January 29, 2020

What's Up, Maloo?

Written and illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
Tundra Books
40 pp.
Ages 3-7
January 2020

Tackling issues of mental health in picture books requires a special touch. You can be neither silly about it nor aggressive while still getting the message out that there is help. Geneviève Godbout's text and art, always thoughtful and serene in soft pastels and coloured pencils, meets the challenge with style and compassion.
From What's Up, Maloo? by Geneviève Godhout
When kangaroo Maloo is happy and hopping, she is on top of the world. Life is a bed of roses, pink ones in fact. But when she's not, the hop goes out of her and a grey cloud envelopes her thinking. She walks to her friends who all ask, "What's up, Maloo?" and all she knows is that she's not hopping. There's the baking wombat, the swimming crocodile, and the koala, all who want to help. They attempt to lull her into play with balls in the water, and levitate her with the air from fans but the black cloud around Maloo does not dissipate and she isn't hopping.
From What's Up, Maloo? by Geneviève Godhout
The friends continue on their walking journey until they find a sail-like sheeting which they spread out and upon which Maloo bounces, hoping for her hop to come back. A bit of fun, a lot of friendship and a little time and Maloo is hopping again, now with her friends in tow!
From What's Up, Maloo? by Geneviève Godhout
Geneviève Godbout's illustrations are so serene and thoughtful, emphasizing a tenderness to Maloo's plight and the compassion of her friends. But still Geneviève Godbout's story stays inspirited, playing with graphic idioms such as Maloo's lack of a spring, or hop, in her step, the black cloud around her as an analogy for depression, and the bed of roses that make up her landscape when she is happy. Geneviève Godbout's What's Up, Maloo? makes me hopeful that, with a little help from friends who are supportive without being controlling or taking charge of her feelings, Maloo can get her hop back whenever the dark cloud descends again.


It seems highly appropriate that I review What's Up, Maloo? on January 29th which is Bell's Let's Talk Day.  This is the day when media corporation Bell Canada contributes 5¢ to mental health initiatives in Canada for every applicable text, call, tweet, or social media video view in support of Bell Let's Talk.  So let's talk about What's Up, Maloo? to get our own conversation going about using Canadian picture books to support mental health. You'll find me on social media doing just this and I hope you'll do the same.

January 27, 2020

School Rules!

Written by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Scholastic Canada
32 pp.
Ages 3-8
January 2020

When Friday afternoon at school comes to an end and the kids go home and the teacher rushes out to the bank, Cassandra hides under her desk. You see, Cassandra LOVES school. So even when the tattooed janitor mops the floor and the principal locks up, Cassandra doesn't leave.
From School Rules! by Robert Munsch, illus. by Dave Whamond
With the school finally empty, Cassandra comes out to enjoy the books and toys and puzzles of her classroom, all with the company of the classroom pet.  At home, though, her family are going a little crazy when they realize Cassandra is not around. After calls to the police and fire department, her father finds her at school. When he asks her what she's doing there, she tells him, "I like school." Unfortunately, that's not good enough for him and he carries her home.
From School Rules! by Robert Munsch, illus. by Dave Whamond
Though the next day is Saturday, Cassandra prepares to go to school. But, of course, the school is locked up tight. So what do you do if you want to go to school.  You buy one! At the Everything Store, she requests  "a school with dirty red bricks, a slightly scary principal, a very nice teacher and a janitor with tattoos on his arm." Apparently they can have one sent to her promptly. So when Sunday comes, her parents find "Cassandra's School" in their backyard and a very happy Cassandra enjoying her school, a little different but a whole lot the same.
From School Rules! by Robert Munsch, illus. by Dave Whamond
Of course, it's a silly tale. How many kids love school that much?! But isn't it wonderful to think that there are some kids who find such joy at school that they would want to stay there all the time. Robert Munsch's classic silliness abounds and is matched by Dave Whamond's illustrations. From the guinea pig whose facial expressions reflect Cassandra's while he keeps her company, to a household in chaos–there's a cat in a drawer, a dog under the table waiting with a fork, a baby splattered with food and a young girl pulling cheese out of a casserole–and the pajama-clad family reacting to a school in their backyard, School Rules! is a collaboration of wit and wackiness, with a helping of the wonder that comes from finding something that makes you happy. 
From School Rules! by Robert Munsch, illus. by Dave Whamod

January 23, 2020

Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles

Written and illustrated by Barbara Reid
North Winds Press (Scholastic Canada)
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
December 2019

This one may have been released just after Christmas but any picture book by Barbara Reid, the grande dame of plasticine art, could not be overlooked, especially one that will be a valuable teaching tool for young biologists.
From Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles by Barbara Reid
For four species, Barbara Reid illustrates their complete life cycles in three double-page spreads each. There is the monarch butterfly which transforms from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and butterfly. There is the sunflower which grows from the recognizable hard-shelled seed through germination with root and stem and two cotyledons, to leaves and finally flower and seed again.
From Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles by Barbara Reid
The third species is the green frog which lays many eggs from which tadpoles hatch, and then develop into organisms with back legs and then front legs. The final species is the white oak growing from an acorn which will take root, produce a seedling which grows into a sapling and finally a mature tree. To summarize the cycles, Barbara Reid provides a one-page illustration of each at the end of her book.
From Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles by Barbara Reid
This may be the content of Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles and it is important content for teachers who will be helping young children investigate the relationships between different stages of the same organism.  But Watch It Grow is more than a child's picture book as teaching tool, and that's because the art is that of Barbara ReidWatch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles becomes a celebration of life and the seasons, as plant and animals grow and develop through their life stages. Into each life cycle's story, Barbara Reid brings in a landscape of pond or backyard, woods or meadow, all with the textural and accurately-coloured richness of her plasticine art. Young children will be reaching out, as they always do with Barbara Reid's art, to touch the leaves or the caterpillar or a flower, certain that its softness or fuzziness or crispiness will be palpable and maybe even sonorous.

I know teachers and parents will want to have this book in their library for the teaching of life cycles, which Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles will do flawlessly, but don't ignore the artistry of its illustrations. Young readers will certainly be enamoured with Barbara Reid's art and this will only cultivate further learning.

January 22, 2020

Last Words

Written by Leanne Baugh
Red Deer Press
320 pp.
Ages 13+

"I'm sorry" are the last words that Will Szabo speaks to a stranger on the Lion's Gate Bridge before he jumps to his death, but they are the beginning of a new chapter in sixteen-year-old Claire Winters's life as she struggles to understand his suicide.

Just before he jumped, Will hands Claire his cell phone–complete with passcode taped to the back–and this becomes the focus for Claire's probe into his death. She discovers a suicide note, emails, voice mail, text messages and more that help her reconstruct his life. But learning about the young man just leads her to question the way of the world and what hope there is. In fact, Claire's own life begins to unravel as she delves deeper, causing riffs with her boyfriend Ty, friends Izzy and Declan, and straining her relationships with her parents and older sister Belle who is moving to a group home–Belle has Down Syndrome–while also impacting her passion for painting. She speaks to different people, trying to get advice as to how to proceed, including from Paul, the executive director of a hospice, who suggests that
"Sometimes the best way to get to the other side is to go right through the pain, yelling, kicking, and screaming like a crazed fool." (pg. 173)
Then Claire meets Kiki, a teen with cancer, who sees life as a gift and a challenge that she will not deny and Claire begins to wonder who got it right.

It's not unusual for young people to look at the world and see the good and the bad as extremes. Except for a person like Kiki who is on the cusp of losing her life, many become distressed by break-ups and environmental disasters and changes that compel them to take a different perspective from the one with which they've become comfortable. They're not wrong to be distressed but they might not always see the circumstances in the realm of a big picture that might suggest these situations are not worth ending a life.
"...if there's meaning in life, there also has to be meaning in suffering. They go hand in hand." (pg. 241)
Leanne Baugh does not take sides. She doesn't make Claire seem over-the-top in her pursuit of Will's story or a victim of wrong-place-wrong-time circumstances, though it was unfortunate that Claire had to witness something so shocking. Leanne Baugh could have made Kiki into a saint who fights her illness with valour and perseverance but she doesn't. And she certainly doesn't depict Will as a victim or a young man in control of his own life. The paths for these characters, as are our own, are never set in stone and suggesting otherwise would be unfair. Ultimately, Leanne Baugh twists her plot to enable Claire to see her life and those of Will and Kiki from a different perspective, for good or bad, and recognize that, as Emily Dickinson is quoted, "Hope is the thing with feathers."

January 20, 2020

Nibi's Water Song

Written by Sunshine Tenasco
Illustrated by Chief Lady Bird
North Winds Press (Scholastic Canada)
32 pp.
Ages 4-8

Though I've already started reviewing books being released in 2020, I'm still finding gems from last year that I really, really want to bring to the attention of young readers and the adults in their lives. Nibi's Water Song is one such title. Its premise of an Indigenous young person searching for potable water is both a cautionary tale and one of resilience and hope, and supportive of the need for clean water in all communities.

Nibi means water in Anishinaabemowin. Considering this young person's thirst, it is highly appropriate that it is her name. But when Nibi is desperate for water to quench that thirst, she finds no clean water at her home or that of her neighbour, only brown water.
From Nibi's Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird
So begins Nibi's search for clean drinking water. When she finds only dirty water in the river, she skips to the next town of "big, shiny houses." Though a nice lady gives her a teeny-tiny plastic bottle of water, she is given no more, no matter how much knocking she does at the doors of the big, shiny houses. Finally she dances in the street with her sign that "Water is Life."
From Nibi's Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird
Desperate for more water, thirst overpowering her, Nibi is joined by her friends, all begging for water. Their signs shout "Clean Water" and "We All Need Water."
From Nibi's Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird
It is only when their voices are joined together in volume and purpose that the people in the big, shiny houses fall in to help Nibi get clean water.
With a lot of hard work, digging and singing, everyone worked together. And finally, thirsty, thirsty Nibi got her clean water...and she shared with all of her friends.
From Nibi's Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird
Nibi's Water Song reminds us that we are part of a larger community, one whose members may not all have water safe for drinking or washing. The United Nations may have declared it a human right to have safe drinking water and sanitation but there are numerous Indigenous communities who have lived with drinking water advisories as well as compromised water and waste water systems for decades. Author Sunshine Tenasco, Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Quebec makes it clear that improvements will only be realized when the people in the "big, shiny houses" get involved. It may only take one person, like Nibi, to step forward and start a movement but it will take a concerted group effort from within and outside these unhealthy situations to make them safe. Still Nibi sings and dances to get the attention needed to address the problem.

Nibi's hope is reflected in the bold and bright illustrations of Toronto artist Chief Lady Bird of the Rama First Nation and Moose Deer Point First Nation. Her colours are vivid and lively, from the blue of the clean water to the greens of the grass. Her characters wear red and pink, and blue and orange, and traditional clothing and regalia like moccasins, fringed shawls, and beadwork. Most important are the flowers that surround Nibi, symbolic of the hope for water, the element that grows and sustains life. Chief Lady Bird's highly-stylized plants surround Nibi and reach forward, stretching to advance her quest for clean water.

The message of Nibi's Water Song is a simple one: everyone deserves clean water. I hope that the words and art of Sunshine Tenasco and Chief Lady Bird will reach all communities to spur to action those of us in our big, shiny houses so that we might help everyone quench their thirst and realize that human right to clean water. 


Nibi's Water Song is also available as a French-language edition, Nibi a Soif, Très Soif

January 16, 2020


Written by Kenneth Oppel
HarperCollins Canada
312 pp.
Ages 10-14
February 2020

Many Canadians would recognize Salt Spring Island as a popular tourist destination off the coast of British Columbia. But what's happening on this Gulf Island in Kenneth Oppel's latest middle grade novel, Bloom, would have most running away. Unfortunately, there will be nowhere safe to run.

All teens have their angst but Anaya, Petra and Seth have challenges that are unique. Anaya Riggs may have to deal with acne and asthma but she also lives with severe allergies to just about everything: gluten, dairy, eggs, smoke, dust, pollen, etc. Her former friend and all-around popular girl Petra is allergic to water and cannot allow it to contact her skin without developing a burning rash or hives. New kid Seth Robertson, who has been moved from foster home to foster home, is now living with an elderly couple Mr. and Mrs. Antos on their farm and always wears long sleeves to hide the scars that track up and down both arms. 

Then a hard rain comes down for several days and changes everything. Anaya's allergies improve and her acne clears up. Petra can wash with this rainwater–she collects as much as she can–without any reaction. And a strange black grass begins to grow just about everywhere around the world and at an alarming rate.
Pretty much all anyone talked about now was the black grass. How it was crowding out crops, how nothing killed it. You couldn't go on your phone or turn on the TV without people talking about how it was showing up everywhere, and what was this stuff, anyway? (pg. 50)
Attempts to eradicate the grass by mowing or chainsawing it or applying herbicides or fire are futile or dangerous. Anaya's father, a botanist at the Ministry of Agriculture's experimental farm, is working hard to identify the plant, including those germinated in the water Petra has collected, and even Anaya gets involved collecting soil from the school yard, one of the few sites without the black grass. Soon enough, though, the schoolyard becomes a minefield of pit-plants that swallow prey, whether it be a deer or humans. Oddly, Petra, Anaya and Seth are not affected by the pit-plants' acidic walls or tranquilizing gas emissions.

As Mr. Riggs and a research associate head out to the eco-reserve on Cordova Island where the black grass appears to be dying, the three teens are taken by Dr. Stephanie Weber, a scientist with CSIS, to a military base in Vancouver in the hopes of learning what makes them special and possibly developing a vaccine. But what is discovered about the teens is much scarier than anyone ever anticipated.

The word "bloom" suggests something unhurried and beautiful and captivating. The plants in Bloom are nothing like that. They are aggressively growing, violent in their attacks and devastating in their effects. Worse yet, the last line in the book is a harbinger that more, perhaps even worse, is still to come in the next books in The Overthrow series. (Book 2 in the series, Hatch, is set for a fall 2020 release while we'll have to wait until the summer of 2021 for the final book, Thrive.) Bloom is thrilling and scary, a story with all the hallmarks of an edge-of-your-seat cliff-hanger–although you'd more likely be hanging by vines above a lake rife with machine-gun water lilies–blending a survival tale with an action-adventure involving clashes with dangerous life-forms. 

Though Anaya, Petra and Seth, as well as the parents, social workers, and military, carry the story forward, Kenneth Oppel's plot steals the story. It's bizarre, it's compelling and you can't read fast enough to learn what is happening. Kenneth Oppel may resolve Bloom to readers' satisfaction–we do learn what the plants are and how the teens are different–but there's obviously so much more to their story. I'm looking forward to an even more twisted plot when we revisit the kids and the source of Bloom's plants in Hatch and Thrive.

January 14, 2020

The Imperfect Garden

Written by Melissa Assaly
Illustrated by April dela Noche Milne
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
36 pp.
Ages 4-8

I know that it's still winter for many of us. Here in southern Ontario we have snow on the ground and below zero temperatures. But this is the time of year gardeners are perusing gardening catalogues and ordering seeds to germinate indoors or sketching out plans for their outdoor veggie gardens. Let Toronto's Melissa Assaly and Vancouver's April dela Noche Milne motivate you to start planning your own garden with The Imperfect Garden.
From The Imperfect Garden by Melissa Assaly, illus. by April dela Noche Milne
A child and his mother prepare a garden each spring, hopeful of growing their own food. In April they plant, and in June the first cucumbers are ready for picking. But Jay is fascinated by their shapes, so unlike the very straight cucumbers they see in the grocery stores. His mother explains that shoppers seem to prefer the straight ones so the unusually-shaped ones are thrown away.

In July, it's the carrots that are picked and again the child is intrigued by the odd shapes, so unlike those in the store, though they taste "crunchy and delicious." In August, it's apple-picking time and he delights in the assortment of colours and shapes. It doesn't matter what they look like as "Mom says all apples taste delicious in pies" and, by not discarding the less-than-perfect ones, they have sufficient for two pies.
From The Imperfect Garden by Melissa Assaly, illus. by April dela Noche Milne
When the growing season has passed and Jay and his mom go to the grocery store, he misses the variety of shapes they produced in their own garden.
Where are the two-legged carrots, the twirly-whirly cucumbers, and the funny-faced apples? Don't grownups know they all taste the same? Even better, maybe?
Fortunately, the imperfect ones are still available and at a reduced cost.

Melissa Assaly's The Imperfect Garden will raise interesting discussions about gardening with children but also about food wastage. She shares notes about both, providing tips for planting with children but also about how much food is wasted when so many go hungry.  In her inviting story about a mother and child growing their own food and appreciating whatever grows, however it grows, Melissa Assaly will make us all think about why we think some foods are considered "perfect" when they are still very edible and tasty, and how we can change that attitude with our children. Jay's pleasure in finding heart-shaped kiwis and other oddities suggests that we've learned and taught our children poorly when they think that only one kind is the right kind.

I like April dela Noche's earthy illustrations, from her misshapen fruits and vegetables to her characters' clothing to a yard that is less manicured and more wild and real. At this time of year, it's lovely to see what will be and can be and to feel the warmth and green of the natural world growing, producing and feeding. In The Imperfect Garden, everything is perfect.
From The Imperfect Garden by Melissa Assaly, illus. by April dela Noche Milne

January 08, 2020

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano

Written by Marthe Jocelyn
with illustrations by Isabelle Follath
Tundra Books
336 pp.
Ages 9-13
February 2020
Reviewed from advance reader's copy

At the time, I did not see that a sequence was unfolding. One never does. Afterward, it was clear how the moments piled up, each leading naturally to the next, quietly altering the course of things. (pg. 4 in arc)

The events to which twelve-year-old Agatha Morton is referring are those that have lead to the death of their neighbour, the cankerous Mrs. Irma Eversham, at the dance studio of her sister-in-law Miss Marianne Eversham.  It's 1903 Torquay, England and the murdered woman has been discovered by Aggie the morning after the "Befriend the Foreigners" recital aimed at collecting clothes for needy refugees and immigrants, many of whom have fled persecution, hunger and political turmoil. Among the recipients will be Agatha's new friend, Hector Perot, a Belgium boy with impeccable manners and a brain blistering with reasoning, who becomes her compatriot in sleuthing.

When it is discovered that Mrs. Eversham has been given rat poison, Agatha and Hector lead their own investigation, sometimes with the assistance of Aggie's Grannie Jane, to ascertain who had the opportunity and the motive to murder the prickly widow who'd tried to control her daughter Rose's social life and disapproved of her sister-in-law's efforts to help newcomers and get the vote for women. But what of Mr. Roddy Fusswell who was interested in Rose and whose hotel had provided food and dishes for the charity drive event? Or the reporter Mr. Augustus Fibbley who keeps popping up and getting Aggie to reveal what she has learned? There are so many potential suspects and players in this middle-grade mystery that it's helpful that Swiss artist Isabelle Follath provides illustrations of 16 characters, including Aggie's dog Tony.
From Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn, illus. by Isabelle Follath
If the reader is a fan of cozy mysteries, they will recognize the names of Agatha and Hector Perot and Grannie Jane as homage to writer Agatha Christie and her sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. But for our youngest readers for whom Agatha Christie is an unknown, author Marthe Jocelyn will snag them with an excellent murder puzzle and a host of rich characters in a unique historical context while introducing them to Christie through a detailed author's note and list of information sources. Aggie is a precocious child who is developing her investigative skills while she tries her hand at writing descriptions and scenarios that could become part of future books. She inserts herself into police investigations and processes what she sees and what she knows into a logical interpretation and ultimately a resolution that will amaze the professionals and dumbfound her family and others. As a reader, I am so pleased that Marthe Jocelyn chose to introduce us to her Aggie in the context of a soft whodunit–there is absolutely no violence to distract from the plot–and look forward, as we all should, to the series's second book, Peril at Owl Park, set for a fall 2020 release.

January 01, 2020

Upcoming releases for Winter and Spring 2020

I get so excited at this time of year, anticipating a new year and a plethora of new titles of books for young people by Canadian authors and illustrators. There's a little bit of something for everyone: funny picture books, illustrated biographies, short story collections, sequels in favourite series, issues-driven young adult novels and an assortment of graphic novels. (In fact, there's a few more than anticipated, as several titles were released just after Christmas and I have added them to the January lists just to make sure that they weren't missed.)

With the inaugural I Read Canadian Day happening on February 19, 2020, I hope you find something to read or share with young readers on that day.  (Details on my post about the day should send teachers, librarians, parents and readers in the right direction to plan for joining in the day's events.)

Happy Reading for 2020!

Picture Books and Board Books
Brady Brady and the Most Important Game by Mary Shaw, illus. by Chuck Temple (Scholastic Canada)
The Girl with the Cat by Beverley Brenna, illus. by Brooke Kerrigan (Red Deer Press)
Gloria's Big Problem by Sarah Stiles Bright, illus. by Mike Deas (Tilbury House)
School Rules by Robert Munsch, illus. by Dave Whamond (North Winds Press) 
Teddy Bear of the Year by Vikki VanSickle, illus. by Sydney Hanson (Tundra)  
What's Up, Maloo? by Geneviève Godhout (Tundra)

Chapter Books
Dragon Assassin by Arthur Slade (Scholastic Canada)
A Funny Sort of Minister by Dominique Demers, illus. by Tony Ross (Alma Junior) >>> newest title in The Adventures of Miss Charlotte early reader series
The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber (Dundurn)
Jinxed by Amy McCulloch (Sourcebooks)
The Lost Scroll of the Physician by Alisha Sevigny (Dundurn)>>>Secrets of the Sands Book 1
Notorious by Gordon Korman (Scholastic) 
On the Rocks by Eric Walters (Orca)>>>Orca Currents
The Ride Home by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (Orca)>>>Orca Currents
World's Worst Parrot by Alice Kuipers (Orca)>>>Orca Echoes

Young Adult
Blood Sport by Tash McAdam (Orca)>>>Orca Soundings
Easy Street by Jeff Ross (Orca)>>>Orca Soundings
The Ledge by Lesley Choyce (Orca)>>>Orca Soundings
Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Puffin Canada)
The PLAIN Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illus. by Jim Rugg (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 
Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers (Swoon Reads) 
She's With Me by Jessica Cunsolo (wattpad books)  
Stella Rising by Nancy Belgue (Orca)>>>Orca Soundings    
Wildfire by Carrie Mac (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

5 Bears by Rob Laidlaw (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
Earth Defenders: Environmental Trailblazers from 7 to 97  by Jamie Bastedo (Red Deer Press)
Meet Willie O'Ree by Elizabeth MacLeod, illus. by Mike Deas (Scholastic Canada)>>> Scholastic Canada Biography 
Watch It Grow: Backyard Life Cycles by Barbara Reid (Scholastic Canada)

Picture Books and Board Books
Elsie by Nadine Robert (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni Mitchell by Selina Alko (HarperCollins)
Kid Coach by Rob Justus (Page Street Kids)
The Moon King by Cara Kansala (Breakwater Books)
Story Boat by Kyo Maclear, illus. by Rashin Kheiriyeh (Tundra)
Tickled Pink: How Friendship Washes the World with Color by Andrée Poulin, illus. by Lucile Danis Drouot (Pajama Press)
A Wish is a Seed by Jessica Young, illus. by Maria Cristina Pritelli (Creative Editions)

Chapter Books
Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn, illus. by Isabelle Follath (Tundra)
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins)
The Comeback by Alex O'Brien (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories 
Easy Out by Steven Sandor (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories
High and Dry by Eric Walters, illus. by Sabrina Gendron (Orca)>>>Orca Echoes
The Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup by Roy MacGregor and Kerry MacGregor, illus. by Kim Smith (HarperCollins)>>>Book 4 in the Ice Chips series  
Long Bomb by Eric Howling (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories 
My Best Friend and Other Illusions by Suri Rosen (Scholastic Canada) 
Nikki Tesla and the Fellowship of the Bling (Elements of Genius #2) by Jess Keating, illus. by Lissy Marlin (Scholastic) 
Northern Star by Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Lorimer)>>> Lorimer Sports Stories 
Rugby Rivals by Mike Levitt (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Sports Stories
Susan B. Anthony: Her Fight for Equal Rights (Step into Reading) by Monica Kulling, illus. by Maike Plenzke (Random House Books for Young Readers)   
Until Niagara Falls by Jennifer Maruno (Dundurn)

Young Adult 
Ace of Hearts by Myriad Augustine (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Real Love
I Will See You Again by Lisa Boivin (HighWater Press)
No One's Baby by Wanda Lauren Taylor (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer SideStreets

The Bat by Elise Gravel (Tundra)
The Bug Girl: A True Story by Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara, illus. by KERASCOËT (Tundra) 
The Cockroach by Elise Gravel (Tundra) 
Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane by Johanna Wagstaffe, illus. by Julie McLaughlin (Orca)
Maison Rouge: Memories of a Childhood at War by Leolina Leila Juma (Tradewind) 
Northwest Resistance (A Girl Called Echo) by Katherena Vermette, illus. by Scott B. Henderson (HighWater Press)
P.K. Subban: Fighting racism to become a hockey superstar and role model for athletes of colour by Catherine Rondina (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Recordbooks

Picture Books and Board Books
ᓇᑦᑎᖅ nattiq and the Land of Statues: A Story from the Arctic by Barbara Landry, illus. by Martha Kyak (Groundwood)
At the Pond by Geraldo Valério (Groundwood)
Clarence's Big Secret by Roy MacGregor, illus. by Christine MacGregor Cation (Owlkids)
David Jumps In by Alan Woo, illus. by Katty Maurey (Kids Can Press)
I Am a Beaver by Paul Covello (HarperCollins)
I Am Scary by Elise Gravel (Orca)
In the Red Canoe by Leslie A. Davidson, illus. by Laura Bifano (Orca) >>> also Le canot rouge
Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron (Owlkids)
My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano, illus. by Jillian Tamaki (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
My Ocean Is Blue by Darren Lebeuf, illus. by Ashley Barron (Kids Can Press)
Pierre & Paul: Avalanche! by Caroline Adderson, illus. by Alice Carter (Owlkids)>>>first book in a new series, Pierre & Paul, told half in French and half in English
Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao by Helaine Becker, illus. by Liz Wong (Groundwood)
Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illus. by Anna Bron (Annick)
Simon Steps into the Ring by Marylène Monette, illus. by Marian Arbona (Orca)
The Train by Jodie Callaghan, illus. by Georgia Lesley (Second Story Press)
Usha and the Stolen Sun by Bree Galbraith, illus. by Josée Bisaillon (Owlkids)
Violet Shrink by Christine Baldacchino, illus. by Carmen Mok (Groundwood)
What If Bunny's NOT a Bully by Lana Button, illus. by Christine Battuz (Kids Can Press)
What's Growing in Mommy's Tummy? by Rachel Quiqi-Li (Cameron Kids)
William's Getaway by Anika Dunklee, illus. by Yong Ling Kang (Owlkids)
Window by Marion Arbona (Kids Can Press)

Chapter Books
Abby in Oz (Whatever After Special Edition #2) by Sarah Mlynowski (Scholastic) 
Camp Average by Craig Battle (Owlkids)>>>first book in new series Camp Average 
The Case of the Missing Auntie by Michael Hutchinson (Second Story Press)>>>sequel to The Case of Windy Lake (A Mighty Muskrats Mystery series) 
My Name is Konisola by Alisa Siegel (Second Story Press) 
Princess Angelica, Junior Reporter by Monique Polak, illus. by Jane Heinrichs (Orca)>>>Orca Echoes 
The Secret of White Stone Gate by Julia Nobel (Sourcebooks)>>>Book 2 in  Black Hollow Lane mystery series 
Sophie Trophy Too by Eileen Holland, illus. by Brooke Kerrigan (Crwth Press)>>>sequel to Sophie Trophy
The Wizenard Series: Season One by Wesley King, created by Kobe Bryant (Granity Studios)

Young Adult
Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal (Penguin Teen)
Hearts of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto (Simon Pulse)>>>sequel to Crown of Feathers 
My Long List of Impossible Things by Michelle Barker (Annick)
Wolf's Curse by Kelley Armstrong>>>sequel to Wolf's Bane (Otherworld duology)

50 Animals That Have Been to Space by Jennifer L. Read with John A. Read (Formac)
Bringing Back the Wolves: How a Predator Restored an Ecosystem by Jude Isabella, illus. by Kim Smith (Kids Can Press)
Consent: Deal with it before boundaries get crossed by Keisha Evans and N.B. Gonsalvez, illus. by Jenny Chan (Lorimer)>>>Lorimer Deal With It series
The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them by Rob Laidlaw (Pajama Press)
On Our Nature Walk: Our First Talk about Our Impact on the Environment by Dr. Jillian Roberts, illus. by Jane Heinrichs (Orca)>>>new volume for The World Around Us series
Our Environment: Everything You Need to Know by Jacques Pasquet, illus. by Yves Dumont (Owlkids)
A Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas by Evie Robillard, illus. by Rachel Katstaller (Kids Can Press) 
Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle by Robin Stevenson (Orca)>>>revised and expanded edition  
Proud to Play by Erin Silver (Lorimer) 
Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular by Kira Vermond, illus. by Clayton Hanmer (Owlkids) 
Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom by Heather Tekavec, illus. by Susan Batori (Kids Can Press) 
What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows?: True Stories of Imagination and Courage by Heather Camlot, illus. by Serge Bloch (Owlkids)

Picture Books and Board Books
Bath Time by Eric Walters, illus. by Christine Battuz (Orca)
Don't Let Go! by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal (Owlkids)
Going Up! by Sherry J. Lee, illus. by Charlene Chua (Kids Can Press)
Golden Threads by Suzanne Del Rizzo, illus. by Miki Sato (Owlkids)
The Haircut by Theo Heras, illus. by Renné Benoit (Pajama Press)
I am Violet by Tania Duprey Stehlik, illus. by Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic (Second Story Press)>>> board book
I Got You a Present! by Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan, illus. by Cale Atkinson (Kids Can Press)
I Just Want To Be Super! by Andrew Katz, illus. by Tony Luzano (CrackBoom! Books)
I Want To Be...A Gutsy Girls' ABC by Farida Zaman (Second Story Press) >>> board book version
Kamik Takes the Lead by Darryl Baker, illus. by Ali Hinch (Inhabit Media)>>>fourth picture book about Kamik the sled dog
Little Cheetah's Shadow by Marianne Dubuc (Princeton Architectural Press)
Margot and the Moon Landing by A. C. Fitzpatrick, illus. by Erika Medina (Annick)
Nibi is water (nibi aawon nbiish) by Joanne Robertson, trans. by Shirley Williams and Isadore Toulouse (Second Story Press)
Run Salmon Run by Bobs & LoLo, illus. by LoriJoy Smith (Page Two Books)
The Sasquatch, the Fire and the Cedar Baskets by Joseph Dandurand, illus. by Dionne Paul (Nightwood Editions)
A Stopwatch from Grampa by Loretta Garbutt, illus. by Carmen Mok (Kids Can Press)
The Truth about Wind by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, illus. by Dušan Petričić (Annick)
What Grew in Larry's Garden by Laura Alary, illus. by Kass Reich (Kids Can Press)
You and Me Both by Mahtab Narsimhan, illus. by Lisa Cinar (Owlkids)

Chapter Books
Alien Nate by Dave Whamond (Kids Can Press)
Amelia and Me by Heather Stemp (Nimbus)>>>Book 1 in the Ginny Ross series
Camp Average: Double Foul by Craig Battle (Owlkids) >>>second book in Camp Average series
Genius Jolene by Sara Cassidy, illus. by Charlene Chua (Orca)>>>Orca Echoes 
Louder Than Words by Kathy Kacer (Annick)>>>Book 3 in the Heroes Quartet series 
Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House by Janet Hill (Tundra) 
Megabat Is a Fraidybat by Anna Humphrey, illus. by Kass Reich (Tundra)
Meg and Greg: A Duck in a Sock by Elspeth Rae and Rowena Rae, illus. by Elisa Gutiérrez (Orca) 
Music for Tigers by Michele Kadarusman (Pajama Press) 
Our Corner Store by Robert Heidbreder, illus. by Chelsea O'Byrne (Groundwood) 
The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell by Valerie Sherrard (DCB) 
Rock Mammoth by Eveline Payette, illus. by Guillaume Perreault (Orca) 
Tales from the Fringes of Fear by Jeff Szpirglas, illus. by Steven P. Hughes (Orca)
Under Amelia's Wing by Heather Stemp (Nimbus)>>>Book 2 in the Ginny Ross series

Young Adult
The Automatic Age by GMB Chomichuk (Yellow Dog) 
Crossing the Farak River by Michelle Aung Thin (Annick) 
For King and Country by Gloria Wesley (Formac) 
Good Boys by GMB Chomichuk (Portage & Main Press) 
Messenger 93 by Barbara Radecki (DCB) 
No Right Thing by Laura Langston (Crwth Press) 
Silence of Bones by June Hur (Feiwel & Friends) 
The Stone of Sorrow by Brooke Carter (Orca)>>>first book in new series Runecasters 
Under the Radar by Judith Clark (DCB) 
You Don't Have to Die in the End by Anita Daher (Yellow Dog)

Big Whales, Small World by Mark Leiren-Young (Orca)
The Boreal Forest: A Year in the World's Largest Land Biome by L. E. Carmichael, illus. by Josée Bisaillon (Kids Can Press)
Canadian Women Now and Then: More than 100 Stories of Fearless Trailblazers by Elizabeth MacLeod, illus. by Maia Faddoul (Kids Can Press)
The Eagle Mother by Brett D. Huson, illus. by Natasha Donovan (HighWater Press)>>> Mothers of Xsan, Book 3
A Forest in the City by Andrea Curtis, illus. by Pierre Pratt (Groundwood)
Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health by Melanie Siebert, illus. by Belle Wuthrich (Orca)>>>Orca Issues
In Good Hands: Remarkable Female Politicians From Around the World Who Showed Up, Spoke Out and Made Change by Stephanie MacKendrick (Kids Can Press)
A Last Goodbye by Elin Kelsey, illus. by Soyeon Kim (Owlkids)
Life Cycles of Caribou by Monica Ittursardjuat, illus. by Emma Pedersen (Inhabit Media)
Nature All Around: Plants by Pamela Hickman, illus. by Carolyn Gavin (Kids Can Press)
One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by Anuradha Rao (Orca)
Orcas of the Salish Sea by Mark Leiren-Young (Orca)
Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane (Orca)>>>Orca Origins
Running Wild: Awesome Animals in Motion by Galadriel Watson, illus. by Samantha Dixon (Annick)
Sea Otters: A Survival Story by Isabelle Groc (Orca)>>>Orca Wild
Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars (A Vietnamese War Orphan Finds Home) by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Pajama Press)
The Ultimate Nova Scotia Quiz Book by Kara Turner (Formac)
West Coast Wild Babies by Deborah Hodge, illus. by Karen Reczuch (Groundwood)

Picture Books and Board Books
The Book of Selkie by Briana Corr Scott (Nimbus)
Born by John Sobol, illus. by Cindy Derby (Groundwood)
Friends for Real by Ted Staunton, illus. by Ruth Ohi (NorthWinds Press)
Grandmother School by Rina Singh, illus. by Ellen Rooney (Orca)
Hey Little Rockabye by Buffy Sainte-Marie, illus. by Ben Hodson (Greystone Kids)
If I Couldn't Be Anne by Kallie George, illus. by Genevieve Godbout (Tundra)
The Little Red Shed by Adam and Jennifer Young, illus. by Adam Young (Breakwater Books)
My Friend (Mi amiga) by Elisa Amado, illus. by Alfonso Ruano (Groundwood) >>> available in English and Spanish editions
Natsumi's Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston, illus. by Misa Saburi (Tundra)
Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak illus. by Roy Henry Vickers, text by Robert Budd (Harbour Publishing)
Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, illus. by Carolyn Fisher (Nimbus)
The Sun is a Peach by Sara Cassidy, illus. by Josée Bisaillon (Orca)>>>also French-language edition Le soleil est une pêche
Weekend Dad by Naseem Hrab, illus. by Frank Viva (Groundwood)
When Emily Was Small by Lauren Soloy (Tundra)
Where Are You, Agnes? by Tessa McWatt, illus. by Zuzanna Celej (Groundwood)

Chapter Books
A Beginner's Guide to Goodbye by Melanie Mosher (Nimbus)
Billy Stuart in the Eye of the Cyclops by Alain M. Bergeron and Sampar (Orca)>>>Billy Stuart 4
The Egyptian Mirror by Michael Bedard (Pajama Press)
Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale by Charis Cotter, illus. by Jenny Dwyer (Running the Goat)
The Hermit by Jan Coates (Nimbus)
Journal of a Travelling Girl by Nadine Neema and Archie Beaverho (Wandering Fox)
Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King (Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman)>>>prequel to OCDaniel
Siha Tooskin Knows the Best Medicine by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Catcher of Dreams by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Gifts of His People by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Love of the Dance by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Nature of Life by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Offering of Tobacco by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Sacred Eagle Feather by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Siha Tooskin Knows the Strength of His Hair by Charlene Bearhead and Wilson Bearhead (HighWater Press)
Son of Happy by Cary Fagan, illus. by Milan Pavlović (Groundwood)
Waiting Under Water by Riel Nason (Scholastic Canada)
War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories by Tim Wynne-Jones (Groundwood)

Young Adult
Dark Skies by Danille L. Jensen (TorTeen) >>>new fantasy series
Firebird by Glen Huser (Ronsdale)
The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass by Adan Jerreat-Poole (Dundurn)
The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton (Viking Books for Young People)
My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong (Simon Pulse)
When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson (Running Press Kids)

Birding for Kids: A Guide to Finding, Identifying, and Photographing Birds in Your Area by Damon Calderwood and Donald E. Waite (Heritage House)
Bird's-Eye View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight by Ann Eriksson (Orca)>>>Orca Wild
Chemical World: Science in Our Daily Lives by Rowena Rae (Orca)>>>Orca Footprints
Eat Your Rocks, Croc!: Dr. Glider's Advice for Troubled Animals by Jess Keating, illus. by Pete Oswald (Orchard Books)
Explore the Eelgrass Meadow with Sam and Crystal by Gloria Snively, illus. by Karen Gillmore  (Heritage House) 
Fight On! Cape Breton Coal Miners 1900-1925 by Joanne Schwartz (Nimbus) 
High Tide, Low Tide: A Shoreline Activity Book by Gloria Snively, illus. by Karen Gillmore (Heritage House) 
A Home Away from Home: True Stories of Wild Animal Sanctuaries by Nicholas Read (Heritage House) 
How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice by Serapio Ittusardjuat, illus. by Matthew K. Hoddy (Inhabit Media)
How Much Does Your Head Weigh?: The Big Fat Book of Facts by Marg Meikle (Scholastic Canada) 
It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . : Canadian Feats, Facts and Flubs by Ted Staunton and Will Staunton (Scholastic Canada) 
Mega Rex by W. Scott Persons IV (Harbour Publishing)

Picture Books and Board Books
Barefoot Helen and the Giants by Andy Jones, illus. by Katie Brosnan (Running the Goat)
Benjamin's Blue Feet by Sue Mccartney (Pajama Press)
Fast Friends by Heather M. O'Connor, illus. by Claudia Dávila (Scholastic Canada)
Gary the Seagull by Christian Johnston, illus. by Paul Hammond (Nimbus)
Kits, Cubs and Calves: An Arctic Summer by Suzie Napayok-Short, illus. by Tamara Campeau (Inhabit Media)
Please Don't Change My Diaper! by Sarabeth Holden, illus. by Emma Pedersen (Inhabit Media)
The Word for Friend by Aidan Cassie (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Chapter Books
Canadian Sabotage by Jeff Szpirglas (Scholastic)>>>Countdown to Danger series
Con Quest by Sam Maggs (Imprint)
The Gryphon's Lair by Kelley Armstrong (Puffin Canada)>>>follow-up to A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
The Weirn Books: Be Wary of the Silent Woods by Svetlana Chmakova (JY)>>>graphic novel

Young Adult
Annaka by Andre Fenton (Nimbus)
Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey (Feiwel and Friends)
Followers by Raziel Reid (Penguin Teen)
Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena (Penguin Teen)>>>The Wrath of Amber, Book 1

The Mermaid Handbook: A Guide to the Mermaid Way of Life, including Recipes, Folklore, and More by Taylor Widrig, illus. by Briana Corr Scott (Nimbus)
Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean's Biggest Secret by Jess Keating, illus. by Katie Hickey (Tundra)
So Imagine Me: Nature Riddles in Poetry by Lynn Davies, illus. by Chrissie Park-MacNeil (Nimbus) 
The Superpower Field Guide: Eels by Rachel Poliquin, illus. by Nicholas John Firth (HMH)>>>fourth book in this middle-grade non-fiction series

Picture Books and Board Books
The Adventures of Grandmasaurus by Caroline Fernandez, illus. by Shannon O'Toole (Common Deer Press)
The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan, Eric Fan and Devin Fan (Tundra)
Bobby Orr and the Hand-me-down Skates by Bobby Orr and Kara Kootstra, illus. by Jennifer Phelan (Tundra)
Boo! Hiss! by Cyndi Marko (Aladdin Pix)
The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters (Nimbus)
ekospi ka ki pekowak/When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson, illus. by Julie Flett (HighWater Press)>>>Bilingual (English and Cree) edition
Goodnight Noah by Eric Walters (Orca)
Hug? by Charlene Chua (Kids Can Press)
It Happened on Sweet Street by Caroline Adderson, illus. by Stéphane Jorisch (Tundra)
Izzy in the Doghouse by Caroline Adderson, illus. by Kelly Collier (Kids Can Press)
The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman
by Kathy Stinson, illus. by Marie Lafrance (Kids Can Press)
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason, illus. by Byron Eggenschwiler (Tundra)
Maud and Grand-Maud by Sara O'Leary, illus. by Kenard Pak (Tundra)
Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson (Tundra)
The Nut That Fell from the Tree by Sangeeta Bhadra, illus. by France Cormier (Kids Can Press)
Princesses Versus Dinosaurs by Linda Bailey, illus. by Joy Ang (Tundra)
Solid, Liquid, Gassy (A Fairy Science Story) by Ashley Spires (Tundra)
This Is the Path the Wolf Took by Laura Farina, illus. by Elina Ellis (Kids Can Press)
Time for Bed's Story by Monica Arnaldo (Kids Can Press)
A World of Calm by Ann Featherstone, illus. by François Thisdale, Tara Anderson and Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press) 
Your House, My House by Marianne Dubuc (Kids Can Press)

Chapter Books
Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park by Marthe Jocelyn, illus. by Isabelle Follath (Tundra)
Clan by Sigmund Brouwer (Tundra)
Double Dog Dare by Ian Boothby, illus. by Nina Matsumoto (Scholastic Graphix) >>>sequel to graphic novel Sparks! 
Harvey Holds His Own by Colleen Nelson (Pajama Press)>>>sequel to Harvey Comes Home 
Jurassic Peck (Kung Pow Chicken #5) by Cyndi Marko (Scholastic)
King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters (Orca)
War Stories by Gordon Korman (Scholastic)

Young Adult
He Must Like You by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Penguin Teen)
You Were Never Here by Kathleen Peacock (HarperTeen)

Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of by Helaine Becker, illus. by Kari Rust (Kids Can Press)
Follow Your Breath: A First Book of Mindfulness by Scot Ritchie (Kids Can Press)
Meet Terry Fox by Elizabeth MacLeod, illus. by Mike Deas (Scholastic Canada)>>>Scholastic Canada Biography
More Scary True Stories (Haunted Canada #10) by Joel A. Sutherland (Scholastic Canada)
The Old Man and the Penguin: A True Story of True Friendship by Julie Abery, illus. by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press)
Terry Fox and Me by Mary Beth Leatherdale, illus. by Milan Pavlovic (Tundra)
This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illus. by Drew Shannon (Kids Can Press)

n.b. Any omissions and errors are completely my own. Please feel free to leave a comment to correct any such inaccuracies.