Canadian titles make USBBY’s 2015 list of Outstanding International Books!

USBBY, the US national section for the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), has selected its annual list of Outstanding International Books for children and young adults. The books on the list were chosen by a committee of USBBY members. A number of Canadian titles, either written and/or illustrated by Canadians, or published by a Canadian publishing house, made the 2015 list. They are listed below.

Grades PreK-2

Arto’s Big Move
Written and illustrated by Monica Arnaldo
Owlkids Books, 2014
Arto has lived his whole life in the snowy, cold North. When his mom gets a new job and the family prepares to spend a year in the South, Arto is not happy at all. He’s just going to act as if there isn’t any difference and keep his woolly clothes on. But when Arto makes a new friend, Ana, he slowly sheds his layers and discovers that it’s not such a bad idea to adapt to your surroundings.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Written by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Kids Can Press, 2014
In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Her brothers insist she isn’t good enough. But then Hana surprises everyone once it’s her turn to perform – even herself!
The Lion and the Bird
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
Translated by Claudia Bedrick
Enchanted Lion Books, 2014
One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the flock, Lion decides to care for the bird. Over the winter the two become fast friends but in the spring the bird rejoins his flock. Lion is left alone. What surprise awaits Lion when autumn returns? This book is a sensitive and utterly charming fable about generosity, kindness and true friendship. This title is also available in French as Le lion et l’oiseau.
Mr. Frank
Written and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
Groundwood Books, 2014
On his last day before retirement, Mr. Frank is sewing the most wonderful outfit on his long career. Who could it be for? In all his years working as a tailor, Mr. Frank has made all kinds of clothes. From the practical uniforms of the 1940s to the wild and weird designs of the 1960s and 1970s, he has seen (and sewn) just about everything. But today’s project is especially close to Mr. Frank’s heart. With its use of textiles and sensitive period detail, Irene Luxbacher’s artwork is the perfect complement to her understated text. The result is a story that children and grandparents can share with equal delight.
Sweetest Kulu
Written by Celina Kalluk
Illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
Inhabit Media, 2014
This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little “Kulu,” an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

Grades 3-5

Hope Springs
Written by Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Tundra Books, 2014
A drought has settled in the area around the orphanage where Boniface lives. There are long line-ups at the tiny spring where all the local people get their water, and suddenly the orphans are pushed to the back of the line, unwelcome. Boniface’s houseparent, Henry, tells him that the people were mean out of fear — they feared there would not be enough water for their families. When the building of the orphanage’s well is completed, Boniface has an idea to help the villagers.
If…: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
Written by David J. Smith
Illustrated by Steve Adams
Kids Can Press, 2014
Author David J. Smith has found clever devices to scale down everything from time lines (the history of Earth compressed into one year), to quantities (all the wealth in the world divided into one hundred coins), to size differences (the planets shown as different types of balls).
Norman, Speak!
Written by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books, 2014
This is the comical yet thought-provoking story of a boy and his family who adopt Norman, the stray dog who’s been at the shelter the longest. But the family quickly learns that Norman won’t respond to commands and doesn’t even know his own name. The family thinks that maybe Norman just isn’t that smart…until a chance encounter at a park proves otherwise!
Not My Girl
Written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Annick Press, 2014
Two years ago, Margaret left her Arctic home for the outsiders’ school. Now she has returned, rushing excitedly towards her waiting family. But Margaret’s years at school have changed her. “Not my girl!” her mother says angrily. Gradually, Margaret relearns the words and ways of her people and as her family watches with pride, Margaret finds her place once more. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by evocative illustrations, Not My Girl is based on the memoir, A Stranger at Home.

Grades 6-8

The End of the Line
Written by Sharon E. McKay
Annick Press, 2014
Based in true events, this moving story takes place in Nazi-occupied Holland where a young Jewish girl is saved through the kindness of two elderly brothers. Readers will be left to think about how ordinary citizens can perform the most heroic acts.
Lost Girl Found
Written by Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca
Groundwood Books, 2014
For Poni, life in her small village in southern Sudan is simple and complicated at the same time. Stay in school. Beat up any boy who tries to show attention. Watch out for the dangers in the river. But then the war comes. And when soldiers arrive in her village, and bombs begin to rain from the sky, there is only one thing for Poni to do. Run. Run for her life.

Grades 9-12

Dreaming in Indian: Comtemporary Native American Voices
Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
Annick Press, 2014
Insightful, thought-provoking and heartfelt, this is a collection of stories, poems and art that will shatter commonly held stereotypes about a community that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. With contributions by many well-known Native artists, this book reflects the experiences of growing up Indigenous and the hope for a better future.
God Loves Hair
Written by Vivek Shraya
Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014
A poignant YA story collection of 21 short stories following a tender, intellectual and curious Indo-Canadian boy as he navigates the complex realms of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion and belonging. Told with the poignant insight and honesty that only the voice of a young mind can convey, this short story collection is a moving and ultimately joyous portrait of growing up and the resiliency of youth.
Graffiti Knight
Written by Karen Bass
Pajama Press, 2013
Finding one’s voice in East Germany after World War II is no easy task, but Wilm, a teenage boy, has waged an embarrassing graffiti campaign against the police. With both the German police and the Soviets after him, Wilm must think like his adversaries in order to conceal his identity. But one night things go too far, and Wilm finds he may have endangered the very people he wants to protect.

For the complete list, visit USBBY’s website.