Hamilton Public Library Junior Teen Top Novel 2020 Winner

The Hamilton Public Library Summer Reading Club has voted for their favourite novel from a set of four options. We would like to congratulate Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer whose novel, Broken Strings, is the Junior Teen Top Novel Winner.

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.

The #7SillyPrompts Revealed

At the end of March, we introduced the #7SillyPrompts from seven of our authors to help spark your creativity. If you missed them when they were revealed live on social media, we’ve compiled them all here for you:

We’d love to see what you can do with these #7SillyPrompts – submit your work to YoungReaders@penguinrandomhouse.com and we’ll collect them in our gallery!

Introducing #7SillyPrompts

Newsletter Header

Hello!

We are working with some of our authors to create a fun 7-day challenge for you to do at home. Each day, a silly prompt will be revealed by an author to help spark your creativity!

Feel free to send your art or story or both to us at:

YoungReaders@penguinrandomhouse.com

Put #7SillyPrompts in the SUBJECT heading of your e-mail. Then please let us know which prompt you’re submitting for.

We will group them into 7 collections for everyone to see on a few of our platforms like Pinterest and Facebook. You can do them in any order or pick and choose the ones you want to do. There are no set rules, just have fun with it!

Author Prompt Reveals:

  • Monday, March 30, 2020 – Kelley Armstrong
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – Eric Walters
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020 – Anna Humphrey
  • Thursday, April 2, 2020 – Tanya Lloyd Kyi
  • Friday, April 3, 2020 – Janet Hill
  • Saturday, April 4, 2020 – Marthe Jocelyn
  • Sunday, April 5, 2020 – Esme Shapiro

So stay tuned and get ready to create!

The Royal Guide to Monster SlayingA Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
By Kelley Armstrong
288 Pages | Ages 10-14
ISBN 9780735265370 | Puffin Canada
Twelve-year-old Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt’s glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.

Broken StringsBroken Strings
By Kathy Kacer and Eric Walters
288 Pages | Ages 10-14
ISBN 9780735266247 | Puffin 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.

Megabat Is a FraidybatMegabat Is a Fraidybat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
192 Pages | Ages 7-10
ISBN 9780735266025 | Tundra Books
Daniel is not so sure about going to camp. There will be bugs. And uncomfortable beds. And leeches! Megabat can’t WAIT to go to camp! There will be so much smooshfruit, and he loves a good sing-along. Daniel starts to think camp isn’t so bad. He’s made friends, and his bed isn’t THAT uncomfortable. Megabat has made a new friend too. But his new friend wants him to go flying to spooky caves. And her mom is very toothy.

Me and BanksyMe and Banksy
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
272 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735266919 | Puffin Canada
Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Like Ana picking her nose. When Dominica quickly changes her shirt from inside out in what she thinks is the privacy of a quiet corner in the library, she’s shocked – and embarrassed – to discover a video has captured this and is currently circulating amongst her schoolmates. So mortifying, especially since over the past three years, they’ve had a half-dozen school talks about social media safety.

Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing HouseLucy Crisp and the Vanishing House
By Janet Hill
240 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN 9781770499249 | Tundra Books
After moving to a seemingly quaint and quiet new town, Lucy faces a new reality in which fairies exist, weather can be bottled and witches hold grudges. Accompanied by gorgeous color paintings, this novel is perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Hazel Wood and Gregory Maguire.

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen The Body Under the PianoAggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body under the Piano
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
336 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735265462 | Tundra Books
Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal – including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends – to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Alma and the BeastAlma and the Beast
By Esme Shapiro
44 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735263963 | Tundra Books
Alma lives happily in her hairy world, where she can braid the trees, comb the grass, pet the roof and feed her plumpooshkie butterfly. Until one day . . . a hairless, button-nosed beast appears in the garden! At first Alma is scared but when she realizes the beast is lost and misses her hairless home, Alma offers to help her find her way back. As the two take a fantastical journey through the red-headed woods and the bearded mushroom glen to the beast’s bald abode, they discover that they are much more alike than different.

Thank you to our authors for helping us come up with 7 silly prompts!

Books for Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library to learn more. In the meantime, we’ve compiled our reading recommendations for you.

All Aboard!All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
ISBN 9781770495142 | Paperback
Ages 5-8 | Tundra Books
There were few opportunities for the son of slaves, but Elijah McCoy’s dreams led him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. He learned everything there was to know about engines – how to design them and how to build them. But when he returned to the United States to look for work at the Michigan Central Railroad, the only job Elijah could get was shoveling coal into a train’s firebox. Undaunted, he went on to invent a means of oiling the engine while the train was running, changing the face of travel around the world. 

To The Rescue! Garrett Morgan Underground
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
ISBN 9781101918821 | Paperback
Ages 5-8 | Tundra Books
The son of freed slaves, Garrett Morgan was determined to have a better life than laboring in the Kentucky fields with his parents and ten siblings. He began by sweeping floors in a clothing factory in Cleveland, Ohio, where he decided to invent a stronger belt for sewing machines. When he was promoted to sewing-machine repairman, Garrett was on his way. In 1911, 146 workers died in the shocking Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, so Garrett decided to invent a safety hood for firefighters. Little did he know that most people wouldn’t be interested in buying his safety hood when they discovered its inventor was black. But an explosion that trapped workers in a tunnel under Lake Erie soon changed all that. Garrett’s hoods were rushed to the scene and used to rescue as many men as possible. Developed further, Garrett’s invention came to save thousands of soldiers from chlorine gas in the trenches of World War I.

9781770493018-450My Name Is Blessing
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770493018 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard –love doesn’t feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka’s physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

9781770495302-450Hope Springs
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770495302 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
A drought has settled in the area around the orphanage where Boniface lives. There are long line-ups at the tiny spring where all the local people get their water, and suddenly the orphans are pushed to the back of the line, unwelcome. Boniface’s houseparent, Henry, tells him that the people were mean out of fear–they feared there would not be enough water for their families. When the building of the orphanage’s well is completed, Boniface has an idea to help the villagers. A lovely story of kindness and heart, this story shows that, through compassion and understanding, true generosity can spring from unexpected places.

today is the dayToday is the Day
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770496484 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Mutanu is excited. As she goes about her chores, she thinks about the day to come and what surprises it might bring. For today is no ordinary day at the orphanage she lives in. Every year, the orphanage honors its newest arrivals by creating a birthday day especially for them. From that moment forward, the orphans have a day that they know is theirs–a day to celebrate, a day to enjoy, a day to remember. And today is the day! Based on real children in an orphanage in Kenya, this lovely story shows how something as simple as a birthday, something most of us take for granted, can mean so much in another part of the world.

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
Compiled by Eric Walters
ISBN 9781770497191 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist. In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread.

Legends Icons and RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
By Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine
ISBN 9781101918685 | Hardcover
Ages 9-12 | Tundra Books
Music industry veterans Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Jared Levine, and Sebastian Robertson invite young readers to share with them in celebrating twenty-seven musical legends. Short profiles chronicle personal stories and achievements of extraordinarily talented artists whose innovations changed the landscape of music for generations to come. Carefully compiled like any great playlist, the line-up features originators, rebels, and risk-takers across diverse genres.

9780887769146-450Five Thousand Years of Slavery
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
ISBN 9781770491519 | Ebook
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books
Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst – and the best – in human society.

Speak a Word for Freedom
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
ISBN 9781770496514 | Hardcover
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books
From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today’s women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery tells the story of fourteen of these women.

 

 

Quill & Quire Best Books of 2019

Quill & Quire recently released their list of best books of 2019 and we’re so happy to see some of our titles were included! Congratulations to our creators!

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster
By Cary Fagan
ISBN 9780735266216 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Tundra Books
“A sublime reading experience, Cary Fagan’s The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster is a flawlessly written, not-to-be-missed middle-grade book. Featuring wonderfully drawn young characters staring down emotional crossroads, the novel threads two interconnected storylines to offer a tender tale of loss, uncertainty, art, and the quiet promise of resolution and hope.” – Michelle Callaghan, Fab Book Reviews blog, Vancouver


Honourable Mentions

Broken Strings
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
ISBN 9780735266247 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“Walters and Kacer pull off this impressive feat of complex storytelling and make it look easy, with a novel that flows and entertains and devastates. Above all, they respect their intended audience by not trivializing the high and lows of middle-school and by being honest, open, and unflinching about some of the more dark and traumatic aspects of history.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

We Contain Multitudes
By Sarah Henstra
ISBN 9780735264212| Hardcover
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“Opposites attract: a powerful yet familiar story. Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Sarah Henstra uses the premise well, sweeping us up in the giddy joy of fulfilled narrative expectations. She leverages another potent story too: the difficulty and importance of coming out…. Henstra’s latest is certainly multitudinous: worth reading, enjoying, interrogating.” – Quill & Quire