical baking can fix things, too – one recipe at a time.

The Rock from the Sky
By Jon Klassen
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215632 | Candlewick
There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.
Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.

To the Moon and Back Slipcase Set
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
Ages 3-7 | Hardcover Box Set
ISBN 9781536222210 | Candlewick
It’s the book that gave rise to the words “I love you right up to the moon – and back” – a phrase that’s now in the common vernacular. This tale of a big and little hare who boast of loving each other as high as they can hop and as wide as they can reach has been adored by a generation of children who’ve begun sharing it with their own. Twenty-five years after the Nutbrown Hares met the world, creators Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram brought us the perfect companion – the story of Little Nutbrown Hare’s jubilant steps toward independence after meeting a new friend. Now, in an elegant slipcase, Guess How Much I Love You and Will You Be My Friend? find a special spot together on bookshelves – a pairing sure to be coveted by big and little readers for generations to come.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
By Clement C. Moore
Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
32 Pages | Ages 3-7  | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536222852 | Candlewick
P.J. Lynch brings his rich and atmospheric art to the well-loved holiday poem. Children will pore over every cozy detail in these warm, sweeping watercolor illustrations – from snug mice to stockings hung by the chimney with care to toys in the bundle flung over merry St. Nicholas’s back. A glowing interpretation of a favorite read-aloud, this is a keepsake volume to cherish and return to year after year.

Where Snow Angels Go
By Maggie O’Farrell
Illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
72 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536219371 | Candlewick
One night Sylvie awakens to an incredible sight: a glowing figure tiptoeing across her floor, with enormous feathery wings wafting from his back. He’s muttering to himself, trying to remember his orders, for this is his first flight. Could he really be the same angel she made last winter in the snow? Sylvie’s angel says she isn’t supposed to see him. He has been sent to save her life, and when the danger is past, she won’t remember he was there. But she does remember. She thinks of him every day. And when nothing Sylvie does, no matter how risky, can make him reappear, she realizes he’ll always be there unseen when she truly needs him. In a contemporary tale told with humor and warmth, paired with Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini’s enchanting artwork, Maggie O’Farrell weaves the story of a spirited girl who finds a way to bring magic into her own house – and enlist it to bring a sense of wonder to those she loves.

Where’s Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search
By Martin Handford
16 Pages | Ages 5-9  | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536220131 | Candlewick
Shake your sleigh bells, pull on your holiday sweater, and join in the festive madness! These night-time scenes are bustling with Santas getting ready for Christmas Eve. With the help of a magic slider to light up one spot at a time, can you find some very specific Santas – like the one whose stocking is threadbare? Or the ones who are slimmer than most? And by the way, where are Waldo and all his friends – Wenda, Odlaw, Wizard Whitebeard, and Woof? Featuring super-challenging searches as well as puzzles and games, Santa’s Spotlight Search promises many hours of merriment for seasoned Waldo fans and new followers alike.