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Most Anticipated: 2015 Kids' Books Spring Preview

January is a fine time for looking ahead, and for scoping out the scene on the forthcoming reading year. Spoiler: it's going to be a good one. Throughout the month, we'll be sharing titles of books you're going to be falling in love with, beginning with kids' books.

On your marks; get set; GO!!!

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Picture Books

Giraffe Meets Bird

Hooray for us! We've got a new picture book from Caroline Adderson, Eat, Leo! Eat! (April), illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, about a clever Nonna who convinces her grandson to eat his lunch using the power of story (and the power of pasta). In Ready, Set, Kindergarten (February), by Paula Ayer and Danielle Arbour, a young girl readies herself for the big adventure that is school. Award-winners Carolyn Beck and Francois Thisdale team up for That Squeak (May), the story of a young boy grieving the death of a friend. In Giraffe Meets Bird (May), Rebecca Bender shares the origin story of the animal friends whose adventures have been captured in her two previous acclaimed books. 

Book Cover King of Keji

Brandee Bublé (younger sister of the singing Michael) releases her first picture book, Jayde the Jaybird (May), illustrated by Eliska Lishka, about a bird who finds her courage and her voice. Governor-General's Award-winning illustrator Stéphane Jorisch is back with The Riddle Master (June), written by Kevin Crossley-Holland, about children who must answer a series of riddles to access treasure on a magical island. Acclaimed Nova Scotia author Jan L. Coates' book The King of Keji (May), illustrated by Patsy MacKinnon, is a tale of adventure in the province's Kejimkujik National Park. In On the Shoulders of Giants (April), by Neil Christopher and illustrated by James Nelson, a pan-Arctic Inuit traditional story, continues the familiar trope of the friendly giant while featuring some uniquely Arctic elements and scenery.

The Bus Ride (March) is the latest offering by the much-acclaimed Marianne Dubuc, and itis the story of a young girl's surprising first solo bus ride. Annika Dunklee follows up her celebrated My Name is Elizabeth with Me, Too! (April), illustrated by Lori Joy Smith, about both the challenges and joys of a special friendship. In A+ For Big Ben (April), by Sarah Ellis and Kim La Fave, a pre-schooler who hates being left out of school things is delighted when his bigger siblings present him with his very own report card. Maureen Fergus and Qin Leng have got together for And What If I Won’t? (March), about a stubborn boy and his mother who is too clever by far.

Book Cover Drive

And how's this for a pairing? Celebrated writer Alma Fullerton teams up with award-winner Brian Deines for In a Cloud of Dust (March), about a bicycle library in a Tanzanian village. Marie-Louise Gay's new Princess Pistachio title is Princess Pistachio and the Pest (February), in which young Miss Shoelace must contend with her little sister tagging alongside her. After garnering great reviews with Work: An Occupational ABC, Kellen Hatanaka is back with Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites (May), which is just as stunning. Canada's busiest illustrator just might be Qin Leng, who is also behind the images in Song for a Summer Night (May), written by Robert Heidbreder, celebrating the sights and sounds of the world after dark. Nola Hicks' Hurry Up, Ilua! (April) teaches readers about the elements of the Arctic and the dangers of procrastination.

Book Cover See you Next Year

For some East Coast summer magic, check out Sea Glass Summer (May), by Heidi Jardine Stoddart, about the pleasures of sea glass treasures. Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim, creators of You Are Stardust, once again present science as a gateway to creative thinking in their new book, Wild Ideas (April). The Tweedles are back for a brand new old-fashioned adventure in The Tweedles Go Online (May), by Monica Kulling and Marie LaFrance, in which the forward-thinking family opts for the online world—by getting a telephone, that is. Another summer book, and it's one by the wonderful Andrew Larsen! His new one is See You Next Year (March), illustrated by Todd Stewart, about the timelessness of the summer holiday year after year. 

Book Cover Sidewalk Flowers

All book readers are going to be talking about Sidewalk Flowers (March), by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smiith (March), a wordless ode to the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures. A new collection by Dennis Lee is a major event; the book is Melvis and Elvis (February) and it's illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. The team behind the acclaimed Murilla Gorilla series, Jennifer Lloyd and Jacqui Lee, are together again for Taffy Time (February), about the sweet pleasures of making maple syrup. Tilt Your Head, Rosie the Red (April), by Rosemary McCarney and Yvonne Cathcart, launches a new series about a young girl who fights for justice in the school yard—and beyond its gates. Waiting for the Queen (May), by Valerie MacMenemey and Veronika Martenova Charles, illustrated by Stephen Taylor, might be a good book to read as mania for Royal Baby II heats up this spring, in which a woman watching Will and Kate's wedding recounts the time she nearly met the Queen more than 70 years before. 

Book Cover This is Sadie

In Painted Skies (May), by Carolyn Mallory, illustrated by Amei Zhou, a young child learns about the traditional Inuit mythology behind the Aurora Borealis. For the reader who can't resist books about robots or smashing, we bring you Robot SMASH! (April), by Stephen W. Martin and Juan Carlos Solon, which so irresistibly combines both literary elements. Trash Talk: Moving Towards a Zero-Waste World (April), by Michelle Mulder (April), gives readers the scoop on the history and future of garbage. Susan Musgrave's latest board book is the delightful More Blueberries (March), illustrated by Esperança Melo. And man, oh man, are we ever excited about This Is Sadie (May), by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad, the latest offering from this award-winning duo, about a girl whose imagination is huge. The Mosquito Brothers (May), by Griffin Ondaatje and Erica Salcedo, promises as much adventure and fun as it does facts and info about the life and times of nobody's favourite pesky insect. 

My Family Tree and Me

A Lesson for a Wolf (May) is the latest tale by Inuit storyteller Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, co-written by Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley and illustrated by Alan Cook. This is exciting: award-winning illustrator Dušan Petričić (whose The Man With the Violin won the 2014 TD Children's Literature Award) is releasing his first book of which he is both writer and illustrator. My Family Tree and Me (April) is a simple introduction to the concept of family ancestry and a wonderful story of one boy's culturally diverse family tree. The award-winning Valerie Sherrard's latest title is Down Here (June), illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant, about the wonders that can be found in a child's messy room. And 2010 Giller-winner Johanna Skibsrud's first picture book, Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey (March), written also by Sarah Blacker and illustrated by Julie Morstad, celebrates the goodness of a lovely human baby and also the whole wide zoo. 

Book Cover Outstanding in the Rain

Another fiction writer making her kidlit debut is Carrie Snyder with The Candy Conspiracy (March), illustrated by Claudia Dávila, in which a group of kids outwit the Juicy Jelly Worm, the tyrannical ruler of Candyville. In Teatime (June), by Tiffany Stone and Jori van der Linde, two friends have an adventure in a teapot. Kevin Sylvester combines his children's book and sportscasting backgrounds in Baseballogy (February), packed with super facts sure to hook the sports-mad kid. After receiving much acclaim in its original French, The Little Knight Who Battled the Rain (April), by Gilles Tibo and Geneviève Després, has been translated into English. Rosario’s Fig Tree (March), by Charis Wahl and Luc Melanson, is the story of one little girl's first experience with the magic of gardening. In The Slippers’ Keeper (April), Ian Wallace shares the story of the life of Joe Purdon, one of North America's first conservationists. Frank Viva's new book,  Outstanding in the Rain (April), about a young boy spending his birthday at an amusement park, promises to be fantastic. The Duck Says (February), by Troy Wilson and Mike Boldt, is a madcap romp around the farmyard. After the success of Cinnamon Baby, Nicola Winstanley returns with The Pirate’s Bed (March), illustrated by Matt James, a fanciful story of a bed lost at sea! From bed pirates, we come to Bad Pirate (April), by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths, about the worst pirate of all: one who is shy, polite and selfless. And Cybèle Young's latest book is The Queen’s Shadow (March), a story about the science of how animals see. 

Young Adult/ Middle Grade 

Book Cover The Travelling Circus

Kelley Armstrong, the CanLit Fantasy Queen, hits the second instalment of her new YA trilogy with Empire of Night (April), which blends "fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action." Karen Bass follows up her award-winning Graffiti Knight with Uncertain Soldier (April), about two German teenage boys in Canada during World War Two. In Search of Sam (May) is the sequel to the award-winning Kristin Butcher's The Truth About Sam. In poet George Bowering's Attack of the Toga Gang (June), a group of thirteen-year-old poets stumble onto telekinetic powers and become wrapped up in a centuries' old mystery. Prolific YA novelist Lesley Choyce's Off the Grid (May) is an action-packed story designed to hook reluctant readers. In Kathleen Cook Waldron's Between Shadows (May), a young boy receives a complicated inheritance from his grandfather. A Hanging Offence (February) follows up Don Cummer's acclaimed novel, Brothers at War. Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel team up again for The Travelling Circus (April), about a young boy and his family finding adventure on a madcap trip to Croatia. 

Book Cover Shadow Scale

In Dark Company (March), celebrated author Natale Ghent (most recently of The Odd's series) presents an engrossing fantasy set in the near-future about the war between two worlds and a girl pitted in the battle of good and evil. Jacob’s Landing (April) by Daphne Greer (April) is the story of a boy coping with the recent death of his father who travels to meet his eccentric grandparents in Newport Landing, Nova Scotia. Rachel Hartman follows up the award-winning Seraphina with Shadow Scale (March), in which her heroine becomes embroiled in a dragon war. Karen Hood-Caddy's Saving Crazy (May) is the newest book in her award-winning "The Wild Place Adventure" series. The latest from Sharon Jennings is Connecting Dots (March), a book about a young girl who learns how to own her own difficult life story. 

Book Cover Tru Detective

Award-winner Josée Bisaillon illustrates The Blue Vase (May), a debut chapter book by Katerina Jovanovic. Get ready for new Susan Juby with The Truth Commission (April), about teens at an elite private school who have a complicated devotion to getting to the heart of the matter. Jessica Scott Kerrin's The Missing Dog is Spotted (March) is the prequel to The Spotted Dog Last Seen, which was a New York Public Library Pick and nominee for several top book awards. Karen Krossing's latest is Punch Like a Girl (April), the story of a girl haunted by memories of sexual assault. Charmed (May), by Michelle Kryss, the sequel to Hexed, is tantalizingly described as "The Craft meets Bring It On" (or do you have to be my age exactly to find that tantalizing, I wonder?). Sharon E. McKay's new book is Prison Boy (February), about the brutal experiences of children tortured in prison. Tru Detective (March) is a graphic novel by celebrated crime writer Norah McClintock, illustrated by Steven Hughes.

Book Cover Best Friends

Celebrated writer Sylvia McNicoll's latest book is Best Friends Through Eternity (February), about a teen who is hit by a train and transported to a surreal world where she meets another girl who'd been killed years before. The Dead Man's Boot (June), by Eric Murphy, follows up the popular The Phantom's Gold with a high speed adventure set on Nova Scotia's South shore. The Midnight Games (May), by David Neil Lee, is a YA thriller set in gritty post-industrial Hamilton, Ontario. Susan Neilsen's latest, We Are All Made of Molecules (May), tells a modern Brady Bunch tale of a blended family. Stones of Time (April) is Book Two of "The Shenanigans Series" by Andreas Oertal, in which modern adventure meets ancient civilization. In Since You've Been Gone (January), by Mary Jennifer Payne, fifteen-year-old Edie fears that their troubled past has caught up with them when her mother disappears from their new home in London, England, where they've fled to escape Edie's abusive dad. 

Book Cover The Merit Birds

Kathleen Peacock continues her "Hemlock" series with Willowgrove (January), about the fallout from a breakout from werewolf rehab. Award-winner Monique Polak's latest is Learning the Ropes (May), about an aerialist in the circus. Kelley Powell's debut novel is The Merit Birds (May) about a Canadian boy falsely accused of a crime in his new home of Laos. In The Frail Days (April) by Gabrielle Prendergast, three musicians discover that a nerdy classmate might be the perfect front-woman for their epic-cool rock band. Celebrated writer Valerie Sherrard's latest is Random Acts (February), a story of friends who discover there is nothing simple about helping others. Caroline Stellings' Secret of the Golden Flower (March) is about a 16-year-old girl working as a spy for the British Secret Service. 

The World Without Us (February), by Robin Stevenson, is set in Florida against a backdrop of anti-death-penalty activism, and it examines one girl’s choices in a world where the stakes are very high and one misstep can hurt—or even kill—you. A young slave girl's escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad is depicted in The River Carries Me (April), by Cheryl Stewart. The Dogs (February) is a chilling tale from one of Canada’s best-known authors, Governor General’s Award nominee Allan Stratton. Eric Walters' Say You Will (May) is the story of one awkward boy's quest for a prom date. The Lake in the Clouds (May) is the third instalment of of Edward Willett's take on Arthurian Legends. A graphic novel by Frida Wishinksy and Willow Dawson, Avis Dolphin (April), recounts a perilous journey aboard the ill-fated ship, the LusitaniaAndreo’s Race (April), by Pam Withers, is about a boy skilled in death-defying Ironman events staged in the wilderness who becomes entangled with a gang of human traffickers. And with Raging Star (May), Moira Young completes her award-winning Dustlands trilogy. 

January 5, 2015
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