Summer Reads for kids and teens

Are you looking for summer reads?  You couldn’t do better than the short lists for some of Canada’s major children’s book awards.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has announced their Awards Short Lists!

 

 

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($25,000)

Sponsored by TD Bank Group

The Dragon Turn

(The Boy Sherlock Holmes)
Written by Shane Peacock (Baltimore, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 10 and up
“With a trail of clues, a cast of shady characters, and even a hint of romance, The Dragon Turn has more twists and turns than a carnival ride and will keep readers guessing until its satisfying conclusion… Peacock is a master storyteller, and his richly imagined details of murder, revenge, betrayal, theatre, magic and exotic dragons combine to create an absolute page-turner of a book.”

No Ordinary Day

Written by Deborah Ellis (Simcoe, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 9-12
“In this exceptional novel, Ellis continues to create powerful narratives of impoverished children in cultures around the globe… Ellis proves to be a masterful storyteller as she sheds light on the harsh reality of life on the streets… In clear, simple writing Ellis portrays Valli as a character of spirit and courage, and brings the reader to empathy and appreciation of the complex life of India’s marginalized children.”

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World

Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Owlkids Books Inc.
for ages 9-13
“Off to Class is a hopeful, creative book that introduces children to the challenges many kids face trying to go to school… Fascinating facts and captivating photographs… This beautifully designed book is the culmination of an impressive amount of wide-ranging research… A most inspiring read, this book proves that through the combined efforts of caring and committed individuals, organizations and educators, there is hope for students everywhere.”

Seal Song

Written by Andrea Spalding (Pender Island, BC)
Illustrated by Pascal Milelli (Vancouver, BC)
Orca Book Publishers
for ages 5-8
“Celtic folklore and West Coast fishing traditions are seamlessly woven in this moving tale of friendship, loyalty, sacrifice and magic… Spalding’s beautiful lyrical language is perfectly complemented by Milelli’s unique and expressive oil paintings, dramatic blocks of colour rendered in shades of blue and green… Here, Spalding creates a folktale that

feels as though it were born of Canada.”

Stones for My Father

Written by Trilby Kent (London, UK)
Tundra Books
for ages 11-14
“In her powerful and compelling novel set during the Boer War, Kent explores friendship, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit… Corlie Roux is a fascinating, complex heroine, and Kent’s willingness to present her and her situation

unblinkingly is a gift to us all… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000)

Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

Cinnamon Baby

Written by Nicola Winstanley (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Janice Nadeau (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-7
“This enchanting and gentle tale, simply and expressively told, appeals to all the senses… Lovely illustrations are rendered in a pleasing palette with varied textures and gently humorous touches… The result is an irresistible blend of words and pictures – a delicious read for young children.”

Picture a Tree

Written and illustrated by Barbara Reid (Toronto, ON)
North Wind Press / Scholastic Canada
for ages 3-8
“One never wearies of examining this artist’s work… Reid allows the known to seem almost startlingly new with her gift for observation, detail and humour… The inviting artwork makes you want to climb inside the page to discover the varied delights and nuances of trees.”

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

Written by Dan Bar-el (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Rae Maté (Vancouver, BC)
Simply Read Books
for ages 3-6
“A fantastical continuation of the pussycat’s journey following his visit to the queen… Rhythmic and child-friendly poetic verses… The cat’s seemingly endless adventures pique curiosity and stir the imagination and invite the play to continue even after the book is done.”

Small Saul

Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires (Saskatoon, SK)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-7
“This well-paced tale of the trials of a pint-sized would-be pirate engages readers on several levels… Wonderfully successful integration of text and art, each enhanced by the other, providing layers to explore with each re-reading… A celebration of individuality and the pursuit of one’s dreams, expressed in a humorous, yet loving and sympathetic manner.”

Without You

Written and illustrated by Geneviève Côté (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press
for ages 3-6
“A gentle and seemingly simple story with layers of meaning conveyed through minimal text and charming artwork… Rabbit and Pig have distinct personalities that young children can easily relate to… Minimal text speaks volumes about the give and take of friendships, and the rewards of togetherness.”

 NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION ($10,000)

Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal of Afghanistan

Written by Rafal Gerszak (Vancouver, BC) with Dawn Hunter (Toronto, ON)
Photos by Rafal Gerszak (Vancouver, BC)
Annick Press
for ages 12 and up
“A powerful and deeply moving book… Gerszak’s photographs are at once beautiful, traumatic, tender and humane… The narrative seamlessly interacts with his photographs to create a portrait of a world that young readers need to see… An opportunity to really think about how photographs challenge and change our perceptions of war and conflict.”

Biomimicry: Inventions Inspired by Nature

Written by Dora Lee (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Margot Thompson (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
for ages 8-12
“An eye-opening look at how nature’s solutions to difficult situations have inspired inventors over the centuries… Both illustrations and text encourage readers to become aware of these amazing connections… Thompson’s illustrations offer ways of looking at the inventions but also leave room for further exploration.”

Loon

Written by Susan Vande Griek (Halifax, NS)
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Acton, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 4-7
“A beautiful combination of words and images… The poetic text perfectly captures the rhythm of a loon’s life cycle… Readers will respond on so many different levels – to Vande Griek’s lovely use of language and Reczuch’s beautiful images… A magical combination of poetry and illustrations that is both lyrical and scientifically informative.”

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World

Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Owlkids Books Inc.
for ages 9-13
“Inspiring and intriguing… Off to Class introduces Canadian children to the wide variety of ways kids get their education all around the world… A lively and inventive book brimful with engaging photographs, nice anecdotal stories from the perspective of children around the world and just the right amount of information… This is a book that should be in every school library.”

Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives

Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 12 and up
“This beautifully written text evokes women’s private lives down through history as revealed in their own, often astonishing, words… Well researched, informative and engaging… Jocelyn engages the reader’s imagination through her accessible language, attention to historical detail, creative description and narrative skill.”

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ($5,000)

Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

The Hangman in the Mirror

Written by Kate Cayley (Toronto, ON)
Annick Press
for ages 13 and up
“A truly captivating piece of historical fiction that brings to life the gritty realities of life in 18th century New France… The setting is so vivid and Cayley masterfully depicts the extreme disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor… This book is extremely informative and reveals so much about what conditions were like in New France while still being a thoroughly engaging story that keeps readers riveted.”

I’ll Be Watching

Written by Pamela Porter (Sidney, BC)
Groundwood Books
for ages 14 and up
“Porter has crafted a novel that is elegantly understated in its prose and the story is all the more powerful and poignant as a result… The book features a wide range of characters, all of whom are well-drawn… A brilliant period piece that fully captures so many of the subtle nuances of life in the Prairies during the Second World War while also managing to provide a glimpse into the harsh realities of life overseas as well.”

Shot at Dawn: World War I

(I Am Canada)
Written by John Wilson (Lantzville, BC)
Scholastic Canada
for ages 9-12
“This book is powerful and vivid, accessible to a wide range of readers and very compelling in its presentation of a story that is so hard to imagine and yet that we know to be so sadly and terrifying true… Wilson tells the story of life in the horrific trenches of World War I and the effects of battle on a shell-shocked soldier… Allan is a convincing narrator, the pacing of the story is just right and this is a strong fictional rendering of this major event in history.”

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Written by Kenneth Oppel (Toronto, ON)
HarperCollins Publishers
for ages 12 and up
“The evocative writing of this novel transports readers into the dark passageways of Chateau Frankenstein with Victor and Konrad… An incredibly fast-paced tale, combining gothic elements and 19th century science in a rather unique and delightful manner… Oppel does such a magnificent job of presenting the young Victor Frankenstein in a new and sympathetic light.”

The Whole Truth

Written by Kit Pearson (Victoria, BC)
HarperCollins Publishers
for ages 8-12
“Pearson beautifully captures the feel of her remote setting in the 1930s with her description of the details of daily life, as well as in her portrayal of various societal attitudes… One of the most satisfying things about this book is its evocation of life in rural Canada in a bygone era… The strength of this book lies in its characters. Polly is a likeable, believable protagonist whom young readers will empathize with.

 JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD ($5,000)

Sponsored by John Spray

The Case of the Missing Deed

(Teaspoon Detectives)
Written by Ellen Schwartz (Burnaby, BC) Tundra Books
for ages 10 and up

“A delightful mystery for children ten and up… Schwartz mixes tricky codes, ciphers with facts and interesting characters… The theme of environmental protection is well explained and the clues to the mystery are ingeniously sprinkled throughout a packet of recipes… Good dialogue, well-differentiated characters and a wholesome setting complete this old-fashioned mystery.”

Charlie’s Key

Written by Rob Mills (Peterborough, ON)
Orca Book Publishers
for ages 11 and up
“This is an engrossing novel with a very real and likeable main character… Charlie Sykes is an unforgettable character in an unforgettable story… One can really get a sense of St. John’s through the atmospheric descriptions of the locale. The action is fast- moving and the personalities are well drawn.”

The Dragon Turn

(The Boy Sherlock Holmes)
Written by Shane Peacock (Baltimore, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 10 and up
“Peacock flawlessly recreates the London of the Victorian era… Readers feel as if they are walking along with the young Sherlock Holmes as he begins to awaken to his prodigious skills and fights to figure out how a magician can make a dragon appear… and disappear… Beautifully written with whip-smart dialogue.”

Held

Written by Edeet Ravel (Guelph, ON)
Annick Press
for ages 13 and up
“Held is a gripping psychological drama that presents the story of a kidnapper and his victim… Ravel has written a novel that both entertains and makes you think… A psychological tale that leaves the solving of the mystery up to the reader… Beautifully written with an ambiguous ending in the best literary traditions, this mystery is a page-turner.”

True Blue

Written by Deborah Ellis (Simcoe, ON)
Pajama Press
for ages 12 and up
“When your best friend is accused of murder, where do your loyalties lie?… A flawed family, complex characters and a brutal reality lie at the heart of this tightly woven dark mystery… A very interesting mystery about ordinary people and how their emotions affect how they react… Jess struggles with real questions about loyalty, morality and what truth really means… The story is captivating.”

MONICA HUGHES AWARD FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ($5,000)

Sponsored by HarperCollins Canada

Dreamline

Written by Nicole Luiken (Edmonton, AB)
Great Plains Teen Fiction
for ages 14 and up
“Luiken’s skillful manipulation of our common perceptions of time, space, and dream lore make this an intriguing and absorbing read… Sharp and spirited prose, intriguing and carefully developed setting, and strong and sympathetic characters… Lissa’s heroic willingness to sacrifice herself for others, along with her struggles to bear the burden of her supernatural abilities, lend this novel real power and substance.”

Hunted

Written by Cheryl Rainfield (Toronto, ON)
WestSide Books
for ages 13 and up
“In Caitlyn, Rainfield has crafted a tough and compassionate heroine who uses her psychic and empathic abilities to save her brother and friends from a fascist government… From its first word to its last, Hunted grabs the reader with its forceful and dynamic prose, its disturbing and alarming world, and its sympathetic and complex characters.”

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Written by Jonathan Auxier (Riverside, CA)
Puffin Canada
for ages 9-12
“It is Oliver Twist meets King Arthur and his knights in this delightfully absurd fantasy novel for young readers by Jonathan Auxier… Dry humour, a quick wit and a plot that avoids generic formulae make this fantasy stand out… Auxier’s prose is lively and enchanting, his characters are truly memorable, and his world is captivating and beautifully realized…This book charms and delights from beginning to end.”

Tempestuous

Written by Lesley Livingston (Toronto, ON)
HarperCollins Canada
for ages 13 and up
“Spirited and action-packed… Livingston’s superb final book in the trilogy expertly blends the magical world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the haunting narrative of The Tempest… A playfully daring no-holds-barred riff on high school romance and faerie literature that ends with a memorable, sparkling shower of special effects.”

What Happened to Serenity?

Written by P.J. Sarah Collins (Vancouver, BC)
Red Deer Press
for ages 12 and up
“Collins cleverly combines the strong elements of a good mystery with the frightening possibilities of dystopian YA, and creates a hauntingly beautiful and contrasting worldview of post-apocalypse Canada… The lyrical prose, finely crafted setting of an ominous near-future Canada, and enthralling voice of Katherine, the narrator, combine to make a provocative work of science fiction.”

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