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 Tundra Book Group and Friends, we’d like to congratulate our nominated authors and illustrators.
2024 Blue Spruce Award™️ Nominee
My Fade Is Fresh
By Shauntay Grant
Illustrated by Kitt Thomas
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593387085 | Penguin Workshop
When a little girl walks into her local barbershop, she knows she wants the flyest, freshest fade on the block! But there are so many beautiful hairstyles to choose from, and the clients and her mother suggest them all: parts, perms, frizzy fros, dye jobs, locs, and even cornrows! But this little girl stays true to herself and makes sure she leaves the shop feeling on top with the look she picks! Author Shauntay Grant’s sweet, rhyming story encourages young girls to be self-confident and celebrates the many shapes and forms Black hair can take. Through their stunning illustrations, Kitt Thomas is able to bring life and movement to the versatile styles featured in this book.
2024 Silver Birch Express Award®️ Nominee
By Matt James
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823450053 | Neal Porter Books
One rainy morning, a father and son bond over a walk through a field full of freshly formed ponds teeming with tadpoles. In this tender reflection on the fleeting rhythms of the natural world and the enduring love of family, a boy and his father spend a morning exploring an ephemeral pond, a delicate nursery formed by rainfall, perfect for sheltering tadpoles from predators as they grow. The boy’s father doesn’t live with him anymore, and the ponds may only be temporary, but together they make memories that just might last a lifetime.
By Jon Klassen
112 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536223378 | Candlewick
Jon Klassen’s signature wry humor takes a turn for the ghostly in this thrilling retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can brave Otilla save them both? Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit – with rich, monochromatic artwork and an illuminating author’s note – The Skull is as empowering as it is mysterious and foreboding.
2024 Silver Birch Fiction Award® Nominees
PAWS: Mindy Makes Some Space
By Nathan Fairbairn
Illustrated by Michele Assarasakorn
176 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593351918 | Razorbill
Best friends Mindy Park, Gabby Jordan, and Priya Gupta are back in business! After a few ups and downs, their dog-walking business is booming and the girls are closer than ever. It’s a dream come true! But for Mindy, things at home are beginning to feel like a bit of a nightmare. Her mom just started dating someone, which has Mindy feeling like the odd one out. For as long as she can remember, it’s been just the two of them and she doesn’t want that to change. (So what if her mom’s boyfriend has a cute pet cat, and all of Mindy’s friends seem to think he’s pretty cool?) And things only get worse when a new student named Hazel arrives in class and seems totally into joining PAWS. Sharing her mom feels bad enough, so there’s no way Mindy’s is going to share her best friends and her business, too! But when Mindy’s stubbornness starts to hurt everyone around her, will she be able to overcome her fears and learn that change doesn’t have to be a cat-tastrophe?
The Big Sting
By Rachelle Delaney
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269309 | Tundra Books
Eleven-year-old Leo is an “armchair adventurer.” This, according to Dad, means he’d choose adventures in books or video games over real-life experiences. And while Leo hates the label, he can’t argue with it. Unlike his little sister Lizzie, Leo is not a risk-taker. So when he, Lizzie, Mom and Dad leave the city to visit Grandpa on Heron Island, Leo finds all kinds of dangers to avoid – from the deep, dark ocean to an old barn on the verge of collapse. But nothing on the island is more fearsome than Grandpa himself – Leo has never met anyone so grumpy! According to Mom, Grandpa is still grieving the recent death of his wife, a beekeeper beloved by everyone on the island. Despite Leo’s best efforts to avoid it, adventure finds him anyway when Grandma’s beehives go missing in the dead of night. Infuriated, Grandpa vows to track down the sticky-fingered thieves himself . . . with risk-averse Leo and danger-loving Lizzie (plus a kitten named Mayhem) in tow.
2024 Red Maple Award™️ Nominees
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: The Druid’s Call
By E.K. Johnston
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593598184 | Random House Worlds
For as long as she can remember, Doric has felt alone. Abandoned by her human parents, she wandered for years before being taken in by a community of Neverwinter Wood elves. But her horns and tail proclaim a tiefling heritage, and even among the kindest of elves, her fledgling druidic abilities mark her as different from the rangers around her. And as humans begin to encroach farther and farther into the once pristine woods, Doric knows she needs to master her druidic capabilities if she is to be any help to her adopted family. With no means of helping Doric themselves, her guardians see no choice but to send her somewhere she can come into her own. Tucked among the ancient pines of the Ardeep Forest hides the Emerald Enclave, an order of warriors tasked with preserving the natural world. They fight to maintain balance between the forces of the wild and civilization, and in doing so, protect the sanctity of each. Among their order, Doric begins to find power in her differences. But not all her fellow initiates are so capable of new growth, and as her training continues, Doric is forced to confront the very beliefs that brought her into the Enclave’s fold. If she’s going to protect her home, she’ll have to reckon with her people, her power, and the walls she’s built to keep herself safe from both.
Seekers of the Fox: Thieves of Shadow #2
By Kevin Sands
416 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735270466 | Puffin Canada
Rule number one: Never mess with magic. Even so, a life-or-death situation calls for Callan and his criminal friends to make a deal with the Eye – the sinister, sentient artifact they stole from a sorcerer. It’s Lachlan’s life in exchange for a future task, and the gang has no choice but to agree. But even as Lachlan is resurrected, it’s not without cost. Through the Eye, Callan can see a tiny purple stain inside Lachlan’s soul, which will eventually consume him. The cure – and their part of the deal – lies with the Dragon’s Teeth, a pair of swords with extraordinary powers, and the search for them leads the thieves on a quest that will unravel the mystery of the Eye. Old friends, new betrayals, and an even more daring break-in than the last culminate in a confrontation that will take all the gang’s skill and power to resist – or they’ll die trying.
2024 White Pine Award™️ Nominees
Funeral Songs for Dying Girls
By Cherie Dimaline
280 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265639 | Tundra Books
Winifred has lived in the apartment above the cemetery office with her father, who works in the crematorium all her life, close to her mother’s grave. With her sixteenth birthday only days away, Winifred has settled into a lazy summer schedule, lugging her obese Chihuahua around the grounds in a squeaky red wagon to visit the neglected gravesides and nursing a serious crush on her best friend, Jack. Her habit of wandering the graveyard at all hours has started a rumor that Winterson Cemetery might be haunted. It’s welcome news since the crematorium is on the verge of closure and her father’s job being outsourced. Now that the ghost tours have started, Winifred just might be able to save her father’s job and the only home she’s ever known, not to mention being able to stay close to where her mother is buried. All she has to do is get help from her con-artist cousin to keep up the rouse and somehow manage to stop her father from believing his wife has returned from the grave. But when Phil, an actual ghost of a teen girl who lived and died in the ravine next to the cemetery, starts showing up, Winifred begins to question everything she believes about life, love and death. Especially love.
Of Light and Shadow
By Tanaz Bhathena
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271432 | Penguin Teen Canada
When they don’t give us our birthright, we steal it. Roshan Chaya is out for justice. Abandoned by her parents at birth and adopted by the kingdom of Jwala’s most notorious bandit before his brutal murder, she is now leader of the Shadow Clan, a gang of farmers-turned-bandits impoverished by the provincial governor’s atrocities and corruption. Roshan’s goal: to avenge her adoptive father and earn back rights and dignity for her people. Prince Navin has always felt like an outcast. Second in line for the throne, he has never been close to his grandmother, Queen Bhairavi of Jwala. When a night out drinking with friends leads to his capture by the infamous Shadow Clan, Navin schemes to befriend Roshan and use her as a means to escape. His ploy, however, brings Navin closer to the corruption and poverty at the heart of Roshan’s province, raising questions about its governor and Navin’s own family. To further complicate things, the closer Roshan and Navin get, the harder it becomes to fight their growing attraction. But how can they trust each other when the world as they know it starts to fall apart? Set in a magical world inspired by the badlands of 17th century India, this standalone epic fantasy novel by Tanaz Bhathena is packed with political tensions, dangerous schemes, and swoon-worthy romance that asks the age old question: can love conquer all?