Our Stars of 2019

At Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, we think all our books are brilliant, and it’s nice when others think so too! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators, these are our starred books of 2019!

FOUR STARS:

It Began With a PageIt Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Hardcover | ISBN 9781101918593
Ages 5-9 | Tundra Books
“A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Maclear and Morstad’s biography conveys with quiet power how recently segregation reached into every aspect of American life, and how one woman did her part to defeat it.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Maclear and Morstad pack a lot of information into a few pages. This exemplary biography of a pioneer in multicultural children’s books deserves a place in most collections.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“This beautiful biography offers a fitting tribute to an artist with a lasting legacy in American picture books.” – Starred Review, Booklist

TWO STARS:

The Royal Guide to Monster SlayingA Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
By Kelley Armstrong
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735265356
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“. . . [A] fast and fun read, a great read-a-like for Tamora Pierce’s ‘Tortall’ series.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“A fresh take on familiar fantasy creatures and situations.” – Starred Review, Shelf Awareness

Alma and the BeastAlma and the Beast
By Esme Shapiro
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263963
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“With lessons on friendship, culture, and helping others, and language and art reminiscent of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this endearing picture book is richly rewarding.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal
“It’s a sweetly psychedelic mix of Tove Jansson, Van Gogh, and what is now recognizably trademark Shapiro. . . . [her] tale is a gentle charmer, plain and simple.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Broken StringsBroken Strings
By Kathy Kacer and Eric Walters
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735266247
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
“Shirli’s voice is true and strong as she narrates her own tale of rehearsals, her very ethnically diverse friendships, her deep distress as she witnesses Zayde’s pain, and her joy as he reconnects with his music. A beautiful, painful, heartfelt reminder that the past is with us still.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Walters and Kacer pull of this impressive feat of complex storytelling and make it look easy . . . . [It is an] honest, open and unflinching [story] about some of the more dark and traumatic aspects of history.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

King MouseKing Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264045
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“Graceful and perceptive in both illustration and text, the timeless theme is particularly pertinent today.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Each page is riotous and breathtaking.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Rayne and Delilah's Midnite MatineeRayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
By Jeff Zentner
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263048
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“Zentner’s quick-witted, charming characters tackle real-life issues with snappy dialogue and engaging levity.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“As in his award-winning The Serpent King (2016), Zentner packs a poignantly satisfying blend of wit and pathos, with lovable and unpredictable characters. . . . Readers looking for an unforgettable slice of small-town angst will love this one.” – Starred Review, Booklist

We Contain MultitudesWe Contain Multitudes
By Sarah Henstra
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264212
Ages 14+ | Penguin Teen Canada
“This is an absolutely extraordinary work of fiction that proves the epistolary novel is an art form. Kurl and Jo are characters to die for, emotionally compelling and empathetic…. [This novel] is not to be missed.” – Starred Review, Booklist
“A love story, a therapy session, a reason to read Whitman-the sweetness of unexpected amour is here, as is the saline of sadness…Your reason to root for love-and the power of the pen.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

ONE STAR:

great job, dadGreat Job, Dad! and Great Job, Mom!
By Holman Wang
Hardcover | Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735264106 | ISBN 9780735264083
“The artwork in this tongue-in-cheek look at the many roles [dads] play in family life is certain to have readers poring over the pages.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Ho onaniHo’onani: Hula Warrior
By Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735264496
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
“Boldly outlined watercolor and ink artwork . . . convey visual information with strength that suggests Ho‘onani’s own. And Gale grounds the child’s experience, based on a true story, in Hawaiian traditions, modeling showing ‘every person the same unconditional acceptance and respect’.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

how to give your cat a bathHow to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
Hardcover | ISBN 9780735263543
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“This laugh-out-loud picture book can serve as a beginning reader. . . . The inevitable ending will delight both children and adults and this title will be requested over and over.” – Starred Review, Booklist

princess puffybottom and darrylPrincess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Hardcover | ISBN 9781101919255
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
“Nielsen’s tale and Mueller’s digitally created pooch and puss pair perfectly. . . . Princess and Darryl need a sequel.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide 2019

The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back again! For the last two years, we put together gift guides inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 featuring Tundra’s illustrators from 2019! This list has 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 Anne ArrivesAnne’s Kindred Spirits; and Abigail’s artwork

Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, mixing watercolor, ink, pencil and more. She has created illustrations and lettering for a range of clients including Galison/Mudpuppy, Simon & Schuster, Disney Publishing, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Penguin Books. Inspired by vintage textiles, all things Slavic, mystery novels, the ocean and long-forgotten ephemera, Halpin also creates mixed media artwork that blends drawing and embroidery, portraiture and needlework.

Shop Peanut Butter and Jelly; Narwhal’s Otter Friend; 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 Where Oliver Fits; Unicorns 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 King Mouse and Dena’s artwork

Dena Seiferling graduated with a BFA and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1999. She works as an instructor at ACAD while pursuing her illustration and needle-felted art. Dena lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two children. King Mouse is her first picture book.

Shop The Blue Castle and Elly’s artwork

Elly MacKay is a paper artist and a children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books If You Hold a SeedShadow Chasers and Butterfly Park, among others. She studied illustration and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theatre and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her husband and two children.

Shop Alma and the Beast and Esmé’s artwork

Esmé Shapiro grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, split their time between Brooklyn and New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Connect with her online at esmeshapiroillustration.com, on twitter and Instagram @esmeshapiro.

Shop Now? Not Yet! and Gina’s artwork

Once upon a time, Gina Perry picked wild blueberries, floated on lakes in her inner tube and was always on the lookout for a real moose in the woods. Now she writes and illustrates books for young readers from her New Hampshire home, where she lives with THREE monsters: her husband and two kids. She is still on the lookout for moose.

Shop Great Job, Dad!Great Job, Mom!; and Holman’s artwork

Holman Wang is a lawyer who also finds time to make children’s books. He and his brother, Jack, are the twin powers behind the board book series Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns, which abridge literary and cinematic classics into just twelve words and twelve needle-felted images. Their unique artwork has been exhibited around the world, including at The Original Art exhibition in New York, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the National Museum of Play. Holman lives with his wife and kids in Vancouver, Canada, and is a board member of the Vancouver Writers Festival.

Shop Albert’s Quiet Quest and Isabelle’s artwork

Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal.

Shop Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess 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 The PaintingThe Ghost Road; and Jensine’s artwork

Jensine Eckwall is a Brooklyn-based illustrator whose clients include BUST Magazine, BOOM! Studios/Adventure Time, The Boston Globe, Lucky Peach, The New York Times and Nylon.

Shop It Began with a Page and Julie’s artwork

Julie Morstad is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.

Shop Megabat and Fancy CatSergeant Billy; 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 You’re in Good Paws and Kathryn’s artwork

Kathryn Drust is a graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. With a background in animation, she has interned with Pixar Animation Studios in addition to working with various children’s book publishers. When she is not illustrating books like Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire and Hey Grandude!, she may be found playing the accordion, growing vegetables, folk dancing, or putting on shadow puppet shows. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her grumpy mini dachshund named Chili Dog.

Shop Frankie’s Favorite Food and Kelsey’s artwork

Kelsey Garrity-Riley is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue her love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, graduating in 2010. She has illustrated several books, including The Whirlpool: Stories by Laurel Croza (Groundwood) and the forthcoming Born to RideA Story About Bicycle Face (Abrams). Frankie’s Favorite Food is her debut as both author and illustrator.

Shop The Not-So Great Outdoors and Madeline’s artwork

Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations full of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Shop Encounter and Michaela’s artwork

Michaela Goade is a designer and illustrator living and working in Juneau, Alaska. Her childhood was spent in the forests and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska and her artistic style is rooted in the depth and beauty of its landscapes. At the heart of her work is a love for nature, the beautiful region she calls home and a passion for evocative storytelling. Forever inspired by the coastal wilds of Southeast Alaska, she works to capture its magic and honor its vibrant cultures. Michaela, a Tlingit woman, has illustrated a few picture books for an Alaskan nonprofit organization, the Sealaska Heritage Institute; Encounter is her debut with a trade publisher.

Shop Count on Me and Miguel’s artwork

Award-winning artist Miguel Tanco is a children’s book author and illustrator. He teaches illustration and organizes creative workshops for kids in Spain, where he was born and raised, and in Italy. He has published over forty children’s books including Great DogYou and Me, Me and YouLes Farfelus; and The Story of Cyrano de Bergerac. He lives in Milan with his wife, Federica, and their two sons, Pablo and Javier.

Shop Princess Puffybottom…and Darryl and Olivia’s artwork

Olivia Chin Mueller is an illustrator whose work includes I am a PuppyI am a KittenA Bedtime YarnAll the Love in the World, and Babies in the Forest. She currently lives in Providence, RI.

Shop Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink and Qin’s artwork

Throughout her career, Qin Leng has illustrated picture books, magazines and book covers with publishers around the world. Recent picture books include her author/illustrator debut I Am Small (to be published in fall 2018); Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson; and Family Is a Family Is a Family written by Sara O’Leary. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book. She lives in Toronto, with her husband and her son.

Shop Swarm of Bees and Rilla’s artwork

Rilla Alexander is an Australian designer and illustrator whose work has appeared on everything from toys and tea cups to buses and buildings. She designed the children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado, teaches Character Design at the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin and her work has been showcased at Paris’ cultural mecca Colette and at the Musée de la Publicité/Louvre. Her books celebrate creativity, reading, making and doing. She currently lives in Portland, OR.

NYPL’s Best Books of 2019

Every year, librarians who work for the New York Public Library read thousands of new releases and make a list of their favorite titles to recommend. Each book on their Best Books for Kids list features compelling characters and inspiring ideas and we’re thrilled that several of our titles were included this year! Congratulations to our creators!

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster
By Cary Fagan
ISBN 9780735266216 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Tundra Books

Hartley Staples, near-graduate of middle school, is grappling with the fact that his older brother has run away from home, when he finds a handmade postcard that fascinates him. And soon he spots another. Who is G.O. and why are they scattering cards about the town?

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
By Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
ISBN 9780735264496 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books

Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is – and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.

King Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
ISBN 9780735264045 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books

A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he’s king, the mouse responds “Yes.”

The Not-So Great Outdoors
By Madeline Kloepper
ISBN 9780735264175 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books

A reluctant camper discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers in this playful picture book celebration of the pleasures of unplugging and embracing nature.

Our 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalists

GGbooks2019

Each year, the Canada Council for the Arts honours the best books in Canadian literature with the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year, we have four finalists in the Young People’s Literature categories, one in text and three in illustrated books. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Albert’s Quiet Quest
By Isabelle Arsenault
ISBN 9781101917626 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 4-8
“In Arsenault’s ideal neighborhood, independent children make their own decisions and form their own community, and they resolve their own conflicts, too.” – Publishers Weekly

How to Give Your Cat a Bath
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
ISBN 9780735263543 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
“This laugh-out-loud picture book can serve as a beginning reader. . . . The inevitable ending will delight both children and adults and this title will be requested over and over.” – Starred Review, Booklist

King Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
ISBN 9780735264045 | Tundra Books
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
“Graceful and perceptive in both illustration and text, the timeless theme is particularly pertinent today.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Finalist for Young People’s Literature – Text

The Grey Sisters
By Jo Treggiari
ISBN 9780735262980 | Penguin Teen Canada
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Ages 12+
“Dark and gripping. . . . [R]eaders will have a hard time putting the book down.” – School Library Journal

Special thanks to the peer assessment committee: Shauntay Grant, Jon Klassen, Kathryn Shoemaker, Kagiso Lesego Molope, Kenneth Oppel, and Ellen Schwartz.

Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. The winners of the 2019 Governor General Literary Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

KidLit Halloween Costume: King Mouse

Dress up like your favorite KidLit characters this Halloween! Today’s outfit is inspired by the animals from King Mouse. We’ve done the work and searched for all the pieces for you!

King Mouse-interior spread
King Mouse-complete look
Crown: Star Visions | Mouse ears: PartyCity.ca | Mouse tail: Party Time

King MouseKing Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
ISBN 9780735264045 | Tundra Books
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he’s king, the mouse responds “Yes.”

This diminutive monarch settles into his new role very comfortably . . . until a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused, especially when one by one the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings too. But when the bear can’t find a crown, King Mouse make a most surprising decision.

This inspired collaboration between an award-winning author and debut picture book illustrator Dena Seiferling is quietly profound in its simplicity and has the feeling of a modern classic.