Staff Picks: Anticipated 2021 Kids Books

New year, new books! There are so many exciting titles coming out in 2021 – here are the ones we’re most looking forward to during the first half of the year.

Vikki, Marketing & Publicity Director

“I love a buddy comedy, and Simon & Chester made me laugh out loud. I can’t wait to introduce kids to this new graphic novel chapter book series featuring the adventures of a kid and his BFF, who happens to be a novel-writing ghost in a deerstalker.”

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Release Date:  February 9, 2021
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the MYSTERY OF A LIFETIME.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

Sylvia, Marketing and Publicity Manager

“It’s the type of book I would have loved as a kid – I adore the notebook/journal/diary format, you could also say I like reading other people’s secret thoughts!”

Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field
By Angela Ahn
Illustrated by Julie Kwon
312 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268241 | Tundra Books
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L.B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust. Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L.B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once – he needs time to sketch out a plan.

Evan, Publicity Manager

“David Robertson can do no wrong in my book, so when you have him writing a very personal picture book story about his family’s trapline, re-team him with incredible When We Were Alone illustrator Julie Flett, you have a book I can’t wait to get into my hands and eyeballs.”

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
Release Date: May 4, 2021
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.

Sam, Associate Publicist

“My niece and I have been reading the series together and we’re both so excited for more Megabat!”

Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
176 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266049 | Tundra Books
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Daniel isn’t in the birthday party mood. He hates his new glasses – they’re dorky, and he feels silly in them. Megabat LOVES Daniel’s new face windows! They make him dizzy and his tummy feel funny. And he loves parties even more! Daniel starts planning his party, and things are looking up – all of his friends are excited, and he has some fun games planned. Plus: presents! Megabat’s party excitement is losing steam. He has to hide the whole time. He can’t eat any of the delicious buttermelon. And he can’t participate in any games, even though it’s the thing he wants most in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. When Megabat loses his temper and breaks Daniel’s best birthday gift, he realizes he’s been a bad friend and gives Daniel what he thinks is the best possible gift: he runs away. But being alone in the big, wide, world is harder than he thought.

Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide 2020

The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back! For the last three years, we’ve put together gift guides – inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 – featuring our current roster of illustrators. We have something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.

Shop Happy Narwhalidays; Vote for Me; and Ben’s artwork

Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something ExtraordinaryRex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.

Shop The Button Book and Bethan’s artwork

Bethan Woollvin won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in 2014 for her retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Little Red, which was later named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016. In 2017, Bethan was awarded the New Talent (Children’s Books) Prize at the World Illustration Awards. She was also shortlisted for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Bethan graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge with a First Class Degree in Illustration in 2015 and now lives in Brighton, England.

Shop Snow Falls and Brandon’s artwork

Brandon James Scott is an Emmy Award-nominated animation director and illustrator, with over ten years’ experience in the animation industry. He created the preschool series Justin Time, which has won a Canadian Screen Award and been nominated for an Emmy and an Annie, and directed several episodes of Ever After High. He was also the creative director and designer of the children’s show True and the Rainbow Kingdom. Brandon illustrates whimsical picture books, including The Dog Who Wanted to Fly and several books based on Justin Time. He lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.

Shop The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt and Byron’s artwork

Byron Eggenschwiler is an illustrator living in Calgary, Alberta. He is the illustrator of Operatic, by Kyo Maclear, Coyote Tales by Thomas King and Beastly Puzzles by Rachel Poliquin. Byron has also done illustrations for the New York TimesThe New Yorker, Wall Street JournalGQ and others. He shares a home with his wife and two soft cats.

Shop Monsters 101 and Cale’s artwork

Cale Atkinson is an author-illustrator and animator whose books include Unicorns 101Where Oliver FitsTo the SeaOff and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter at @2dCale.

Shop The BatThe CockroachThe Mosquito; and Elise’s artwork

Elise Gravel is the creator the Olga series and the Disgusting Critters series as well as I Want a MonsterThe Cranky Ballerina, and What is a Refugee?, which School Library Journal called “effective and compassionate.” Elise studied graphic design at Le Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professional and has since published numerous picture books including La clé à molette (La Courte Échelle Publishers), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for illustration. Her books have been translated into twelve languages. Elise is inspired by social causes and lives in Montreal with her husband and two children.

Shop What’s Up, Maloo?; If I Couldn’t Be Anne; and Geneviève’s artwork

Born and raised in Quebec, Geneviève Godbout studied traditional animation in Montreal and at the prestigious Gobelins school in Paris. She is the illustrator of a number of books for children, including Goodnight, AnneThe Pink UmbrellaWhen Santa Was a BabyKindergarten Luck and Joseph Fipps. She recently illustrated a picture-book edition of the beloved classic Mary Poppins. She also works for clothing designers like Nadinoo and Mrs. Pomeranz, creating illustrations and prints for their collections.

Shop Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House and Janet’s artwork

Janet Hill is a painter and children’s book author/illustrator. Her work is both elegant and whimsical, and her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and humor. She has written and illustrated two picture books: Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess and Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat CountessLucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is her first novel. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, the manager of an independent bookstore, and their cat and dog.

Shop Princesses Versus Dinosaurs and Joy’s artwork

Joy Ang is an artist who has illustrated many books for children, including the Mustache Baby series by Bridget Heos, the New York Times bestselling Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath and the upcoming Mulan: The Legend of the Woman Warrior. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design in 2007. In addition to designing characters for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Joy is also a cover artist for Marvel Comics and Scholastic’s Wings of Fire and Dogs of the Drowned City seriesand has worked as a concept artist for gaming studios Bioware and Blizzard Entertainment.

Shop Megabat is a Fraidybat; and Kass’s artwork

Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

Shop Maud and Grand-Maud and Kenard’s artwork

Kenard Pak is an animator and illustrator. He has worked as a visual development artist for Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PDI Dreamworks and Laika.He has illustrated several picture books, including The FogThe Hundred-Year BarnI WonderHave You Heard the Nesting Bird?The Dinner That Cooked Itself and Flowers Are Calling. Ken lives in foggy San Francisco with his wife and three cats.

Shop Natsumi’s Song of Summer and Misa’s artwork

Misa Saburi was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She makes illustrations using Photoshop, sometimes while watching soccer and silly Japanese TV shows. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Shop The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp and Olga’s artwork

Olga Demidova was born and raised in Russia. She studied at the Moscow Art Institute of Applied Arts. Olga started work as an animator, but her tremendous passion for illustration changed the direction she works in. Now she works with publishers from all over the world and has published books and apps in Russia, Belarus and the USA, mostly for children.

Shop The Blue House and Phoebe’s artwork

Phoebe Wahl’s work focuses on themes of comfort, nostalgia and intimacy with nature. She grew up unschooled in Washington State, and credits her free spirited childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and work ethic. She works in a variety of mediums, from watercolor and collage to fabric sculpture. Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington. She is the award-winning author and illustrator of Sonya’s ChickensBackyard Fairies and The Blue House.

Shop Story Boat and Rashin’s artwork

Rashin Kheiriyeh is an internationally recognized, award-winning illustrator/author, animation director, and painter who has published over seventy children’s books in countries such as the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain, South Korea, China, Brazil, India, and Iran. She has received fifty national and international awards for the books and animations including recently being winner of the 2017 Sendak Fellow Award. She was also the winner of the Bologna Book Fair six times and the winner of Golden Apple Award at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia. She has an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Illustration and an MFA in Graphic Design from Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran. She also studied at School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. She is a lecturer at Department of Art, University of Maryland and has contributed illustrations to the New York Times, Google, and many other publication houses

Shop Eric and Shaun’s artwork

Shaun Tan has been illustrating young adult fiction and picture books for more than ten years. His brilliant wordless book, The Arrival, won The CBCA Picture Book of the Year, The NSW Premier’s Book of the Year, and the Community Relations Commission Award, and received a Special Mention at the 2007 Bologna Ragazzi Awards. He lives in Australia.

Shop The Barnabus Project and The Fan Brothers’ artwork

Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan grew up in Toronto, where they continue to live and work. Since a young age, the three brothers have collaborated on creative projects, including artwork, picture book manuscripts and even screenwriting. Recipients of the prestigious Sendak Fellowship as well as Kate Greenaway Medal nominees and Governor General’s Literary Award nominees, Terry and Eric are the author/illustrators of the critically acclaimed books The Night Gardener and Ocean Meet Sky, and the illustrators of the bestselling Chris Hadfield-penned picture book The Darkest Dark, Dashka Slater’s The Antlered Ship and Beth Ferry’s The Scarecrow. Devin Fan is an artist, poet and youth worker who has a passion for nature, adventures and kung fu. The Barnabus Project is his first children’s book and marks the first time all three brothers have written and illustrated a picture book together.

Shop Studio: A Place for Art to Start and The Little Friends of Printmaking’s artwork

The Little Friends of Printmaking are husband-and-wife team JW & Melissa Buchanan. They first made a name for themselves by designing and printing silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into other fields. In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, they continue their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies worldwide, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen. The Little Friends currently live in Los Angeles with two very round cats.

Shop The Gryphon’s Lair and Xavière’s artwork

Xavière Daumaire is a French artist who has created designs and illustrations for several book series by Kelley Armstrong: Women of the Otherworld, including two graphic novels, Becoming and Bounty Hunt; Age of Legends; Cainsville; and The Blackwell Pages series by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. She lives in France.

Canadian Children’s Book Week 2021

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre recently announced the touring creators for Book Week 2021. The theme is Readers Take Flight and the tour will virtually take place May 2-8, 2021. Established in 1977, Book Week gives Canadian authors, illustrators, and storytellers the chance to share their love of reading with young people in schools, libraries, and home all across the country. Congratulations to our three authors taking part in next year’s tour, we know kids will love seeing you!

how to give your cat a bathHow to Give Your Cat a Bath
in Five Easy Steps

By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263543 | Tundra Books
Step one: fill the bath
Step two: put the cat in the bath
Step three: put shampoo on the cat
Step four: rinse the cat
Step five: dry the cat
Seems simple, right? One problem: the cat has no intention of doing ANY of these things! Watch as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it’s not just the cat who needs a bath — it’s the whole house!

Sergeant BillySergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War
By Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Kass Reich
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 |  Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264427 | Tundra Books
During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort.
Billy . . .
•   Trained with the soldiers
•   Was smuggled across the ocean
•   Got snuck into the frontlines in a box of oranges
•   Ate some secret documents and was arrested for treason
•   Got trench foot
•   Head-butted soldiers into a trench and saved them from a shell
•   Came back home a decorated war hero
This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!

The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim: Demon
By Shane Peacock
304 Pages | Ages 12+ |  Paperback
ISBN 9780735262720 | Penguin Teen Canada
The third and final book in a gripping Gothic YA trilogy, featuring monsters from classic literary tales, secret societies and the fight between good and evil. Having tracked the monstrous Godwin to the Arctic and barely escaped with their lives, Edgar Brim and his friends return to London. Edgar continues his work at London Hospital, now under the tutelage of the Chairman, the affluent and charming Sir Andrew Lawrence. Edgar’s night terrors begin increasing in intensity, and soon the group becomes aware of a new threat: they are being stalked by a new creature, an invisible assailant they are convinced is the Devil himself. In the hope of curing his affliction and combating his fears, Edgar confides in Dr. Berenice, a renowned yet enigmatic alienist who may somehow be involved in the mystery. Yet when the group suffers a fatal attack and a long-dead ally makes an appearance, Edgar begins questioning his own sanity. Can he and his friends truly defeat the most powerful villain imaginable if they can’t even trust their own minds?

Books for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day Reading

On November 11, we will celebrate Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the USA). Here are some books that will help children and young adults reflect on war and the sacrifices made by men and women on the front lines and the home front. 

Ages 4-8

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
By Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
24 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Ebook
ISBN 9781770491274 | Tundra Books
Much has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa’s blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber.

Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War
By Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Kass Reich
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264427 | Tundra Books
During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort. Billy trained with the soldiers, got snuck into the frontlines in a box of oranges, ate some secret documents and was arrested for treason, head-butted soldiers into a trench and saved them from a shell, and came back home a decorated war hero. This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration.

Ages 9-12

Innocent Heroes: Stories of Animals in the First World War
By Sigmund Brouwer
208 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735267978 | Tundra Books
Never before have the stories of animal war heroes been collected in such a special way. This book consists of eight connected fictional stories about a Canadian platoon in WW1. The Storming Normans have help from some very memorable animals: we meet a dog who warns soldiers in the trench of a gas attack, a donkey whose stubbornness saves the day, a cat who saves soldiers from rat bites, and many more. Each story is followed by nonfiction sections that tell the true story of these animals from around the world and of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge. Through the friendship that grows between three of these soldiers in particular, we get a close-up look at life in the trenches, the taking of Vimy Ridge, the bonds between soldiers and their animals and what it meant to be Canadian in World War I.

War Is Over
By David Almond
Illustrated by David Litchfield
128 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536209860 | Candlewick
It’s 1918, and war is everywhere. John’s father is fighting in the trenches far away in France, while his mother works in a menacing munitions factory just along the road. His teacher says that John is fighting, too, that he is at war with enemy children in Germany. One day, in the wild woods outside town, John has an impossible moment: a dreamlike meeting with a German boy named Jan. John catches a glimpse of a better world, in which children like Jan and himself can one day scatter the seeds of peace. David Almond brings his ineffable sensibility to a poignant tale of the effects of war on children, interwoven with David Litchfield’s gorgeous black-and-white illustrations.

Ages 10+

A Soldier’s Sketchbook: The Illustrated First World War Diary of R. H. Rabjohn
By John Wilson
112 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770498549 | Tundra Books
Award-winning author John Wilson brings his skills as a historian and researcher to bear, carefully curating the diary to provide context and tell the story of Private Rabjohn’s war. He has selected each of the diary entries and the accompanying images, and has provided the background that modern-day readers need to understand what a young soldier went through a century ago. The result is a wonderfully detailed and dramatic account of the war as seen through an artist’s eyes.

Broken Strings
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735266261 | Puffin Canada
It’s 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers, 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.

Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis
By Paul B. Janeczko
304 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763681531 | Candlewick
In his third book about deception during war, Paul B. Janeczko focuses his lens on World War II and the operations carried out by the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troops, aka the Ghost Army. This remarkable unit included actors, camouflage experts, sound engineers, painters, and set designers who used their skills to secretly and systematically replace fighting units — fooling the Nazi army into believing what their eyes and ears told them, even though the sights and sounds of tanks, war machines and troops were entirely fabricated. Follow the Twenty-Third into Europe as they play a dangerous game of enticing the German army into making battlefield mistakes by using sonic deceptions, inflatable tanks, pyrotechnics and camouflage in more than twenty operations. From the Normandy invasion to the crossing of the Rhine River, the men of the Ghost Army — several of whom went on to become famous artists and designers after the war — played an improbable role in the Allied victory.

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War
By Various 
Illustrated by Jim Kay
304 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781536208863 | Candlewick
A toy soldier. A butter dish. A compass. Mundane objects, perhaps, but to the remarkable authors in this collection, artifacts such as these have inspired stories that go to the heart of the human experience of World War I. Each author was invited to choose an object that had a connection to the war — a writing kit for David Almond, a helmet for Michael Morpurgo — and use it as the inspiration for an original short story. What results is an extraordinary collection, illustrated throughout by award-winning Jim Kay, and featuring photographs of the objects with accounts of their history and the authors’ reasons for selecting them. This unique anthology provides young readers with a personal window into the Great War and the people affected by it, and serves as an invaluable resource for families and teachers alike.

The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I
By Jack Batten
160 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780887768798 | Tundra Books
In this riveting account of a tragic episode in world history, author Jack Batten takes readers through a far bloodier conflict than mankind had ever before endured. Meet the soldiers who fought the deadly battles along the Western Front. Follow the trail of flying ace Billy Bishop as he tangles in the air with the Red Baron. Learn the strategy of Britain’s Grand Fleet of warships as it heads into the biggest sea battle in history. Discover how civilians decoded virtually all the messages the Germans sent to their ships around the world.

Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today
By Candlewick Press
320 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536208856 | Candlewick 
The Second World War was the most devastating war in history. Up to eighty million people died, and the map of the world was redrawn. More than seventy years after peace was declared, children interviewed family and community members to learn about the war from people who were there, to record their memories before they were lost forever. Now, in a unique collection, RAF pilots, evacuees, resistance fighters, Land Girls, U.S. Navy sailors, and survivors of the Holocaust and the Hiroshima bombing all tell their stories, passing on the lessons learned to a new generation. Featuring many vintage photographs, this moving volume also offers an index of contributors and a glossary.

Ages 12+

Orphan Monster Spy
By Matt Killeen
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780451478757 | Viking BFYR
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah finds herself on the run from the Nazis in Third Reich-ruled Germany. While trying to escape, Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Reich, and he needs her help. Sarah is to hide in plain sight at a boarding school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. She must befriend the daughter of a key scientist to gain access to the blueprints for a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe, and steal them. Sarah may look like the rest of the girls, innocent, blonde-haired, and young, but she refuses to become one of the monsters she’s surrounded by. She’s a brilliant con artist, convincing them she’s one of them even as she lives in terror of being found out. And she’s determined to get her revenge on them all.

The Blossom and the Firefly
By Sherri L. Smith
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524737900 | Putnam BFYR
Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country . . . until he meets Hana. Hana hasn’t been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day . . . until she meets Taro. Here, with achingly beautiful prose, Smith weaves a tale of love in the face of death, of hope in the face of tragedy, set against a backdrop of the waning days of the Pacific War.

The Emperor of Any Place
By Tim Wynne-Jones
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780763694425 | Candlewick
Evan, overwhelmed and bereaved by his father’s sudden death, doesn’t know what to make of the hand-bound yellow book his dad had been reading when he passed away. Why was his father reading the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island during World War II? What is in this account that Evan’s estranged grandfather fears — and will he really do anything, even hurt his own grandson, to prevent it from being seen? In this riveting, time-shifting story within a story, the ghosts of war reverberate across hemispheres and generations.

The Enigma Game
By Elizabeth Wein
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265288 | Penguin Teen Canada
A German soldier risks his life to drop off the sought-after Enigma Machine to British Intelligence, hiding it in a pub in a small town in northeast Scotland, and unwittingly bringing together four very different people who decide to keep it to themselves. Louisa Adair, a young teen girl hired to look after the pub owner’s elderly, German-born aunt, Jane Warner, finds it but doesn’t report it. Flight-Lieutenant Jamie Beaufort-Stuart intercepts a signal but can’t figure it out. Ellen McEwen, a volunteer at the local airfield, acts as the go-between and messenger after Louisa involves Jane in translating. The planes under Jamie’s command seem charmed, as Jamie knows where exactly to go, while other squadrons suffer, and the four are loathe to give up the machine, even after Elisabeth Lind from British Intelligence arrives, even after the Germans start bombing the tiny town.

The Red Ribbon
By Lucy Adlington
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201048 | Candlewick
Three weeks after being detained on her way home from school, fourteen-year-old Ella finds herself in the Upper Tailoring Studio, a sewing workshop inside a Nazi concentration camp. There, two dozen skeletal women toil over stolen sewing machines. They are the seamstresses of Birchwood, stitching couture dresses for a perilous client list: wives of the camp’s Nazi overseers and the female SS officers who make prisoners’ lives miserable. It is a workshop where stylish designs or careless stitches can mean life or death. And it is where Ella meets Rose. As thoughtful and resilient as the dressmakers themselves, Rose and Ella’s story is one of courage, desperation, and hope — hope as delicate and as strong as silk, as vibrant as a red ribbon in a sea of gray.

2020 The Christophers Award

First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards honors outstanding books that encourage people to pursue excellence in creative arenas. We would like to congratulate Mireille Messier and Kass Reich whose book, Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War, won a Christopher Award in the Books for Young People Category.

Sergeant BillySergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War
By Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Kass Reich
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 |  Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264427 | Tundra Books
During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort. This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!