Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

My Best Friend
By Miguel Tanco
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270701 | Tundra Books
My best friend is soft, warm, and comfy as a ball of cotton. My best friend doesn’t like baths. My best friend follows me everywhere. We give each other strength. We have no fear. Full of the heart, affection, sweetness and mischief that every dog possesses, this book will delight dog lovers big and small and remind them of every good thing that a dog is.

Ready For Launch
By Scott Kelly
128 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263512 | Penguin Teen
How did a distracted student with poor grades become the record-breaking astronaut and commander of the International Space Station? People think that astronauts are always perfect. “Failure’s not an option,” right? But Scott believes that it’s our mistakes and challenges that can lead to greatness. Not everyone’s road to achievement is a straight line up. Most of us need to navigate a bumpier road full of obstacles to get where we want to be. Using ten life-changing moments, Scott shares his advice for mastering fear and failure and using it to see the world with fresh eyes. Unusual lessons from his path to space can prepare everyone for success on the ground.

The Fabled Stables: Belly of the Beast
By Jonathan Auxier
Illustrated by Olga Demidova
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267787 | Puffin Canada
On an island at the top of the world are the Fabled Stables, a one-of-a-kind place for one-of-a-kind creatures. Auggie is their caretaker, and it’s his job to strike out into the Wide World and save creatures from danger. This time, he and his friends are tasked with saving a new creature, the Shibboleth. They hop through the portal and find themselves in the evil Rooks’ lair! There, they meet a young girl named Veena and a monster . . . with a belly full of Rooks! It turns out, whenever anyone speaks to the Shibboleth, it gobbles them whole. Auggie puts on his gentlest voice to try to calm the beast, but he’s swallowed in one gulp. Soon, with some help from Veena and a magic book, Auggie discovers that the Shibboleth eats anyone who doesn’t call it by name. They save themselves and the creature with this simple act of kindness.

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

How to High Tea with a Hyena (And Not Get Eaten)
By Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
84 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266605 | Tundra Books
Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? High teas are dainty meals with pretty teacups: you nibble tiny cakes, sip milky tea and chit-chat about not-so important things like why doughnuts have holes and if fish have eyebrows. But Ruby the hyena is loud, ferocious and tends to slobber. High-speed gobbling makes good sense in the wild, but it is a definite no-no in the tearoom! And Ruby just happens to be Queen of a very large clan of hungry hyenas. Will high tea be ruined by uninvited guests? Is Ruby peckish for something other than Celeste’s famous cream buns? Using her vast knowledge of hyenas, Celeste comes up with lots of strategies to get through high tea in one piece. Many of her suggestions are dangerous, most are absurd, but all are based on true hyena biology and hunting behavior.

New in Paperback:

Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather T. Smith
232 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267480 | 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.

Great Job, Dad!
By Holman Wang
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880371 | Tundra Books
This unique picture book for very young readers celebrates the many jobs being a parent encompasses: A receptionist scheduling important meetings (for playdates), an architect designing buildings (or pillow forts), an inspector (of diapers!) . . . When Dad gets home from his day job at the office, he never knows which job will be waiting for him, but he knows it’ll be fun! Each rhyming spread features intimate, familiar, comforting and humorous depictions of family life through a wholly original – and amazing! – needle-felted lens.

Great Job, Mom!
By Holman Wang
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880364 | Tundra Books
Being a mom is eleven jobs in one! This unique picture book for very young readers celebrates the many jobs being a parent encompasses: A general who rallies the troops (or unruly kids), a curator of modern art (or finger paintings), an archeologist looking for buried treasures (or socks) . . . when Mom gets home from her day job as a carpenter, she never knows which job will be waiting for her, but she knows it’ll be fun!

How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten)
By Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
84 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271746 | Tundra Books
Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions – many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans.

Red Fox Road
By Frances Greenslade
248 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735267831 | Puffin Canada
Francie and her parents are on a spring road trip: driving from British Columbia, Canada, to hike in the Grand Canyon. When a shortcut leads them down an old logging road, disaster strikes. Their truck hits a rock and wipes out the oil pan. They are stuck in the middle of nowhere. Francie can’t help feeling a little excited – she’d often imagined how she’d survive if she got stranded in the bush, and now here they are. But will her survival skills – building fires, gathering dandelion leaves and fir needles for tea – be enough when hours stretch into days?

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

Me Three
By Susan Juby
224 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268722 | Puffin Canada 
Eleven-year-old Rodney is starting sixth grade in a new school, in a new home in a new state. The new school is really old and smells like someone ate a couple of pounds of glue and then barfed it back up, and he’s in a class with a bunch of kids who seem to sort of hate him. Even his best friend won’t write him back. It’s strange, because just a couple of months ago, Rodney was one of the most popular guys in his fifth-grade class. He lived in Las Vegas, with his mom, older sister and his dad, who was a successful professional poker player. Now his old life is over – his mom even says they shouldn’t tell anyone their real last name. Because of something his dad did. Or something people said that he did. His dad says it’s all a big misunderstanding, but he’s now staying in a center “for people who are having problems, like being addicted to drugs or gambling, or because other people don’t understand that you are just funny and friendly and sometimes you give people hugs or put your arm around them and they accuse you of taking liberties and ruin everything.” Rodney is confident that it won’t be long until the misunderstanding is all cleared up and they can all go back to their old life. But he can only keep the truth at bay for so long . . . .

Water, Water
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Jon McNaught
160 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270039 | Tundra Books
One morning Rafe wakes up to discover his bedroom is floating in a vast sea of water. Alone with only his dog for company, Rafe adapts to this strange new world by fishing cans of food out of the water and keeping watch. Boxes float by, as does a woman, playing her cello. Then, one day, Rafe fishes out a young girl, who joins him in his room – they don’t speak the same language, but together they will face this uncertain future together.

New in Board Book:

The Button Book
By Sally Nicholls
Illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
24 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735271722 | Tundra Books
Follow a group of animal friends as they discover a collection of mysterious buttons, all of which do different things! From a blue singing button to a purple tickle button, from a rude sound button to a mysterious white button, there’s only one way to find out what they do: press them all! And thankfully, there’s even a sleeping button to lull the animals to sleep after a busy day. A lively introduction to colors and shapes, The Button Book is the perfect interactive book for story time (and bedtime!).

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

What We Harvest: A Q&A with Ann Fraistat

We may be a bunch of scaredy-cats but even we couldn’t resist Ann Fraistat’s fantastic debut, What We Harvest! We loved it so much, we invited Ann over to answer a few questions.

Q&A with Ann Fraistat

Tell us a bit about What We Harvest! What inspired you?

What We Harvest is feminist YA folk horror about an idyllic small town being devoured by a mysterious blight – one that infects not only crops, but animals and people, too. And, more importantly, it’s about Wren, the sixteen-year-old girl fighting to save her farm and family against avalanching odds. Nature has turned against her community, disease devastates her neighbors and comes for her own family, and the American dream she once believed in has turned to ash in her hands. Still, Wren strives to unearth her town’s deep-buried rot, and to rebuild a healthier future.

The deeper themes came from the reality we’ve lived with over the past several years. But this specific story? Honestly, I was between projects at the time. Deeply burned out. And an image from a dream stuck with me: this glimmering field of rainbow-colored wheat. I sat down to explore it as a freewriting exercise, which started as a paragraph and eventually snowballed into an entire book.

I think it flowed so organically because, as it turned out, this was the story I needed to hear. All of it. The horror. The beauty. The endless grit of its characters, and the innate hope to be found in that perseverance.

Now, I hope this story can give readers what they need, too.

How weird was it writing a book about a spreading disease during a pandemic? Did what was happening in real life change the way you approached the plot?

Honestly, weird. Really weird. I actually drafted What We Harvest in 2019, pre-COVID. So, by the time I was editing this book in the fall of 2020, it was a much eerier experience.

In the first chapter, Wren is exposed to the quicksilver blight because of confusion over government-issued guidelines. She doesn’t realize she needs to be wearing a mask while working with infected plants – and that was baked into this book from the start. The first draft had also already incorporated the quarantine in Hollow’s End, and so many moments that now land more intimately than I could’ve anticipated: the grief that comes with lost opportunities for togetherness, the terror of testing positive, and the temptation to downplay the likelihood of infection (not only by the person experiencing symptoms, but also by their surrounding loved ones).

So, yes, freakily enough, most of the major resonances with our real-life pandemic were in place from draft one. But COVID-19 did give me a clearer picture of what the day-to-day details might look like, those mounting little inconveniences that add up to a life and routine we no longer recognize. The signs taped to the windows in our own apartment complex’s lobby, scribbled over with ever-changing updates to hours and masking requirements, inspired a line about What We Harvest’s abandoned Main Street shops. The sudden switch to remote learning made me more fully appreciate how tough it would be for kids like Wren and Derek to be quarantined from their school across the bridge and to have to take their finals online – especially given the disastrous Wi-Fi of Hollow’s End, a rural and remote peninsula.

However, one thing I’m thankful for is that the quicksilver blight, a molten metal rot, is a very different beast from COVID-19. And I hope the splashier genre elements, and the inherent distance from reality they provide, offers a safer space for readers who need a catharsis without directly confronting personal experiences from the last couple of years.

What are some speculative fiction novels you love?

*takes incredibly deep breath* In alphabetical order: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow; A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix; Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis; Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power; Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft; Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters; House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland;  Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia; Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand; Small Favors by Erin A. Craig; The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould; The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson; When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Maria McLemore . . . I am going to physically restrain myself now.

The book has real Invasion of the Body Snatchers vibes. And that movie has famously been read as a parable for near everything. Was the “blight” in your book inspired by any real-world social issues?

Oh, definitely! But, like the body snatchers in Invasion, the quicksilver blight isn’t meant to neatly map to one specific issue. To throw another horror movie into the mix, are you familiar with the concept behind Ju-On: The Grudge? The monster there is a literal curse, one created when a person dies in the throes of extreme rage or sorrow. An emotion made manifest. Similarly, the blight represents embodied sin. Past sin. Buried sin – which can only stay buried so long. The kind which will consume us all, unless we take the time to understand and address it.

The blight is meant to suggest that the sins of the past are still very much with us in the present. Racism, inequity, pollution, to name a few. And the book at large invites us to examine: what is the price of our own dreams, and who is paying it? Have we taken the time to root out the blight in our own soil? Are we doomed to plant our futures on poisoned ground?  How do we do better and move forward?

What We Harvest is not without a few gory sequences: how do you decide what to “show” and what to “tell” in terms of blood and guts?

Agh, this is such a fine line! Somebody’s “meh, not scary” is another person’s “whoa, way too much!” For me, the most gruesome horror is in the details. The super intense close-ups. Ultimately, I try to return to the question: what serves the story? Does this detail create a meaningful emotional response for the character observing it? If so, I’ll try to show it.

But I have sometimes softened descriptions based on collective feedback from beta readers and critique partners. In terms of what is or isn’t too intense, it’s helpful to get the opinion of people who spend less time playing around in fictional nightmare-worlds!

It’s also a very funny book at times – what do you feel is the relationship between horror and humor?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked this! Not sure people expect this from a YA horror author, but my roots are in comic playwriting. So, I love comedy. And, in fact, as the mastermind Jordan Peele has discussed at greater length with greater words: comedy and horror are more alike than they seem. They both rely on the suspense of not knowing what comes next, they both provoke visceral bodily responses, and they both speak in hyperbole – exaggerating an aspect or two of reality in order to point at deeper truths.

People sometimes dismiss humor as creating distance between a fictional world and its audience, but when used well, I believe it’s actually an invaluable bonding opportunity. Nothing opens people’s hearts like humor. It can allow an audience to feel more deeply for characters and their stories, not less.

For me, the only trick of blending horror and humor is making sure to place jokes in the right spots, so the scares stay scary. Otherwise, I’d say they’re a perfect marriage!

What’s your number one piece of writing advice (either that you give people or that you’ve received)?

Embrace your inner weirdo. Which is really just a more fun way to say: don’t self-censor. I spend a lot of time battling perfectionism and that adorable inner voice that likes to question the worth of what I create. While drafting, I wondered many times if this book, with its iridescent wheat and molten metal blight, was too strange. But those turned out to be elements that so many people connect to! Precisely because, yep, they are strange.

What are you working on next?

My upcoming book is another standalone YA horror/supernatural thriller. It’s a mental health recovery story set against the backdrop of a haunted house, full of seances and mysterious masks, and crawling with bugs and blue roses. Very excited to share more about that soon!

Pandemic question: What’s the one thing you just can’t live without these days?

So, at the height of the pandemic, my husband and I embarked on a crusade to discover the best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe. We were planning to try out a bunch. Then we made Doubletree’s and stopped right there. Because they were perfect.

We’ve been making them (probably way too often) ever since: https://newsroom.hilton.com/static-doubletree-reveals-cookie-recipe.htm.

Credit: Doubletree Hilton

Incidentally, I also discovered during the pandemic that I’m gluten-intolerant, but you can make this recipe gluten-free by subbing the flour out for: 1.25 cup oat flour, 1 cup of one-to-one gluten-free flour blend (I recommend Better Batter!).

Thanks for joining us, Ann! What We Harvest is available now, make sure you pick it up from your favorite bookstore. And keep an eye out for an Instagram Live with Ann in April!

What We Harvest
By Ann Fraistat
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593382165 | Delacorte Press
Wren owes everything she has to her hometown, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture-perfect slice of America. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family’s farm. At least, they did. Until five months ago. That’s when the Quicksilver blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It began by consuming the crops, thick silver sludge bleeding from the earth. Next were the animals. Infected livestock and wild creatures staggered off into the woods by day – only to return at night, their eyes fogged white, leering from the trees. Then the blight came for the neighbors. Wren is among the last locals standing, and the blight has finally come for her, too. Now the only one she can turn to is her ex, Derek, the last person she wants to call. They haven’t spoken in months, but Wren and Derek still have one thing in common: Hollow’s End means everything to them. Only, there’s much they don’t know about their hometown and its celebrated miracle crops. And they’re about to discover that miracles aren’t free. Their ancestors have an awful lot to pay for, and Wren and Derek are the only ones left to settle old debts.

Ann Fraistat: website | twitter | instagram

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following titles are now available in stores and online!

Anne’s Tragical Tea Party
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
72 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267220 | Tundra Books
Anne loves having pretend tea parties by herself. She even decorates her room with branches and colorful leaves for the occasion. Marilla Cuthbert, who adopted Anne in the last year, wishes Anne would act a little more sensibly. One day, Marilla comes up with a plan to keep Anne out of mischief – Anne can host her very own tea party and invite her kindred spirit, Diana Barry! Anne is thrilled, and sets out to host the most lovely and grown-uppish tea party she can muster. But when she makes Diana sick by accidentally giving her the wrong drink, Diana’s mother is furious. Can Anne be forgiven? Will she ever be allowed to play with Diana again?

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.

We can’t wait to see you reading these titles! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.