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.

Meow! Today is national cat day!

Celebrate national cat day by feline fine and checking out a good story. Here is the purrfect list for cat-lovers of all ages!

PICTURE BOOKS

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

By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
ISBN 9780735263543 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
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!

miss minkMiss Mink
Life Lessons for a Cat Countess

By Janet Hill
ISBN 9781770499225 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
This whimsical collection of twenty cat-approved life lessons for living your purrfect life is accompanied by gorgeous, lushly detailed paintings.

princess puffybottom and darrylPrincess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
ISBN 9781101919255 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Princess Puffybottom has the perfect life – her subjects serve her delicious meals, clean up her “delicate matters” and wait on her hand and foot. Life is good . . . until Darryl arrives. Princess Puffybottom thinks he’s disgusting, horrid and a true animal. Though she tries everything in her power to banish him (including hypnosis, trickery and even sabotage), it looks like this puppy is here to stay. Can Princess P. and Darryl find a way to co-exist?

Copy CatCopy Cat
By Ali Pye
ISBN 9780763699352 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Nosy Crow
Bella loves Anna. In fact, Bella loves Anna so much that she wants to be just like her and copies every single thing she does. Finally Anna decides she’s had enough of Bella being such a copycat! What is Bella going to do? With an adorable troupe of colorful kittens and vibrant illustrations, this author-illustrator debut from rising star Ali Pye is a lighthearted look at playground friendships and finding your own way.

The Cat Who Lived with Anne FrankThe Cat Who Lived With Anne Frank
By David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
ISBN 9781524741501 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Philomel Books
Told from the perspective of the cat who actually lived with Anne Frank in the famous Amsterdam annex, this poignant book paints a picture of a young girl who wistfully dreams of a better life for herself and her friends, tentatively wonders what mark she might leave on the world, and, above all, adamantly believes in the goodness of people.

The Cat BookThe Cat Book: A minibombo Book
By Silvia Borando
ISBN 9780763694722 | Hardcover
Ages 2-5 | Candlewick Press
Who’s that, curled in a ball? Call out his name to wake him! Now turn the page and see him give a big stretch, waiting for you to pat him. Purr, purr, purr. Aww. But what’s that? Fleas! Quick, squish them with your finger! As this pampered cat’s day progresses, readers will have their hands full, acting as umbrella and towel and even clapping their hands loudly to save a bird . . . oh no!

Ghost CatGhost Cat
By Kevan Atteberry
ISBN 9780823442836 | Hardcover
Ages 3-6 | Neal Porter Books
There’s something oddly familiar about this ghost cat – it does lots of things that remind the boy of the cat he used to have. The boy’s not sure why the ghost cat never stays for more than a few moments, or why the ghost cat has visited him in the first place. He follows the ghost cat all over his house, until finally it leads him to something new and wonderful.

Professor Astro Cats StargazingProfessor Astro Cat’s Stargazing
By Dr. Dominic Walliman
Illustrated by Ben Newman
ISBN 9781912497836 | Hardcover
Ages 5-7 | Flying Eye Books
In this new addition to the bestselling science series, we learn all about the stars in our universe, including our own sun! From scientific discoveries to the constellations dreamed up by humans centuries ago, the adventurous and wise Professor Astro Cat will guide young readers through fascinating facts.

Bad DogBad Dog
By Mike Boldt
ISBN 9781984847973 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Doubleday Books for Young Readers
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.

There Are No Bears in This BakeryThere Are No Bears in this Bakery
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
ISBN 9780399556654 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
A tough gumshoe of a cat–the name’s Muffin–protects his territory: The Little Bear Bakery. But there are no bears here. Not on Muffin’s watch. One night, Muffin hears a suspicious noise. Mouse? Raccoon? Bat? Nope, not the usual suspects. But Muffin hears . . . growling. Could it be? Yup. A bear. Just a cub. Whose stomach is definitely growling. Muffin’s got this case solved–clearly this bear needs some donuts.

Maya and the Lost CatMaya and the Lost Cat
By Caroline Magerl
ISBN 9781536204230 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Candlewick Press
Where does Cat live, and who can lead the way there? A lyrical, charmingly offbeat tale about wanderlust and family, rescue and finding home. What will lure Cat down? Feather boas? Pretty pink shoelaces? A boatful of fish under a tiny tin sail?

Peg and Cat - The PuddlePeg + Cat: The Puddle
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
ISBN 9781536206982 | Trade Paperback
Ages 3-7 | Candlewick Entertainment
A rainy day in the park has Peg and Cat singing, dancing, and measuring puddles to find out which ones are perfect for jumping in. Splash! Peg jumps right in, but Cat isn’t so sure. Just how deep is that water, anyway? If only they had some way to measure how far down the puddles go!

CHAPTER BOOKS

megabat and fancy catMegabat and Fancy Cat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
ISBN 9780735262591 | Hardcover
Ages 7-10 | Tundra Books
Megabat returns, this time with a new nemesis: a very fancy cat. Can our tiny bat hero stop his Daniel’s heart from being stolen by this nefarious, fluffy villain?

The Adventures of Miss Petitfours - paperbackThe Adventures of Miss Petitfour
By Anne Michaels
Illustrated by Emma Block
ISBN 9780735263222 | Trade Paperback
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size – fitting into a single, magical day.” On windy days, she takes her sixteen cats out for an airing: Minky, Misty, Taffy, Purrsia, Pirate, Mustard, Moutarde, Hemdela, Earring, Grigorovitch, Clasby, Captain Captain, Captain Catkin, Captain Cothespin, Your Shyness and Sizzles.

Klawde Evil Alien Warlord CatKlawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat
By Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth
Illustrated by Robb Mommaerts
ISBN 9781524787202 | Hardcover
Ages 8-12 | Penguin Workshop
Klawde is not your average cat. He’s an emperor from another planet, exiled to Earth. He’s cruel. He’s cunning. He’s brilliant… and he’s about to become Raj Banerjee’s best friend. Whether he likes it or not.

Timmy Failure - The Cat Stole My PantsTimmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants
By Stephan Pastis
ISBN 9781536209099 | Trade Paperback
Ages 8-12 | Candlewick Press
Timmy is in Key West, Florida, ostensibly for the honeymoon of his mother and Doorman Dave — if they even got married, which Timmy doubts. Unfortunately for Timmy, crime doesn’t take a vacation. And because Total has fled to Cuba seeking political asylum, Timmy must rely on a new partner for help: Doorman Dave’s nephew Emilio. Meanwhile, a surprise newcomer shows up in Timmy’s life and, as if things couldn’t get more hectic, Timmy’s pants have been stolen by a six-toed cat.

NON-FICTION

Cat Science UnleashedCat Science: Unleashed
Fun activities to do with your feline friend

By Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
ISBN 9781426334412 | Trade Paperback
Ages 8-12 | National Geographic Children’s Books
Unleash the power of science! Have fun with 22 safe and cat-friendly activities that let you work alongside your cat to discover what makes her tick. Learn how catnip affects your kitty and how she can see so well in the dark. Find out what kind of toys your cat loves by making a feather flyer. How does your cat balance so well and always land on all fours? Each activity is paired with step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and cool photographs shot specifically for this book.