The 2020 OLA Forest of Reading® Winners and Honour Books

The 2020 Forest of Reading awards were announced earlier today and we are so thrilled that three of our titles were honoured at the virtual Festival of Trees. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

2020 Silver Birch Express Fiction Award Winner

Megabat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
192 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262577 | Tundra Books
Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted . . . or is it?Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there. Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute. Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

2020 Silver Birch Fiction Award Honour Book

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
368 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264359 | Puffin Canada
Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived–and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature–a golem–made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.

2020 Red Maple Fiction Award Winner

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262751 | Tundra Books
Felix Knuttson is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Is their luck about to change?

Thanks to Curio.ca for virtually hosting the awards this year! If you missed the ceremonies, you can catch up with them online here.

The Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading program. This initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) 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. More than 270,000 readers participate annually from their School and/or Public Library. All Canadians are invited to participate via their local public library, school library, or individually.

Audiobooks for Kids

Take storytime to another level with these family-friendly audiobooks that your kids will love!

Ages 8-12

Chase
By Linwood Barclay
Read by Adam Sims
4 hours 47 minutes | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735268111 | Puffin Canada

Chipper is a very special dog. He’s part of a multi-million-dollar experiment at a secret organization known only as The Institute. The Institute has been experimenting with dogs, melding them with state-of-the-art computer technology. But there’s a problem with Chipper. His natural dog instincts often overrule his computer side. No matter what he’s doing, if he sees a squirrel or a mouse, he’ll drop everything to chase it. So The Institute has decided it’s time to pull the plug on Chipper. Chipper manages a daring escape with a destination in mind, but a team from The Institute, led by the cold-hearted Daggert, is hot on his heels.

Escape
By Linwood Barclay
Read by Adam Sims
5 hours 11 minutes | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735268333 | Puffin Canada

Twelve-year-old Jeff and genetically engineered spy dog Chipper are on the run from the mysterious and sinister organization known only as The Institute, with help from Harry, the summer guest at Jeff’s aunt’s fishing cabins. Due to a combination of bravery, luck and some of Chipper’s more useful modifications, they’ve managed to evade their pursuers so far. But The Institute is closing in and Chipper and Jeff will have to keep one step ahead if they want to stay alive. . . . Harry seems to have a plan to keep them hidden, but now even he seems to be acting suspiciously. Can Jeff and Chipper trust him?

Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts
By Esta Spalding
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Read by Caitlin Kelly
5 hours 36 minutes | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735264755 | Tundra Books

Welcome to the further adventures of the plucky Fitzgerald-Trout siblings, who live on a tropical island where the grown-ups are useless, but the kids can drive. In this second installment, the delightfully self-reliant siblings continue their search for a home. This time, their pursuit will bring them face-to-face with a flood, illegal carnivorous plants, and the chance to win an extraordinary prize at a carnival. Will they finally find the place they truly belong?

Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts
By Esta Spalding
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Read by Caitlin Kelly
4 hours 12 minutes | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735264748 | Tundra Books

Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together on a lush tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go–to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home.

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
Read by Sarah Coomes
8 hours 14 minutes | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735269194 | Puffin Canada

For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys”–orphans owned by chimney sweeps–to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived–and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature–a golem–made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.

Ages 10+

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
By Kelley Armstrong
Read by Caitlin Driscoll
7 hours 48 minutes | Ages 10-14
ISBN 9780735269132 | Puffin Canada

Twelve-year-old Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt’s glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
Read by Sarah English
8 hours 13 minutes | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735268791 | Tundra Books

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

Me and Banksy
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Read by Veronica Hortiguela
6 hours 15 minutes | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735268777 | Puffin Canada

Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Like Ana picking her nose. When Dominica quickly changes her shirt from inside out in what she thinks is the privacy of a quiet corner in the library, she’s shocked — and embarrassed — to discover a video has captured this and is currently circulating amongst her schoolmates. So mortifying, especially since over the past three years, they’ve had a half-dozen school talks about social media safety.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
Read by Nissae Isen
5 hours 35 minutes | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735265875 | Tundra Books

Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
By Susin Nielsen
Read by Ashleigh Ball
5 hours 52 minutes | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735265301 | Tundra Books

Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry’s family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keeps a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night.

Need more suggestions? Check out this list on the Penguin Random House Canada website!

2019 Writers’ Trust Awards

The Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People is given annually to the author of an exceptional body of work in children’s literature and the winner is selected by a three-member judging panel. We would like to congratulate Susin Nielsen who was the recipient of this year’s award!

From the jury citation:

In one of her book titles, Susin Nielsen reminds us we are all made of molecules. Deftly, in her writing, she has managed to mould these molecules into unforgettable characters that lead us in and out of the seismic shifts of adolescence in the earthquake zone of Vancouver, where her stories are set. Nielsen celebrates the amazing resilience of young people as well as the adults around them as they face such trials as mental health issues, bullying, homelessness, and the deaths of siblings and parents. Few writing today can match her ability to make even peripheral characters memorable through a wonderful distillation of dialogue and details. A testimony to her talent is that she manages to put everything together with a humour that can only draw us in and keep us laughing even as we reach for a box of tissues. Witty, tender, fearless in the face of tackling big issues, Nielsen has staked out her territory in children’s literature — and it’s a place worth visiting often.

Word Nerd
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9780887769900
Ages 9-12 | Tundra Books

In this brilliantly observed novel, author Susin Nielsen transports the reader to the world of competitive Scrabble as seen from the honest yet funny viewpoint of a boy who’s searching for acceptance and for a place to call home.

Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770492950
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

When her mother takes up with the unfortunately named Dudley Wiener, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that they need to take control. If Violet’s mom can’t pick a decent man herself, they will help her snag George Clooney.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770496545
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his brother, Jesse, picks up a hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning.

We Are All Made of Molecules
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770497801
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books

Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation.

Optimists Die First
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770497832
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books

This touching, hilarious tragi-comedy by award-winning author Susin Nielsen proves: Life is out to get you. But so is love. A quirky alternative to the “sick lit” genre for YA readers.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9780735262751
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

From beloved Governor General Literary Award–winning author Susin Nielsen comes a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship and growing up when you’re one step away from homelessness.

Princess Puffybottom … and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
ISBN 9781101919255
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books

What’s a pampered cat to do now that she has to compete for attention with an ill-mannered puppy? Award-winning author Susin Nielsen delights in this laugh-a-minute twist on the classic sibling rivalry story.