The 2021 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees

The Forest of Reading® is Canada’s largest recreational reading program. This initiative of the Ontario Library Association offers seven reading programs to encourage a love of reading in people of all ages. The Forest helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors, and illustrators. Here at Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, we’d like to congratulate our nominated authors and illustrators.

2021 Blue Spruce Award™ Nominees

Bad Dog
By Mike Boldt
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984847973 | Doubleday BFYR
“Look what I got for my birthday! A pet dog!” says a little girl holding a . . . cat? Rocky doesn’t listen or obey like all the other dogs. (Because Rocky is a cat.) And Rocky hates her leash and doesn’t seem to like other dogs. (Probably because Rocky is a cat.) And rather than play fetch, Rocky prefers to . . . lick between her toes? Ew. Rocky is a bad “dog”! BUT Rocky doesn’t bark, and is so cute when she sleeps in sunny spots. Maybe Rocky IS a good dog? (Or, you know, maybe Rocky is a cat.) Cat lovers and dog lovers alike will howl with laughter at this little girl’s willful insistence that her cat is a dog. The hilarious ways in which cats and dogs are different are brilliantly illuminated with each turn of the page and will leave young readers and their grown-ups giggling.

2021 Silver Birch Express Award® Fiction Nominees

Terry Fox and MeTerry Fox and Me
By Mary Beth Leatherdale
Illustrated by Milan Pavlovic
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267688 | Tundra Books
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, this picture book biography tells the story of a friendship defined by strength and love. Before Terry Fox become a national hero and icon, he was just a regular kid. But even then, his characteristic strength, determination and loyalty were apparent and were the foundation for his friendship with Doug. The two first met at basketball tryouts in grammar school. Terry was the smallest – and worst – basketball player on the court. But that didn’t stop him. With Doug’s help, Terry practiced and practiced until he earned a spot on the team. As they grew up, the best friends supported each other, challenged each other, helped each other become better athletes and better people. Doug was by Terry’s side every step of the way: when Terry received a diagnosis of cancer in his leg, when he was learning to walk – then run – with a prosthetic leg and while he was training for the race of his life, his Marathon of Hope. Written from Doug’s perspective, this story shows that Terry Fox’s legacy goes beyond the physical and individual accomplishments of a disabled athlete and honors the true value of friendship.

2021 Yellow Cedar Award® Fiction Nominees

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
48 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918593 | Tundra Books
Growing up quiet and lonely at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her teachers and family believed in her and sent her to art school and later Japan, where her talent flourished. But while Gyo’s career grew and led her to work for Walt Disney Studios, World War II began, and with it, her family’s internment. But Gyo never stopped fighting – for herself, her vision, her family and her readers – and later wrote and illustrated the first children’s book to feature children of different races interacting together. This luminous new book beautifully and openly touches on Gyo’s difficult experiences and growth. Through Julie Morstad’s exquisite illustrations, alternating between striking black-and-white linework and lush colour, and Kyo Maclear’s artful and accessible writing, the story of this cherished figure is told at last.

2021 Silver Birch Award® Fiction Nominees

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer
By Gillian Goerz
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525552857 | Dial BFYR
Jamila Waheed is staring down a lonely summer in a new neighborhood – until she meets Shirley Bones. Sure, Shirley’s a little strange, but both girls need a new plan for the summer, and they might as well become friends.  Then this kid Oliver shows up begging for Shirley’s help. His pet gecko has disappeared, and he’s sure it was stolen! That’s when Jamila discovers Shirley’s secret: She’s the neighborhood’s best kid detective, and she’s on the case. When Jamila discovers she’s got some detective skills of her own, a crime-solving partnership is born. The mystery of the missing gecko turns Shirley and Jamila’s summer upside down. And when their partnership hits a rough patch, they have to work together to solve the greatest mystery of all: What it means to be a friend.

The Barren GroundsThe Barren Grounds
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266100 | Puffin Canada
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

2021 Red Maple Award™ Fiction Nominees

Broken Strings
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266247 | Puffing Canada
It’s 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers — and the death of her beloved grandmother — Shirli Berman is intent on moving forward. The best singer in her junior high, she auditions for the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof, but is crushed to learn that she’s been given the part of the old Jewish mother in the musical rather than the coveted part of the sister. But there is an upside: her “husband” is none other than Ben Morgan, the cutest and most popular boy in the school. Deciding to throw herself into the role, she rummages in her grandfather’s attic for some props. There, she discovers an old violin in the corner — strange, since her Zayde has never seemed to like music, never even going to any of her recitals. Showing it to her grandfather unleashes an anger in him she has never seen before, and while she is frightened of what it might mean, Shirli keeps trying to connect with her Zayde and discover the awful reason behind his anger. A long-kept family secret spills out, and Shirli learns the true power of music, both terrible and wonderful.

2021 White Pine Award™ Nominees

He Must Like You
By Danielle Younge-Ullman
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265691 | Penguin Teen Canada
Libby’s having a rough senior year. Her older brother absconded with his college money and is bartending on a Greek island. Her dad just told her she’s got to pay for college herself, and he’s evicting her when she graduates so he can AirBnB her room. A drunken hook-up with her coworker Kyle has left her upset and confused. So when Perry Ackerman, serial harasser and the most handsy customer at The Goat where she waitresses, pushes her over the edge, she can hardly be blamed for dumping a pitcher of sangria on his head. Unfortunately, Perry is a local industry hero, the restaurant’s most important customer and Libby’s mom’s boss. Now Libby has to navigate the fallout of her outburst, find an apartment and deal with her increasing rage at the guys who’ve screwed up her life – and her increasing crush on the one guy who truly gets her. As timely as it is timeless, He Must Like You is a story about consent, rage, and revenge, and the potential we all have to be better people.

By Tanaz Bhathena
384 Pages | Ages 12+| Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267022 | Penguin Teen Canada
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge. Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl—Gul—in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance—and discovers a magic he never expected to find. Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
The Starlight Claim
By Tim Wynne-Jones
240 Pages | Ages 14+| Hardcover
ISBN 9781536202649 | Candlewick
Four months after his best friend, Dodge, disappeared near their families’ camp in a boat accident, Nate is still haunted by nightmares. He’d been planning to make the treacherous trek to the remote campsite with a friend — his first time in winter without his survival-savvy father. But when his friend gets grounded, Nate secretly decides to brave the trip solo in a journey that’s half pilgrimage, half desperate hope he will find his missing friend when no one else could. What he doesn’t expect to find is the door to the cabin flung open and the camp occupied by strangers: three men he’s horrified to realize have escaped from a maximum-security prison. Snowed in by a blizzard and with no cell signal, Nate is confronted with troubling memories of Dodge and a stunning family secret, and realizes that his survival now depends on his wits as much as his wilderness skills. As things spiral out of control, Nate finds himself dealing with questions even bigger than who gets to leave the camp alive.

The 2014 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees


Today, the Ontario Library Association revealed the nominated titles for the 2014 Forest of Reading® program. Tundra would like to congratulate the nominated authors and illustrators!

Blue Spruce™ Nominee:
Mr Zingers HatMr. Zinger’s Hat
Written by Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Hardcover | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-253-0
“Every child needs a Mr. Zinger – and his hat! – in his or her life…. Petričić’s illustrations change from loose, soft watercolors to sharply defined cartoon drawings when the two enter the realm of their shared fiction…. This book oh-so-softly brings across a sweet multigenerational message about sharing the power of imagination.” – Booklist

Silver Birch® Express Nominees:
When I Get OlderWhen I Get Older
The Story behind “Wavin’ Flag”

Written by K’NAAN and Sol Guy
Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Hardcover | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-302-5
“Somali-Canadian musician K’naan’s first children’s book tells the inspirational story of his immigration to Canada to escape the Somali War. K’naan uses accessible yet poetic language to draw in young readers, exploring his adjustment to Canada and how music kept him connected to his family. Gutierrez’s artwork powerfully conveys a new immigrant’s sense of alienation.” – Parents Canada

Red Maple™ Fiction Nominees
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K LarsenThe Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Written by Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 256 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-372-8
eBook: 978-1-77049-373-5
“…With fully developed adult and child characters and a solid sense of middle school humor, the author has crafted an insightful and nuanced novel about bullying and suicide, and familial love and resilience.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

The Toronto Festival of Trees™ will be taking place on May 14-15, 2014 at the Harbourfront Centre. We will be there to cheer on our authors and illustrators!

The 2013 OLA Forest of Reading® Honour Books


The Ontario Library Association revealed the winning titles for the 2013 Forest of Reading® program. Tundra would like to congratulate our honour book authors!

Blue Spruce™ Honour Book:

Splinters
Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Hardcover | 40 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-944-3
Cindy Winters loves to play hockey. When her family’s basement apartment is flooded and the floor freezes, she’s delighted to skate on the frozen concrete. Her parents are too poor to enroll her in a hockey league but Cindy’s resourceful and does odd jobs until she earns enough money to join a team. Armed with her mother’s old equipment, she is thrilled with the prospect of playing on a real life hockey team. But her happiness doesn’t last long. Among her teammates are the horrible “Blister Sisters.” They make Cindy’s life miserable. And worst of all, she’s sidelined by the coach, who just happens to be Mrs. Blister. It looks like she’ll be spending the season cleaning equipment, instead of on the ice. Cindy’s luck changes when her Fairy Goaltender appears and saves the day. With its great humour and hilarious illustrations, Kevin Sylvester’s Splinters is bound to become a favourite.

Silver Birch® Fiction Honour Book:

A Tinfoil Sky
By Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Hardcover | 224 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-277-6
Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in an abusive man’s apartment. One day, Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s house. Mel begins to dream of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love, and these dreams seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems to be beyond her grasp. However Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt her is about to change that. Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful and captivating novel.

The 2013 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees


Today, the Ontario Library Association revealed the nominated titles for the 2013 Forest of Reading® program.

Tundra would like to congratulate the nominated authors and illustrators!

Blue Spruce™ Nominee:

Ella May and the Wishing Stone
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Geneviève Côte
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-225-7
One day, Ella May finds a stone that has a line going all-all-all the way around it. Surely a stone this special must grant wishes, she decides. Soon she is busy making wishes and bragging about them. When her friends want to share in the fun, Ella May objects. But she learns that keeping the stone to herself is a sure way to lose friends. By using her imagination – much more powerful than any stone – she is able to grant everybody’s wishes, including her own. Cary Fagan’s witty and sharply observed story will delight young readers who are beginning to explore the pleasures and challenges of sharing and friendship.

Here Comes Hortense!
By Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Georgia Graham
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-221-9
The feisty, irrepressible Nana we met in Nana’s Getting Married is back. And what could be more fun for a six-year-old than having your nana and her new husband take you to a theme park? But the fun is spoiled when Nana and Bob announce that they’ve planned a surprise: The three of them will be joined by Bob’s granddaughter, Hortense. It turns out to be the worst surprise ever. Nana shares her room with Hortense instead of her disgruntled little grandson. She sings her special good-night song to Hortense. She goes on all the scary rides with Hortense. And, worst of all, Hortense has a special name for Nana. A perceptive and hilarious exploration of rivalry, there’s a gentle lesson within this story, for readers, young and old alike.

JoJo the Giant
By Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Esperança Melo
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-976-4
Children are eager to grow bigger, and JoJo is no exception. He always asks his mother the same question: “How much did I grow today?” No matter how often his mother assures him that good things come in small packages, he is desperate to be bigger. After all, he wants to run in a race to win a pair of red Rocket Racer shoes. But how can he compete against bullies who are much bigger than he is? A delightful story with a surprise ending illustrates how true growth is not always measured in inches. Jane Barclay’s heart-warming story explores a theme that speaks to every child. Esperança Melo’s wonderful art complements the text to create a charming book that’s bound to become a favourite.

Splinters
Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Hardcover | 40 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-944-3
Cindy Winters loves to play hockey. When her family’s basement apartment is flooded and the floor freezes, she’s delighted to skate on the frozen concrete. Her parents are too poor to enroll her in a hockey league but Cindy’s resourceful and does odd jobs until she earns enough money to join a team. Armed with her mother’s old equipment, she is thrilled with the prospect of playing on a real life hockey team. But her happiness doesn’t last long. Among her teammates are the horrible “Blister Sisters.” They make Cindy’s life miserable. And worst of all, she’s sidelined by the coach, who just happens to be Mrs. Blister. It looks like she’ll be spending the season cleaning equipment, instead of on the ice. Cindy’s luck changes when her Fairy Goaltender appears and saves the day. With its great humour and hilarious illustrations, Kevin Sylvester’s Splinters is bound to become a favourite.

Silver Birch® Fiction Nominee:

A Tinfoil Sky
By Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Hardcover | 224 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-277-6
Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in an abusive man’s apartment. One day, Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s house. Mel begins to dream of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love, and these dreams seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems to be beyond her grasp. However Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt her is about to change that. Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful and captivating novel.

Silver Birch® Express Nominees:

In The Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-239-4
Tundra’s Great Idea Series is comprised of biographies of inventors for early readers. The third book in the series introduces the fascinating Margaret Knight. Known as Mattie, she was different from most American girls living in 1850. She loved to make things with wood and made the best kites and sleds in town. Her father died when she was only three, and by the time she was twelve, she was working at the local cotton mill alongside her two older brothers. One day, she saw a worker get injured by a shuttle that had come loose from the giant loom, and the accident inspired her to invent a stop-motion device. It was the first of her many inventions. Margaret Knight devoted her life to inventing, and is best known for the clever, practical, paper bag. When she died in 1914, she had ninety inventions to her name and over twenty patents, astounding accomplishments for a woman of her day. Monica Kulling’s easy-to-read text, peppered with lots of dialogue, brings an amazing, inspiring woman to life.

Who Needs a Swamp?
Written and illustrated by Karen Patkau
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-991-7
Tundra introduces the first three books in its important new ecosystems series. Each title celebrates the world’s diversity by presenting a different ecosystem: its land and water, its animals and plants. The art is brimming with creatures and ecological features, described in fact-filled notes at the end of each book and in a useful glossary and map. Swamps are often seen as a dangerous and useless. They are often drained to create farmland or to reduce diseases. But such measures can be disastrous. Who Needs a Swamp? explores wetlands and their importance in the food chain and in preserving our soil and clean water. Not only is each book informative and beautiful, but it is a call to action for everybody who cares about the world in which we live.

Red Maple™ Fiction Nominees

The Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 5th Case
By Shane Peacock
Hardcover | 240 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-231-8
Summer 1869, and Sherlock Holmes and his friend Irene celebrate her sixteenth birthday by attending the theater to watch a celebrated magician make a real dragon appear on stage. It is the London sensation. Sherlock and Irene meet the magician, Alistair Hemsworth – just as he is arrested for the murder of his rival, The Wizard of Nottingham. It seems that traces of the missing Wizard’s blood and his spectacles were found in Hemsworth’s secret studio. Hemsworth has a motive: not only is the Wizard his rival, but he also caused a scandal when he lured Hemsworth’s wife away. But is Hemsworth guilty? Sherlock has his doubts, and soon, so does the reader. With humor and plot turns as dizzying as a narrow London lane, Shane Peacock invites his readers into a fascinating world, and a fresh adventure with one of literature’s favorite characters. The Boy Sherlock Holmes series is an international success with readers and reviewers alike.

First Descent
By Pam Withers
Hardcover | 272 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-257-8
Montana-born Rex loves nothing more than to take his kayak out on a river, the faster and more powerful the better. When he gets the opportunity to tackle the well-named El Furioso in southwest Colombia, he is thrilled. He anticipates the river’s challenges, but finds himself in a situation where the real danger is human. In Colombia, he meets Myriam Calambás, an indígena, who has lived along the El Furioso all her life. Though she loves its rushing waters, she dreams of leaving to get an education so that she can help her people. Her dreams, and her very survival, are in the balance when she and Rex are caught up in the clash between paramilitaries, working for rich landowners, and guerrillas  who are supposed to be protecting the poor. Pam Withers’ skill at writing about extreme adventures combines with a compelling story about an endangered world and a people struggling for their very right to exist.

Golden Oak™ Nominees

In The Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN 978-1-77049-239-4
Tundra’s Great Idea Series is comprised of biographies of inventors for early readers. The third book in the series introduces the fascinating Margaret Knight. Known as Mattie, she was different from most American girls living in 1850. She loved to make things with wood and made the best kites and sleds in town. Her father died when she was only three, and by the time she was twelve, she was working at the local cotton mill alongside her two older brothers. One day, she saw a worker get injured by a shuttle that had come loose from the giant loom, and the accident inspired her to invent a stop-motion device. It was the first of her many inventions. Margaret Knight devoted her life to inventing, and is best known for the clever, practical, paper bag. When she died in 1914, she had ninety inventions to her name and over twenty patents, astounding accomplishments for a woman of her day. Monica Kulling’s easy-to-read text, peppered with lots of dialogue, brings an amazing, inspiring woman to life.

The Festival of Trees™ will be taking place on May 15-16, 2013 at the Harbourfront Centre. We will be there to cheer on our authors and illustrators!

Day 1: Festival of Trees 2010

The Ontario Library Association hosts the Forest of Reading Programs  where readers vote for their favourite books! There are 7 different reading programs, categorized by grade level and age. The 2010 winner for each award is announced at the Festival of Trees at the Harbourfront Centre on May 12 and 13th. Despite the cold weather, the students came to the award ceremony to support their favourite books.

First up was the Red Maple Award! Just look at the audience:

Let’s zoom in to see the authors:

DRUMROLL please! Here’s a video on the announcement of the Finalists and the Winner:

Congratulations to Susin Nielsen, Word Nerd is the winner of the 2010 Red Maple Award! Here she is giving her acceptance speech:

Coming off the stage, readers ask to have their photos taken with Susin:

Readers crowding around Susin to get her autograph! She’s feeling like a total ROCK STAR!!!

Lovely isn’t it? Where will Susin hang this?

Next up was the Blue Spruce Award ceremony, the sign holders were adorable:

Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman, creators of Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog sitting beside Jeremy Tankard (in the blue jacket):

Congratulations to Jeremy Tankard, his book Boo Hoo Bird won the Blue Spruce Award!

Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, authors, illustrators, teachers, and students for all their work! Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators!