July 26, 2016

Eden Mills Writers' Festival 2016


If you're starting to see ads for back-to-school and despise being reminded of this early but unavoidable proclamation of fall, focus on a great September event that gets children, young adults and adults clamouring for books and CanLit.  On September 18, 2016,  it's the 28th annual Eden Mills Writers' Festival, an outdoor literary event on the banks of the Eramosa River in the village of Eden Mills, Ontario. Amongst the numerous authors, illustrators, poets and musicians attending are these fine youngCanLit writers and artists.  Come for the words!


Young Adult Authors

R. J. Anderson


Lena Coakley


Douglas Davey


E. K. Johnston


Amanda West Lewis


Sylvia McNicoll


Lisa Moore


Liane Shaw



Children's Authors and Illustrators

Deborah Hodge



Elly MacKay



Zig Misiak



Jael Richardson



Philip Roy



Joel Sutherland



Eric Walters

It's a glorious day of books and readings and authors' signing books and book sales and magic (really, Ben Caeser the magician comes to the children's venue) and music and poetry slams and new writers showcasing their works and great food and a fabulous setting.  I'll be there.  Will you?


Details about times, tickets, parking, directions and more may be found at https://emwritersfestival.wordpress.com


July 25, 2016

Last Chance Island

by Norma Charles
Ronsdale Press
978-1-55380-458-1
228 pp.
Ages 10+
March 2016

The cover art of Last Chance Island put me in mind of a maritime story that I was sure took place off the coast of Canada on the Atlantic side.  North Atlantic Ocean, perhaps, or the Celtic Sea, but Canada, definitely not.  Last Chance Island, the island of the title, is the journey’s end of  the two protagonists of Last Chance Island,  the book, which is told in the alternating voices of thirteen-year-old Kalu of Nigeria and fifteen-year-old Canadian Lily Spiekeford a.k.a. Spike.

While Kalu and his young cousin Aisha escape an attack on their African village by rebel soldiers, Spike is being sent home from boarding school upon learning  of her father’s death.  As much as both parties would love to stay put, unforeseen circumstances propel away from their homes.  Kalu, with only a few pebbles and herbs and his bamboo flute as mementoes of home, takes Aisha to a small seaside village, hopeful of getting work on the boats.  Finding nothing, Kalu makes himself available to a less-than-honest fisherman he calls Mister Elliot, squirrelling Aisha away on board.  Meanwhile, the purple-haired, nose-ringed Spike is being sent away by her father’s live-in girlfriend to stay with Maureen Calhoun, a relative of Spike’s dead mother, who is a lighthouse keeper on Last Chance Island off the coast of Ireland, hopeful the girl will find a place “where you’ll belong.” (pg. 17)

Upon learning that the Irish coast guard is checking for illegal migrants and apprehensive about being caught with more than just his smuggled contraband, Mister Elliot drops the kids off at the island, promising to return when it’s safe.  On the other side of the small island, Spike is being delivered by the water taxi of old Seamus who recognizes her as Lela’s daughter and tells her of Lela’s family living on the island, which he calls the “Beginning Place.” (pg. 55)

You know that the two sides are going to meet and it is fortunate for them to do so, even though Kalu is desperate to survive while waiting for Mister Elliot’s return, and Spike is bidding her time until she can escape the island and return to Dublin to join a group of street musicians she’s met.  It’s the meeting of Spike with Kalu and Aisha that brings them all to realize that Last Chance Island has become their new home.

Norma Charles, whose book Run, Marco, Run (Ronsdale Press, 2011) also focuses on a young person escaping to a new home, contrasts the very different lives of Kalu and Spike as beginning places but demonstrates that circumstances can bring unlikely allies together in purpose and acceptance.  The stories of Spike and Kalu may be on different trajectories but these paths are destined to collide at Last Chance Island, which thankfully is more opportunity than just destination terra firma. Norma Charles ensures that Last Chance Island becomes more than just a beacon for marine travellers; it is safe haven for a few lost souls too.

July 15, 2016

Feathered

by Deborah Kerbel
Kids Can Press
978-1-77138-341-7
144 pp.
Ages 9-13
April 2016

Hope can take many forms and be elicited in a myriad of ways.  For Finch Bennett, an eleven-year-old girl in the summer of 1980–a time of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, the hostage crisis in Iran, and the Rubik’s Cube-she needs to find some hope, somewhere, anywhere.  Her father died of cancer less than a year ago, her grieving mother is despondent and oblivious to Finch and her older brother Harrison who is also seemingly indifferent to the young girl, allowing his friend Matt to relentlessly torment her.  For Finch, hope might be found in the tiny scar on her neck from which a single white feather had been removed at age 3.  With that scar, Finch reassures herself that a better life, perhaps one of feathers and flight, might emerge.
That night, I dream about my feathers.  They’ve grown in all white and fluffy and smooth.  And I’m happpy because it means I’m finally able to fly away. I spread my feathered arms and fly up, up, up to where I think I’ll find heaven…where I know I’ll find Daddy.” (pg. 49)
With the arrival of their new neighbours, Finch sees another opportunity for hope, especially with making a new friend of eleven-year-old Pinky Nanda.  This would  be particularly important once dreaded school starts.  School is where Finch is called slow and lazy. It’s where she has major difficulties with writing. And it’s where she sees her former best friend, Karen, has blossomed into a young woman and hangs out with similarly pubescent girls.  But Pinky and her younger sister Padma are staunchly protected by their parents, who argue about how Punjabi Hindus are treated in Canada and do not permit the girls to interact with others.
It’s at that moment when I see myself right there in her face.  I see a girl who’s trapped in a mess of grown-up problems.  A girl who’s struggling just to figure it all out.” (pg. 94)
Strangely Finch’s only friend becomes an anonymous writer with whom she communicates on a bathroom stall door. That is, until Finch finds the courage to untether herself and communicate her feelings, good and bad, with those impacting her life.

Deborah Kerbel may have written Feathered as a middle-grade novel but Feathered is much more sophisticated than much pedestrian MG storytelling. The writing is brilliant, demonstrating  much depth of spirit and story, taking Finch and the reader beyond the obvious and into the realm of optimism and possibilities, where even a little girl can see that she has it in her to soar above the commonplace and anticipate greatness of action and virtue.  Just like Terry Fox, Finch learns to recognize that the will to try is within her and she may or may not succeed, but there’s always the promise that comes with dreaming.

July 11, 2016

Door into Faerie: The Shards of Excalibur, Book 5

by Edward Willett
Coteau Books
978-1-550506549
196 pp.
Ages 13+
June 2016

Ariane Forsythe, the heir to the Lady of the Lake, and her  boyfriend Wally Knight, successor of King Arthur, are on their final quest to locate the fifth shard of Excalibur, the hilt, and reforge the legendary sword.  That is, unless computer magnate Rex Major a.k.a. Merlin and Wally’s sister Felicia a.k.a. Flish don’t discover the hilt first, allowing them to claim the whole sword.  With both sides endowed with magic and power and harbouring two shards, it’s anyone’s game in Door into Faerie, the final book in Edward Willett’s pentalogy.
Magical quests are easy; family is hard. (pg. 30)
Having been away for five months from his family, dysfunctional as it is–dad with his girlfriend, mom often off filming and his bullying sister now aiding Merlin–Wally convinces Ariane to transport them to Scotland where his mother is working on her lastest film project at Castle MacPhaiden, named for her side of the family.  Unfortunately, Rex Major and Flish are already there and Wally suspects that, because his mother is researching family legends, Rex Major believes she’ll discover something that will lead them to the hilt.  But Ariane and Wally are the first to realize that the treasure his Great Grandfather Knight had fled to Canada claiming to protect is actually that final piece of Excalibur.  So, the race to the grounds of the historic site Cannington Manor in Saskatchewan and unearthing of the hilt ensues, but not without a little frustration, a whole lot of magic, some familial obstacles, and a climactic battle.

While Edward Willett may not exactly conclude his Shards of Excalibur series with Ariane and Wally fulfilling their quest of retrieving the sword for the Lady of the Lake (you’ll need to read the book to understand that), Door into Faerie closes favorably in more ways than one and Excalibur is not the only entity that is rebuilt at its finale.  This fifth book is as forged with magic, conflict, action and travel, as well as a little history, as the earlier four books–Song of the Sword (Coteau, 2014), Twist of the Blade (Coteau, 2014), The Lake in the Clouds (Coteau, 2015), and Cave Beneath the Sea (Coteau, 2015)–but family, which has always been important, becomes paramount.  Brothers and sisters Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, and Wally and Felicia, as well as mothers Emily Forsythe and Jessica Knight, drive the story, and ultimately help resolve its plotlines, a monumental task in a fantasy based on the Arthurian legends.  Yet Edward Willett accomplishes this easily with his consistent intensity and fluidity of plot progression.  The rebuilding of Excalibur may be the final outcome but it’s the quest that is the journey that regales readers right through the series. 

July 08, 2016

Upcoming Releases of youngCanLit for Summer and Fall 2016


OMG was this a tremendous job! Look at all the youngCanLit coming out in the next 6 months.  It's overwhelming.  For weeks, I have been pouring through numerous websites and catalogues and have compiled this abbreviated list, knowing that I must have missed non-Canadian publishers of Canadian authors or illustrators (sorry!) and previously unknown authors/illustrators who are Canadian (also sorry!).  Apologies to anyone whose upcoming book I have inadvertently omitted.  As always, leave a comment below (or contact me through other social media) and I will amend my list promptly.

In the meanwhile, take a gander at this impressive listing of picture books, early readers, graphic novels, middle grade fiction, young adult novels and non-fiction titles to start compiling your next What To Read Next list.  Happy synthesizing and subsequent reading!








Picture Books
  • The Ghosts Go Spooking by Chrissy Bozik, illus. by Patricia Storms (Scholastic Canada)
  • Ooko by Esme Shapiro (Tundra)
  • You Belong Here by M.H. Clark, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault (Compendium)
Young Adult
  • Race to Pisa by Trevor Newland (Mosaic)>>>third graphic adventure of the Scallywags
Non-Fiction
  • Don’t Stress: How to Handle Life’s Little Problems by Helaine Becker (Scholastic Canada)
  • Next Round: A Young Athlete's Journey to Gold by John Spray (Pajama Press)
  • The Toad by Elise Gravel (Tundra)>>>Disgusting Critters series










Picture Books
  • All the World a Poem by Gilles Tibo. illus. by Manon Gauthier, trans. by Erin Woods (Pajama Press)
  • Baby’s First Treasury by Barbara Reid (Scholastic Canada)>>>collection of 4 board books for babies and toddlers including Welcome, Baby; Read Me a Book; Sing a Song of Mother Goose; Zoe's Year
  • Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby by Maureen Fergus, illus. by Carey Sookocheff (Groundwood Books)
  • Counting with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White (Tundra)
  • The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel (Katherine Teegen Books)
  • Dojo Surprise by Chris Tougas (Owlkids Books)>>>third Dojo book after Dojo Daycare and Dojo Daytrip
  • Keeper of the Light by Janet Barkhouse, illus. by Therese Cilia (Formac)
  • Let’s Play a Hockey Game by Kari-Lynn Winters, illus. by Helen Flook (North Winds/Scholastic)
  • Marvellous Munsch by Robert Munsch, illus. by Michael Martchenko (Scholastic)>>>5 classic Munsch stories Down the Drain!; Put Me In a Book!; Too Much Stuff!; Moose!; Give Me Back My Dad!
  • Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson (Owlkids Books)
  • A Parade of Puppies by Charles Ghigna, illus. by Kristi Bridgeman (Orca Book Publishers)>>>board book
  • The Riddlemaster by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illus. by Stéphane Jorisch (Tradewind)
  • So Much Snow! by Robert Munsch, illus. by Michael Martchenko (North Winds Press/Scholastic)
  • What is Peace? by Wallace Edwards (North Winds/Scholastic)

Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Across the Floor by Natasha Deen (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Limelights
  • Beauty Queen by Sarah Mlynowski (Scholastic)>>>Whatever After #7
  • Bungee Jump by Pam Withers (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Currents
  • Carter and the Curious Maze: Weird Stories Gone Wrong by Philippa Dowding  (Dundurn)
  • A Day of Signs and Wonders by Kit Pearson (HarperTrophy)
  • Gang Tackle by Eric Howling (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Sports
  • Griffin of Darkwood by Becky Citra (Coteau Books)
  • Hand in Hand by Jean Little, illus. by Norman Lanting (Scholastic Canada)>>>based on Helen Keller’s story
  • Icarus Down by James Bow (Scholastic Canada)
  • Ice Time by David Skuy (Scholastic Canada)
  • My Best Friend is a Viral Dancing Zombie by Karin Adams (Lorimer)
  • Making the Team by Kelsey Blair (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories 
  • The Missing Magic by Kallie George, illus. by Alexandra Bolger (HarperCollins)>>>Magical Animal Adoption Agency Book 3
  • Notes from the Life of a Total Genius by Stacey Matson (Scholastic Canada)
  • The Pact by Amanda West Lewis (Red Deer Press)
  • Riley by Susan Hughes (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)>>>Puppy Pals series
  • The Secret Games of Maximus Todd new early reader series by L. M. Nicodemo, illus. by Graham Ross (Formac Lorimer):  Hyper to the Max, Frantic Friend Countdown, Big Game Jitters, Flu Shot Fidgets
  • The Starting Eleven by David Skuy (Lorimer)
  • These are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheen, Northern Ontario, 1956 by Ruby Slipperjack (Scholastic Canada)>>>Dear Canada series
  • Trolled by Steven Sandor (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories
  • Two Strikes by Johnny Boateng (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories
Young Adult
  • Another Miserable Love Song by Brooke Carter (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Soundings hi-lo
  • Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong (Random House)>>>4th book in Cainsville series
  • Dark Side by John Choi (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer SideStreets
  • Dead to Me by Cristy Watson (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer SideStreets
  • Detached by Christina Kilbourne (Dundurn)
  • Nowhere Wild by Joe Beernink (HarperTrophy)
  • Unity by Jason Chabot (HarperTrophy)>>>Broken Chronicles #3
  • Watching Traffic by Jane Ozkowski (Groundwood Books)
  • Rez Runaway by Melanie Florence (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer SideStreets
  • Riot School by Robert Rayner>>>Lorimer SideStreets
  • The Royal Tour by Amy Alward (Simon & Schuster)>>>The Potion Diaries series
  • The Salarian Desert Game by J.A. McLachlan (Edge Books)
Non-Fiction
  • Gastro Blast: Make Tasty Treats & Learn Great Science by Moira Sanders (Formac Lorimer)
  • Haunted Canada 6: More Terrifying True Stories by Joel A. Sutherland (Scholastic Canada)
  • Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose! A Canadian Wildlife ABC by Geraldo Valério (Owlkids Books)
  • What Milly Did: The Remarkable Pioneer of Plastics Recycling by Elise Moser, illus. by Scot Ritchie (Groundwood Books)
  • What Noise Do I Make? by Brian McLachlan (Owlkids Books)
  • Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge by Monica Kulling, illus. by Bill Slavin (Tundra)>>>Great Idea series












Picture Books
  • Almost a Full Moon by Hawksley Workman, illus. by Jensine Eckwell  (Tundra)
  • Bear's Winter Party by Deborah Hodge, illus. by Lisa Cinar (Groundwood Books)
  • Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake Paperback by Michael Kaplan, illus. by Stéphane Jorisch (Puffin)
  • The Branch by Mireille Messier, illus. by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press)
  • Canada ABC by Paul Covello (HarperCollins)
  • The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illus. by Eric Fan and Terry Fan (Tundra)
  • Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by Helaine Becker, illus. by Werner Zimmerman (North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada)
  • Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker (Sterling Publishing)
  • A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary, illus. by Qin Leng (Groundwood Books)
  • Fox and Squirrel: The Best Christmas Ever by Ruth Ohi (North Winds/Scholastic Canada)>>> 3rd Fox and Squirrel title, after Fox and Squirrel and Fox and Squirrel Make a Friend
  • Great by Lauri Holomis and Glen Gretzky, illus. by Kevin Sylvester (Tundra Books)>>>about Wayne Gretzky
  • Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon by Karen Autio, illus. by Loraine Kemp (Sono Nis Press)
  • Hat On, Hat Off by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit (Pajama Press) 
  • Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard (Scholastic)>>>newest title in Grumpy Bird series 
  • Hurry Up, Henry by Jennifer Lanthier, illus. by Isabelle Malenfant (Puffin) 
  • King Baby by Kate Beaton (Scholastic's Arthur A. Levine Books)
  • The Liszts by Kyo Maclear, illus. by Julia Sarda (Tundra)
  • Little Fox, Lost by Nicole Snitselaar, illus. by Alicia Padrón, trans. by Erin Woods (Pajama Press)
  • Lucy and Company by Marianne Dubuc (Kids Can Press)
  • Mittens to Share by Emil Sher, illus. by Irene Luxbacher (North Winds/Scholastic)
  • Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andrée Poulin, illus. by Isabelle Malenfant (Annick)
  • Rhino Rumpus by Victoria Allenby, illus. by Tara Anderson (Pajama Press)
  • A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen, illus. by Mike Lowery (Kids Can Press)
  • Today by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books)
  • Turn on the Night by Geraldo Valério (Groundwood Books)
  • The Water Princess by Susan Verde and Georgie Badiel, illus. by Peter H. Reynolds (Penguin/Putnam)
  • Whale Child by Caroll Simpson (Heritage House)>>>Coastal Spirit Tales
  • What Matters by Alison Hughes, illus. by Holly Hatam (Orca Book Publishers)
  • The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, illus. by Chris Turnham (Chronicle Books)
  • Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar (Tundra)
  • You Are Two by Sara O'Leary, illus. by Karen Klassen (Owlkids Books)
Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Bermuda Shipwreck by Eric Murphy (Dancing Cat Books)
  • Blackberry Juice by Sara Cassidy, illus. by Helen Flook (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Echoes
  • Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami, ilus. by Julianna Swaney (Groundwood Books)
  • Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey, illus. by Lisa Cinar (Owlkids Books)>>>first book in new series
  • Downside Up by Richard Scrimger (Tundra)
  • High Note by Jeff Ross (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Limelights
  • In Over Her Head by Melody Fitzpatrick (Dundurn)>>>Hannah Smart Book 3
  • Jingle by Gordon Korman (Scholastic)>>>eighth book in the Swindle mystery series
  • A Little Taste of Poison by R. J. Anderson (Simon & Schuster)>>>sequel to A Pocket Full of Murder
  • Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands (Simon & Schuster)>>>Book 2 in Blackthorn Key series
  • Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green (Pajama Press)
  • Sand by Luane Armstrong (Ronsdale)
  • The Seven Prequels (Orca Book Publishers)>>>prequels to the popular Seven series and the Seven Sequels:   Jungle Land by Eric Walters; The Missing Skull by John Wilson; Speed by Ted Staunton; Weerdest Day Ever! by Richard Scrimger; Slide by Norah McClintock; Barracuda by Sigmund Brouwer; Separated by Shane Peacock
  • The Silver Lining by Amanda Spottiswoode, illus. by Molly March (Heritage House)
  • Sniper Fire: The Fight for Ortona, Paul Baldassara, Italy 1943 by Jonathan Webb (Scholastic Canada)>>>I am Canada series
  • Taz's Recipe by Diane Tullson (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Currents
Young Adult
  • All the Things We Leave Behind by Riel Nason (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Aluta by Adwoa Badoe (Groundwood Books)
  • Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius (Simon & Schuster)
  • Another Me by Eva Wiseman (Tundra Books)
  • The Art of Picking Up Girls (and other dangerous things) by Eric Walters (Razorbill)
  • Dancing in the Rain by Shelley Hrdlitschka (Orca Book Publishers)>>>sequel to Dancing Naked
  • A Dangerous Game by John Wilson (Doubleday Canada)
  • The Darkhouse by Barbara Radecki (Dancing Cat Books)
  • Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins)
  • Freedom's Just Another Word by Caroline Stellings (Second Story Press)
  • Heart Like a Wing by Dan Paxton Dunaway (Ronsdale)
  • Once, in a Town Called Moth by Trilby Kent (Tundra)
  • Overdrive by Dawn Ius (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Pain Eater by Beth Goobie (Second Story Press)
  • Spindle by E.K. Johnston, (Disney Hyperion)
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (Simon & Schuster)>>>sequel to The Scorpion Rules
  • Yellow Dog by Miriam Körner (Red Deer Press)
Non-Fiction
  • Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga by Jennifer Croll, illus. by Ada Buchholc (Annick)
  • Because I am a Boy by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International (Second Story Press)
  • Diwali: Festival of Lights by Rina Singh (Orca Book Publishers)>>>second title in Orca Origins series
  • Fight to Learn: The Struggle to Go to School by Laura Scandiffio (Annick)
  • The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito by Tomson Highway, illus. by Sue Todd (Fifth House Publishers)>>>cabaret script with song lyrics and stage directions
  • Inside Your Insides: A Guide to the Microbes That Call You Home by Claire Eamer, illus. by Marie-Eve Tremblay (Kids Can Press)
  • Making it Right: Building Peace, Settling Conflict by Marilee Peters (Annick)
  • Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World? by Helaine Becker, illus. by Phil McAndrew (Kids Can Press)
  • Ocean Animals from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick, illus. by Kwanchai Moriya (Kids Can Press)>>>Head to Tail book
  • On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children's Rights by Monica Kulling (Kids Can Press)>>>Citizen Kid book
  • Pocket Change: Pitching In for a Better World by Michelle Mulder (Orca Book Publishers)>>>newest title in Orca Footprints
  • What Makes Us Unique? Our First Talk about Diversity by Dr. Jillian Roberts, illus. by Cindy Revell (Orca Book Publishers)>>>new title in Just Enough series












Picture Books
  • Akilak's Adventure by Deborah Webster, illus. by Charlene Chua (Inhabit Media)
  • Blue and Red Make Purple by Jennifer Gasoi, illus. by Steve Adams (The Secret Mountain)>>>CD of 12 songs with picture book
  • Boonoonoonous Hair by Olive Senior, illus. by Laura James  (Tradewind)
  • The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus, illus. by Cale Atkinson (Tundra Books)
  • Friend or Foe? by John Sobol, illus. by Dasha Tolstikova (Groundwood Books)
  • In the Red Canoe by Leslie A. Davidson, illus. by Laura Bifano (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Kamik Joins the Pack by Darryl Baker, illus. by Qin Leng (Inhabit Media)
  • Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard (Annick Press)
  • Maggie McGillicuddy's Eye for Trouble by Susan Hughes, illus. by Brooke Kerrigan (Kids Can Press)
  • Margo Thinks Twice by Monica Arnaldo (Owlkids Books)
  • Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Aaron Boyd (Tilbury)
  • Metropolis by Benoit Tardif (Kids Can Press)
  • Mouse Vacation by Philip Roy, illus. by Andrea Torrey Balsara (Ronsdale)>>>newest Happy the Pocket Mouse tale
  • On My Skiis by Kari-Lynn Winters, illus. by Christina Leist (Tradewind)
  • Once Upon a Golden Apple by Jean Little and Maggie de Vries, illus. by Phoebe Gilman (Tundra)>>>25th anniversary edition
  • pikiq by Yayo (Tradewind)
  • Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems by Carey Sookocheff (Tundra Books)
  • Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies, curated by Misja Fitzgerald Michel, illus. by Ilya Green (The Secret Mountain)>>>CD and picture books
  • We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
  • We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp, illus. by Julie Flett (Orca Book Publishers)>>>board book
  • When the Rain Comes by Alma Fullerton, illus. by Kim La Fave (Pajama Press)
Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Batcat and the Seven Squirrels by Eric Walters, illus. by Kasia Charko (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Echoes
  • Billboard Express by Sigmund Brouwer and Cindy Morgan (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Limelights
  • A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy (Groundwood Books)
  • Death Drop by Melanie Jackson (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Currents
  • Everton Miles is Stranger Than Me by Philippa Dowding (Dundurn)>>> sequel to The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden
  • Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, illus. by Jillian Tamaki (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux)
  • Grim Hill: Carnival of Secrets by Linda DeMeulemeester (Heritage House)>>>Grim Hill series continues with this sixth book!
  • The Iron Hand by  Scott Chantler (Kids Can Press)>>>graphic novel of Three Thieves series
  • Lark Holds the Key by Natasha Deen, illus. byMarcus Cutler (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Echoes
  • Memoirs of a Sidekick by  David Skuy (Kids Can Press)
  • MiNRS 2 by  Kevin Sylvester (Simon & Schuster)>>>sequel to MiNRS
  • Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Seeking Refuge by Irene Watts, illus. by Kathryn Shoemaker (Tradewind)>>>sequel to Goodbye Marianne
  • Shatterproof by Jocelyn Shipley (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Currents
  • Sophie Trophy by Eileen Holland, illus. by Brooke Kerrigan (Sono Nis Press)>>>early reader
  • Survival: Ice Storm: The Great Storm of 1998  by Frieda Wishinsky (Scholastic Canada)>>>newest Survival title
  • Timo's Party by Victoria Allenby, illus. by Dean Griffiths (Pajama Press)>>> sequel to Timo's Garden
  • West Meadows Detectives: The Case of MakerMischief by Liam O'Donnell, illus. by Aurélie Grand (Owlkids Books)>>>West Meadows Detectives Book 2
Young Adult
  • And Then The Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen (Dundurn)
  • At the Edge of the World by Kari Jones (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Closing Down Heaven by Lesley Choyce (Red Deer Press)
  • A Dark Truth by Jeff Ross (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Soundings hi-lo
  • Enough by Mary Jennifer Payne (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Soundings hi-lo
  • From Above by Norah McClintock (Orca Book Publishers)>>>A Riley Donovan Mystery
  • The Hunt of the Dragon by C.C. Humphreys (Doubleday Canada)
  • Missing Piece by Robert Priest (Dundurn)>>>Spell Crosses series Book 3, following The Paper Sword and Second Kiss
  • My Demon's Name is Ed by Danah Khalil (Second Story Press)
  • Nathan by Susan Ouriou (Red Deer Press)
  • River Traffic by Martha Brack Martin (Orca Book Publishers)>>>Orca Soundings hi-lo
  • The Road to Ever After by Moira Young (Doubleday Canada)
  • Saving Stevie by Eve Richardson (Red Deer Press)
  • The Skids by Ian Donald Keeling (ChiTeen)
Non-Fiction
  • 1, 2, 3 Cheers for the Toronto Maple Leafs by Matt Napier, illus. by Melanie Rose (Tundra Books)
  • All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean by Katherine Ashenburg (Annick)
  • Canada Year by Year by Elizabeth MacLeod, illus. by Sydney Smith (Kids Can Press)
  • I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing) by Jan Thornhill, illus. by Jacqui Lee (Owlkids Books)
  • Level the Playing Field: The Past, Present, and Future of Women's Pro Sports by Kristina Rutherford (Owlkids Books)
  • To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space by Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti (Annick Press)
  • The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk by Jan Thornhill (Groundwood Books)













Picture Books
  • French Toast by Kari-Lynn Winters, illus. by François Thisdale (Pajama Press)
  • How Do You Feel? by Rebecca Bender (Pajama Press)
  • My Best Friend by Gilles Tibo, illus. by Janice Nadeau (Simply Read Books)
  • The Owl and the Lemming by Roselynn Akulukjuk (Inhabit Media)
  • Shooting Star Rider by Nayoung Jin, illus. by Geneviève Côté (Simply Read Books)
Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • ShuLi and the Magic Pear Tree by Paul Yee and Shaoli Wang (Tradewind Books)
  • Sugar and Spice by Sarah Mlynowski (Scholastic)>>>Whatever After #10
Young Adult
  • Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley (Simon & Schuster)>>> first book in new series The Effigies
  • Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley (Fierce Ink Press)
  • The Summer of Then and Now by Danielle Webster (Fierce Ink Press)
  • Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston (Inhabit Media)
Non-Fiction
  • Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy's Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho, illus. by Brian Deines (Pajama Press)
  • Making Canada Home: How Immigrants Shaped This Country by Susan Hughes (Owlkids Books)
  • Stay Silent: Flight from Columbia by Natalie Hyde (Clockwise Press)











Picture Books
  • Searching for Sleep by Pierrette Dubé, illus. by Geneviève Godbout (Simply Read Books)
Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Darkling Green by Kim Thompson (Dundurn)>>> Eldrich Manor series Book 3
  • Showing Off by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins (Scholastic) >>>Upside Down Magic #3
Young Adult
  • Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill)>>>the fifth Falling Kingdoms book




Here's just a few teasers of what's coming in the new year!








Picture Books
  • Birds Art Life: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant by Kyo Maclear (Doubleday Canada)
Early Readers and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Crushing It by Joanne Levy (Simon & Schuster)
  • Masterminds: Payback by Gordon Korman (HarperCollins)>>>Masterminds Book 3
  • Mort Ziff is Not Dead by Cary Fagan (Penguin Canada)
  • The Sun Race by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster)
Young Adult
  • Short for Chameleon by Vicki Grant (HarperCollins)
  • The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (Razorbill)
  • Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast (Simon & Schuster)

June 30, 2016

May I suggest...? Five ways to help me help you promote your youngCanLit


While I am loathe to share my reviews as opinions -I firmly agree with Paulo Coelho who said, “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion”-my mandate for CanLit for LittleCanadians has always been to promote great Canadian literature for children and young adults.  To that end, may I suggest a few ways that authors, illustrators, publishers and publicists can help me to help you?

First let me thank those generous authors, illustrators, publicists and publishers who are so kind to provide me with copies of their books for review, as well as include me in blog tours and allow me to interview our contemporary youngCanLit A-listers.  Without these donations, I could not afford to review as many books as I do on CanLit for LittleCanadians.

That said, please limit the books you send for review to those written for young people.  Just because there is a young person in the book does not mean that it is a book appropriate for or of interest to younger readers.  Imagine expecting Timothy Findley’s The Paino Man’s Daughter (HarperCollins, 1995) or Heather O’Neill’s Lullaby for Little Criminals (HarperCollins, 2006) to be reviewed as youngCanLit? Not going to happen.  And just because a younger reader is able to read the book doesn’t mean it’s youngCanLit.   If your catalogue is publicizing a book as adult fiction, it’s not a juvenile or teen read, regardless of the age of the protagonist.  Save yourself the review copy and the disappointment, and save me my reading time and the communication explaining why I’m not reviewing the book.

If I do review your book, there are several ways to ensure that review gets read by more and more people.  While I may not get the million hits of a kitten playing with a bird on YouTube, CanLit for LittleCanadians does very well as a book blog.  It is linked through multiple school boards and universities with teacher education programs, English and creative writing programs and library studies, as well as the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and other blogs.  But it could always do better. Add a link to CanLit for LittleCanadians (www.canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.caon your website with a quote from the review or add me to your blog roll or become a subscriber.  Doesn’t hurt, always helps.

Post a comment on the review.  Thank you to author Monica Kulling, commentator extraordinaire, who always lets me know what she thinks of my reviews of her own books and those of others.  Judging by the numbers on Google Analytics, this always brings in more readers.  And don’t be dissauded by my need to moderate the comments.  I do this to avoid horrific amounts of spam, both commercial and irrelevant.


Support CanLit for LittleCanadians on social media.  Each time I post on my blog, I will tweet several times about the book or the review or the event, ensuring the relevant parties (author, illustrator, publisher) know.  Your retweets and likes bring in more and more followers and links and you know that in the end that means sales, the all-important bottom line.  Whether I’m using the hashtags for youngCanLit or for teachers or teacher-librarians, thoses tweets are getting read.  And don’t be shy about retweeting multiple times or multiple tweets about the same book.  What catches one reader on Twitter may not be the same as for another.  They all count.  Toot your own horn, or at least join the band as I’m tooting away.  I adore publicist Winston Stilwell at Fitzhenry & Whiteside, the king of retweeting and replying to my tweets for F & W books and Red Deer Press, Inhabit Media and Fifth House Publishers and Whitecap Books, because I know he makes an effort to get my tweets and reviews out there.  And all those publishers who bring attention to my reviews through your Facebook pages, thank you.

Please don’t take it personally if I don’t review your book or don’t do it in a timely fashion.  Sometimes life takes precedence over blog and I get backlogged in reviews and can’t catch up.  And sometimes the book just doesn’t grab me and I’d rather not review it than write a rant of an opinion piece.  I alone write posts for CanLit for LittleCanadians, except for rare student reviewers, and do the best I can under constraints of time, health and motivation.  I do what I can.  With the plethora of outstanding Canadian authors and illustrators out there ready to have their works promoted and applauded, it’s a daunting task.

And while I’m asking for help, if you know of any one who is looking for someone to speak to teacher candidates or schools about youngCanLit or wants to hire a writer who peddles herself as a officiando of Canadian children’s books or can think of a way for me to segue this blog into a salaried career, please leave a comment below.  Always happy to hear from my readers and writers.

Read youngCanLit!

June 29, 2016

Teen Bash: Author Event with E.K. Johnston, Morgan Rhodes and Teresa Toten

A Teen Bash extraordinaire!

Authors, books, trivia, prizes and more!

Tomorrow

Thursday, June 30, 2016

7-8 p.m.

at

Indigo
Sherway Gardens
Toronto, ON

Join award-winning young adult authors

E. K. Johnston

Morgan Rhodes

and 

Teresa Toten

for book fun and signings!