Thanks to Marsha Skrypuch for passing along this:
The OLA's Canadian Materials Committee, which is under the umbrella of
the OPLA Child and Youth Services Committee, picks this annual list.
Books are selected on the basis of their literary/artistic merit as well
as their appeal for children.
Text and illustrations are of equal importance in picture books and
Bailey, Linda. Stanley's Little Sister.
Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Kids Can Press
Stanley's world is turned upside down with the arrival of "Fluffy" the
cat. Chaos and hilarity ensue with Stanley catching all the blame. But
just when Stanley is about to give up, he realizes that having a little
sister isn't so bad after all.
Becker, Helaine. A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: a Canadian 12 Days of
Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman. North Winds Press *
A porcupine, caribou, beavers, moose, squirrels, Mounties, Stanley Cups
and more rollick through the familiar carol. With tongue-in-cheek humour
and bright illustrations, this distinctively Canadian version is a delight.
Edwards, Wallace. The Cat's Pajamas.
Kids Can Press.
Wallace Edwards makes understanding idioms fun and entertaining. His
extraordinary illustrations are visual clues to 26 idioms. Readers are
challenged to decipher each one. Edwards seems to be telling us "Use
Your Noodle"! and It's a "Piece of Cake'!". Check out the hidden cat on
each page. Readers of all ages will find this book "more fun than a
barrel of monkeys"!
Horrocks, Anita. Silas' Seven Grandparents.
Illustrated by Helen Flook. Orca Book Publishers
Modern family dynamics have left Silas with more than the usual quota of
doting caregivers when his parents go away on a business trip. As one
after another invites him to stay, Silas is in a quandary. How can he
choose to stay with only one when all seven want him? Clever Silas finds
a solution that pleases everyone. Colourful, lively illustrations make
this book a special treat for readers, too.
Leonetti, Mike. The Mighty Tim Horton;
Illustrated by Greg Banning. North Winds Press*
Hockey fans and history buffs alike will enjoy this endearing story of a
boy and his encounter with a hockey legend, the mighty Tim Horton. The
thrill and excitement of the 1962 NHL playoffs is captured nicely as we
join Tim Horton and the Toronto Maple Leafs on their successful quest to
win the Stanley Cup.
Luxbacher, Irene. Mattoo, Let's Play!
Kids Can Press
Ruby LOVES to play with her pet cat, Mattoo. But why is Mattoo being
such a sour puss? A delightful, beautifully illustrated story about
considering the feelings of others and playing nicely.
Munsch, Robert. Put Me in a Book!
Ilustrated by Michael Martchenko. North Winds Press*
An author sitting on a park bench tells Mrs. O'Dell's class that he
can't complete his picture book until he finds a kid to be in it. Hailey
enthusiastically volunteers and is shocked when she is suddenly folded
into the book. Once she discovers that she can't escape, the other kids
try to help with hilarious results. Kids will buy into the absurdity of
Hailey's problem and will love the concluding twist.
Tsiang, Sarah. A Flock of Shoes.
Illustrated by Qin Leng. Annick.
Abby's sandals are pink and brown with lime green trim. They are perfect
for running and jumping and making tracks in the sand. But when summer
is over Mum says they are worn out and it's time for them to go. Abby
disagrees but the sandals take matters into their own hands, flying away
to the south like birds. Soon unhappy Abby learns to love her blue and
white boots with purple trim. Until, one sunny spring day.... Young
readers will delight in this nonsensical story about Abby and her
Ward, David. One Hockey Night.
Illustrated by Brian Deines, Scholastic.
Owen and Holly have moved to Saskatchewan from Nova Scotia and miss
playing hockey on a lake. However their father has a big surprise for
them on Christmas Eve. Gorgeous artwork and a charming story celebrate
one of Canada's favourite pastimes.
Wishinsky, Frieda. The Queen's Secret.
Illustrated by Loufane. North Winds Press*
There's a secret that both the Queen and Kay share -- and it's up to the
reader to find out! Delightfully teasing (the answer is at the end)
this is also a rhyming book with bright, colourful illustrations.
*Note that North Winds Press is part of Scholastic Canada.
Brewster, Hugh Prisoner Of Dieppe: World War II, Alistair Morrison,
Occupied France, 1942 (I am Canada). Scholastic
Alistair Morrison is talked into joining the war effort by his best
friend, the slightly older "Mackie". After basic training they are sent
overseas and end up being captured after the disastrous battle of
Dieppe. This new series is promoted as being for ages 9-12 but the
honest way in which Brewster treats the lives of the soldiers during
WWII makes it suitable for older readers as well. Exciting and well
written, this is a story that will engage boys in particular.
Charles, Rie. No More Dragons. Napoleon Publishing.
Alex keeps a diary in the form of letters to a friend. As we read each
entry something disturbing is revealed. Thirteen year old Alex is not
only lonely and insecure, he is also being abused. Nevertheless, his
letters are filled with humour and hope, especially when he talks about
trying out for the school play. We see his world slowly crumbling
until he reaches a point where he knows he must stand up to his father.
A believable and touching story.
Mack, Winnie. After All, You're Callie Boone. Scholastic.
12 year old Callie has been dumped by her best friend and has just belly
flopped off the diving board at the pool. On top of that her Uncle has
moved in with his ferrets and her grandma is cranky. Things change when
a boy named Hoot moves to her neighbourhood. A great first novel about
MacLean, Jill. The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
This shining novel reintroduces Grade 5 to 8 readers to characters from
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating. Her mother's alcoholism, bullying
classmates, and struggles with reading are making Prinny's life in her
small Newfoundland town a misery until a sympathetic teacher gives her a
book which helps her find the strength and resilience to grow past her
Milway, Katie Smith. The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to
Illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault. Kids Can Press
Impoverished soil and greedy "coyotes" have driven Maria's Honduran
family to desperation. A new teacher defies tradition and introduces
practices which enable Maria's family to rehabilitate their land and
become successful, independent farmers. A thoughtful introduction to the
issue of global food shortages. For Grades 4 to 8 but Daigneault's
charming illustrations will attract younger readers, too.
Nielsen, Susin. Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom. Tundra.
According to Violet, divorce sucks. Her mother dates losers and
always seems depressed, while her father is never around since he has
remarried and moved. When she and her sister are invited to visit her
TV-director dad in Los Angeles, Violet hatches a plan involving George
Clooney to save her Mom and make her father crazy with jealousy. A
hilarious look at the ups and downs of family life.
Peterson, Lois. The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw
Orca Book Publishers
When Kevin Mason is abandoned by his mother, he decides to escape by
becoming Knuckles McGraw, a tough and brave cowboy. But with the
support of his new foster family, and the reunion with his grandparents,
Kevin re-finds not only himself, but the courage to face his future with
new optimism. A touching story.
Sherrard, Valerie. Tumbleweed Skies.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Ellie is sent to live with her embittered and unwelcoming grandmother
for the summer. While a sympathetic uncle and a wounded magpie help her
cope, it is Ellie's maturity and inner strength which guide her growing
understanding. This historical novel captures Ellie's thoughts and
emotions with compassion and insight. The hopeful ending avoids a
Skrypuch, Marsha Stolen Child
After World War II, twelve year old Nadia is adjusting to life in Canada
after years in a Displaced Persons camp in Europe. But her memories and
her dreams are confused and contradictory. Gradually she comes to
realize that as a young child she was stolen from her Ukrainian parents
and raised to be a good Nazi German. This aspect of the war is not
covered in children's books and this gives an added interest to an
"adjusting to a new life in Canada "story.
Stevenson, Robin. Liars and Fools.
Orca Book Publishers.
In the wake of her mother's tragic disappearance, Fiona's rational
minded science teacher father falls for a new age spirit medium.
Smelling a rat, Fiona and her overachieving friend Anna decide to expose
"psychic phenomena" for their next science project.
Fergus, Maureen -- Ortega -- Kids Can
Kerz, Anna -- Gnome's Eye -- Orca
Peacock, Shane -- Secret Fiend -- Tundra
Sylvester, Kevin -- Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders -- H.B. Fenn
Becker, Helaine. Magic Up Your Sleeve: Amazing Illusions, Tricks, and
Science Facts You'll Never Believe;
Illustrated by Claudia Dávila. Owlkids Books Inc.
Magic and science unite with wondrous results in this clever and
informative book about magic tricks. The easy to follow step by step
instructions, and eye catching illustrations are sure to astound and
amaze the curious minds of budding magicians!
Ellis, Deborah. We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying. Coteau Books.
Deborah Ellis' latest book is meaningful not only to kids who have been
bullied, but also to educators and parents. The interviews are poignant
and thoughtful and the kids have their own ideas, advice and solutions
to share. A section called "What Do You Think" has great topics for
further discussion. The "Resources" section provides helpful websites
Not Your Typical Book About the Environment.
Illustrated by Clayton Hanmer. Owlkids
Catchy titles and fun illustrations offering empowering advice without
preaching or sentimentalizing make this book a winner. The book is
packed with interesting information and readers are encouraged to
connect with the environment proactively. The author's sincerity,
thoughtfulness and ability to connect with kids shines through in this
highly- readable book.
Kyi, Tanya Lloyd.
50 Burning Question: a Sizzling History of Fire. Illustrated by Ross
Kinnaird. Annick Press
Entertaining headings ("Who was the first hairy potter?") and
brightly-coloured pages with wacky illustrations introduce the reader to
the subject of fire. Well-researched (there's a bibliography) with a
wealth of interesting detail, this book is fun and informative.
Chapters include both scientific and social aspects of fire in a
question and answer format.
McAllister, Ian & Read, Nicholas. Sea Wolves- Living Wild in the Great
Bear Rainforest. Orca Book Publishers.
Beautifully illustrated with almost 100 photos by McAllister, this
stunning book covers the lives and habits of these creatures who are
genetically different from other wolves. Details on how they differ
(they fish!) and how they are similar to other wolves is contrasted with
how similarly they live to the First Nations who share the same space.
McAllister, Ian & Read, Nicholas. Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great
Bear Rainforest.. Orca Book Publishers.
This is another amazing book by this author and photographer. We hope
they continue with this series. Incredible photos and informative text
make this a must for any collection. Both titles by this author and
photographer deserve to be on the Best Bets list
Patterson, Heather. Canada From Above: A Photo Journey.
This photographic book features breathtaking images of 30 Canadian
natural and man-made landmarks, all shot from above. Each picture
covers a two page spread with interesting information about the location
included. Subject matter ranges from the Alberta Pond Hockey
championships, to a beluga migration in Nunavut, to salmon farms on the
East coast, to an old-growth forest in B.C.
Read, Tracy E. Exploring the World of Eagles
Get up close and personal with some of nature's most fascinating
creatures. Beautiful colour photographs coupled with interesting facts
and trivia make this and the other books in the Exploring the World
of... series a must see!
Webb, Jonathan. Canada's Wars: An illustrated History. Scholastic Canada
A thorough and up to date, richly illustrated book covering Canada's
official and unofficial involvement in conflicts around the globe.
Starting with the Boer War and covering a surprising range of lesser
known material, this book closes with Canada's role in Afghanistan.
Includes maps and an index.
Coulter, Laurie -- Kings and Carpenters: One Hundred Bible Land Jobs You
Might Have Praised or Panned - Annick
Goldner, John-- Hockey Talk -- Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Lightfoot, Gordon -- Canadian Railroad Trilogy -- Groundwood (for the
illustrations by Ian Wallace).
Weaver, Janice -- Hudson. Tundra
OLA'S CANADIAN MATERIALS COMMITTEE
We are a long standing committee with a strong voice in promoting
Canadian literature for children and young adults. Our goal is to
highlight excellence in literature for children and young adults for the
OLA membership and others with an interest.
The OLA's annual Best Bets evolved from a list put out by the Canadian
Material's Committee of the Children's Services Guild. This Canadian
Materials Committee is now under the wing of the OPLA Children and Youth
The OLA's Canadian Materials Committee selects books on the basis of
their literary/artistic merit as well as their appeal for children and
young adults. Text and illustrations are of equal importance in picture
books and information books.
The Committee thanks S & B Books, www.sbbooks.com, for their ongoing
support with providing a place to meet and copies of books to review.
Meetings are held a minimum of four times a year at S & B Books (3086
Universal Dr., Mississauga). 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. These lists are released
each year at the OLA Super Conference.
OLA's Canadian Materials Committee Members:
Carrie Dawber, Richmond Hill Public Library
Dinah Gough, Retiree from Oshawa Public Library
Patrick Gracey, Toronto Public Library
Sandy Laird, Mississauga Public Library
Sheilah O'Connor, Toronto Public Library
Cecily Reid, Richmond Hill Public Library
Jane Salmon, Barrie Public Library
Jennifer Stephen, Vaughan Public Libraries
For further information, please contact
Jane Salmon at the Barrie Public Library
Ontario Library Association
50 Wellington St. East, Suite 201,
Toronto, ON M5E 1C8
Tel 416-941-9581 or 866-873-9867
FAX 416-941-9581 or 800-387-1181