The Global Read Aloud

Since 2010, the Global Read Aloud program has chosen one book to read aloud and share with students around the world, making a global connection with readers everywhere. We are thrilled to share that David A. Robertson’s The Barren Grounds has been chosen as the 2021 middle school title. Congratulations, David!

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
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.

Here’s what you need to know about the Global Read Aloud:

  • Kick off will be October 4th and the project will run for six weeks, ending on November 12th.
  • You can start reading later but try not to read too far ahead!
  • The official hashtag for the year is #GRA21 and the hashtag for this book will be #GRABarren
  • To join the main Facebook group, please go here. To join the early reader’s Facebook group, please go here.
  • Check out their comprehensive FAQ here.

Here’s the reading schedule:

Week 1: Oct. 4th – 8th : Chapters 1 – 5
Week 2: Oct. 11th – 15th: Chapters 6 – 10
Week 3: Oct. 18 – 22nd: Chapters 11 – 14
Week 4: Oct. 25th – 29th: Chapters 15 – 18
Week 5: Nov. 1st – 5th: Chapters 19 -22
Week 6: Nov. 8th – 12th: Chapters 23 – end

Looking for an Educators’ Guide? Click here and watch David A. Robertson tell you more about the book and series in his Bookformercial here.

2021 Freedom to Read Award

Every year, the Writers’ Union of Canada presents the Freedom to Read Award in recognition of work that is passionately supportive of the freedom to read. We would like to congratulate the 2021 recipient, David A. Robertson, on this wonderful award!

“I am moved today to nominate [David A. Robertson] because I think he is an excellent role model for freedom of expression for all of us. Robertson writes for audiences of all ages. He delves into his own life, his own truths, and with rigour, gentleness, and bravery, he creates literature to show what he’s discovering.” – David’s nominator

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
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.

Keep an eye out for two more books from David this year!

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
Release Date: May 4, 2021
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

The Great Bear: The Misewa Saga #2
By David A. Robertson
288 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266131 | Puffin Canada
Release date: September 28, 2021
Back at home after their first adventure in the Barren Grounds, Eli and Morgan each struggle with personal issues: Eli is being bullied at school, and tries to hide it from Morgan, while Morgan has to make an important decision about her birth mother. They turn to the place where they know they can learn the most, and make the journey to Misewa to visit their animal friends. This time they travel back in time and meet a young fisher that might just be their lost friend. But they discover that the village is once again in peril, and they must dig deep within themselves to find the strength to protect their beloved friends. Can they carry this strength back home to face their own challenges?

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra

Tuesdays with Tundra is an ongoing series featuring our new releases. The following books are now available in stores and online!

Blankie
By Ben Clanton
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735266780 | Tundra Books
Dive into a brand new Narwhal and Jelly story for the youngest readers! A big, yellow blankie is one of Narwhal’s favorite things; not only because it keeps Narwhal warm and cozy, but also because it’s not just a blankie. Narwhal can fold it into a hat, wear it as a cape (or a dress!) and even use it for a picnic with a best bud, like Jelly! This charming board book celebrates the power of imagination and reusability, and is perfect for both fans of the Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series and readers new to the world wide waters.

Bubbles
By Ben Clanton
22 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735266766 | Tundra Books
Dive into a brand new Narwhal and Jelly story for the youngest readers! When Narwhal accidentally bursts Jelly’s bubble with their tusk-tooth, Jelly is a little sad . . . until Narwhal shows him that there are lots of bubbles in the ocean! There are little-bitty bubbles and great big bubbles. There are bubbles up high and bubbles down low. There are bubbles that are pink and bubbles that stink. It’s unbelieva-bubble! This charming board book celebrates the power of imagination and play, and is perfect for both fans of the Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series and readers new to the world wide waters.

Goodnight, Astronaut
By Scott Kelly
Illustrated by Izzy Burton
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263451 | Puffin Canada
As an astronaut, Scott Kelly is one of the few people who know what it’s like to sleep in space. But that’s not the only unusual place he’s slept! As a child, he slept in treehouses, boats, and tents, but his thrill-seeking nature has led to him snatching shuteye in every place imaginable. From the bottom of the ocean, to Mount Everest Base Camp, to the International Space Station, Scott will send readers to sleep dreaming of exploring the wildest places. This sweet and adventurous story is the perfect bedtime tale for future astronauts and adventurers!

How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten)
By Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Kathryn Durst
84 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266582 | Tundra Books
Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions – many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans. Rachel Poliquin has created a delightfully preposterous premise that, combined with Kathryn Durst’s hilarious illustrations, will have readers laughing out loud as they learn about python biology and hunting behavior.

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

The Secret Fawn
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Elly MacKay
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265165 | Tundra Books
A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard – is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her. The Secret Fawn beautifully captures the power of nature to inspire children and shows how connecting with animals can help kids who feel left out or overlooked.

This Is Crab
By Harriet Evans
Illustrated by Jacqui Lee
48 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270732 | Puffin Canada
Meet Crab. A shy ocean dweller who, with a little encouragement, will take young readers on a journey through his underwater home. Along the way, readers meet Octopus (please forgive Crab for pinching Octopus, he can’t help his claws), discover new friends in a coral reef and see Crab finally come out of his shell . . . complete with a new shell underneath.

This Is Frog
By Harriet Evans
Illustrated by Jacqui Lee
48 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270749 | Puffin Canada
Meet Frog. A silly amphibian whose snack-time turns into an adventure when he encounters a grumpy toucan. The dynamic art and fun narrative will have readers giving Frog a hand as he bounces about the rainforest.

This is Owl
By Libby Walden
Illustrated by Jacqui Lee
48 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270756 | Puffin Canada
Meet Owl. Oh wait, it’s daytime. Meet Owl now, at night, when he’s most active – even if he isn’t the most graceful. When the act of sneaking up on Beetle goes awry, it’s up to readers to help Owl flap his wings and right himself. But when Owl is determined to make his own way, readers are taken on a journey, first to find Owl and then meet his budding family!

We  Adopted a Baby Lamb
By Lori Joy Smith
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266537 | Tundra Books
Ila is excited about her family’s move to the country – mostly because it means she can have more pets! But no one expected their next addition to be a lamb. When Albert first comes home, he sleeps a lot, he eats a lot . . . and he pees on the floor a lot. Ila and her sister and parents quickly learn how to care for a baby sheep – they must feed him and protect him. It’s not easy because Albert gets into everything! He eats the tulips from the flower bed, chews on car bumpers, chases the dog (and hides from the cats). Ila and her family does everything to make Albert happy and healthy, but she can’t help feeling like her little lamb might be missing something from his life. Maybe he needs a friend? But Ila soon realizes that she doesn’t need to look for a friend for Albert – he already has his flock.

New in Audio:

He Must Like You
By Danielle Younge-Ullman
Read by Gabi Epstein
Ages 14+ | Audiobook
ISBN 9780735271395 | 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.

We can’t wait to see you reading these! If you share these books online, remember to use #ReadTundra in your hashtags so that we can re-post.

Staff Picks: Favorite Kids Books from 2020

2020 may have been a rough year in a lot of ways but it did give us a lot of great books! We sat down to choose our favourite book of the year from the Tundra and Puffin Canada lists (and it was just as hard as you’d think.)

Vikki, Marketing & Publicity Director

“With authentic dialogue and a ripped from the headlines set-up, this is smart, topical middle grade at it’s finest. A great read for budding social activists.”

Me and BanksyMe and Banksy
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
272 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266919 | 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. Who has access to the school security cameras and why are they doing this? Dominica and her best friends, Holden and Saanvi, are determined to find out, and in the process start an art-based student campaign against cameras in the classroom.

Sylvia, Marketing and Publicity Manager

“First, the illustrations are all done in pen ink (look at all those lines she had to draw). And second, this is the cutest fox family interaction that results in a perfect, silly story time!”

Where’s Baby?
By Anne Hunter
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264984 | Tundra Books
Papa Fox is looking for Baby Fox, who is just out of his sight . . . but not ours! An adorable, interactive read-aloud for fans of Are You My Mother? In this clever introduction to prepositions, a near-sighted Papa is looking for his baby. Is Baby up in the tree? Is Baby under the log? Is Baby around the corner? Where could Baby be? Readers will delight in spotting the little fox on every page as Papa wanders the forest, encountering other animals all along the way, but never quite able to spot his own baby. Anne Hunter’s delicate and lovely illustrations with their limited palette highlight the humor of this adorable hide-and-seek tale.

Evan, Publicity Manager

” I’m a sucker for middle-grade mystery, and Marthe Jocelyn has written an extremely fun (and sneakily dark) series, complete with tons of Agatha Christie Easter eggs. And the gorgeous, Gorey-esque illustrations by Isabelle Follath are the icing on the murder cake.”

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen The Body Under the PianoAggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265462 | Tundra Books
Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative, but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal – including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends – to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit. 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.

Sam, Associate Publicist

“Geneviève Godbout is one of my favourite illustrators and I loved how this sweet, adorable story doubles as a gentle introduction to mental health.”

What’s Up, Maloo?
By Geneviève Godbout
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266643 | Tundra Books
Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs. No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back. Simple text and adorable art convey the power of friendship over a gloomy mood in Geneviève Godbout’s charming debut as both author and illustrator.

2021 Lone Star Reading List

The Texas Library Association announced their 2021 Lone Star Reading List which encourages students in grades 6-8 to explore a variety of recently published books. We would like to congratulate David A. Robertson whose fantastic middle grade novel, The Barren Grounds, is one of the few Canadian titles on the list.

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga #1
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.