2022 IODE Violet Downey Book Award for Children’s Literature

The National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award is offered annually since 1985 for the best young children’s English language book containing at least 500 words of text. We would like to congratulate Susin Nielsen who won this year’s prize for Tremendous Things!

Tremendous Things
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.

Get #Ready2Camp

As lifestyles becomes increasingly urban and suburban, many are seeking a break from concrete and screen time by exploring the great outdoors. From a simple walk, to hiking,  or camping, it’s never been a better time to escape the urban jungle and feel the grass beneath your feet! What better way to prepare the concept of camping to little ones than a read aloud before you go?

In the Clouds 
By Elly MacKay
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266964 | Tundra Books
A bored and curious little girl wishes for a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day. But a friendly bird soon whisks her off for an adventure in the sky, where she can contemplate questions both scientific and philosophical in nature: how do clouds float? Or carry the rain? Where do they go when they disappear? Are there clouds on other planets? Do they have memories? Have they ever seen a girl like her? This dreamy picture book from the inimitable Elly MacKay features her trademark stunning, light-infused spreads that beautifully capture the wondrousness of clouds and the power of nature to inspire and stimulate imaginations.

Now Not YetNow? Not Yet!
By Gina Perry
32 Page | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919521 | Tundra Books
Peanut says let’s swim.
Moe says time to hike.
Peanut says let’s swim now.
Moe says time to eat a snack.
Peanut says now!
Moe says time to put up the tent.
Peanut says NOW!
Moe says NOT YET!
Can these two friends come together in time to save their camping trip?

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping
By Melanie Watt
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271173 | Tundra Books
Scaredy Squirrel is not too comfortable with the idea of camping — unless it’s on his couch! There will be no mosquitoes, skunks, or zippers to worry about when he watches a show about the joys of camping on his brand-new TV. But first Scaredy must find an electrical outlet, and that means going into the woods! Will this nutty worrywart’s plans prepare him for the great outdoors, or will his adventure end up as a scary story told around the campfire? To coincide with the launch of the new Scaredy Squirrel graphic chapter book series, this hilarious Scaredy picture book adventure is making a timely and triumphant return!

The Boy and the Mountain
By Mario Bellini
Illustrated by Marianna Coppo
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270251 | Tundra Books
A little boy, who is a keen artist, becomes obsessed with a mountain he can see from his house. One day, he tries to draw the mountain, but his drawing doesn’t look anything like it, so he decides that he has to take a closer look. He sets off with his dog, drawing what he sees along the way, and making a growing collection of animal companions during his hike. But when he finally reaches the mountain, the boy makes a discovery about the importance of perspective and friendship which changes how he views the world around him.

The Golden GlowThe Golden Glow
By Benjamin Flouw
48 Page | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264120 | Tundra Books
Fox loves nature. There’s nothing he enjoys more than reading about and picking flowers. One evening, he comes across a rare specimen in his old botany book — the golden glow, a plant from the Wellhidden family, found only in the mountains . . . a plant that has yet to be described. Fascinated, Fox decides to set off on a quest in search of the mysterious golden glow. He packs his knapsack, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and other items for his hike. Along the way, Fox observes many different kinds of trees and plants. He also encounters woodland friends who help him make it to the summit of the mountain. But when Fox eventually stumbles upon the object of his quest, he makes a surprising decision.

The Not-So Great OutdoorsThe Not-So Great Outdoors
By Madeline Kloepper
40 Page | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264175 | Tundra Books
What’s so great about the “great outdoors”? A grumpy urban kid begrudgingly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, missing all the sublime sights right under her nose as she longs for the lights and stimulation of the city. But as she explores forests, lakes and mountains, and encounters bears, beavers and caribou, she slowly comes to realize that the simpler things are just as sparkly, that the sky is its own majestic light show, and the symphony is all around. The Not-So Great Outdoors is a humorous and richly imagined reminder of the beauty and magic that can be found away from the city and our screens.

When We Go Camping
By Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Andrew Kiss
32 Page | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780887766855 | Tundra Books
In this beautifully illustrated book, one busy family finds lots to do from sun up to sunset. At the campsite, there’s wood to chop for the fire and fish to catch. And there’s lots of time to explore, climb rocks, splash in the lake, and discover animals in the shadows of the woods. As afternoon turns to evening, supper needs to be made, and just before bed, stories are told around the campfire. When We Go Camping is as instructional as it is delightful. Each painting highlights the tracks of one animal, which curve from the text into the illustration. Readers can turn to the glossary for more details about the wildlife depicted on each page.


If you’re not planning on camping outdoors this year, join us for Camp Penguin instead! We have lots of great books to keep young readers occupied plus a virtual event with two graphic novel creators coming up in July – register here!

We also have a fun activity for kids to participate in. Click on the BINGO card image below to download and print. Throughout the summer, they can mark off everything they managed to do on the BINGO card. As for prizes when completing a row, column, or diagonal? We hear ice cream is pretty good. 🍦

READy2Camp-Bingo Card

Window Wednesday

#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).

Mabel’s Fables
662 Mt Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2N3

Inspired by: The Fabled Stables series by Jonathan Auxier and Olga Demidova
Photo by: Mabel’s Fables

The 2022 Forest of Reading® Winners and Honour Books

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

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?

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

Tremendous Things
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.

2022 Ezra Jack Keats Award

Each year since 1985, the Ezra Jack Keats Award has been given to early career authors and illustrators who create children’s books that reflect our diverse culture. We would like to congratulate Paul Harbridge who won this year’s award for his picture book, Out Into the Big Wide Lake!

On winning the Writer Award, Paul Harbridge said: “I learned about diversity teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants in Toronto, the most culturally diverse city in the world, and as a speech-language pathologist working first with persons from the Deaf community and later with adults with developmental disabilities. But the best lesson about diversity came from growing up with Linda, my little sister with Down Syndrome. Yes, she was different in some ways but at the same time she was not different at all. Like me and my other brothers and sisters, she needed a chance to explore the world around her, encouragement to go after her goals, a pat on the back when she succeeded, and a reassuring hug when she stumbled. And that is the beauty of Ezra Jack Keats’s books. In The Snowy Day, Peter could have been from any background, any gender, or ability. Winning the EJK Award for Writing is so special to me because it means, in my own small way, I am carrying on Mr. Keats’s work to show the world that, despite our differences, at heart we are all the same.”

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