Holiday Spotlight: Random House Children’s Books 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 Random House Children’s Books.

A Lesson in Vengeance
By Victoria Lee
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593305829 | Delacorte Press
Felicity Morrow is back at the Dalloway School to finish her senior year after the tragic death of her girlfriend. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students – girls some say were witches. Felicity was once drawn to the dark legacy of witchcraft. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; but it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget it. It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway – and in herself.

As Good As Dead
By Holly Jackson
464 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593379851 | Delacorte Press
Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars. Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself – or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . . and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . . .

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers
By Michelle Obama
432 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593303740 | Delacorte BFYR
Michelle Robinson was born on the South Side of Chicago. From her modest beginnings, she would become Michelle Obama, the inspiring and powerful First Lady of the United States, when her husband, Barack Obama, was elected the forty-fourth president. They would be the first Black First Family in the White House and serve the country for two terms. This volume for young people is an honest and fascinating account of Michelle Obama’s life led by example. She shares her views on how all young people can help themselves as well as help others, no matter their status in life. She asks readers to realize that no one is perfect, and that the process of becoming is what matters, as finding yourself is ever evolving. In telling her story with boldness, she asks young readers: Who are you, and what do you want to become?

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood
Edited by Kwame Mbalia
320 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593379936 | Delacorte BFYR
Black boy joy is . . .
Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice – and your rhymes – during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.
And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
By Barack Obama
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780385738729 | Delacorte BFYR
A revealing portrait of a young Black man asking questions about self-discovery and belonging – long before he became one of the most important voices in America. This unique edition includes a new introduction from the author, full-color photo insert, and family tree. On his journey to adulthood from a humble background, he forges his own path through trial and error while staying connected to his roots. Barack Obama is determined to lead a life of purpose, service, and authenticity. This powerful memoir will inspire readers to examine both where they come from and where they are capable of going.

Grandude’s Green Submarine
By Paul McCartney
Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593372432 | Random House BFYR
Grandude’s inventions are the stuff of legend, and his new green submarine doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it flies as well as submerges! Grandude whisks the grandkids off on another adventure, but he and the Chillers soon find themselves in a pickle. Suddenly, it’s Nandude to the rescue! Nandude is an explorer as courageous as Grandude, with an amazing accordion-ship to boot! Between Grandude’s magic compass and Nandude’s magical music, everyone arrives home safely. But not before enjoying a parade, dancing rainforest animals, and a narrow escape from a grabby octopus. This tale is perfect for little explorers and Paul McCartney fans alike! Artist Kathryn Durst returns with glorious, humor-filled illustrations that are as beautiful as ever.

Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark
By Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews
Adapted by Jenny Laird
176 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593174715 | Random House BFYR
Where did the tree house come from? Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner? For the first time in graphic novel – live the adventure again in the very first Magic Tree House book, with new art from comic artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews!

Pony
By R. J. Palacio
304 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780553508116 | Knopf BFYR
Twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared, and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. When a pony shows up at his door, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father. Along the way, he will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him.

Six Crimson Cranes
By Elizabeth Lim
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300916 | Knopf BFYR
Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother. A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die. Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear – no matter what the cost.

Skin of the Sea
By Natasha Bowen
320 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593120941 | Random House BFYR
Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata – a mermaid – collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home. But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable – she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it. To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . . Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

Take Me With You When You Go
By David Levithan and Jennifer Niven
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525580997 | Knopf BFYR
Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother – how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea? Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city – without Ez, without a real plan – chasing someone who might not even want to be found. As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea will confront secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.

The Big Bath House
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Gracey Zhang
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181959 | Random House Studio
In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl – along with her aunties and grandmother – at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it’s time, and they ease their bodies – their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies – into the bath. Ahhhhhh! With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear’s loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.

The Gilded Ones
By Namina Forna
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984848697 | Delacorte BFYR
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity – and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki – near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be – not even Deka herself.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Lost Stories Collection
By Michael Scott
512 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593376904 | Delacorte BFYR
The legendary alchemyst Nicholas Flamel and his wife, the sorceress Perenelle, traveled the globe for centuries before they discovered the Twins of Legend, Josh and Sophie Newman. Secrets abound – and now you can discover even more of the Flamels’ story in this volume of eight stories set in the world of the internationally bestselling series. Stand with the Flamels when they find the Codex, the book that holds the secret to their immortality. Follow Machiavelli under the perilous streets of Paris. Join Scatty and her twin, Aoife, as they journey through mysterious Shadowrealms. Within these pages you will meet enemies old and new and forge alliances with characters from history, myth, and legend, all as you uncover new mysteries and discover answers to questions remaining in the original series.

You’ll Be the Death of Me
By Karen M. McManus
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593175866 | Delacorte BFYR
Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out from working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again. So when the three unexpectedly run into each other, they decide to avoid their problems by ditching. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say. . . until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school – and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse. It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common . . . like a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something. Could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

Non-Fiction November

If you’re interested in adding some non-fiction titles to your TBR, check out this list! From athletes to a former president (and his wife!), a biography of a female spy, and a grammar guide, we have something for everyone!

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers
By Michelle Obama
432 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593303740 | Delacorte BFYR
Michelle Robinson was born on the South Side of Chicago. From her modest beginnings, she would become Michelle Obama, the inspiring and powerful First Lady of the United States, when her husband, Barack Obama, was elected the forty-fourth president. They would be the first Black First Family in the White House and serve the country for two terms. This volume for young people is an honest and fascinating account of Michelle Obama’s life led by example. She shares her views on how all young people can help themselves as well as help others, no matter their status in life. She asks readers to realize that no one is perfect, and that the process of becoming is what matters, as finding yourself is ever evolving. In telling her story with boldness, she asks young readers: Who are you, and what do you want to become?

Chasing the Truth: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Investigative Reporting
By Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Adapted by Ruby Shamir
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593326992 | Philomel BFYR
In Chasing the Truth, award-winning journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey share their thoughts from their early days writing their first stories to their time as award-winning investigative journalists, offering tips and advice along the way. Adapted from their New York Times bestselling book She SaidChasing the Truth not only tells the story of the culture-shifting Harvey Weinstein investigation, but it also shares their best reporting practices with readers. This is the perfect book for aspiring journalists or anyone devoted to uncovering the truth.

Disability Visibility: 17 First-Person Stories for Today
Edited by Alice Wong
160 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593381670 | Delacorte BFYR
The seventeen eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life’s ableism and inequality, its challenges and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy. The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential reading for all. Disabled young people will be proud to see themselves reflected in this hopeful, compelling, and insightful essay collection, adapted for young adults from the critically acclaimed adult book, Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century.

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
By Barack Obama
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780385738729 | Delacorte BFYR
A revealing portrait of a young Black man asking questions about self-discovery and belonging – long before he became one of the most important voices in America. This unique edition includes a new introduction from the author, full-color photo insert, and family tree. On his journey to adulthood from a humble background, he forges his own path through trial and error while staying connected to his roots. Barack Obama is determined to lead a life of purpose, service, and authenticity. This powerful memoir will inspire readers to examine both where they come from and where they are capable of going.

Dreyer’s English: Good Advice for Good Writing
By Benjamin Dreyer
304 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176801 | Delacorte BFYR
Adapted from the New York Times bestseller by Random House’s longtime copy chief, this informative and witty guide to writing and grammar, written especially for a younger audience, entertains as well as instructs. Full of advice, insider wisdom, and fascinating facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to anyone who wants to be confident in their writing skills, or anyone who enjoys the power of language. Explored throughout are the mysteries of using punctuation, word choice decisions, and more, presented in a clear, concise and accessible manner made fun!

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
By David Grann
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593377345 | Crown BFYR
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created Bureau of Investigation, which became the FBI, took up the case, one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. An undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau, infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Working with the Osage, they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In this adaptation of the adult bestseller, David Grann revisits his gripping investigation into the shocking crimes against the Osage people. The book is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to occur for so long.

Last Witnesses: Adapted for Young Readers
By Svetlana Alexievich
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308530 | Delacorte BFYR
Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich delves into the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents during World War II – most of them never to be reunited – in this this young adult adaptation of her acclaimed non-fiction Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of WWII. The personal narratives told by those who were children during WWII and survived harrowing experiences, are astounding. So many children were separated from their loved ones in the midst of the terror and chaos. As a result, some grew up in orphanages or were raised by grandparents or extended family; others were taken in and cared for by strangers who risked punishment for such acts. Still others lived on their own or became underage soldiers. Forthright and riveting, these bravely told oral histories of survival reveal the heart-rending details of life during wartime while reminding us that resilience is possible, no matter the circumstances.

Notes From a Young Black Chef: Adapted for Young Adults
By Kwame Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176009 | Delacorte BFYR
Food was Kwame Onwuachi’s first great love. He connected to cooking via his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment. From that spark, he launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars he made selling candy on the subway and trained in the kitchens of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country. He faced many challenges on the road to success, including breaking free of a dangerous downward spiral due to temptation and easy money, and grappling with just how unwelcoming the world of fine dining can be for people of color. Born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana, Kwame Onwuachi’s incredible story is one of survival and ingenuity in the face of adversity.

On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating
By Karina Manta
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308462 | Knopf BFYR
Karina Manta has had a busy few years: Not only did she capture the hearts of many with her fan-favorite performance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she also became the first female figure skater on Team USA to come out as queer. Her Modern Love essay “I Can’t Hate My Body if I Love Hers” was published in the New York Times, and then she joined the circus – Cirque du Soleil’s on-ice show, AXEL. Karina’s memoir covers these experiences and much more. Attending a high school with 4,000 students, you’d expect to know more than two openly gay students, but Karina didn’t meet an out-lesbian until she was nearly seventeen – let alone any other kind of queer woman. But this isn’t just a story about her queerness. It’s also a story about her struggle with body image in a sport that prizes delicate femininity. It’s a story about panic attacks, and first crushes, and all the crushes that followed, and it’s a story about growing up, feeling different than everybody around her and then realizing that everyone else felt different too.

One Life: Young Readers Edition
By Megan Rapinoe
272 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203415 | Razorbill
You know Megan Rapinoe as an international soccer superstar! She’s also a fierce activist, boldly speaking out about issues of equality and justice – from LGBTQ rights to the equal pay movement to Black Lives Matter. In this adaptation for middle school readers of her memoir One Life, get to know Megan: from her childhood in a small California town where she learned to play soccer and how to fight for social justice; through high school, college and beyond; to 2016 when she became the first high-profile white athlete to take a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick, and also suing the United States Soccer Federation along with her teammates over gender discrimination. Using stories from her own life and career, Rapinoe discusses the responsibility we have to speak up. In this edition specifically for young readers, she reveals the impact everyone, even kids, can have on their communities and how kids can get involved in making the world a better place.

The Beautiful Struggle: Adapted for Young Adults
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
176 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984894021 | Delacorte BFYR
As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who’d been part of the Black Panthers and was dedicated to reading and publishing the history of African civilization. When it came to his sons, he was committed to raising proud Black men equipped to deal with a racist society, during a turbulent period in the collapsing city of Baltimore where they lived. Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother “Big Bill,” who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life
By Amy Butler Greenfield
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593127193 | Random House Studio
Elizebeth Smith Friedman had a rare talent for spotting patterns and solving puzzles. These skills led her to become one of the top cryptanalysts in America during both World War I and World War II. She originally came to code breaking through her love for Shakespeare when she was hired by an eccentric millionaire to prove that Shakespeare’s plays had secret messages in them. Within a year, she had learned so much about code breaking that she was a star in the making. She went on to play a major role decoding messages during WWI and WWII and also for the Coast Guard’s war against smugglers. Elizebeth and her husband, William, became the top code-breaking team in the US, and she did it all at a time when most women weren’t welcome in the workforce.