Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Chicken Girl Blog Tour Recap

This week, we’ve been running a blog tour for Heather Smith’s poignant coming-of-age novel, Chicken Girl, and now all the reviews are in!

Monday, February 25

Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads gave us a guest post from Heather, as well as five reasons to read Chicken Girl
Lisa @ Remarkably Lisa loves Poppy’s gay twin brother, Cam
Jaaron @ Worn Pages and Ink called it one of the best YA novels she’s read in a long time

Tuesday, February 26

Malanie @ malanie loves fiction thinks a lot of people will enjoy it despite the heavy topics
Chelsea @ Twirling Pages wrote a love letter to the book, saying that she saw herself in almost every character
Alexa @ Like Literally Literary is especially fond of Poppy’s new friend, Miracle

Wednesday, February 27

Kaitlyn @ Midsummer Night’s Read really connected with Poppy’s character
Wendy @ A Cupcake and A Latte loves Heather’s “touching and emotionally uplifting writing”

Thursday, February 28

Summer @ Butter My Books is hoping for a sequel about Lewis (or Cam!)
Christine @ Padfoot’s Library posted a short piece about writing from Heather
Olivia @ The Candid Cover thinks the book has a great message about respect – both online and IRL

Friday, March 1

Kate @ Snarky Yet Satisfying fell in love with Poppy and her friends on the first page
Zuhra @ Venus Reads couldn’t put it down

Thanks so much to all the bloggers who participated – we hope they convince the rest of you that you need this book in your life. Look for it on shelves next week!

Don’t forget to add Chicken Girl to Goodreads!

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Putting the YA in FriYAY: Karen McManus on writing and TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET!

Nobody writes YA thrillers like Karen McManus.  One of Us is Lying was a runaway smash hit—think The Breakfast Club with a deadly twist—and her latest novel Two Can Keep a Secret is just as fun, with shocking reveals and twists that will keep you reading late into the night. Find out about Karen’s writing process and which character she relates to the most below!

Describe TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET in 5 words.

Homecoming turns deadly once again.

Which of your characters from your latest novel is most like you?

Ellery’s twin brother, Ezra. He’s the observer of the story, along for the ride as Ellery starts poking around in their mother’s past and the mysteries of Echo Ridge. Ezra’s running commentary is pretty much exactly what I’d say in the same situation. Also, we like the same music 🙂

Recommend a book for Ellery.  

Ellery is a true crime buff, so she’d love something like The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas. The main character in that book was a key witness in the years-old prosecution of a serial killer, but now that she’s older she’s starting to question whether her memories are real.

There are so many twists in this story. How do you keep track of them while writing?

I would love to tell you that I have an extremely clever system, but I use a basic Excel spreadsheet as a chapter guide. I sketch out key beats for plot and characters, and then write in 3-4 chapter bursts. I do a lot of revising of those chapters before I move on, making sure I’m satisfied with how the story is progressing. Then I go back through the larger outline to see if what I’ve written requires any changes to the structure as a whole.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

I wish I could remember who said this, because I’d credit them if I did: that characters should be doing something in the last chapter that would have seemed impossible in the first. I love that, because it’s the perfect litmus test as to whether your characters have undertaken enough of a journey to grow and change.

In the Toronto area? Meet Karen McManus at Indigo Yorkdale on Thursday, February 28th at 7pm. Details here!

OLA Best Bets 2018

The OLA Best Bets committee is comprised of librarians and library technicians who are OLA members, work in public libraries and are committed to children’s and young adult services and eager to evaluate and promote Canadian books. Members discuss and evaluate recent publications by Canadian authors and illustrators. The books evaluated are suitable for children and young adults from birth to nineteen years old. From these discussions, the Committee produces “Best Bets” lists, annual annotated lists of recommended titles.

Here are the Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers titles on the list:

Clara VoyantClara Voyant
By Rachelle Delaney
Hardcover | 224 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780143198536
A wannabe journalist and reluctant astrologer turns out to be clairvoyant in this charming middle-grade coming-of-age novel; for fans of Rebecca Stead’s novels.

Go Show the WorldGo Show the World
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735262928
“We are a people who matter.” Inspired by President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington.

No Fixed AddressNo Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735262751
From beloved Governor General Literary Award-winning author Susin Nielsen comes a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship and growing up when you’re one step away from homelessness.

owls are good at keeping secretsOwls Are Good at Keeping Secrets
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Jacob Grant
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101919118
From the author of the beloved This Is Sadie comes a delightful book of curious, little-known stories about animals – one for each letter of the alphabet!

SweepSweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
Hardcover | 368 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780735264359
A brand-new novel by one of today’s most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heart-rending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and hope.

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony GrayThe Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray
By E. Latimer
Hardcover | 336 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101919286
Lemony Snicket meets Oscar Wilde meets Edgar Allan Poe in this exciting and scary middle-grade novel inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray – a family curse is unleashed!

The OLA also included some Honourable Mentions:

Blood Will OutBlood Will Out
By Jo Treggiari
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Penguin Teen
ISBN 9780735262959
Silence of the Lambs for young adults — Blood Will Out is a gripping YA thriller readers won’t be able to put down.

the game of hopeThe Game of Hope
By Sandra Gulland
Hardcover | 384 Pages | Penguin Teen
ISBN 9780670067022
Inspired by Hortense’s real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn’t choose.

Congratulations to our authors and illustrators for recognized titles! And thank you to the OLA Best Bets committee for their hard work.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: 5 Reasons to Read The Downstairs Girl

For National Hat Day on January 15th, we put the spotlight on Stacey Lee’s upcoming The Downstairs Girl and if you’re not already convinced you should read it based on the gorgeous cover, here are five more reasons to pick it up in August.

1. Features a Chinese-American girl in 1860s America

Protagonist Jo Kwan is independent and determined. Despite spending most of her time in the shadows, she slowly finds her way into the light.

2. Jo Kwan leads a double life

Jo spends her days working as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of Atlanta’s wealthiest men. But at night, she writes a newspaper advice column as “Dear Miss Sweetie”.

3. Swoony romance

Jo finds herself falling for her publisher’s handsome son, but she has to hide her true identity from him. Do we need to say more?

4. Stacey Lee is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books

In addition to being a critically acclaimed author, Stacey Lee works with WNDB to promote diverse literature to a young audience.

5. A fascinating insight into suffragists and the New South

There are very few YA novels that cover this particular time period, and Stacey has done extensive research to make sure her New South setting is as realistic as possible.

The Downstairs Girl comes out August 13th, 2019. Add it on Goodreads here.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: 5 Bittersweet YA Romances

This week we celebrated National Bittersweet Chocolate day. Here are 5 YA romances that are equal parts bitter and sweet, best enjoyed with your favourite chocolate.

We Are Okay
Alone in an empty dorm during a snowstorm, Marin waits for her best friend Mabel to visit. When Mabel arrives, Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid between them. Nina LaCour’s Printz Award-winning novel is a contemplative, intimate look at grief and love. Marin and Mabel’s relationship is complicated and nuanced, growing from a deep friendship to something more.
Add to Goodreads here.

The Sun Is Also a Star
With a nod to the popular New York Times article, “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love,” this epic love story between Daniel, son of Korean immigrants and wannabe poet, and Natasha, whose family is on the brink of being deported to Jamaica, has lots of highs and lows to keep you turning those pages. Look out for the film coming later this year!
Add to Goodreads here.

No One Here Is Lonely
This upcoming genre-bending novel made our Top 5 Sci-fi YA Novels we’re looking forward to in 2019, but it also qualifies as a romance. Eden is falling more and more in love with her crush, Will, only it’s not really Will, but a digital version of him created by an AI after-death service. Quill and Quire called this book “Ghost meets Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters,” and we are on board with that!
Available on February 5th, 2019
Add to Goodreads here.

Odd One Out
In Odd One Out author Nic Stone presents a fresh, stereotype-busting take on that classic romance trope, the love triangle. Coop develops feelings for his best friend Jupiter, who has a crush on the new girl, Rae. Rae is into Jupiter, but maybe also Coop . . . a surprising and rewarding read.
Add to Goodreads here.

Salt to the Sea
This gut-wrenching novel follows four refugees fleeing the horror of WWII for the ill-fated ship The Wilhelm Gustloff in pursuit of new lives. But even amid great tragedy, there are glimmers of love.
Add to Goodreads here.

2019 ALA Midwinter Conference

Ahoy! Are you ready to set sail for ALA Midwinter in Seattle? We’ll be showcasing our Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019 titles at booth 721. Come by to say hello to our VP, Publisher, Tara Walker; our new Art Director, John Martz; our Marketing and Publicity Associate Director, Vikki VanSickle; and our Marketing and Publicity Manager, Sylvia Chan. We will be happy to show you the latest books and chat about #TundraCats, #TundraTots, #Ready2Camp, and #Ready4School.

We will also be hosting a number of signings at booth 721. This is based on first come, first serve. One copy per person while quantities last and you must be in line for the signing to receive a complimentary copy.ALAMW19_booth signingsLooking for literary assets for your schools and libraries? We’ve got you covered, ask about our posters, bookmarks, buttons, art cards, stickers, magnets!

Follow us online as we post live from the show floors!

A Mighty Girl’s 2018 Books of the Year

Strong. Fearless. Magnificent. These are the traits of our empowering and inspirational books for kids. We’d like to give a heartfelt congratulations to our authors and illustrators for their amazing work!

A Mighty Girl’s 6 – 8 (Elementary):

BloomBloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101918562
Growing up in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli knew she was “brutta” — ugly — so she searched around her for beauty, even “planting” seeds in her ears and nose so she would be vibrant and colorful like the flower market! In the 1920s and ’30s, as a single mother in Paris, she drew inspiration from her surrealist artist friends and her own vivid imagination and started creating amazing, unique designs — from a hat shaped like shoes to a dress covered in lobsters — all in bold colors, including the signature shocking pink she invented herself. With style and sophistication, this book celebrates a truly innovative designer who dared to go her own way.

Dr JoDr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Julianna Swaney
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101917893
After Sara Josephine Baker lost her brother and father to typhoid fever, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. But when she graduated in 1898, few people wanted to see a woman doctor, so Dr. Jo took a job in public health working in Hell’s Kitchen, one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods. She realized that, by improving the health of children, she could improve the health of a whole community. Dr. Jo assigned visiting nurses to new mothers, designed safe infant clothing, set up milk stations, and created training and licensing for midwives — and her work saved over 90,000 children. This picture book biography of a groundbreaking woman in medicine highlights how simple innovations can have an enormous impact.

Goodnight AnneGoodnight, Anne
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770499263
It’s bedtime for Anne — but she can’t sleep until she says goodnight to everything she loves. She thinks of her wonderful new family, Matthew and Marilla; of her bosom friend Diana and her encouraging teacher, Miss Stacy; and special places like the Snow Queen tree and the Lake of Shining Waters. She even spares a thought for her annoying classmate, Gilbert, and Mrs. Lynde, the nosy neighbor. This charming bedtime story is a lovely introduction to the beloved character Anne, perfect for fans both old and new.

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770495593
How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her strict father and overbearing stepmother is through the stories she reads and imagines. Unhappy at home, she seeks independence, and at the age of sixteen runs away with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, another dreamer. Two years later, they travel to Switzerland where they meet a famous poet, Lord Byron. On a stormy summer evening, with five young people gathered around a fire, Byron suggests a contest to see who can create the best ghost story. Mary has a waking dream about a monster come to life. A year and a half later, Mary Shelley’s terrifying tale, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, is published – a novel that goes on to become the most enduring monster story ever and one of the most popular legends of all time.

PetraPetra
By Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735262676
Petra the rock is full of confidence: “Nothing can move me. Not the wind. Not time,” she declares. Except when a dog runs up to her, it becomes clear that Petra is really quite little — small enough for the dog to pick up in its mouth, and then for the dog’s owner to fling her into a bird’s nest! Petra isn’t dismayed, though — attitude is everything, and she soon finds an upside to her new situation. After all, “I’m a rock, and this is how I roll.” Kids will giggle as Petra finds herself in constantly changing surroundings (and comes up with optimistic viewpoints on all of them), but along the way they’ll learn an important message about perspective and believing in yourself.

A Mighty Girl’s 9 – 12 (Pre-Teen):

Elephant SecretElephant Secret
By Eric Walters
Hardcover | 352 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780735262812
Sam has grown up among elephants at a North American elephant sanctuary, so she’s used to understanding how elephants think — and hearing about the sanctuary’s financial woes. Then an anonymous sponsor donates a huge amount of money, in exchange for artificially inseminating Daisy Mae, one of Sam’s favorite elephants. When Daisy Mae dies while giving birth, Sam raises her calf — and realizes that baby Woolly has actually been cloned from woolly mammoth DNA. But with the billionaire behind the project willing to do anything to protect his investment, can Sam protect both Woolly and the other elephants? Kids will be fascinated by Sam’s work with the elephants and will eagerly flip pages to find out what happens to Woolly and her other elephant friends.

SweepSweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
Hardcover | 368 Pages | Puffin Canada
ISBN 9780735264359
11-year-old Nan Sparrow is a ‘climbing boy,’ an orphan owned by a chimney sweep to do the dirty, dangerous work of cleaning flues in Victorian London. But, Nan isn’t a boy and she’s quite possibly the best chimney climber who ever lived, beating the odds again and again … until the day she’s trapped in a chimney fire. When she wakes up safe in an attic, she discovers that she was saved by a mysterious creature — a golem — made from ash and coal. Together, the two outcasts will need to evade Nan’s abusive boss and figure out how to create a better life in a world that’s quick to label differences as monstrous. Told by master storyteller Jonathan Auxier, this powerful and heartwarming tale explores the search for home and family, in whatever form they take.

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony GrayThe Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray
By E. Latimer
Hardcover | 336 Pages | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101919286
Bryony Gray’s work is deeply in demand in London’s art community … but her life is grim. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up, painting canvas after canvas for his clients. Then her paintings start taking on a life of their own — and her customers start going missing. When Bryony starts digging into her family history, she discovers she’s accidentally unleashed a deadly family curse. If she’s going to break the curse, she’ll have to avoid angry mobs, her evil uncle, and perhaps most difficult of all: her own artwork. This middle grade novel inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray is full of thrilling twists and terrifying turns.

A Mighty Girl’s 13+ (Teen):

Tess of the RoadTess of the Road
By Rachel Hartman
Hardcover | 544 Pages | Penguin Teen Canada
ISBN 9780385685887
Tess is the black sheep of her family, always speaking out of turn and getting into trouble. When she drunkenly punches her new brother-in-law at her twin Jeanne’s wedding, her parents decide that’s the last straw and plan to send her to a nunnery. Instead, she cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and hits the road. She’s not sure where she’s going yet, just that the road will give her answers — answers about who she is, why she is the way she is, and where she belongs. This fantasy adventure set in the world of Seraphina and Shadow Scale also explores how girls are taught to blame themselves even when others are at fault — and the power of journeys to reveal truths to those who walk them.