Canadian children's literature has never been so good. To prove it, we bring you all the best books that kids and teens (and tweens and toddlers) are going to be reading throughout Fall 2015.
The Big Book of Little Fears (August), by Monica Arnaldo, is an alphabet book with a twist (and a few missing letters), in which children explore fears both common and quirky, and imagine how they can be conquered. The latest adventure of Stanley the Dog and his pals is Stanley at School (August), by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin. Bailey is also author of the Christmas book, When Santa Was a Baby (October), illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, profiling a very unusual child with a strange fascination with chimneys. In A Year of Borrowed Men (November), illustrated by Renné Benoit, Michelle Barker draws on her mother's memories of World War Two to tell a story of kindness during extraordinary times. And Kate Beaton follows up her bestselling Hark, a Vagrant with The Princess and the Pony (July), a farting pony tale for the younger set.
From Bonnie and Clyde and Love Actually references to symbolist poetry and exploded sestinas, not to mention a collection that began as reworkings of the CIA's Human Resources Exploitation Training Manual. Canadian poetry is looking good this fall!
Composer, performer, teacher, and experimental poet Samuel Andreyev's second collection is The Relativistic Empire (October), combining the brevity and lightness of a comic strip with the complexity and richness of French symbolist poetry. The first collection by Ali Blythe, a recipient of the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship from the Lambda Foundation (for excellence in writing and support of the queer community), is Twoism (September). In Laundry Lines: Stories and Poems (September), Ann Elizabeth Carson looks to the past from the perspective of a contemporary feminist. Nicole Brossard's latest book is Ardour (September), translated by Angela Carr, poems about how "even as vowels tremble in danger and worldly destruction repeats itself on the horizon...the silence pulsing within us is also a language of connection."
Our Most Anticipated selections continue with this eclectic list of nonfiction: history, ecology, cookbooks, memoir, biography and more.
MP Charlie Angus tells the story of Shannen Koostachin and the long history of denying human rights to Canada's First Nations children in Children of the Broken Treaty, Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream (August). The contributors to The Relevance of Islamic Identity in Canada (November), edited by Nurjehan Azis, ask vital questions about what it means to be Muslim in a secular country. In Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver (October), Frances Backhouse examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems. Ted Barris, whose previous book was the award-winning The Great Escape, releases Fire Canoe (October), the story of steamboating in the Canadian West. And Spirit Builders (October), by James Bacque, is a book about centuries of broken promises and the Frontiers Foundation, a cooperative building movement to address problems faced by Canada's First Peoples.
Fall books are the only truly good thing about summer's end. This year, we can look forward to a fine selection of new fiction by award winners, anticipated titles by CanLit favourites, and some truly promising debuts. So it's time to make lists! Some of these titles are going to be the best books you read all year.
Cathy Ace's sleuth Cait Morgan is back in The Corpse With the Diamond Hand (October), in which a Hawaiian honeymoon cruise turns murderous (of course!). Grand Menteur (October), by Jean Marc Ah-Sen, explores the secret world of Mauritian street-gangs in a style that will appeal to readers of diasporic fiction, adventure, and travelogue writing, and "lock, stock and barrel" British crime fiction. The Book of Sands (September), by Karim Alrawi, is the inaugural winner of the Harpercollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction and a love story set against the upheaval of the Arab spring. And Margaret Atwood's first stand-alone novel in years is The Heart Goes Last (September); it imagines a future world (but one not so far away) in which citizens take turns as prisoners and jailers.