Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2014

TopShelf2014The Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers list is published in the February 2015 issue of VOYA Magazine. Thank you to the committee members for their hard work in compiling this list. We’re so happy to share that two of our titles were included, so please congratulate our authors and illustrator: Charis Cotter, Marthe Jocelyn, Richard Scrimger, and Claudia Dávila!!

The SwallowThe Swallow: A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
eBook: 978-1-77049-593-7
“In 1960s Toronto, only-child Rose lives next door to ignored middle-child Polly, and they become friends by whispering through an adjoining attic wall. Polly is thrilled when Rose reluctantly divulges she can see ghosts, but when they find a cemetery gravestone bearing Rose’s name, both girls start to question reality. This creepy story will thrill and surprise burgeoning horror fans.” – VOYA

Viminy Crowes Comic BookViminy Crowe’s Comic Book
Written by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger
Illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Hardcover | 336 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-479-4
eBook: 978-1-77049-480-0
“Addy and Wylder, two kids who meet and don’t exactly become friends at a comic convention, are pulled into ‘Flynn Goster Comic #3,’ a rollicking wild-west steampunk train escapade complete with villains and mayhem. Can Addy and Wylder fix the havoc they have wreaked on the storyline? Can they ever escape the comic and return to their ordinary lives?” – VOYA

An Intern and a Super Conference

Hello everyone!

It’s Sam the intern and for once, I’m not trying to get you to sign up for my Reading Club (but you should probably check it out anyway!). I’m here to share my experience at the OLA Super Conference.

In my six months working in publishing, I’ve only been to one other conference; all I did was sit quietly behind a table for a few hours while people milled around, glancing at our table but rarely stopping to chat. So I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last Thursday.

It was a lot more fun than sitting behind a table, let me tell you.

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For one thing, there were so many people! Librarians and library assistants and library sciences students and other people who, I guess, work at libraries in some way.

Hundreds of companies were represented in the hall, and there were tons of author signings. We had five of our own authors signing over two days but, since we shared the booth with the rest of Penguin Random House, there was always a line for someone!

ola collage

We had Frank Viva (Outstanding in the Rain), Charis Cotter (The Swallow: A Ghost Story), Eric Walters (Hope Springs), Susin Nielsen (We Are All Made of Molecules), and Sylvia McNicoll (Best Friends Through Eternity).

I loved the way our booth looked, the brightly coloured picture books made it look super cheerful. And we had DWARFS and disgusting critters decorated all around.

I didn’t really get a chance to wander around the rest of the hall because I was documenting everything on our instagram, though I did pick up a poster and some cute temporary tattoos for me – ahem, I mean for my nieces.

But I got to talk to our authors, which was very exciting! Eric Walters is taller than I expected, which sounds like an odd thing to say, but he can be a little intimidating at 9 am when you haven’t had your tea yet.

I also asked Susin Nielsen to sign my copy of Word Nerd; I recently started reading her books, and I’m completely addicted to them now! If you haven’t read anything by her yet, please do yourself a favour and check her out.

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Word Nerd is about a Scrabble player, so Susin used the letters in my name to come up with smaller words. It was pretty impressive how fast she did it (I know it’s a short name, but still!).

Before I knew it, it was time to pack all our books away so that they could be sent to our next destination: Reading for the Love of it, which happens February 9-10. I’ll be popping in to support our authors, Eric Walters, Richard Scrimger, Margriet Ruurs, and Rina Singh and I can’t wait to find out what goes on over there!

2015 OLA Super Conference

It’s that time of year again! The OLA Super Conference takes place at the end of this week!

TundraOLASC

From Thursday to Friday, you can find us at booth #716-724, talking about our new and upcoming books. We’ll also have a few author signings over the two days! With each author signing, we’ll hand out complimentary copies of the title on a first come, first serve basis. Make sure you get there early – there will only be a limited number of signed books to give away!

Frank Viva signing on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

9781101917688-450Outstanding in the Rain
Written by Frank Viva
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9781101917688
eBook 9781101917701
An outstanding story of word and picture play from an award-winning author/illustrator, that will amaze and delight kids, English language enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates great design and arty children’s books.

Charis Cotter signing on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

9781770495913-450The Swallow: A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN 9781770495913
eBook 9781770495937
“Spooky tension, friendship and compassion permeate this exquisitely plotted middle-grade ghost story … readers will seesaw between chills and snorts of laughter. When Cotter delivers the final twist, it is a denouement that becomes a springboard for greater revelations that lead to even greater reader satisfaction. Middle-grade storytelling at its very best—extraordinary.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“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

Eric Walters signing on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

9781770495302-450Hope Springs
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN 9781770495302
eBook 9781770495319
“Based on actual events, this story is one of strength and kindness in the face of fear…. 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

Sylvia McNicoll signing on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

9781770497108-450Best Friends through Eternity
Written by Sylvia McNicoll
Hardcover | 192 Pages | Ages 12 and up
ISBN 9781770497108
eBook 9781770497122
A fast-paced novel about a Chinese teen who “dies” in a tragic accident and is reunited with her former best friend. Will she have to stay away for the rest of her days, or is there a way back?

Follow @TundraBooks@VIVAandCO, @CharisCotter@EricRWalters and @SylviaMcNicoll on Twitter! You can also follow #OLASC15 for the latest news and updates!

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Heebie-Jeebies

Listed by age range:

Bob's Hungry GhostBob’s Hungry Ghost
Written by Geneviève Côté
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 978-1-77049-713-9
Bob wants a dog for his birthday, but instead he gets a ghost … and its name is Fluffy. Unfortunately, Fluffy doesn’t fetch, sit or go for walks. But he does eat everything, and soon all of Bob’s things and even Bob himself end up in Fluffy’s belly. Will Bob find a way to tame his unruly and very hungry ghost? Will Fluffy realize that eating Bob wasn’t a very nice thing to do?

The FlyThe Fly
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-636-1
The first in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Fly is a look at the common housefly. It covers such topics as the hair on the fly’s body (requires a lot of shaving), its ability to walk on the ceiling (it’s pretty cool, but it’s hard to play soccer up there), and its really disgusting food tastes (garbage juice soup followed by dirty diaper with rotten tomato sauce, for example). Although silly and off-the-wall, The Fly contains real information that will tie in with curriculum.

The WormThe Worm
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-633-0
The second in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Worm is a look at the earthworm. It covers such topics as the worm’s habitats (sometimes they live inside other animals), its anatomy (its muscle tube is slimy and gross), and its illustrious history (worms have been on earth for 120 million years).

The SlugThe Slug
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-655-2
The Slug is a look at the land slug. It covers such topics as the slug’s two pairs of tentacles, one pair for seeing, one pair for smelling (it can see you’re a kid and smell like broccoli), its breathing hole (on the side of its head!), and its pretty gross mucous covering (in order to find a partner, the slug can follow another slug’s mucous trail. True love!).

The RatThe Rat
Written by Elise Gravel
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77049-658-3
The Rat is a look at the black rat. It covers such topics as the rat’s long, agile tail (it’s good for balancing and picking noses), long teeth (they can chew through anything, including books) and disgusting taste in food (delicious electrical wires in tomato sauce, anyone?).

The SwallowThe Swallow: A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 320 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
eBook: 978-1-77049-593-7
In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren’t alone–they’re actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so … ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family … before it’s too late.

Zombie ElementaryZombie Elementary
The Real Story

Written by Howard Whitehouse
Hardcover | 256 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-608-8
eBook: 978-1-77049-610-1
Larry Mullet is your typical fourth grader. He’s not the biggest kid or the smartest kid or the best looking kid. He rides his bike, plays baseball, takes the school bus, avoids cafeteria food, and–oh yeah, he’s a zombie hunting expert. Larry was just doing his usual thing when Alex Bates from Ms Hoag’s class tried to eat him. Sadly, that was only the beginning. Something odd was going on at Brooks Elementary… and it was up to Larry and his friends to take charge (for some reason). Hilariously told interview-style as a record of the REAL story, and peppered with zombie tips and facts, zombie cheerleaders and plenty of gore, this book will be a surefire hit for anyone interested in a ghoulishly good life-or-death comedy.

The Voice Inside My HeadThe Voice inside My Head
Written by S.J. Laidlaw
Hardcover | 256 Pages | Ages 14 and up
ISBN: 978-1-77049-565-4
eBook: 978-1-77049-566-1
Seventeen-year-old Luke’s older sister, Pat, has always been his moral compass, like a voice inside his head, every time he has a decision to make. So when Pat disappears on a tiny island off the coast of Honduras and the authorities claim she’s drowned – despite the fact that they can’t produce a body – Luke heads to Honduras to find her because he knows something the authorities don’t. From the moment of her disappearance, Pat’s voice has become real, guiding him to Utila, where she had accepted a summer internship to study whale sharks. Once there, he meets several characters who describe his sister as a very different girl from the one knows. Does someone have a motive for wanting her dead? Determined to get to the bottom of Pat’s disappearance, Luke risks everything, including his own life, to find the answer.

Bob Reading

Put some BOO in your BOOkshelves

Happy Halloween! If you like to read while munching on all your treats, here are some great companions for your flashlight-under-the-blanket reads.

Bob's Hungry GhostBob’s Hungry Ghost
Written by Geneviève Côté
Hardcover| Ages 3-7 | 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-713-9
eBook: 978-1-77049-714-6
“All ends well in a sweetly silly book about appreciating what you have. And everyone will want a ghost for their birthday after reading this book.” – Sharon the Librarian

Every BreathEvery Breath
Written by Ellie Marney
Hardcover | 352 Pages | Ages 14+
ISBN: 978-1-77049-772-6
eBook: 978-1-77049-774-0
“If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and contemporary YA, read Every Breath. It’s smart, it’s clever — and Mycroft and Watts have stolen my heart.” – There were books involved . . .

The Green Man_paperbackThe Green Man
Written by Michael Bedard
Trade Paperback | Ages 10+ | 320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-511-1
eBook: 978-1-77049-293-6
“…Bedard takes full advantage of the genre’s atmospheric creepiness and sepia-toned timelessness…. For more plot-hungry Goosebumps graduates, there are dark strangers, abandoned mansions, ghostly glowing, chilling coincidences, and otherworldly portals galore.” — Starred Review, Quill & Quire

The SwallowThe Swallow: A Ghost Story
Written by Charis Cotter
Hardcover | Ages 9-12 | 320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-591-3
eBook: 978-1-77049-593-7
“Spooky tension, friendship and compassion permeate this exquisitely plotted middle-grade ghost story…. The protagonists are both spooky and delightfully down-to-earth, and readers will seesaw between chills and snorts of laughter. When Cotter delivers the final twist, it is a denouement that becomes a springboard for greater revelations that lead to even greater reader satisfaction. Middle-grade storytelling at its very best—extraordinary.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Zombie ElementaryZombie Elementary: The Real Story
Written by Howard Whitehouse
Hardcover | Ages 9-12 | 256 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-608-8
eBook: 978-1-77049-610-1
Zombie Elementary: The Real Story is a great, action-packed read for kids and adults alike…. The text is broken up by cute ‘Zombie Tips’ and interjections by the person interviewing Larry.” – Mediatron

If you’re brave enough, visit our Pinterest board for more Halloween ideas!