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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. 

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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 Mojo, by Jeff Norton

Jeff Norton's new middle-grade novel, Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie, is a hilarious adventure narrated by Adam Meltzer—pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. In this post, Jeff explains how he came to be a reader (hint: divine luck via a good teacher and librarian and an inspirational author).

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Middle grade can make or break a reader.

I went into middle school in sixth grade as very reluctant reader, well behind the curve of my friends, and escaped after eighth grade with a reading proficiency that set me up to enjoy (vs. resist) reading for pleasure.

I was lucky.

It was 1985, and my sixth grade teacher spotted my disinterest in books. Television, video games, and films were much more interesting to me than anything I could find in book form. Pineland Public School’s librarian collaborated with my teacher to introduce me to books that might catch my eye and hold my attention. I was reluctant, but they kept at it.

Finally, two genres helped transform me: thrills and laughs. The thrills hooked me, but the laughs reeled me in.

And there was one author who propelled me into a life of reading: Gordon Korman.

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Mystery Novels for Young Readers

Every month, our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker, brings us great stories from the stacks. May is Mystery Month at 49th Shelf, and Julie's picks are in the spirit. 

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John Spray grew up on Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. He became the President of the Mantis Investigation Agency and, in 2011, established the John Spray Mystery Award for novels for ages 8 to 16. (The award is administered by the Canadian Children's Book Centre). Four of the following five titles were winners or nominees, and the other is remarkable in its own right.

The Lynching of Louie Sam, by Elizabeth Stewart, is a compelling story, based on true events—the only recorded lynching in Canada. The book opens in 1884, in Washington Territory, with 15-year-old George Gillies finding the local store owner murdered. The facts point to Louie Sam, a native boy a year younger than George. Sam is arrested and taken to Canada for a hearing but a posse of men (disguised in their wives’ petticoats) ride to BC to snatch him. George’s father is among them and George follows on horseback to witness the hanging. Things get complicated when George discovers Louie Sam may be innocent. George wrestles with his conscience while watching the adults cover up for political reasons. The Gillies family is …

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Most Anticipated: Spring 2014 Kids' Books Preview

There are so many exciting books being published in the first half of 2014, and we've been rounding them up over the past few weeks. This week's picks are books for young readers, though their general appeal extends to readers of all ages, of course!

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Picture Books

Book Cover If I Wrote a Book About You

How lucky we are that Caroline Adderson writes books for everyone! Her new collection of short stories will be available to adults soon; emerging and middle-grade readers can read her Jasper John Dooley series and many other award-winning books aimed at this age group; and now she's got a picture book, Norman, Speak! (April), illustrated by the equally talented Qin Leng.

Astounding ABC (January) is a neat alphabet book featuring items from Toronto's Aga Khan Museum's collections. Stephany Aulenback, who is known for her work in McSweeneys and other magazines, as well as for her popular blog, Crooked House, has written her first picture book, If I Wrote a Book About You (May), illustrated by Denise Holmes. 

Music is for Everyone (May) is the second book by singer-songwriter Jill Barber; it' …

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Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2013: For Kids and Young Readers

This fall, Canadian authors and illustrators shine as bright as ever in this stellar lineup of new books for kids and young readers. 

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Picture Books

Mr Kings Things Cover

In Ella and the Balloons in the Sky by Danny Appleby and Lauren Pirie, gorgeous illustrations help tell a whimsical story of love and loss. Artist Rebecca Chaperon's Eerie Dearies is an Edward Gorey-esque alphabet book featuring 26 reasons for being absent from school. The award-winning Geneviève Côté follows up Mr King's Things (just nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award) with Mr King's Castle, another fun book with an environmental theme. 

Wild Berries

A new Sheree Fitch book is always an event, and this one is extra-special. Singily Skipping Along is described as "body movement multi-sensory inventive language poem," a book about bodies and the amazing ways they move, featuring hooked-rug illustrations by Deanne Fitzpatrick. Julie Flett's Wild Berries (also published in Cree as Pakwa Che Menisu) is a story about a boy picking berries with his grandmother, and it includes a recipe for blueberry p …

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