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.

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The 2019 Outstanding International Books List

Beginning in 2006, USBBY has selected an honor list of international books for young people. The Outstanding International Books (OIB) committee is charged with selecting international books that are deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year. For the purposes of this honor list, the term “international book” is used to describe a book published or distributed in the United States that originated or was first published in a country other than the U.S.

Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

From the Heart of AfricaFrom the Heart of Africa: A book of Wisdom
Collected by Eric Walters
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN 9781101918746 | Tundra Books
A collection of African wisdom gorgeously illustrated by artists from Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United States and more. Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist. In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread. This book is a celebration of art, of community and of our common history.

Go Show the WorldGo Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 5-9
ISBN 9780735262928 | Tundra Books
“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. Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the US and Canada, both the more well known and the not- so-widely recognized. Individually, their stories, though briefly touched on, are inspiring; collectively, they empower the reader with this message: “We are people who matter, yes, it’s true; now let’s show the world what people who matter can do.”

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN 9781770495593 | Tundra Books
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.

No Fixed AddressNo Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735262751 | Tundra Books
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. Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.

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.

CBC Books’ Best Canadian YA and Children’s Literature of 2018

CBC Books shared their top 25 Canadian YA and children’s books that came out this year. We’re happy to share that 4 of our titles made the list. Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

BloomBloom:
A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli

By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 5-9
ISBN 9781101918562 | Tundra Books
Here is the life of iconic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who as a little girl in Rome, was told by her own mamma that she was brutta. Ugly. So she decided to seek out beauty around her, and found it everywhere. What is beauty? Elsa wondered. She looked everywhere for beauty until something inside of Elsa blossomed, and she became an artist with an incredible imagination. Defining beauty on her own creative terms, Schiaparelli worked hard to develop her designs, and eventually bloomed into an extraordinary talent who dreamed up the most wonderful dresses, hats, shoes and jewelry. Why not a shoe for a hat? Why not a dress with drawers? And she invented a color: shocking pink! Her adventurous mind was the key to her happiness and success–and is still seen today in her legacy of wild imagination. Daring and different, Elsa Schiaparelli used art to make fashion, and it was quite marvelous.

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN 9781770495593 | Tundra Books
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.

No Fixed AddressNo Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 288 Pages | Ages 10+
ISBN 9780735262751 | Tundra Books
Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.

SweepSweep:
The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

By Jonathan Auxier
Hardcover | 368 Pages | Ages 8-12
ISBN 9780735264359 | Puffin Canada
For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys” – orphans owned by chimney sweeps – to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived–and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature – a golem – made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire. Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together–saving one another in the process.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: The Game of Hope

The Game of Hope_YA

Who run the world? Girls! Today we’re highlighting the often untold stories of women in history. The Game of Hope is the debut YA novel by international bestselling author Sandra Gulland. Join the conversation online by following @PenguinTeenCa and using the hashtag #HerStoryTeen.

Q&A with Sandra Gulland

What inspired you to write a YA novel?
Before I became a novelist, I was a book editor, and for over a decade I edited young adult novels for reluctant readers. But even so, it took at least two months to consider. It takes me years to write a novel, and I have to feel passionate about it and fall in love with it. So, I reread books about Hortense and covered our dining room table with plot points on index cards. I needed to see if there was a story there, a story about Hortense’s teen years, an enchanting story.And there was. And it was one I very much wanted to write.

What books did you consult while working on The Game of Hope?
I posted the complete list to my website and it comes to about 150 books and magazine articles, so I’ll spare you the details and generalize. I read Hortense’s two-volume memoir, The Memoirs of Queen Hortense, two decades ago, and it was time to reread them, as well as biographies about her. I read books on etiquette, period dance, and costume, of course: the details of daily life are what interest me the most. The book on sex that Caroline Bonaparte was so enthusiastic about, and which horrified Hortense, was also an amusing discovery. I read quite a lot on Madame Campan, including her letters to Hortense, as well as a little epistolary novel she wrote about two fictional girls in her wonderful school. A historian and I even shared the expense of hiring a researcher in Paris to find a set of letters in the National Archives written by one of Campan’s students. (Yes, you could call me obsessive.)

You’ve written a lot about various historical periods in France. What do you love about French history?
There is something about French history — at least the periods I’ve studied — that is so idealistic (even when it’s brutal), and at the same time almost theatrical. There is often a hint of humour, and I adore that.

What surprised you the most about the lives of teenage girls in post-revolutionary France?
There were many things I already knew, yet I was still surprised that teenage girls were expected to marry. They were so young! Also, it was rare for girls to be educated at all, much less well-educated. Campan’s school was amazingly creative and intellectually challenging. I would have loved to have gone to that school.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulland_SandraSANDRA GULLAND is the author of the international-bestselling Josephine B series, chronicling the life of Napoleon’s second wife. Now, Sandra turns her keen eye for history and her love of story to Hortense, the teenage stepdaughter of Napoleon, in her first YA novel The Game of Hope.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Blood Will Out

Blood Will Out_YA

Blood Will OutBlood Will Out
Jo Treggiari

Silence of the Lambs for teens – a gripping YA thriller that will keep you up all night reading!

Ari Sullivan is alive–for now.

She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. Told in alternating perspectives of predator and prey, Blood Will Out is a gripping addition to the YA horror genre, perfect for fans of There’s Someone Inside Your House and The Merciless.

Q&A with Jo Treggiari

What was the first scary book you ever read?
I’m sure it was either Carrie or It by Stephen King.

Why did you decide to write half of the book from the predator’s perspective?
Can I be creepy and say that the fledgling serial killer started to speak to me and demanded that I tell their story?

What books did you consult while working on Blood Will Out?
I read biographies and true crime books on John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and Ed Gein.

What books do you think Ari would read?
Before the action in the book takes place, I think she probably read Jane Austen and romantic YA. Afterwards, she probably read books about survival, weapon-making and criminal psychology.

What are you reading now?
Like everyone else I am reading Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Treggiari_JoJO TREGGIARI was born in England and raised in Canada. She spent many years in San Francisco and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for punk magazines and owned a successful gangster rap/indie rock record label. She now lives in Nova Scotia where she co-owns a carefully curated, community-active bookstore, Lexicon Books.

Amazon.com’s Best Children’s Books of 2018: Ages 6 to 8

Amazon.com has chosen 19 best children’s books of 2018 for ages 6 to 8. We are so thrilled to share that we have 2 titles on this list! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

MegabatMegabat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
192 Pages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262577
“[Kass] Reich’s expressive black-and-white illustrations are filled with detail and texture, especially with Megabat’s delightful facial expressions, and help guide the story along. Great for readers who enjoy Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson books.” – Booklist

Peanut Butter and JellyPeanut Butter and Jelly
By Ben Clanton
64 Pages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262454
Narwhal and Jelly are back and Narwhal has a new obsession . . . peanut butter! He’s so obsessed he even wants to change his name to . . . that’s right . . . Peanut Butter! Ever-sensible Jelly isn’t so sure that’s the best idea, but is all for Narwhal trying new things (instead of just eating waffles all the time, no matter how delicious waffles are). In this third book, Narwhal and Jelly star in three new stories about trying new things, favorite foods and accepting who we are. Always funny and never didactic, this underwater duo charms again through their powerful combination of positive thinking, imagination and joyfulness.