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.

Penguin Teen Canada Trivia Night: Love is Love is Love

This fall, we’re testing our general knowledge and hanging out with some of our fave authors in a three-part trivia series! Join us for the first one on Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm EST on Zoom. We’ll be joined by Heather Smith (Barry Squires, Full Tilt), Arvin Ahmadi (How it All Blew Up), and Danielle Younge-Ullman (He Must Like You) who will be asking questions about dancing, Italy, and restaurants. RSVP here and we’ll “see” you there!

Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather T. Smith
232 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267466 | 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.

How It All Blew Up
By Arvin Ahmadi
272 Pages | Ages 14+
ISBN 9780593202876 | Viking Books for Young Readers
Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?
Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom.
At turns uplifting and devastating, How It All Blew Up is Arvin Ahmadi’s most powerful novel yet, a celebration of how life’s most painful moments can live alongside the riotous, life-changing joys of discovering who you are..

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.


Questions or concerns? Follow us on Twitter or email us at YoungReaders@penguinrandomhouse.com!

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on Fresh Fall Reads

Our Marketing and Publicity Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about fresh fall reads for kids. Check out our titles from her recommended list below and don’t forget to watch her segment!

AGES 3-7

The Barnabus ProjectThe Barnabus Project
By The Fan Brothers
72 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263260 | Tundra Books
Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but they are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground . . . so he decides to escape. Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are.

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.

I Talk Like a River
By Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445592 | Holiday House
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

AGES 8-12

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 must try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything – including them.

Pine Island HomePine Island Home
By Polly Horvath
240 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268623 | Puffin Canada
Fiona, Marlin, Natasha, and Charlie McCready are left on their own when their missionary parents are washed away in a tsunami. Fortunately, their great aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls – a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

AGES 12+

He Must Like You
By Danielle Younge-Ullman
336 Pages | 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265691 | Penguin Teen Canada
After dumping a pitcher of sangria on an overly handsy customer, Libby has to navigate the fallout of her outburst, plus deal with her rage at the guys who’ve screwed up her life – and her increasing crush on the one guy who truly gets her. A story about consent, rage, and revenge, and the potential we all have to be better.

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

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

It Happened on Sweet StreetIt Happened on Sweet Street
By Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
44 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918852 | Tundra Books
Cakes, cookies or pie? A rivalry among local bakers is the basis for this deliciously sweet, off-the-wall picture book. Monsieur Oliphant’s cake shop, the only bakery game in town, has long had customers lining up outside its door for Oliphant’s delicious jelly rolls and marvelous wedding cakes . . . until the day cookie concocter Mademoiselle Fée takes over the old shoemaker’s shop. And it isn’t long before the divine piemaker Madame Clotilde soon moves into the old bric-a-brac shop. Three different bakers all trying to outclass one another means their little cul-de-sac is packed with customers every day and night, so, one morning, when everyone is bumpling and jostling each other with their cakes, cookies and pies, a food disaster – a massacre of cream, a devastation of crumbs – is inevitable! Only one little girl has the drive (or appetite?) to find a solution, but can it last? This madcap tale of frenzied cooks and zany eats (and one very lucky town) will delight readers with a sweet tooth of any age!

The Mosquito
By Elise Gravel
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266452 | Tundra Books
Hilarious illustrated nonfiction about mosquitos perfect for beginning readers. Conversational text and silly illustrations will have you up all night reading about the most annoying bug on Earth! The Mosquito covers habitat (mosquitos live everywhere except Antarctica and Iceland!), species (over 3,500!), history (the oldest recorded mosquito was 79 million years ago!) and much more. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Mosquito contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.

The Toad
By Elise Gravel
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735267176 | Tundra Books
“Using a cartoon framework, Gravel rattles off fast facts accompanied by wisecracking amphibians, giving spreads the feel of a gag strip…. Young readers will squeal and squirm…. Kids will readily respond to Gravel’s hilarious illustrations, simple sentences, and dynamic fonts, as well as her call to help toads by keeping the planet clean.” – Booklist

He Must Like You
By Danielle Younge-Ullman
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265691 | Penguin Teen Canada
“There are few writers of any stripe capable of tackling important, tough topics with as much grace, heart, humor, and righteous fury as Danielle Younge-Ullman, and nowhere is that more abundantly on display than in He Must Like You. This is a must-read.” — Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King

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

Finalists for the 2018 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) has announced the finalists for the following eight major awards for Canadian children’s books:

  • TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
  • Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
  • Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction
  • Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • John Spray Mystery Award
  • Amy Mathers Teen Book Award
  • Prix Harry Black de l’album jeunesse

The nominated books exemplify some of the best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The following Penguin Random House Canada Young Reader titles have been chosen:

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

When the Moon ComesWhen the Moon Comes
Written by Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Matt James
Tundra Books for ages 4-8
“When the Moon Comes is an idyllic childhood moment frozen in time… The quiet, expressive text combined with the evocative illustrations draws the reader in to the story until you become one with the children, feeling the biting cold of the night air on your cheeks as you glide effortlessly over ice in the silver light of the moon… The illustrations evoke a strong feeling of nostalgia and community friendships and are a perfect complement the text.”

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

Little Blue ChairLittle Blue Chair
Written by Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
Tundra Books for ages 3-7
“This circular tale takes readers on a whimsical journey from here to there and back again following the travels of an ordinary little chair… Charming illustrations in a soft palette offer just the right amount of detail to draw in children and give them plenty to explore with each re-reading… This gentle story is a testament to the creative power of the imagination…”

When the Moon ComesWhen the Moon Comes
Written by Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Matt James
Tundra Books for ages 4-9
“This nostalgia filled adventure with friends will resonate with those who love the moon, nature and hockey… The friends’ anticipation and excitement for their nighttime excursion is palpable… James’ strong illustrations emphasize the beauty of winter, the wonder of a dark night, the power of the moon and the fun of an escapade with friends.”

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

The Agony of Bun O'KeefeThe Agony of Bun O’Keefe
Written by Heather Smith
Penguin Teen Canada for ages 12 and up
“This sad and beautiful book, rich with soul and heart, gives voice to marginalized characters and addresses weighty topics with sensitivity… I will not forget Bun O’Keefe. She holds a place in my heart as she does in the heart of Busker Boy and will do in the hearts of those who read her story… This is a book that may be a mirror or a window for readers, or a story that builds empathy for the many challenges faced by those not fitting societal expectations.”

Amy Mathers Teen Book Award

The Agony of Bun O'KeefeThe Agony of Bun O’Keefe
Written by Heather Smith
Penguin Teen Canada for ages 12 and up
“A moving and heart-wrenching story about loneliness, innocence and the healing power of finding a family of one’s own… Themes of forgiveness, loyalty, love and healing are woven throughout the story, and combine with humour and unforgettable characters to make a book that will stay with readers long after the last page.”

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined - paperbackEverything Beautiful is Not Ruined
Written by Danielle Younge-Ullman
Penguin Teen Canada for ages 14 and up
“An enthralling novel that packs an emotional punch, Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined is the story of one teenaged girl’s personal journey towards forgiveness and self-discovery… Younge-Ullman has crafted a beautiful and compelling story about a mother and daughter, grief and resilience.”

Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

The winners of the English-language awards will be announced at an invitation-only gala event at Bram and Bluma Appel Salon in Toronto on October 29, 2018. The winners of the French-language awards will be announced at an invitation-only gala event at Scena in Montreal on November 19, 2018.