Books for Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library to learn more. In the meantime, we’ve compiled our reading recommendations for you.

All Aboard!All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
ISBN 9781770495142 | Paperback
Ages 5-8 | Tundra Books
There were few opportunities for the son of slaves, but Elijah McCoy’s dreams led him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. He learned everything there was to know about engines – how to design them and how to build them. But when he returned to the United States to look for work at the Michigan Central Railroad, the only job Elijah could get was shoveling coal into a train’s firebox. Undaunted, he went on to invent a means of oiling the engine while the train was running, changing the face of travel around the world. 

To The Rescue! Garrett Morgan Underground
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by David Parkins
ISBN 9781101918821 | Paperback
Ages 5-8 | Tundra Books
The son of freed slaves, Garrett Morgan was determined to have a better life than laboring in the Kentucky fields with his parents and ten siblings. He began by sweeping floors in a clothing factory in Cleveland, Ohio, where he decided to invent a stronger belt for sewing machines. When he was promoted to sewing-machine repairman, Garrett was on his way. In 1911, 146 workers died in the shocking Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, so Garrett decided to invent a safety hood for firefighters. Little did he know that most people wouldn’t be interested in buying his safety hood when they discovered its inventor was black. But an explosion that trapped workers in a tunnel under Lake Erie soon changed all that. Garrett’s hoods were rushed to the scene and used to rescue as many men as possible. Developed further, Garrett’s invention came to save thousands of soldiers from chlorine gas in the trenches of World War I.

9781770493018-450My Name Is Blessing
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770493018 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard –love doesn’t feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka’s physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

9781770495302-450Hope Springs
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770495302 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
A drought has settled in the area around the orphanage where Boniface lives. There are long line-ups at the tiny spring where all the local people get their water, and suddenly the orphans are pushed to the back of the line, unwelcome. Boniface’s houseparent, Henry, tells him that the people were mean out of fear–they feared there would not be enough water for their families. When the building of the orphanage’s well is completed, Boniface has an idea to help the villagers. A lovely story of kindness and heart, this story shows that, through compassion and understanding, true generosity can spring from unexpected places.

today is the dayToday is the Day
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
ISBN 9781770496484 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Mutanu is excited. As she goes about her chores, she thinks about the day to come and what surprises it might bring. For today is no ordinary day at the orphanage she lives in. Every year, the orphanage honors its newest arrivals by creating a birthday day especially for them. From that moment forward, the orphans have a day that they know is theirs–a day to celebrate, a day to enjoy, a day to remember. And today is the day! Based on real children in an orphanage in Kenya, this lovely story shows how something as simple as a birthday, something most of us take for granted, can mean so much in another part of the world.

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
Compiled by Eric Walters
ISBN 9781770497191 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist. In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread.

Legends Icons and RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
By Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine
ISBN 9781101918685 | Hardcover
Ages 9-12 | Tundra Books
Music industry veterans Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Jared Levine, and Sebastian Robertson invite young readers to share with them in celebrating twenty-seven musical legends. Short profiles chronicle personal stories and achievements of extraordinarily talented artists whose innovations changed the landscape of music for generations to come. Carefully compiled like any great playlist, the line-up features originators, rebels, and risk-takers across diverse genres.

9780887769146-450Five Thousand Years of Slavery
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
ISBN 9781770491519 | Ebook
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books
Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst – and the best – in human society.

Speak a Word for Freedom
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
ISBN 9781770496514 | Hardcover
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books
From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today’s women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery tells the story of fourteen of these women.

 

 

2015 Willow Awards Nominations

The Willow AwardsThe Willow Awards have been announced! We are very happy to see that three of our titles have been nominated for the Shining Willow Award and one for the Diamond Willow. Congratulations to Roy MacGregor, Geneviève Després, Eric Walters, Eugenie Fernandes, Elise Gravel, and Charis Cotter for their fantastic work!

Click here for a bookmark checklist for the Shining Willow nominees and click here for the Diamond Willow bookmark.

Shining Willow Nominees:

The Highest Number in the WorldThe Highest Number in the World
Written by Roy MacGregor
Illustrated by Geneviève Després
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-5753
“MacGregor’s writing packs an emotional punch without relying on sentimentality (‘Gabe’s heart felt as if a skate had just run across it’). Expressive pencil drawings, brightened with color washes, perfectly capture the characters’ feelings. From the moment Grandma begins to share her past and her passion for hockey, the story’s context becomes broader, more complex, and more meaningful. A memorable, intergenerational picture book perfect for sharing.” – Starred Review, Booklist

My Name Is BlessingMy Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages |Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply…. With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The WormThe Worm
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-633-0
“Gravel covers basics like worm anatomy and diet with simple text and bold, hand-lettered typography. But it’s the earthworm protagonist, sporting a beret and greeting readers with a worldly ‘Énchanté!’, that helps make the book so entertaining. It has a witty quip for every wormy fact…. But even the book’s more aesthetically challenged creatures—tapeworms, I’m looking at you—can’t help but woo with their cute dot-eyes and expressive mouths. The Worm is gross, silly, and informative—the perfect combo for maximum kid appeal.” – Science Friday

Diamond Willow Nominee:

The SwallowThe Swallow
A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
“The novel alternates between Polly’s and Rose’s first-person points of view, and Cotter ably creates their two distinct voices, each of which is appealing in its own way. This is a novel about loneliness and friendship, feeling invisible, finding your voice, and long-buried secrets. But The Swallow is never heavy-handed, and, best of all, it’s genuinely spooky. Cotter builds suspense without artificially withholding information from the reader. And for bibliophiles, the author’s subtle hat tips to favourite books are a joy. Like all the best ghost stories, The Swallow tells us more about the living than the dead. It is a fantastic addition to Toronto literature, with all the makings of a classic.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library to learn more. In the meantime, we’ve compiled our reading recommendations for you (click on the covers for more information). You can also check out our previous list too!

9781770493018-450My Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages |Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply…. With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

9781770495302-450Hope Springs
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-530-2
“Based on actual events, this story is one of strength and kindness in the face of fear. …the art is expressively large. A series of spreads gives readers a view of Boniface’s world, adding rich colors and patterns of folk art. With the addition of the author’s ‘Story Behind the Story,’ the facts of the origin of Hope Springs allow a retelling of the story through a personal narrative with the aid of photography, a map, and additional explanation.” – School Library Journal

today is the dayToday Is the Day
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
Available for Pre-order: October 2015
ISBN: 978-1-77049-648-4
Based on real children in an orphanage in Kenya, this lovely story shows how something as simple as a birthday, something most of us take for granted, can mean so much in another part of the world.

All Aboard!All Aboard!
Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine

Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
32 Pages | Ages 5-8
HC ISBN: 978-0-88776-945-0
PB ISBN: 978-1-77049-514-2
“An engaging biography of the African-American inventor…. The narrative includes fictionalized dialogue and clear explanations about how the machinery works and concludes with an inspiring message …” — School Library Journal

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 | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-302-5
“Internationally known musician K’naan, whose song ‘Wavin’ Flag’ was the official anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, recounts his struggle as a young immigrant from Somalia to fit in and how he was bullied for looking and dressing differently from his classmates.” – Publishers Weekly

Oscar PetersonOscar Peterson
The Man and His Jazz

Written by Jack Batten
Hardcover | 192 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN: 978-1-77049-269-1
eBook: 978-1-77049-362-9
“If you are looking for a solid biography for middle schoolers of the man who was arguably the top jazz pianist for over twenty years and among the best for the rest of his life, then look no further than this book. Though it is only briefly referenced, the author met Peterson back in 1965, and his clear respect for the man, as well as Peterson’s formidable jazz skills, shows throughout this book…. Still inexorably leading you through Peterson’s life, Batten makes the reader unfamiliar with songs run to the web to listen for the first time….” – VOYA Magazine

Legends Icons and RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels
Music That Changed the World

Written by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine
Hardcover with 2 CDs | 128 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-571-5
“Wow, just wow! This book is big in every way…. The book’s art is hard to resist … it’s a treat that the words grab as much as the pictures.” — Starred Review, Booklist

9780887769146-450Five Thousand Years of Slavery
Written by Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
Hardcover | 176 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN: 978-0-88776-914-6
eBook: 978-1-77049-151-9
“This well-researched global survey introduces readers to slavery practices, customs, suffering, uprisings, and revolts as well as antislavery efforts from ancient Greece and Rome to today’s world…. The authors promote global awareness and issue a call to action…. Informative documentary photos and factually rich sidebars enhance the text. A timeline lists pivotal moments from the rise of Sumerian cities to the 2001 Cocoa Protocol denouncing child labor on African cocoa plantations. This groundbreaking title brings the disturbing subject into historical and contemporary focus.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

9781770496514-450Speak a Word for Freedom
Women against Slavery
Written by Janet Willen and Marjorie Gann
Hardcover | 216 Pages | Ages 12+
Available for Pre-order: September 2015
ISBN: 978-1-77049-651-4
eBook: 978-1-77049-653-8
A fascinating non-fiction account of the lives of fourteen female abolitionists, some of whom were slaves themselves, from the early days of the antislavery movement to the present.

The 2015 OLA Forest of Reading® Nominees


Today, the Ontario Library Association revealed the nominated titles for the 2015 Forest of Reading® program. Tundra would like to congratulate the nominated authors and illustrators!

BLUE SPRUCE™ 2015 NOMINATED TITLES

The Highest Number in the WorldThe Highest Number in the World
Written by Roy MacGregor
Illustrated by Genevieve Després
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-575-3
eBook: 978-1-77049-576-0
“From the moment Grandma begins to share her past and her passion for hockey, the story’s context becomes broader, more complex, and more meaningful. A memorable, intergenerational picture book perfect for sharing.” — Booklist

  • The Day My Mom Came To Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus and Mike Lowery
  • Kenta and the Big Wave by Ruth Ohi
  • Loula is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve
  • The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson and Dusan Petricic
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and Isabelle Malenfant
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • My Blue Is Happy by Jessica Young and Catia Chien
  • Oddrey and the New Kid by Dave Whamond
  • Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva

SILVER BIRCH® EXPRESS 2015 NOMINATED TITLES

The FlyThe Fly
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-636-1
The Fly is a unique nonfiction book about the common housefly. Full of interesting facts, the book reads more like a picture book or simple graphic novel. Everything you never wanted to know about one of mankind’s least favourite creatures is covered in this book…. This series is a must-read for children who like the world’s most unlikeable creatures.” — Highly Recommended, CM Magazine

My Name Is BlessingMy Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply…. With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.” — Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

  • Be a Wilderness Detective by Peggy Kochanoff
  • Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney
  • From There To Here by Laurel Croza and Matt James
  • The Great Bike Rescue by Hazel Hutchins
  • How To Save A Species by Jonathan Baillie and Marilyn Baillie
  • Kung Pow Chicken #1 Let’s Get Cracking by Cyndi Marko
  • Prove It, Josh by Jenny Watson
  • Seconds by Sylvia Taekema

RED MAPLE NON-FICTION™ 2015 NOMINATED TITLES

Legends Icons and RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels
Music That Changed the World

Written by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine
Hardcover | 128 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-571-5
eBook: 978-1-77049-573-9
“Wow, just wow! This book is big in every way…. The book’s art is hard to resist … it’s a treat that the words grab as much as the pictures.” — Starred Review, Booklist

  • Growing Up, Inside and Out by Kira Vermond and Carl Chin
  • It’s Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes by Jennifer Gardy and Josh Holinaty
  • The Last Train: A Holocaust Story by Rona Arato
  • Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis
  • Pay It Forward Kids: Small Acts, Big Change by Nancy Runstedler
  • Real Justice: Sentenced to Life at Seventeen: The story of David Milgaard by Cynthia J. Faryon
  • Starting From Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking by Sarah Elton and Jeff Kulak
  • We Are Canada by Rikia Saddy and Cameron McLellan
  • Why Do We Fight?: Conflict, War, and Peace by Niki Walker

GOLDEN OAK™ 2015 NOMINATED TITLES

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

  • The Clear-Out by Deborah Ellis
  • Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney
  • The Hard Fall by Brenda Chapman
  • Just Gone by William Kowalski
  • Rainbow Crow : Nagweyaabi-aandeg by David Bouchard and David Jean
  • Rick Hansen: A Life in Motion by Don Quinlan
  • Sentenced to Life at Seventeen : The Story of David Milgaard by Cynthia J. Faryon

The Festival of Trees™ in Toronto will be taking place on May 12-13, 2015 at the Harbourfront Centre. We will be there to cheer on our authors and illustrators!

Finalists for the 2014 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) has announced the finalists for its seven major children’s book awards – the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, John Spray Mystery Award, and the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The nominated books exemplify some of the best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The following Tundra titles have been chosen:

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD

My Name Is BlessingMy Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This story of an African boy plagued by disability, poverty and prejudice, and ultimately saved by love, is unfailingly respectful… Every child can be enriched by the unsentimental, honest and enlightening text and be carried away by the beautifully realized art suffused with the burnt orange tones of the African Savannah… The turn of phrase reflected in the title is highly poignant.” – Jury Comments

Where Do You LookWhere Do You Look?
Written by Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn
Hardcover | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-376-6
“A series of wonderful double-entendres that introduce language concepts in a playful way, this book contains few words but hours of fun… The playful joys and puzzles of language are presented with exuberant high spirits, in cleverly chosen words and brilliantly patterned collage illustrations reminiscent of folk art… This mother-daughter team brings artful layers to a seemingly simple concept.” – Jury Comments

Congratulations to the other finalists in this category: Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi, How To by Julie Morstad, and The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić.

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION

My Name Is BlessingMy Name Is Blessing
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-301-8
“This picture book explores the universal feelings of fear of rejection and joy of acceptance… Based upon a true story, My Name Is Blessing details the plight of a young boy in Kenya living with a physical disability and challenging living circumstances… Eugenie Fernandes’ colourful renditions of the young boy’s family and changing circumstances compliment Eric Walters’ direct narrative with an understated grace.” – Jury Comments

Congratulations to the other finalists in this category: Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington, A History of Just About Everything: 180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World by Elizabeth MacLeod and Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Qin Leng, The Last Train: A Holocaust Story by Rona Arato, and Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis.

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Little Red LiesLittle Red Lies
Written by Julie Johnston
Hardcover | 352 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-313-1
eBook: 978-1-77049-314-8
“Set in the aftermath of World War II, Little Red Lies includes many elements that contribute to the theme of hiding secrets… Unflinchingly honest, Julie Johnston’s story of a 13-year-old girl living in post-World War II Canada will resonate with young adult readers… On the surface, the novel is about a soldier’s return from war, but under the layers of work, school and relationships linger the extraordinary truths held by Johnston’s characters…” – Jury Comments

Congratulations to the other finalists in this category: Brothers at War by Don Cummer, Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass, The Manager by Caroline Stellings, and Me & Mr. Bell by Philip Roy.

Thank you to the judges for their considerations and again, congratulations to our authors, illustrators, and our hardworking publishing team! The winners will be announced at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards Gala on Thursday, November 6, 2014.