Holiday Spotlight: Random House Children’s Books

Here at Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, we’re lucky to work with so many different 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.

Burn Our Bodies Down
By Rory Power
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645627 | Delacorte BFYR
Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relatives to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593309605 | Knopf BFYR
16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Dear Justyce
By Nic Stone
288 Pages | 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984829665 | Crown BFYR
Release date: September 29, 2020
In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system. Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce – the protagonist of Dear Martin – Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.

Find Fergus
By Mike Boldt
36 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984849021 | Doubleday BFYR
The hilarious illustrator of I Don’t Want to Be a Frog brings picture book fans a super-silly, interactive story that will have children giggling from start to finish. Follow huge, loveable Fergus and see all the many ways in which he is TERRIBLE at playing hide-and-seek, such as standing behind a VERY tiny tree (“Found you, Fergus! That was too easy!”) or trying to camouflage in a giant crowd of bunnies and squirrels (“Try bears, Fergus. Bears!”). But wait! The game isn’t over yet! The last two pages fold out into a giant panoramic look-and-find scene, where Fergus is well and truly hidden, and young readers can have fun looking for him and lots of other details in the the crowd. There are hours and hours of play value in this adorable book. Children will want to come back to it again and again.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins
By Lincoln Peirce
272 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593125908 | Crown BFYR
Max didn’t expect knight school to be so tough. Luckily, she has her best friends – the Midknights – at her side. But when Byjovia is under attack, the Midknights will have to face beastly creatures, powerful spells, and their greatest foe yet–themselves? Lincoln Peirce, author of the New York Times bestselling Max & the Midknights, brings more laughs, more adventures, and more silliness to Battle of the Bodkins, book two in the Max & the Midknights series.

Serpentine
By Philip Pullman
Illustrated by Tom Duxbury
80 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593377680 | Knopf BFYR
This companion to the His Dark Materials series and The Book of Dust offers a tantalizing new glimpse of Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon. The world-changing events of The Amber Spyglass are behind them, and Lyra and Pan find themselves utterly changed as well. In Serpentine, they journey to the far North once more, hoping to ask the Consul of Witches a most urgent question. This brand-new story, a beguiling must-read for Pullman fans old and new, is a perfect companion to His Dark Materials and a fascinating bridge to The Book of Dust.

The Cousins
By Karen M. McManus
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525708001 | Delacorte BFYR
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious. Their parents are all clear on one point – not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious – and dark – their family’s past is. The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over – and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

The World Needs More Purple People
By Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593121962 | Random House BFYR
What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh (especially at Grandpa’s funny noises)! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That’s the fun part! Penny Purple will lead you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired. Looking to reach beyond the political divide of red and blue, Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart have created a hilarious and joyous read-aloud that offers a wonderful message about embracing the things that bring us together as humans. This book will inspire a whole generation to paint the world purple!

Wild Symphony
By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123843 | Rodale Kids
Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share. Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you – a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve! Children and adults can enjoy this timeless picture book as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read — one for each animal — with a free interactive smartphone app, which uses augmented reality to play the appropriate song for each page when a phone’s camera is held over it.

Cozy Up with These Holiday Romances

‘Tis the season to cuddle up with a mug of hot chocolate and a cute holiday read. You’ll have to make the drink yourself (sorry), but luckily, we have the book recommendations! Check them out below and make sure to pick them up from your favourite local bookstore!

All I Want for Christmas
By Wendy Loggia
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593179833 | Underlined
Bailey Briggs is counting down the days to Christmas: she lives for holiday music, baking cookies, going on snowy sleigh rides,and wearing her light-up reindeer ears to work at Winslow’s bookstore. But all she really wants this year is the one thing she doesn’t have: someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. And she’s 100 percent certain that that someone isn’t Jacob Marley — athlete, player, and of questionable taste in girlfriends — and that Charlie, the mysterious stranger with the British accent, is the romantic lead of her dreams. Is she right? This will be a December to remember, filled with real-life Christmas magic . . . and, if she stays on Santa’s nice list, a wish that just might come true.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593309605 | Knopf BFYR
16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories
Edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman
Foreword by Mayim Bialik
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525646167 | Knopf BFYR
A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party. From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

Let It Snow
By John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781101998618 | Speak
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train, setting off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

New Year’s Kiss
By Lee Matthews
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593179857 | Underlined
Tess and her opinionated older sister Lauren are spending the week after Christmas at the snowy Evergreen Lodge in Vermont and they aren’t happy about it. Their stern grandmother, who owns the holiday resort, is not known for her warmth and good humor. But when shy, straight-laced Tess meets Christopher in the lobby, things are suddenly looking up. And when she decides to get out of her comfort zone and create a bucket list of things to accomplish before the New Year-like singing in public and skiing a black-diamond slope-Christopher is happy to help, even as he keeps a secret that could turn everything upside down. When the ball drops, will Tess and Christopher share a magical kiss-or will Tess start the new year off alone?

What Light
By Jay Asher
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780448493640 | Razorbill
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon — it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other. By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

Meet Dash & Lily!

It’s been a decade since Rachel Cohen and David Levithan first introduced us to one of our fave couples, Dash and Lily, and now they’re getting an adaptation! Make sure you tune into Dash & Lily on Netflix starting November 10 and catch up on the books if you haven’t already!

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780375859557 | Knopf BFYR
16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399553837 | Knopf BFYR
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers watched the couple fall in love in Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition. Lily’s spark has dimmed so much that Langston, her brother, has put aside his grudge against Dash to team up and remind Lily what there is to love about life. With only twelve days left until Christmas – Lily’s favorite time of the year – Dash, Langston, and their friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday spirit of New York City in December, a time and place unlike anywhere else in the world. Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is bound to be a Christmas favorite for seasons to come.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593301531 | Knopf BFYR
Dash and Lily were feeling closer than ever…it’s just too bad they’re now an ocean apart. After Dash gets accepted to Oxford University and Lily stays in New York to take care of her dog-walking business, the devoted couple are struggling to make a long distance relationship work. And when Dash breaks the news that he won’t be coming home for Christmas, Lily makes a decision: If Dash can’t come to her, she’ll join him in London. It’s a perfect romantic gesture…that spins out of Lily’s control. Soon Dash and Lily are feeling more of a gap between them, even though they’re in the same city. Will London bring them together again – or will it be their undoing?