CBC Books: The Best Canadian Picture Books of 2019

Back in December, CBC released their list of best Canadian picture books of 2019 and we’re thrilled to see some of our titles were included! Congratulations to our creators!

Albert’s Quiet Quest
By Isabelle Arsenault
ISBN 9781101917626 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
Albert just wants to read his book in peace . . . why won’t his friends give him some quiet? A delightful picture book about finding alone time from an internationally acclaimed illustrator.

Alis the AviatorAlis the Aviator
By Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
Illustrated by Kalpna Patel
ISBN 9781101919057 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Come along on an aviation journey with Alis! This spunky female guide will take you through an ABC of planes featuring gorgeous cut-paper art.

Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
ISBN 9780735264069 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children’s entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! “Skinnamarink” is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Staff Picks

The holidays are over but you still have time to hit up a bookstore before 2020 rolls around! In case you need some inspiration for your next read, here’s what our team loved in 2019:

Vikki VanSickle, Associate Director, Marketing & Publicity

The Fountains of Silence
By Ruta Sepetys
ISBN 9780399160318
Ages 12+ | Philomel Books

Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
By Philip Pullman
ISBN 9780553510669
Ages 14+ | Knopf BFYR

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought.

Sylvia Chan, Manager, Marketing & Publicity

American Royals
By Katharine McGee
ISBN 9781984830173
Ages 14+ | Random House BFYR

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. This is the story of the American royals.

The Starlight Claim
By Tim Wynne-Jones
ISBN 9781536202649
Ages 14+ | Candlewick

Fast-paced, evocative, and intensely suspenseful, Tim Wynne-Jones’s latest psychological thriller finds a teenager setting his wits against the frigid wilderness and a menacing crew of escapees.

Evan Munday, Publicity Manager

The Grey Sisters
By Jo Treggiari
ISBN 9780735262980
Ages 12+ | Penguin Teen Canada

Two years after a deadly plane crash, best friends D and Spider head into the mountains to face their grief and find more than they bargained for.

Aurora Rising
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
ISBN 9781524720964
Ages 12+ | Knopf BFYR

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones ends up with the dregs…not to mention Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space.

Samantha Devotta, Associate Publicist

Chicken Girl
By Heather Smith
ISBN 9780143198680
Ages 12+ | Penguin Teen Canada

Poppy used to be an optimist…until she’s cyber-bullied. Then she takes refuge in her job (wearing a feathered chicken suit) before meeting a little girl who changes the way she thinks.

House of Salt and Sorrows
By Erin A. Craig
ISBN 9781984831927
Ages 12+ | Delacorte Press

As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @penguinteenca for more recommendations in 2020 … see you next year!

Our Stars of 2019

At Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, we think all our books are brilliant, and it’s nice when others think so too! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators, these are our starred books of 2019!

FOUR STARS:

It Began With a PageIt Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Hardcover | ISBN 9781101918593
Ages 5-9 | Tundra Books
“A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Maclear and Morstad’s biography conveys with quiet power how recently segregation reached into every aspect of American life, and how one woman did her part to defeat it.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Maclear and Morstad pack a lot of information into a few pages. This exemplary biography of a pioneer in multicultural children’s books deserves a place in most collections.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“This beautiful biography offers a fitting tribute to an artist with a lasting legacy in American picture books.” – Starred Review, Booklist

TWO STARS:

The Royal Guide to Monster SlayingA Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
By Kelley Armstrong
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735265356
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“. . . [A] fast and fun read, a great read-a-like for Tamora Pierce’s ‘Tortall’ series.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“A fresh take on familiar fantasy creatures and situations.” – Starred Review, Shelf Awareness

Alma and the BeastAlma and the Beast
By Esme Shapiro
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263963
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“With lessons on friendship, culture, and helping others, and language and art reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this endearing picture book is richly rewarding.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“It’s a sweetly psychedelic mix of Tove Jansson, Van Gogh, and what is now recognizably trademark Shapiro. . . . [her] tale is a gentle charmer, plain and simple.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Broken StringsBroken Strings
By Kathy Kacer and Eric Walters
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735266247
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“Shirli’s voice is true and strong as she narrates her own tale of rehearsals, her very ethnically diverse friendships, her deep distress as she witnesses Zayde’s pain, and her joy as he reconnects with his music. A beautiful, painful, heartfelt reminder that the past is with us still.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Walters and Kacer pull of this impressive feat of complex storytelling and make it look easy . . . . [It is an] honest, open and unflinching [story] about some of the more dark and traumatic aspects of history.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

King MouseKing Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264045
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“Graceful and perceptive in both illustration and text, the timeless theme is particularly pertinent today.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Each page is riotous and breathtaking.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Rayne and Delilah's Midnite MatineeRayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
By Jeff Zentner
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263048
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“Zentner’s quick-witted, charming characters tackle real-life issues with snappy dialogue and engaging levity.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“As in his award-winning The Serpent King (2016), Zentner packs a poignantly satisfying blend of wit and pathos, with lovable and unpredictable characters. . . . Readers looking for an unforgettable slice of small-town angst will love this one.” – Starred Review, Booklist

We Contain MultitudesWe Contain Multitudes
By Sarah Henstra
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264212
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“This is an absolutely extraordinary work of fiction that proves the epistolary novel is an art form. Kurl and Jo are characters to die for, emotionally compelling and empathetic…. [This novel] is not to be missed.” – Starred Review, Booklist
“A love story, a therapy session, a reason to read Whitman-the sweetness of unexpected amour is here, as is the saline of sadness…Your reason to root for love-and the power of the pen.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

ONE STAR:

great job, dadGreat Job, Dad! and Great Job, Mom!
By Holman Wang
Hardcover | Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735264106 | ISBN 9780735264083
“The artwork in this tongue-in-cheek look at the many roles [dads] play in family life is certain to have readers poring over the pages.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Ho onaniHo’onani: Hula Warrior
By Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264496
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
“Boldly outlined watercolor and ink artwork . . . convey visual information with strength that suggests Ho‘onani’s own. And Gale grounds the child’s experience, based on a true story, in Hawaiian traditions, modeling showing ‘every person the same unconditional acceptance and respect’.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

how to give your cat a bathHow to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263543
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“This laugh-out-loud picture book can serve as a beginning reader. . . . The inevitable ending will delight both children and adults and this title will be requested over and over.” – Starred Review, Booklist

princess puffybottom and darrylPrincess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Hardcover | ISBN 9781101919255
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“Nielsen’s tale and Mueller’s digitally created pooch and puss pair perfectly. . . . Princess and Darryl need a sequel.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

2019 Information Book Award

The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award recognizes non-fiction for children by choosing a book that captures the imagination and encourages readers to take a second look at the world around us. We would like to congratulate Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà whose beautiful picture book Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein won this year’s award.

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN 9781770495593 | Tundra Books
How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her strict father and overbearing stepmother is through the stories she reads and imagines. Unhappy at home, she seeks independence, and at the age of sixteen runs away with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, another dreamer. Two years later, they travel to Switzerland where they meet a famous poet, Lord Byron. On a stormy summer evening, with five young people gathered around a fire, Byron suggests a contest to see who can create the best ghost story. Mary has a waking dream about a monster come to life. A year and a half later, Mary Shelley’s terrifying tale, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, is published – a novel that goes on to become the most enduring monster story ever and one of the most popular legends of all time.

Quill & Quire Best Books of 2019

Quill & Quire recently released their list of best books of 2019 and we’re so happy to see some of our titles were included! Congratulations to our creators!

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster
By Cary Fagan
ISBN 9780735266216 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Tundra Books
“A sublime reading experience, Cary Fagan’s The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster is a flawlessly written, not-to-be-missed middle-grade book. Featuring wonderfully drawn young characters staring down emotional crossroads, the novel threads two interconnected storylines to offer a tender tale of loss, uncertainty, art, and the quiet promise of resolution and hope.” – Michelle Callaghan, Fab Book Reviews blog, Vancouver


Honourable Mentions

Broken Strings
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
ISBN 9780735266247 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“Walters and Kacer pull off this impressive feat of complex storytelling and make it look easy, with a novel that flows and entertains and devastates. Above all, they respect their intended audience by not trivializing the high and lows of middle-school and by being honest, open, and unflinching about some of the more dark and traumatic aspects of history.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

We Contain Multitudes
By Sarah Henstra
ISBN 9780735264212| Hardcover
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“Opposites attract: a powerful yet familiar story. Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Sarah Henstra uses the premise well, sweeping us up in the giddy joy of fulfilled narrative expectations. She leverages another potent story too: the difficulty and importance of coming out…. Henstra’s latest is certainly multitudinous: worth reading, enjoying, interrogating.” – Quill & Quire