National Housing Day

Each year, National Housing Day is held on November 22 to recognize and improve access to housing for everyone in Canada. Here are some books that celebrate the different shapes and forms that houses – and homes – can take!

A House for Every Bird
By Megan Maynor
Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
32 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984896483 | Knopf BFYR
A young artist has drawn birds and bird houses in corresponding colors. Now it’s time to match them up. The blue bird goes in the blue house, the orange bird in the orange house, and so on. But wait! The birds don’t agree with the narrator’s choices and, much to her distress, are rebelling by swapping houses. Can the narrator make the birds see sense? Or is it possible that you just can’t tell a bird by its feathers?

Home: A Peek-Through Picture Book
By Britta Teckentrup
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593379295 | Doubleday BFYR
A family of bears wanders through the forest, spying all the different places animals call home, including a bird’s nest, a beaver lodge, an icy river full of fish, and a maze of rabbit burrows. Finally, as the snow falls, the bears come home to their cozy cave to hibernate, safe and warm. This comforting celebration of home and nature will enchant children as they peek through the holes on each page to spy each animal. It’s the perfect way for families to share a love of science and nature, while cuddled up together in their own homes.

Home
By Carson Ellis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763665296 | Candlewick
Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio. A meditation on the concept of home and a visual treat that invites many return visits, this loving look at the places where people live marks the picture-book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and artist for the indie band the Decemberists.

Mi Casa Is My Home
By Laurenne Sala
Illustrated by Zara González Hoang
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536209433 | Candlewick
Bienvenidos to Lucía’s home. Lucía lives in her casa with her big, loud, beautiful familia, and she’s going to show you around! From la puerta, where Abuela likes to wave to the neighbors and wait for packages from Puerto Rico or Spain, to la cocina, where Lucía watches her Mamá turn empty pots into soups and arroces, to el patio, where Lucia and her cousins (and her cousin’s cousins!) put on magic shows, Lucía loves her busy and cozy casa. With warmth and joy, author Laurenne Sala and illustrator Zara González Hoang celebrate home in this bilingual picture book that feels like an abrazo from your most favorite people, your familia.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262751| 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.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse
By Jane Godwin
Illustrated by Blanca Gómez
40 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525553816 | Dial Books
A little mouse makes her way around the world, and invites preschoolers along as she sets out: Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse in her little brown house? Seamless, simple, and inspiring, the rhyming story abounds in concepts for the very young, with a particular focus on colors, and a delightful search-and-find element on every spread – the intrepid mouse herself!

Shelter
By Christie Matheson
192 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593376386 | Random House BFYR
Fifth grade can be tough for anyone. There are cliques and mean kids and homework and surprise math tests. But after tragedy strikes her family, almost-eleven-year-old Maya has a painful secret that makes many days feel nearly impossible. And today might be Maya’s toughest yet. Her family is on edge, she needs to travel alone across the city, a bully is out to get her, and Maya has to face this winter’s biggest rainstorm without a coat or an umbrella. But even on the rainiest days, there’s hope that the sun will come out soon. Emotional and compassionate, Shelter looks at homelessness through one girl’s eyes and explores the power of empathy, friendship, and love.

Ship in a Bottle
By Andrew Prahin
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984815811 | Putnam BFYR
All Mouse wants to do is eat gingersnaps, lie in the sun, and enjoy her ship in a bottle. All Cat wants to do is eat Mouse. This is a problem. So one day, Mouse sets off in her ship in a bottle in search of a new home. But the great big world is a scary place for one small mouse. As she sails downriver, she faces grabby seagulls, selfish rabbits, and stormy waters before finally finding refuge in a park on the shores of an enormous city, where she is welcomed by friends of all shapes and sizes. Readers will cheer Mouse’s quiet perseverance on her epic journey as she seeks a tiny spot to call her own.

Story Boat
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263598 | Tundra Books
When a little girl and her younger brother are forced along with their family to flee the home they’ve always known, they must learn to make a new home for themselves – wherever they are. And sometimes the smallest things – a cup, a blanket, a lamp, a flower, a story – can become a port of hope in a terrible storm. As the refugees travel onward toward an uncertain future, they are buoyed up by their hopes, dreams and the stories they tell – a story that will carry them perpetually forward. When you have to leave behind almost everything you know, where can you call home? Sometimes home is simply where we are: here. A imaginative, lyrical, unforgettable picture book about the migrant experience through a child’s eyes.

Take Back the Block
By Chrystal D. Giles
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593175170 | Random House BFYR
Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That – and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games – is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to. But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it’s too late? Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong – to a place and a movement – and to fight for what you believe in.

The Blue HouseThe Blue House
By Phoebe Wahl
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984893390 | Tundra Books
For as long as he can remember, Leo has lived in the blue house with his dad, but lately the neighborhood is changing. People are leaving, houses are being knocked down and shiny new buildings are going up in their place. When Leo and his dad are forced to leave, they aren’t happy about it. They howl and rage and dance out their feelings. When the time comes, they leave the blue house behind – there was never any choice, not really – but little by little, they find a way to keep its memory alive in their new home.

The Cot in the Living Room
By Hilda Eunice Burgos
Illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110478 | Kokila
Night after night, a young girl watches her mami set up a cot in the living room for guests in their Washington Heights apartment, like Raquel (who’s boring) and Edgardo (who gets crumbs everywhere). She resents that they get the entire living room with a view of the George Washington Bridge, while all she gets is a tiny bedroom with a view of her sister (who snores). Until one night when no one comes, and it’s finally her chance! But as it turns out, sleeping on the cot in the living room isn’t all she thought it would be.

Time for Bed, Old House
By Janet Costa Bates
Illustrated by A. G. Ford
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536209983 | Candlewick
Isaac is excited about having a sleepover at Grandpop’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home for the first time. Luckily, his knowing Grandpop tells him it’s not quite time to go to bed yet – first, he needs Isaac’s help in putting the house to bed. Quietly and slowly, they move from room to room, turning out lights and pulling down shades, as Grandpop gently explains the nighttime sounds that Isaac finds unfamiliar. Now it’s time to read the house a bedtime story (Isaac is good at reading the pictures). By the time the house is settled in for the night, Isaac and Grandpop are ready for bed, too. Janet Costa Bates’ tender story and A. G. Ford’s cozy illustrations will have families – and extended families or friends – eager to take a wise Grandpop’s cue and embrace a new nighttime tradition.

Uma Wimple Charts Her House
By Reif Larsen and Ben Gibson
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181188 | Anne Schwartz Books
Uma’s been making charts since she was a little kid. But when her teacher gives the class Uma’s dream assignment – to make a chart of their own homes – she is thrown for a loop. Oh, the possibilities! Oh, the pressure! What makes a house housey? she wonders. In order to figure it out, she asks each member of her family – Mom, Dad, and brothers Rex, Bram, and Lukey. But it’s not until she has a meltdown and Lukey comforts her that Uma figures out the secret to her chart – and her family. It’s the love that is shared inside a house’s walls.

2020 Rocky Mountain Book Award

Since 2000, the Rocky Mountain Book Award is chosen by students and educators in Alberta from a shortlist designed to stimulate the reading intersted of students in grades 4-7. We would like to congratulate Susin Nielsen whose No Fixed Address won this year’s RMBA Gold Medal.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262751| 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.

2020 Chocolate Lily Awards

The Chocolate Lily Awards have been celebrating the creative work of Children’s authors and illustrators living in British Columbia since 2002.  We would like to congratulate Susin Nielsen whose No Fixed Address won in the novel category and Cale Atkinson whose Sir Simon: Super Scarer won in the picture book category.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262751| 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.

Sir Simon: Super Scarer
By Cale Atkinson
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919095 | Tundra Books
Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He’s a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house. And to top it off, this house is occupied by an old lady — they’re the easiest to haunt! But things don’t go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. Chester spots Simon immediately and peppers him with questions. Simon is exasperated. . . until he realizes he can trick Chester into doing his ghost chores. After a long night of haunting, it seems that maybe Chester isn’t cut out to be a ghost, so Simon decides to help with Chester’s human chores. Turns out Simon isn’t cut out for human chores either. But maybe they’re both cut out to be friends . . .

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!