Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


Judy Blume's CanLit Read-Alikes

Book Cover In the Unlikely Event

There has been a pandemic of Judy Blume-mania in bookish circles this summer as she releases her first book for adults in over a decade, In the Unlikely Event. And we too have got it bad here at 49th Shelf, which is why we asked Suzanne Sutherland, one of Canlit's coolest, to give us a list of great Canadian Judy Blume companions. 


Book Cover Superfudge

1. Superfudge will always have a special place in my heart as the first Judy Blume book I ever read. Or, more accurately, the first Judy Blume book I ever had read to me (thanks, Mom!). The Fudge series follows the antics of the Hatcher family as they negotiate gentle family drama and shifting sibling dynamics.

Book Cover The Travelling Circus

Superfudge’s Canlit read-alike is The Traveling Circusby Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel:

Similarly to the Fudge series, the Travels with My Family series (of which The Traveling Circus is the la …

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Middle Grade? Young Adult? New Adult? HELP

Book Cover Something Wiki

During this month, the first of the new year, we're taking a special look at beginnings, a focus that includes the books that help young people get their start for a lifetime of loving books and reading. Suzanne Sutherland is the author of a new middle-grade novel, Something Wiki, and also a new YA novel, When We Were Good

In this guest list, she tries to break down what these terms actually mean, how authors operate within these genres (and beyond them!), recommending some great books in the process.


To the uninitiated, the labels so casually thrown around by those of us with a professional interest in reading and writing for kids and teens—middle grade! young adult! new adult?—can, at times, get a little bit murky. Defining a novel's ideal readership and the category it falls into isn't always as simple as looking at the age of its characters or of its author. Even trickier: we live in a country with a market that allows its authors the flexibility and freedom to write the books they want to, happily switching storytelling modes and genres as well as age groups at will.

Our books aren't always easily labelled. I started my own writing career with a YA novel called When We Were Good, but my most recent novel, Something Wiki, is written for a middle-grade …

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Books That'll Mess You Up Good: A List by Suzanne Sutherland

Book Cover When We Were Good

Young adult literature, for most of us who are long-past those acne-fied, fumbling teenage years, is often seen as something of a guilty pleasure; it's a lingering inclination toward the immature and melodramatic that is frowned upon when carried into adulthood-proper. Yet, if we are asked to rhyme off a list of books that have profoundly changed us—either as readers, writers, or even genuinely living-and-breathing human beings—many of those titles would be books we’ve read as children and teens, books which feature young people as their central characters.

I am a young-adult author (who happens to still be a fairly young adult, though that’s another matter), but didn’t set out to be one when I wrote my first book. It was only when I’d finished my second or third draft that I realized what I’d created: a novel for and about teenagers. I told my brother, himself a writer, when I realized what had happened. “That’s great,” he said, “right on. That’s when a book’ll really mess you up, when you’re young.”
Here then is a list of particularly stellar Canadian books with young people as central characters. Books that’ll mess you up good, in the best way possible.

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