Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Alternative Family

How to Be a Goldfish

by (author) Jane Baird Warren

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Alternative Family, LGBT, Bullying
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Some family secrets feel too big to share…


When her teacher assigns a family tree project for parents' day, Lizzie knows it won't be long until Scotch Gully’s gossips start up again. Most folks in her conservative town are used to the fact that she's the only kid with an unmarried mom, but when Lizzie's family tree research uncovers a shocking secret about her grandmother, Lizzie knows that certain townsfolk will start their back-fence talk about her family once more. She turns to Harry — who's been like a grandfather to her — for help and advice, but Harry has problems of his own. Someone has arrived at his farm claiming to own it, and is forcing Harry out. Now Lizzie must face losing Harry and the place that's been her second home. Lizzie finds a surprising ally in David, the new owner's son. Together, their sleuthing uncovers the keys to saving Harry and his farm, but sharing the secrets she and David have uncovered will put Lizzie's complicated family on centre stage.

Told in the alternating voices of Lizzie and David, How to Be a Goldfish is a compelling, heartfelt, humorous read about acceptance and understanding, and will provide a gentle introduction to discussions about alternative families, homosexuality, feminism, forced adoptions and social justice.

About the author


JANE BAIRD WARREN, a resident of Quebec, is a longtime member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. While living overseas and travelling the world, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing, attended numerous international workshops, and worked freelance as an editorial consultant. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared on CBC Radio and in many literary magazines in North America and the UK. This is her debut novel. Visit her at


Jane Baird Warren's profile page


  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, Northern Lights
  • Short-listed, Snow Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice)
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre

Related lists