The Hill is a feminist YA dystopia and something new and different from Ali Bryan, celebrated author of Roost and The Figgs. According to Booklist, The Hill "hits all the right apocalyptic notes" and is "a great pick for forward-thinking feminist teens."
In this recommended reading list, Bryan shares other great titles to complement her novel.
The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline
Dimaline single-handedly flips the dystopia genre on its head with her runaway hit, The Marrow Thieves, a gritty coming-of-age story in which Indigenous people are hunted for their dream-containing, world-saving bone marrow in a landscape ravaged by climate collapse and madness. A deftly woven and brutal tale of colonialism and environmental neglect but also of community, culture, resilience and hope. Inventive, rich, important.
Pairs well with Doritos and activism.
Looking forward to some of the books for young readers (and readers of all ages) that we're going to be falling in love with in the first half of 2021.
Seeing Stars (April), by Denise Adams, is a quirky, fun book exploring the secret underwater life of starfish, in the style of The Secret Life of Squirrels. Told half in French and half in English, Pierre and Paul: Dragon (April), by Caroline Adderson and Alice Carter, the second book in the Pierre & Paul series, uses simple phrases and clues in the illustrations to make the story accessible to readers in both languages. The Covid-19 pandemic, which seems to be taking some time to go away, has meant big changes for one little girl’s family in When Mom’s Away, (April), by Layla Ahmad and Farida Zaman. Outside, You Notice (April), by Erin Alladin, illustrated by Andrea Blinick, is a lyrical celebration of the outdoors pairing childlike observation with facts about the natural world. Maya’s imagination sets the stage for her friends to act out her feminist play. Can she make room in her queendom for the will of the people? Maya's Big Scene (February), by Isabelle Arsenault, is a funny picture book about leadership and fair play for fans of King Baby and Olivia. And a young boy discovers strang …
Christine Welldon introduces her debut novel, Kid Sterling, and she marks its release with a list of inspiring books that addresses the problems of racism and the trials of gifted African Americans and Canadians who dared to pursue their dreams in an unjust world.
Kid Sterling is a Young Adult novel about Sterling Crawford, a young African American kid living in New Orleans in 1906, who works on the streets to help his family. He plays trumpet, and what he’d really like is to learn from his idol, the legendary Buddy Bolden, who is playing a new kind of music that’s turning New Orleans upside down.
Through the pages of this vivid novel, you will discover others whose genius created modern music. The beat and the strains of jazz surged into life even while African-Americans struggled against deep racial divisions of the time: curfews designed to keep black people out of the streets, a loaded justice system, and racial barriers that divided a nation.
For Sterling, life is not easy, but in the end he finds his way in a new and challenging musical world in this richly textured story of a culture that thrives against all odds.
The list below includes African Canadians and African American musicians and others who fought against racism and inspired succeeding genera …
This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, which Elizabeth May calls "a book to be celebrated and shared!”
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
One Earth is a nonfiction book with colour photos that tells the stories of 20 Black, Indigenous and people of colour who are environmental defenders.
Describe your ideal reader.
Loves nature and/or is looking for diverse role models. Perhaps doesn’t tend to see themselves reflected enough in popular media, and …
We're excited to be looking ahead to books for young readers, including picture books and middle grade and YA titles.
Told half in French and half in English, with simple phrasing and visual cues in the illustrations making the story easy for early readers to decode in both languages, Pierre & Paul: Avalanche! (March), by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Alice Carter, is an engaging story of friendship and imagination. A girl and her neighbour grow a community from their garden in What Grew in Larry's Garden (April), by Laura Alary, illustrated by Kass Reich. Extraordinary things are happening behind the windows of the city in Marion Arbona's Window (March), an interactive, one-of-a-kind wordless picture book. And Christine Baldacchino follows up the acclaimed Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress with Violet Shrink (March), illustrated by Carmen Mok, about a young girl who navigates social anxiety at family gatherings and works with her father to find a solution.
Pairing creative rhyming similes with cut-paper collage art, …
Today, we’re in conversation with Brian Francis, author of the acclaimed YA novel—and Governor General’s Award-nominated—Break in Case of Emergency.
Centred around the story of a girl named Toby, the novel has been praised for opening up important conversations about teen mental health. According to the Globe and Mail, “Francis beautifully explores issues around mental health and suicide in a story that packs a powerful punch and stays with you long after you close the book."
Brian Francis is the author of two previous novels. His most recent, Natural Order, was selected by the Toronto Star, Kobo, and The Georgia Straight as a Best Book of the Year. His first novel, Fruit, was a CBC Canada Reads finalist and was selected as one of Amazon.ca and 49th Shelf’s “100 Canadian Books to Read in a Lifetime.” He lives in Toronto.
Trevor Corkum: Break in Case of Emergency takes us back to 1992, and tells the story of Toby, a teenaged girl who has just learned that the father she has never met is coming to visit. Not only that, but her father …
These new books span everything from disability and difference to grief and homelessness—for starters. They're important books, and gripping reads.
The Justice Project, by Michael Betcherman
Publisher: Orca Books
Recommended ages: 12 and up
About the Book
High-school football star Matt Barnes was on the top of the world until a freak snowboarding accident ending his promising sports career and left him with a permanent limp. As he struggles to accept his changed body, Matt becomes depressed and isolated. Instead of college football camp, he faces a summer job at the local golf club. Then by chance Matt lands an internship at the Justice Project, an organization that defends the wrongly convicted. The other intern is his high-school nemesis, Sonya Livingstone, a quick-witted social activist with little time for jock culture. The two slowly develop a friendship as they investigate the case of Ray Richardson, who was convicted of murdering his parents twenty-one years ago. Matt and Sonya are soon convinced that Ray is innocent—but how will they prove it? Unravelling the cold case takes them on a journey filled with twists, turns, deception and danger. It will take dedication, perseverance and courage to unmask the real murderer. Can those same qualities help Matt m …
The Changeling of Fenlen Forest is the debut novel by Katherine Magyarody, the story of a girl who tracks her lost unicorn fawn into a strange land where people thing she is a changeling who too closely resembles a missing girl. Can Elizabeth find her fawn and solve the mystery of her doppelgänger?
In this list, Magyarody shares other titles in which misfits find adventure.
Adventures don’t just happen to princesses and Chosen Ones…they also happen to lone wanderers and misfits at the edges of villages. These books take readers into gripping, taut stories where the heroes navigate strange worlds and tight-knit communities, often discovering strange animals along the way (and not just the human kind).
The Dollmage, by Martine Leavitt
The old Dollmage ("wise woman") of Seekvalley needs an heir. To protect her village, she watches over a set of dolls who must be carved and cared for and interpreted…but her power is weakening. Although she predicts the day her heir is born, she does not know if the destined child is Annakey or Renoa. The Do …
Literary worlds collided when YA novelist Ria Voros, whose latest is The Centre of the Universe, connected with astrophysicist Dr. Elizabeth Tasker.
She writes about exoplanet research. I write about adolescent humans. This month, astrophysicist Dr. Elizabeth Tasker and I are embarking on a multi-city book tour in Canada in support of both our books. Hers, The Planet Factory, is nonfiction, and mine is a young adult novel called The Centre of the Universe. It turns out our areas of interest have some overlap, and maybe not in the ways you’d imagine.
Our connection goes back to January 2018, when I was working on the final draft of my novel. I’d written a male astrophysicist character for my astronomy-obsessed protagonist to look up to, but he didn’t feel quite right. I decided the astrophysicist needed to be a woman. And then I decided—because, why not?—that this character should be real. The known universe has a reasonable number of space scientists these days, and surely one of them would agree to be written into my story?
At my local …
Last but certainly not least in our 2019 Spring Preview is our Books for Young Readers list, featuring books that are sure to delight readers of all ages.
A little girl growing up on the prairies stands at the window and waves to the train engineer going by in A Little House in a Big Place, by Alison Acheson, illustrated by Valériane LeBlond, a book that explores the magic of a connection made between strangers while also pondering the idea of growing up. Albert just wants to read his book in peace—why won't his friends give him some quiet? Isabelle Arsenault's latest is Albert's Quiet Quest (May), and it explores the importance of finding alone time. Cale Atkinson's Where Oliver Fits (April) looks at the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit. Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu,The Pencil introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely. Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s When I Found Grandma (March), illustrated by Qin Leng, is an insightful and endearing portrayal of a cross-cultural grandparent-grandchild relationship that is evolving and deeply loving. Summer North Coming-Winter North Coming (March), by Doris Bentley and Jessica Bromley …
Just in time for back-to-school and a whole host of brand new faces in the halls, we bring you this list by award-winning YA novelist Colleen Nelson—inspired by her latest novel, 250 Hours—about the amazing possibilities of unlikely friendships.
BONUS: Until September 2, you can enter to win your own copy of the book! Go here to find out how.
My young adult novel, 250 Hours, is about an unlikely friendship between Sara Jean and Jess. Sara Jean, a “townie,” is the caregiver for her grandmother and trapped with a future she thinks she doesn’t want. Jess, on the other hand, lives with his mom in a trailer and he's obsessed with lighting fires. He is also desperate to head west, and will, as soon as he completes his community service hours. And then when Jess is ordered to clean out Sara Jean’s garage as part of his punishment, they discover secrets about the town’s history that draw them together.
The unlikely friendship that develops between Jess and Sara Jean bridges a gap that has split their community for generations. Through their relationship, Jess and Sara Jean begin the slow process of healing.
Below are my favourite Canadian young adult novels that also feature unlikely friendships.
And Books for Young Readers is the final instalment of our Fall Preview. Whew! It's all shaping up to be an amazing literary season. Happy reading, everybody.
The Imperfect Garden (September), by Melissa Assay and April dela Noche Milne, celebrates naturally grown food in all its imperfection. Cale Atkinson’s Sir Simon: Super Scarer (September) is a haunted house story with a twist—perfect for Halloween. Timed for the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein’s publication, Linda Bailey tells the story of its author in Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein (August), illustrated by Julia Sarda. Sloth at the Zoom (August), by Helaine Becker and Orbie, is the story of a sloth trying to make friends in a fast-paced world. Award-winning author-illustrator Rebecca Bender pushes Giraffe and Bird to new heights of courage, ingenuity, and humour in Giraffe and Bird Together Again (November). And Florence and Leon (September), by Simon Boulerice and Delphie Cote-Lacroix, nominated for the 2016 Governor General's Award for Children's Illustration (French), now appears in English translation by Sophie B. Watson.