Holiday Spotlight: Puffin Canada and Penguin Teen Canada 2022

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, 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 Puffin Canada and Penguin Teen Canada.

Ghostlight
By Kenneth Oppel
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272330 | Puffin Canada
The story of the tragic death of sixteen-year-old Rebecca Strand and her lighthouse keeper father is just an elaborate tale Gabe tells tourists for his summer job on the Toronto Island. Or so he thought. When his ghost tours awaken Rebecca’s spirit, Gabe is drawn into a world far darker than any ghost story he’s ever heard. Rebecca reveals that she and her father were connected to The Order, a secret society devoted to protecting the world from “the wakeful and wicked dead” – malevolent spirits like Viker, the ghost responsible for their deaths. But now the Order has disappeared and Viker is growing even stronger, and he’ll stop at nothing to wreak chaos and destruction on the living. Gabe and his friends – both living and dead – must find a way to stop Viker before they all become lost souls.

Green Mountain Academy
By Frances Greenslade
240 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267848 | Tundra Books
After a family trip turned disastrous when their truck broke down in the middle of an old logging road in Oregon, Francie is now back in British Columbia. People try to make things as “normal” as possible for her, but they don’t understand that trying to be normal in your old life that’s exploded is the worst feeling in the world. Luckily for Francie, the wilderness is still soothing, and an opportunity to attend the Green Mountain Academy, a tiny boarding school perched on the side of a mountain, seems perfect. It’s a new start, with new friends and a chance at a new family. But when a winter storm hits, knocking out all the power, news that a small plane has gone missing unsettles Francie. Knowing that the chance of survival in the middle of a wild nighttime snowstorm diminishes over time, Francie is compelled to leave the cozy school and set out into the icy cold, swirling snowstorm.

Me Three
By Susan Juby
224 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268722 | Puffin Canada 
Eleven-year-old Rodney is starting sixth grade in a new school, in a new home in a new state. The new school is really old and smells like someone ate a couple of pounds of glue and then barfed it back up, and he’s in a class with a bunch of kids who seem to sort of hate him. Even his best friend won’t write him back. It’s strange, because just a couple of months ago, Rodney was one of the most popular guys in his fifth-grade class. He lived in Las Vegas, with his mom, older sister and his dad, who was a successful professional poker player. Now his old life is over – his mom even says they shouldn’t tell anyone their real last name. Because of something his dad did. Or something people said that he did. His dad says it’s all a big misunderstanding, but he’s now staying in a center “for people who are having problems, like being addicted to drugs or gambling, or because other people don’t understand that you are just funny and friendly and sometimes you give people hugs or put your arm around them and they accuse you of taking liberties and ruin everything.” Rodney is confident that it won’t be long until the misunderstanding is all cleared up and they can all go back to their old life. But he can only keep the truth at bay for so long . . . .

Seekers of the Fox: Thieves of Shadow #2
By Kevin Sands
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270442 | Puffin Canada
Rule number one: Never mess with magic. Even so, a life-or-death situation calls for Callan and his criminal friends to make a deal with the Eye – the sinister, sentient artifact they stole from a sorcerer. It’s Lachlan’s life in exchange for a future task, and the gang has no choice but to agree. But even as Lachlan is resurrected, it’s not without cost. Through the Eye, Callan can see a tiny purple stain inside Lachlan’s soul, which will eventually consume him. The cure – and their part of the deal – lies with the Dragon’s Teeth, a pair of swords with extraordinary powers, and the search for them leads the thieves on a quest that will unravel the mystery of the Eye. Old friends, new betrayals, and an even more daring break-in than the last culminate in a confrontation that will take all the gang’s skill and power to resist – or they’ll die trying.

The Final Trial: Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #4
By Kelley Armstrong
320 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270206 | Puffin Canada
The time has come! After discovering the true reason for the monster migration, Rowan is on an expedition to ultimately prove that she is worthy of the ebony monster-slaying sword on her back. She and her twin brother, Rhydd, their friends Dain and Alianor, as well as some other trusted advisors – and the ever-growing group of monstrous companions – are on a mission to help protect the dragon living in their homeland and are travelling to kingdoms beyond to make their case. But not everyone agrees that people can live peacefully alongside monsters, especially when new terrifying creatures appear. It will take everything Rowan has to fight off threats of all kinds, from both monsters and people. It won’t be easy, but if she succeeds, she will become Royal Monster Hunter at long last.

The Grave Thief
By Dee Hahn
344 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269439 | Puffin Canada 
Twelve-year-old Spade is a grave thief. With his father and brother, he digs up the recently deceased to steal jewels, the main form of trade in Wyndhail. Digging graves works for Spade – alone in the graveyard at night, no one notices his limp or calls him names. He’s headed for a lifetime of theft when his father comes up with the audacious plan to rob a grave in the Wyndhail castle cemetery. Spade and his brother get caught in a royal trap, and Spade must find the master of the Woegon: a deadly creature that is stalking the castle by night. Along the way, he meets Ember, the queen’s niece, and together they race to solve the mystery of the legendary Deepstones and their connection to the Woegon, the queen, a missing king and the mysterious pebble Spade finds in the Wyndhail cemetery. This is a fantastic story of friendship, bravery, grief and acceptance.

The Puffin Keeper
By Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Benji Davies
112 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271807 | Puffin Canada
As a child, Allen is saved from a nautical disaster by Benjamin Postlethwaite, a solitary lighthouse keeper. Years later, Allen returns to the lighthouse, and the two nurse an injured young puffin back to health. When Allen is called up to fight in World War Two, he’s not sure he’ll see his mother or Benjamin again, but his fond memories of his time at the lighthouse keep him going, even through prison camp. Allen and Ben’s enduring friendship over the years is the basis for this story about friendship, art, war and an incredibly adorable puffin. From masterful storyteller Michael Morpurgo and world-class illustrator Benji Davies comes this truly beautiful tale which will enchant readers of all ages.

The Stone Child: The Misewa Saga #3
By David A. Robertson
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266162 | Puffin Canada
After discovering a near-lifeless Eli at the base of the Great Tree, Morgan knows she doesn’t have much time to save him. And it will mean asking for help – from friends old and new. Racing against the clock, and with Arik and Emily at her side, Morgan sets off to follow the trail away from the Great Tree to find Eli’s soul before it’s too late. As they journey deep into the northern woods, a place they’ve been warned never to enter, they face new challenges and life-threatening attacks from strange and horrifying creatures. But a surprise ally comes to their aid, and Morgan finds the strength to focus on what’s most important: saving her brother’s life. 

Unstoppable Us, Volume 1: How Humans Took Over the World
By Yuval Noah Harari
Illustrated by Ricard Zaplana Ruiz
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774882214 | Puffin Canada
Even though we’ll never outrun a hungry lion or outswim an angry shark, humans are pretty impressive – and the most dominant species on the planet. So, how did we become “unstoppable”? The answer to that is one of the strangest tales you’ll ever hear. And it’s a true story. From learning to make fire and using the stars as guides to cooking meals in microwaves and landing on the moon, prepare to uncover the secrets and superpowers of how we evolved from our first appearances millions of years ago. Acclaimed author Yuval Noah Harari has expertly crafted an extraordinary story of how humans learned to not only survive but also thrive on Earth, complete with maps, a timeline, and full-color illustrations that bring his dynamic, unputdownable writing to life.

Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270879 | Penguin Teen Canada
Fifteen-year-old Fawad Chaudhry loves two things: basketball and his mother’s potato and ground-beef stuffed parathas. Both are round and both help him forget about things like his father, who died two years ago, his mother’s desire to arrange a marriage to his first cousin, Nusrat, back home in Pakistan, and the tiny apartment in Regent Park he shares with his mom and sister. Not to mention his estranged best friend Yousuf, who’s coping with the shooting death of his older brother. But Fawad has plans: like, asking out Ashley, even though she lives on the other, wealthier side of the tracks, and saving his friend Arif from being beaten into a pulp for being the school flirt, and making the school basketball team and dreaming of being the world’s first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. All he has to do now is convince his mother to let him try out for the basketball team. And let him date girls from his school. Not to mention somehow get Omar, the neighborhood bully, to leave him alone.

Tundra Top Ten: September

Want to know what everyone else has been reading and loving lately? Every month we will share our list of top ten bestselling kids’ books that we publish into North America. Here are the Tundra and Puffin Canada titles for the month of September 2022 – how many have you read?

1. Narwhal and Jelly Series
By Ben Clanton
Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271364 | Tundra Books
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do both love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series with each volume featuring three stories. The series celebrates the value of positivity and creativity.

2. Night Lunch
By Eric Fan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270572 | Tundra Books
Noses sniff the air as mouthwatering smells waft down city streets, luring growling bellies to the Night Owl. Inside this elegant, horse-drawn establishment, a feathery cook works the grill, serving up tasty dishes for shift-workers and operagoers alike: a mince pie for Fox, a ham sandwich for Badger and puddings for little Possums. Mouse, a poor street sweeper, watches as the line of customers swells, ever hopeful that someone will drop a morsel of food – but Owl’s cooking is far too delicious for more than a crumb to be found. As the evening’s service winds down, weary Owl spots trembling Mouse. Has he found his own night lunch, or will he invite this small sweeper inside for a midnight feast for two? From the imagination of two acclaimed picture book creators, together for the first time, this dreamlike picture book is a magical ode to Victorian lunch wagons. Evoking the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of the city at night, Night Lunch reveals how empathy and kindness as well as dignity and gratitude can be found – and savored – in the most unexpected places.

3. The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
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.

4. The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt
By Riel Nason
Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264472 | Tundra Books
Ghosts are supposed to be sheets, light as air and able to whirl and twirl and float and soar. But the little ghost who is a quilt can’t whirl or twirl at all, and when he flies, he gets very hot. He doesn’t know why he’s a quilt. His parents are both sheets, and so are all of his friends. (His great-grandmother was a lace curtain, but that doesn’t really help cheer him up.) He feels sad and left out when his friends are zooming around and he can’t keep up. But one Halloween, everything changes. The little ghost who was a quilt has an experience that no other ghost could have, an experience that only happens because he’s a quilt . . . and he realizes that it’s OK to be different.

5. Ghostlight
By Kenneth Oppel
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272330 | Puffin Canada
The story of the tragic death of sixteen-year-old Rebecca Strand and her lighthouse keeper father is just an elaborate tale Gabe tells tourists for his summer job on the Toronto Island. Or so he thought. When his ghost tours awaken Rebecca’s spirit, Gabe is drawn into a world far darker than any ghost story he’s ever heard. Rebecca reveals that she and her father were connected to The Order, a secret society devoted to protecting the world from “the wakeful and wicked dead”—malevolent spirits like Viker, the ghost responsible for their deaths. But now the Order has disappeared and Viker is growing even stronger, and he’ll stop at nothing to wreak chaos and destruction on the living. Gabe and his friends – both living and dead – must find a way to stop Viker before they all become lost souls.

6. How to Teach Your Cat a Trick in Five Easy Steps
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by Zoe Si
52 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270619 | Tundra Books
Step one: Decide on a trick
Step two: Get some treats ready
Step three: Hold the treat in your hand and ask your cat to do the trick
Step four: Watch your cat do exactly what you asked him to do
Step five: Reward your cat for doing the trick
Simple, right? This spoof on an instruction manual features an increasingly bewildered human, a nonchalant cat, a very good dog and a know-it-all narrator . . . who really doesn’t know it all. How DO you teach a cat a trick? Read on to find out!

7. Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

8. My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
From the way you button your coat to the way you tap your toes, from the top of your head to your adorable tummy, there are so many reasons to love your self, and so many reasons to be loved. Join a group of endearing forest creatures as they bake and eat cranberry-butter-pie muffins, sing silly songs at bath time and stop to smell the chestnut-nettle roses, all the while exploring their individuality. This joyously affirming picture book from the inimitable Esmé Shapiro encourages the youngest readers to get to know and love and be kind to their wonderful selves and the equally wonderful selves around them.

9. How to Make Friends with a Ghost
By Rebecca Green
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781774880401 | Tundra Books
What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you. A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

10. Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Marianna Balducci
36 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269910 | Tundra Books
In this clever counting book, the big bad wolf doesn’t want to tell a long story. He wants to get to the eating part. But the reader has other ideas. From a pig soccer team to a pig for every letter of the alphabet to 101 pigs in an animated movie, the stories get more and more fantastical . . . but they’re always too short and they ALL end the same way. Using an abacus as the basis for her illustrations, Marianna creates beguiling little pigs and a menacing but slightly bored wolf that perfectly complement the inventive story by Davide Cali. Come for the counting, stay for the storytelling! This book has it all.

2022 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Book Awards Winners

Every year, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre celebrates the best work by Canadian creators with the CCBC Book Awards.  The winners were announced this week and we are thrilled to congratulate our authors and illustrators on their awards!

Winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

Time Is a Flower
By Julie Morstad
56 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267541 | Tundra Books
What is time? Is it the tick tick tock of a clock, numbers and words on a calendar? It’s that, but so much more. Time is a seed waiting to grow, a flower blooming, a sunbeam moving across a room. Time is slow like a spider spinning her web or fast like a wave at the beach. Time is a wiggly tooth, or waiting for the school bell to ring, or reading a story . . . or three! But time is also morning for some and night for others, a fading sunset and a memory captured in a photo taken long ago. In this magical meditation on the nature of time, Julie Morstad shines a joyful light on a difficult-to-grasp concept for young readers and reminds older readers to see the wonders of our world, including children themselves, through the lens of time.

Winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

Winner of the Arlene Barlin Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy

Iron Widow
By Xiran Jay Zhao
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269934 | Penguin Teen Canada
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected – she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way – and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Winner of the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award

Iron Widow
By Xiran Jay Zhao
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269934 | Penguin Teen Canada
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected – she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way – and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Tundra Telegram: Books To Rewrite Erasure

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we talk about the subjects on readers’ minds and recommend some good books for young readers to approach those topics.

This Friday (September 30) is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This is a federal holiday day meant to honour the Indigenous children who never returned home and survivors of Canada’s residential school system, as well as their families and communities. The holiday is closely connected to Orange Shirt Day, an earlier-established Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day meant to increase public awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools. (The orange shirt is used as a symbol of the erasure of of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.)

No puns this week, just lots of great picture books, middle-grade novels, and YA from Indigenous authors – some of which deal directly with residential schools, while others do not. And stay tuned for more great titles as Cree author David A. Robertson’s new imprint with Tundra starts acquiring books soon!

PICTURE BOOKS

David A. Robertson and Julie Flett’s Governor General’s Award-winning On the Trapline is a story that looks at residential schools, if obliquely. A boy takes a trip with his Moshom, his grandpa, to visit his trapline, where his family hunted and lived off the land. As they continue on their northern journey, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago and asks questions of his Moshom, including what it was like going to school after living on the trapline. The book also contains a number of Cree terms, which were forbidden from residential schools.

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes, illustrated by Joe Morse, is a picture book that was written by Wab Kinew, who – among many other things (broadcaster, rapper, politician) – served as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. His picture book, inspired by inspired by former President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, is a moving and musical tribute to both historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes of Wab’s – everyone from Tecumseh and Sacagawea to NASA astronaut John Herrington and NHL goalie Carey Price.

The events dramatized in Encounter by Brittany Luby and Michaela Goade take place decades before residential schools, but the book is a good reminder of an alternate historic path European explorers could have taken. The book imagines the first encounter between a European sailor and a Stadaconan fisher. As the two navigate their differences (language, dress, food) with curiosity, the natural world around them notes their similarities. The book also features an author’s note to place the encounter within the context of Canadian history, and prompts for further discussion.

Though the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is explicitly about Canadian residential schools, the United States ran similar “Indian boarding schools,” which leads us to recommend We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac. We Are Grateful looks at a modern-day Cherokee community throughout the year, who express gratitude for all the elements of daily life. Scenes of celebration for the Great New Moon Ceremony are chronicled, as are difficult memories, like a remembrance of the Trail of Tears. (And it features a chock-full of Cherokee vocabulary, the kind that was outlawed at boarding schools.)

In Navajo families, the first person to make a new baby laugh hosts the child’s First Laugh Ceremony. This forms the story of First Laugh: Welcome Baby! by Roe Ann Tahe, Nancy Bo Flood, and Jonathan Nelson. And so, every relation (from big sister to grandma) try to get Baby to laugh, and readers are introduced (or reintroduced) to details of Navajo culture, and a number of Navajo words – especially those for family members, like nima (mother) and cheii (grandfather).

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

Storytelling is central to teaching and remembering the residential school system – and an important component of truth and reconciliation – but for decades most people were largely ignorant of their history. Author David A. Robertson’s work has often been motivated by this, including his fantastical middle-grade adventures, The Misewa Saga. Morgan and Eli are Indigenous children in Winnipeg who discover a portal at their foster home to another world, Askī, where they discover talking animal beings who connect them to traditional ways, as well as help them deal with the challenges in the real world. The Barren Grounds opens the portal, while The Great Bear throws a great time-travel story into the mix, and The Stone Child brings Morgan and her allies to the northern woods, where they encounter new horrors. And in addition to being influenced by Cree sky stories, they examine the foster care system, which many have criticized as being a modern-day version of residential schools.

Rez Dogs (not to be confused with the incredible – and similarly named – TV series) is the latest middle grade novel from one of America’s foremost Indigenous children’s authors, Joseph Bruchac. Set during the Covid-19 pandemic, it follows Wabanaki girl Malian, whose visit to her grandparents’ reservation gets extended by a Covid-19 quarantine. But Malian rises to the challenge, and helps her community mange during the pandemic (be it through distancing or teaching elders to use Zoom) and makes a new friend in a local rez dog.

YOUNG ADULT

Enter (or re-enter) a dystopian world explicitly informed by the residential school system in Cherie Dimaline’s Hunting by Stars. The follow-up to the acclaimed The Marrow Thieves, in which Indigenous people across North America are being hunted for their bone marrow (which is rumored to contain the ability to dream) and housed in reopened residential school systems,  the book follows French heading north with his newfound family as they dodge school Recruiters, a blood cult, and more.

Two Roads, also by Joseph Bruchac, is a Depression-era story that explicitly revolves around the Indian boarding schools in the United States. Cal Black learns from his Pop that he’s a Creek Indian and he’s being sent to a government boarding school in Oklahoma (the Challagi School). Though Cal faces harsh and miserable conditions at the school, the one bright spot is the other Creek boys he befriends and through which he learns about his culture.

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew tells the story of Bugz, a girl caught between her real-life shyness on the Rez, and her overwhelming dominance in the massive multiplayer video game, The Floraverse. The assimilation metaphors appear throughout the book, as readers follow Bugz and her struggle to reconcile the parallel aspects (and wildly divergent portions) of her life, in a not dissimilar way that survivors of the residential schools have.

Winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith also looks at a contemporary Indigenous teen trying to navigate the challenges of high school (but without as much gaming). Louise Wolfe’s first boyfriend turns out to be a bigot (one of the dangers of “dating while Native”), so she focuses on her work at the school paper. She and Joey Kairouz, photojournalist, follow a story about the school’s inclusive casting of The Wizard of Oz in their mostly white Kansas town. While uncovering the closemindedness of their town, they may find a little romance, too.

Award-Winning Author David A. Robertson Appointed Editorial Director of new imprint at Tundra Book Group

September 27, 2022 (Toronto) – Today Penguin Random House Canada announces an exciting new development in the Tundra Book Group, Canada’s oldest English-language children’s book publisher. Effective November 7, 2022, David A. Robertson will join Tundra Book Group in the newly created role of Editorial Director, in which he will develop, shape, launch, and oversee a new children’s imprint dedicated to publishing Indigenous writers and illustrators.

This yet-to-be-named imprint will attract and create new opportunities for emerging Indigenous talent across the spectrum of fiction and non-fiction, alongside a few already established voices in this space. It will publish books for young readers of all ages across all categories of children’s books.

David A. Robertson is one of the most celebrated writers working today, the bestselling author of the ongoing Misewa Saga (including The Barren Grounds, The Great Bear, and The Stone Child), the two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award (for On the Trapline and When We Were Alone), and the recipient of numerous other awards, among them the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Freedom to Read Award; his books have also been shortlisted for the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, among others, and have been included on several best of the year lists.

Kristin Cochrane, CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, said: We are truly honoured to welcome Dave Robertson to our team. It is our hope and expectation that this initiative will provide pathways to publication and literary success for new and emerging writers and illustrators. In this new capacity, Dave’s work will be transformational and will shape the culture for many years to come.

Tara Walker, Tundra Book Group publisher said: Dave is our treasured author, and I’ve long admired his immense talent as a storyteller, his tireless energy, and his remarkable dedication to uplifting Indigenous voices. I can’t think of anyone more perfectly suited to shape and lead the important work of this new imprint. I’ve learned so much from Dave already, and I’m delighted for this opportunity to work more closely alongside him in his new role. Most of all, I’m excited for the kids whose lives will be reflected in and altered by the wonderful books from other Indigenous creators Dave will usher into the world.

David A. Robertson, Editorial Director, Tundra Book Group said: When I was a kid, I dreamed of being an author. As I got older, there were many writers I looked up to who inspired me to continue pursuing the goals I had set for myself. In particular, Indigenous writers such as Thomas King and Beatrice Mosionier not only showed me what was possible but opened doors for me to do what I do. I never imagined that I would be in the position I’m in today, but as my career has progressed, I’ve recognized the importance of creating opportunities for new and emerging Indigenous writers so they can write stories that matter, that heal, that inspire, and that lead us on a good path. Working with Tundra has been an incredible experience. They’ve believed in my vision as an author, and I trust them to carry out that vision. I’m thrilled to strengthen our relationship in this way and work with a team that sees how vital it is to amplify voices and continue to open doors.

More about David A. Robertson: David A. Robertson (he/him/his) was the 2021 recipient of the Writers’ Union of Canada Freedom to Read Award. He is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award. The Barren Grounds, the first book in the middle-grade The Misewa Saga series, received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020, was a USBBY and Texas Lone Star selection, was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, and was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award. His memoir, Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory, was a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire book of the year in 2020 and won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. On The Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett, won David’s second Governor General’s Literary Award and was named one of the best picture books of 2021 by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, The Horn Book, New York Public Library, Quill & Quire, and American Indians in Children’s Literature. Dave is the writer and host of the podcast Kíwew, winner of the 2021 RTDNA Prairie Region Award for Best Podcast. He is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.

More about Tundra Book Group: Tundra Books (tundrabooks.com) is Canada’s oldest English-language children’s book publisher. Tundra is home to some of the world’s most accomplished authors and illustrators as well as exciting new voices. We are renowned across North America and throughout the world for our beautifully illustrated and designed award-winning books.

Penguin Random House Canada aims to nourish a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company publishes over 800 books in various formats each year in the North American market across nineteen distinct imprints and distributes another 10,000 titles in Canada on behalf of Penguin Random House publishers in the U.S. and the U.K., and many clients. It has also developed its own internationally recognized audiobook program and runs an in-house recording studio. Visit penguinrandomhouse.ca for more information and follow us at @PenguinRandomCA.