The 2021 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees

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

2021 Blue Spruce Award™ Nominees

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

2021 Silver Birch Express Award® Fiction Nominees

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

2021 Yellow Cedar Award® Fiction Nominees

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

2021 Silver Birch Award® Fiction Nominees

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

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

2021 Red Maple Award™ Fiction Nominees

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

2021 White Pine Award™ Nominees

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

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

The 2020 OLA Forest of Reading® Winners and Honour Books

The 2020 Forest of Reading awards were announced earlier today and we are so thrilled that three of our titles were honoured at the virtual Festival of Trees. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

2020 Silver Birch Express Fiction Award Winner

Megabat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
192 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262577 | Tundra Books
Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted . . . or is it?Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there. Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute. Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

2020 Silver Birch Fiction Award Honour Book

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
368 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264359 | Puffin Canada
Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived–and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature–a golem–made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.

2020 Red Maple Fiction Award Winner

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262751 | Tundra Books
Felix Knuttson is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Is their luck about to change?

Thanks to Curio.ca for virtually hosting the awards this year! If you missed the ceremonies, you can catch up with them online here.

The Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading program. This initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) 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. More than 270,000 readers participate annually from their School and/or Public Library. All Canadians are invited to participate via their local public library, school library, or individually.

The 2019 OLA Forest of Reading® Winners and Honour Books

The 2019 Forest of Reading awards were announced last week and we are so thrilled that eight of our titles were honoured at the Festival of Trees. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

Blue Spruce Award
#2 Honour Book
The Magician's SecretThe Magician’s Secret
Written by Zachary Hyman
Illustrated by Joe Bluhm
Hardcover
Published by Tundra Books
“The conversational tone draws the reader through the story. The remarkable art work by Joe Bluhm showcases the relationship between Charlie and his grandpa and transports the reader into each adventure, providing glimpses of how the imagination can make a dream a reality . . . this book is best shared as a read-aloud. Any adult will be equally thrilled by the story, its rich language and the wonderful illustrations.” – CM Magazine

Silver Birch Fiction Award
Winner
Chase - paperbackChase
Written by Linwood Barclay
Published by Puffin Canada
Paperback
“The action in Chase begins on the first page and doesn’t let up in this new thriller from Linwood Barclay  . . . readers will enjoy the twists and turns of the action and will relate to all three main characters.” – CM Magazine

#1 Honour Book
Elephant SecretElephant Secret
Written by Eric Walters
Published by Puffin Canada
Hardcover
“Walters interweaves his beautiful family story with a thorough description of elephant behavior—their intellect, compassion, and loyalty—and factual scientific possibilities of cloning an extinct species…A must-read for anyone with an interest in elephants and their welfare.” – Booklist

Red Maple Non-Fiction Award
#2 Honour Book
Innovation NationInnovation Nation: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, Happier
Written by David Johnston and Tom Jenkins
Illustrated by Josh Holinaty
Hardcover
Published by Tundra Books
“[R]eminds us just how ingenious Canadians are, despite our golly-gosh-shucks tendency to downplay our accomplishments… Bright illustrations by Josh Holinaty swirl around each page of text to evoke the brilliance of fun and curiosity.” – Quill & Quire

Red Maple Fiction Award
#2 Honour Book
Fourth DimensionFourth Dimension
Written by Eric Walters
Hardcover
Published by Penguin Teen Canada
“I recommend Fourth Dimension to fans of The Rule of 3 series as well as those readers who enjoy action/adventure, realistic, or post-apocalyptic stories. Emma and her mother are strong female characters who are great role models for teenage girls. . . . Recommended.” – CM Magazine

White Pine Award
Winner
The Agony of Bun O'KeefeThe Agony of Bun O’Keefe
Written by Heather T. Smith
Hardcover
Published by Penguin Teen Canada
“Although Bun is 14, she possesses the endearing naiveté and honesty of a child, but her first-person narration isn’t sappy or immature. . . . Bun O’Keefe will settle comfortably at home in readers’ hearts.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading program. This initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) 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. More than 270,000 readers participate annually from their School and/or Public Library. All Canadians are invited to participate via their local public library, school library, or individually.

The 2014 Red Maple Fiction Award Winner

The Toronto Festival of Trees took place on May 14-15, 2014 at the Harbourfront Centre. We were there to cheer on our nominated authors and illustrators! The Ontario Library Association revealed the winning titles and honour books for the 2014 Forest of Reading program and Tundra would like to congratulate our winning author, Susin Nielsen!

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K LarsenThe Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Written by Susin Nielsen
256 pages
Hardcover: 978-1-77049-372-8
Trade Paperback: 978-1-77049-654-5
eBook: 978-1-77049-373-5
“With fully developed adult and child characters and a solid sense of middle school humor, the author has crafted an insightful and nuanced novel about bullying and suicide, and familial love and resilience.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Here’s a short clip of Susin accepting her Red Maple award on stage:

Video courtesy of Sigmund Brouwer.

PS: Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen was the winner of the 2010 Red Maple Award!

The 2014 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees


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

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

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

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

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

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