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.

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Booklist Editors’ Choice 2018

We received some wonderful news from Booklist, their editors’ list of the best youth titles published in 2018 include Petra and Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein. And as if that’s not enough, Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein was selected as the Top of the List in the Picture Books category – the best of the best! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!

PetraPetra
By Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735262676
“Size is clearly a matter of perspective when it comes to Petra, a smiling gray boulder, or magnificent mountain, or pebble, depending on whom you ask…. On one page, dinosaurs roam near her base; in another, a tiny-looking knight trots by on his horse. But things take a turn when a stick soars over Petra, and a giant schnauzer’s head enters the frame…. Thus begin her adventures, from slingshot to bird’s nest to pond, all punctuated by Petra’s upbeat commentary, which will surely garner some laughs…. This Italian import is truly a charmer. Coppo uses tempera, pastels, and digital collage to create memorable illustrations—you’ve never seen a cuter rock—in natural colors and set against white backdrops. The idea of relative size is seamlessly incorporated into the story, but it’s Petra’s unmitigated confidence in an unpredictable world that makes it a keeper.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Mary Who Wrote FrankensteinMary Who Wrote Frankenstein
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Júlia Sardà
Hardcover | 56 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN 9781770495593
“Though youngsters won’t yet have delved into Mary Shelley’s gothic horror classic, most will have been exposed to her piecemeal monster…. Viewed in this eerie light, a picture-book biography on Shelley herself doesn’t seem out of place, especially one so stunning as this. Bailey relates Shelley’s childhood, rebellious adolescence, and participation in the now-famous writing competition that spawned the mad Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as a fantastic story in its own right. Her writing is warm and inclusive, posing occasional questions directly to the reader and establishing Shelley as a spirited dreamer. No less astonishing are Sardà’s folk art–style illustrations, which employ deep, moody hues—burgundy, plum, black, gray, and midnight blue—to create hauntingly detailed scenes. Ghostly monsters waft through people’s imaginations; dense trees lean and reach their branches toward Shelley’s passing carriage; a dead frog sits upright when zapped with electricity. Readers will revel in this artful portrait of a celebrated young author and better appreciate the true brains behind the operation. A thorough afterword offers more details of Shelley’s life.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018

Kirkus Reviews has revealed their picks for the Best Children’s Books of 2018 and we’re thrilled that two of our titles made the list. Congratulations to our hardworking authors!

Best Picture Books of 2018

Petra
Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 9780735262676

The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.

“Coppo accomplishes a lot with a little. Her illustrations—a mixture of tempera, pastels, and digital collage—are simple but emote mountains…. Lending itself to a range of readings, from perspective to an exploration of identity, this Italian import is a pleasingly intelligent book.” – Starred ReviewKirkus Reviews

Best Middle Grade Books of 2018

The Ghost Road
Charis Cotter
Hardcover | 368 Pages | Ages 9-12
ISBN: 9781101918890

Ghosts, a family curse, buried secrets — and two girls who have to figure it all out. A new book from an acclaimed author, for fans of Coraline, Doll Bones and The Night Gardener.

“Cotter’s complex and engrossing story is enhanced by its superbly presented isolated Newfoundland setting and a satisfying dose of ghosts. The theme—the power of words—creates both a fascinating conclusion and food for thought.” – Starred ReviewKirkus Reviews

Vote for Petra!

Petra by Marianna Coppo is now a Final Round Nominee for Best Picture Book in the Goodreads Choice Awards. Vote between November 13 – 26, 2018 in all your favorite categories. Winners will be announced on December 4, 2018.
Petra blinks
If you’re looking for a Petra activity kit, you’re a rock star! Here it is available for download.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about Petra:

“Meet Petra, a smooth grey oval of possibility … a pleasantly intelligent book.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“[S]imple, smooth, and stylish.… Change may be the only constant in Petra’s peripatetic existence, but her bubbly optimism is as solid as a Gibraltar.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

“You’ve never seen a cuter rock … Petra’s unmitigated confidence in an unpredictable world make(s) it a keeper.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Instagram Stories to Read Bedtime Stories to Kids

IG storiestimeInnovative new series uses Instagram to help parents engage kids in storytime by reading picture books on Instagram Stories.

Tundra Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, has teamed up with advertising agency Rethink Canada to develop and produce the reading series “StoriesTime” launching September 10th, 2018. The new initiative designed to encourage families to read together, shares celebrated children’s books on Instagram through a series of bedtime Instagram Stories.

New stories featured on @tundrabooks Instagram each Monday and Thursday showcase beautifully illustrated children’s books from a collection of best sellers and new favourites, including Almost a Full Moon, written by Juno Award-winning musician Hawksley Workman. The stories, shot against a cozy home-like setting, and charmingly read, are designed to create an enjoyable experience for the whole family.

IG storiestime titles

“Bedtime reading is a wonderful way for parents to bond with their children, and we are excited to introduce our books to families in this new Instagram approach,” said Vikki VanSickle Associate Director, Marketing & Publicity, Young Readers at Penguin Random House Canada, and also a children’s book author herself.

The idea was inspired by a desire to promote an important childhood ritual, bedtime reading. “Every child should get that experience of bedtime stories. Using Instagram Stories we can use technology to give every kid that chance.” said Mike Dubrick, Partner, Creative Director at Rethink Canada in Toronto. “We see this as a way to encourage greater participation in an essential part of childhood.”

Tundra Books will host two different stories on their Instagram (@tundrabooks) each week over a four week period, the first having debuted September 10th. Each Story will remain active for a 24 hour period.

For more information or for high-resolution photographs please contact Vikki VanSickle at 416.928.2419 or vvansickle@penguinrandomhouse.com.

Graduation Gift Guide

It’s graduation season and you’re probably looking for a cute gift for the grad in your life—whether you’re celebrating a kindergarten class or a university degree. Here are a few picture book options that are perfect for all ages.

Petra
Written by Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages
ISBN: 9780735262676
The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.

Great Dog
Written by Davide Cali
Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
Hardcover | 46 Pages
ISBN: 9781101919170
The age-old question of “what will I be when I grow up” gets a hilarious twist in this stylish and clever story.

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess
Written by Janet Hill
Hardcover | 48 Pages
ISBN: 9781101917930
A whimsical, tongue-in-cheek book of wisdom from Miss Wilhelmina Moon, dog governess. Some lessons are practical, some are playful, but all are necessary for the raising of happy, healthy and well-mannered dogs (and humans).

The Magician’s Secret
Written by Zachary Hyman
Illustrated by Joe Bluhm
Hardcover | 40 Pages
ISBN: 9781770498945
This action-adventure picture book featuring a grandfather and grandson duo celebrates the magic and power of imagination. “Whatever you believe, you can achieve!”

Meet Our Rock Star: Petra

If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably seen our new rock star, Petra. If not, let us introduce you to her:

Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.

And she is, without a doubt, the cutest pet rock you’ll ever see.

But that’s where you come in! We want to see what kind of pet rock you can create – will you make an elephant? A penguin? Or something else?

We want to see what kind of gems you come up with, so join us in decorating a rock and share a photo of your creation on Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtags #PetraRocks #contest. We will select our favourite 10 pictures and these winners will be sent a Petra-shaped magnet. If you need inspiration, make sure to check out our Petra activity kit. Photos must be posted with the hashtags #PetraRocks and #contest between April 5-20th to be considered.

We think you’ll have some rock-solid ideas for your Petra and we can’t wait to see them.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between April 5, 2018 and April 20, 2018. Open to residents of the US and Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory of residence at time of entry. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. See Official Rules here for full details.

Petra
Written by Marianna Coppo
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 9780735262676
eBook: 9780735262683

“[S]imple, smooth, and stylish…Change may be the only constant in Petra’s peripatetic existence, but her bubbly optimism is as solid as Gibraltar.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly