March 2019 Newsletter


News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
March Reading List: Girl Power Reads
Author Corner: Tanaz Bhathena
Illustrator’s Studio: Julie Morstad
Booksellers’ Picks

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends

The Funeral by Matt James is a 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award Honour Winner

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, announced the winners of the 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award.  Canadian Matt James is an honour winner for The Funeral  (Groundwood Books).

Congratulations, Matt!

Learn more about the award here.

Julie Morstad wins the 2018 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for Bloom by Kyo Maclear!

IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian section) is pleased to announce that Julie Morstad has won the 2018 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for Bloom, written by Kyo Maclear, published by Tundra Books. The winner receives $1,000. The jury also selected two honour books from the list of ten finalists: Africville, illustrated by Eva Campbell and written by Shauntay Grant; and Deep Underwater, written and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher (both published by Groundwood Books). Learn more here.

Cherie Dimaline to executive produce and write first season of The Marrow Thieves TV adaptation

We are big fans of Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and were ecstatic to learn that Cherie will be writing the first season and will be an executive producer for the show, working with Jennica Harper to develop the series for Thunderbird Entertainment. Alexandra Raffé and Ivan Fecan are also executive producers on the project. Learn more here.

Finalists announced for 2018 BMO Winterset Award

ArtsNL has announced the finalists for the 2018 BMO Winterset Award: Melissa Barbeau, Robert Chafe, and Heather Smith. The award celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing. The winner will be announced at Government House on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Books in any genre published in 2018 were eligible for the award. A total of 30 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) were submitted by publishers from across the country.  Read more here.

Visit the CCBC’s Social Justice and Diversity Book Bank!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new book bank highlighting Canadian titles that focus on diversity, social justice and activism. We believe that there is a dire need for more diverse stories in Canadian children’s literature and our new book bank is a way for us to support these stories while providing a tool to help readers have quick and easy access to hundreds of titles.

This new book bank is perfect for teachers, librarians and parents to use in finding great Canadian content.

Check out the book bank here!

Introducing Red Apple Reading!

We are excited to announce the launch of Red Apple Reading, an online Facebook community for Canadian librarians and educators. We wanted to create a space for educators to connect through their love of books for children and teens. Request to join today!

30% off of bulk copies of The Landing by John Ibbitson
978-1-5253-0025-7 $12.99 | Ages 12-14

Set in Depression-era Muskoka, this evocative and powerful Governor General’s Literary Award–winning novel follows a young musician’s awakening to the possibilities of a world beyond his borders.

The Landing is geared toward young adults, but just as easily belongs to the Canadian coming-of-age genre occupied by the likes of Alice Munro and Margaret Laurence.” — The Globe and Mail

Proceeds from this 10th Anniversary edition support the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

NEW! Use our teaching guide for background information and discussion questions. Download yours here.

On sale now! Available in bookstores or through the CCBC’s online shop. Order through the CCBC and receive a FREE subscription to Canadian Children’s Book News and Best Books for Kids & Teens. Enter coupon code landing to take advantage of this limited time offer.

To purchase bulk copies of 20 or more, e-mail to receive 30% off.

Want to stay updated on the world of Canadian children’s books all month long? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Links We Love

Articles and videos of interest to educators

Female Librarians on Horseback Delivering Books, ca. 1930s 

49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated 2019 Books for Young Readers Spring Preview

Lost bannock, a family recipe and the Cree language come together in author’s first children’s book 

Why Lisa Charleyboy wrote a book to empower young Indigenous women 

Meet the woman who took 73 years to return a library book — and wasn’t fined

Are you an Indigenous writer? Scholastic wants to hear from you

Book picks for kids, by Cree author David A. Robertson 

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March Reading List: Girl Power

Our reading list this month is all about power to the girls! With International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’re celebrating books about amazing girls and women.

Picture Books

5-Minute Stories for Fearless Girls
Written by Sarah Howden
Illustrated by Nick Craine
HarperCollins Publishers, 2018
ISBN 978-1-44345-536-7
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 1-3

5-Minute Stories for Fearless Girls features women who have pursued their dreams, changed our world, and shown everyone what women can do. From aviation pioneers to leading scientists and gold-medal athletes to princesses, these incredible stories are perfect for bedtimes and on the go!

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes
Written by Eva Chen
Illustrated by Derek Desierto
Feiwel and Friends, 2018
ISBN 9781-25029-726-6
IL: Ages 4-6 RL: Grades 1-2

Juno Valentine’s favourite shoes don’t light up. They don’t have wheels. They are, to be perfectly honest, the tiniest bit boring. But they’re still her favourite muddy-puddle-jumping, everyday-is-an-adventure shoes. One day, when they go missing, Juno discovers something amazing: a magical room filled with every kind of shoe she could possibly imagine! Juno embarks on an epic journey through time and space, stepping into the shoes of female icons from Frida Kahlo and Cleopatra to Lady Gaga and Serena Williams. Each pair of shoes Juno tries brings a brand new adventure — and a step towards understanding that her very own shoes might be the best shoes of all.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

The Most Magnificent Thing
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-55453-704-4
IL: Ages 3-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist
Written by Jess Keating
Illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4926-4204-6
IL: Ages 7-10 RL: Grades 2-3

This is the story of Shark Lady — a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover and inspire. Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks on her first trip to the aquarium and she devoted her life to learning about them. Eugenie taught the world that sharks were to be admired, not feared, and that women could do anything they set their minds to.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Written by Shane Arbuthnott
Orca Book Publishers, 2017
ISBN 978-1-45982-002-9
IL: Ages 10-13 RL: Grades 5-6

Molly’s ancestor, Haviland Stout, discovered the dangerous magical spirits that inhabit the far corners of the world. Now, Molly and her family capture spirits aboard their airship, and when Molly catches a spirit that can speak and claims to have been Haviland’s friend, her entire life is upended. What if everything she knows about the spirits, and her own history, is a lie?

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Lumberjanes: The Good Egg
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Illustrated by Brooklyn Allen
Harry N. Abrams, 2018
ISBN 978-1-41973-131-0
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 5-6

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin — Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Ripley — love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. Book three shines the spotlight on Ripley, the smallest, youngest, most animal-loving member of the cabin. When Ripley comes across an abandoned egg, she’s determined to take care of it until the parent comes back. Unfortunately, her plan is quickly foiled by egg poachers, who steal the egg for their own collection.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

The Land of Yesterday
Written by K. A. Reynolds
HarperCollins Publishers, 2018
ISBN 978-0-06267-392-3
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 3-4

After Cecelia Dahl’s little brother, Celadon, dies tragically, his soul goes where all souls go: the Land of Yesterday — and Cecelia is left behind in a fractured world without him. Her beloved house’s spirit is crumbling beyond repair, her father is imprisoned by sorrow, and worst of all, her grief-stricken mother abandons the land of the living to follow Celadon into Yesterday. It’s up to Cecelia to put her family back together, even if that means venturing into the dark and forbidden Land of Yesterday on her own. But as Cecilia braves a hot-air balloon commanded by two gnomes, a sea of daisies, and the Planet of Nightmares, it’s clear that even if she finds her family, she might not be able to save them.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
Written by Jonathan Auxier
Puffin Canada, 2018
ISBN 978-0-73526-435-9
IL: Ages 8-12 and up RL: Grades 4-5

For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys” — orphans owned by chimney sweeps — to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived — and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature — a golem — made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Young Adult Fiction

Lovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an adventurer for the 19th century. She has travelled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny instalment in her exciting life.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Fate of Flames
(The  Effigies, Book 1)
Written by Sarah Raughley
Simon Pulse, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4814-6677-6
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grade 7

The Effigies, four girls each with the power to control one of the elements — earth, air, fire and water — have protected the world from Phantoms — massive beasts of nightmare. When one Effigy dies, another is chosen. Now a human foe with an army of Phantoms threatens the world. Can Maia, the newest Fire Effigy, reunite the other Effigies before the world is destroyed forever?

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Tess of the Road
Written by Rachel Hartman
Penguin Teen, 2018
ISBN 978-0-38568-588-7
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy. Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl — a subspecies of dragon — who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

The Valiant
Written by Lesley Livingstone
HarperCollins Publishers, 2017
ISBN 978-1-44344-628-0
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grade 7

Daughter of a Celtic king, Fallon lives in the shadow of her dead sister’s legendary reputation as a warrior. On the eve of her 17th birthday, Fallon is abducted by slavers and sold to a training school for female gladiators — whose patron is Julius Caesar, the man who destroyed her family. Now Fallon must survive deadly battles in order to claim her place among the Valiant.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels From Cleopatra to Lady Gaga
Written by Jennifer Croll
Illustrated by Ada Buchholc
Annick Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-55451-786-2
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

The title says it all: Bad Girls of Fashion explores the lives of 10 famous women who have used clothing to make a statement, break rules, attract power or express their individuality. Some of the famous women featured are Marie Antoinette, Coco Chanel, Madonna and Lady Gaga, all of whom changed the world’s perceptions of how women should — or could — act. Sidebar subjects include: Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe and Rihanna.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History
Written by Sam Maggs
Illustrated by Jenn Woodall
Quirk Books, 2018
ISBN 978-1-68369-072-6
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

A fun and feisty tour of famous girl BFFs from history who stuck together and changed the world.
Spanning art, science, politics, activism and sports, these 20 diverse profiles show just how essential female friendship have been across history and around the world. In this engaging and well-researched book, Sam Maggs takes you on a tour of some of history’s most fascinating and bravest BFFs.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don’t Want You to Know
Written by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams
Feiwel & Friends, 2018
ISBN 978-1-25014-673-1
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains
Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PhD, have reclaimed the stories of 25 remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian wrestlers to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Because I Am A Girl: I Can Change the World
Written by Rosemary McCarney, Jen Albaugh and Plan International
Second Story Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-92758-344-9
IL: Ages 8-14 RL: Grades 4-7

Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan International Canada, has followed up the her popular picture book Every Day is Malala Day with a book for middle grade readers, also inspired by her international development work. Working with Plan, Rosemary helped craft its Because I am a Girl global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights, and lift millions of girls out of poverty, and helped lead the charge for the United Nations to declare October 11th the “International Day of the Girl” — a day each year to recognize and advocate for girls’ rights globally. This book illustrates the Because I am a Girl call to change by telling the stories of individual girls throughout the world.

Amazon | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


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Author’s Corner: Tanaz Bhathena

TANAZ BHATHENA was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. She is the winner of the 2009 MARTY for Emerging Literary Arts, a semi-finalist for the 2013 Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge and the Readers’ Choice pick for the 2015 U of T Magazine Short Story Contest. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including BlackbirdWitness and Room Magazine. Her YA novels include A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an author? What is your writing process like?

I loved reading as a child. By the time I was eight, I was already scribbling out my own stories. When I was 13, I was getting a few of these stories published in a youth magazine in the UAE. But it wasn’t until I was graduating university in Canada that I finally took a stab at writing professionally. Twelve years — and many, many short stories later — my first book, A Girl Like That was published.

My writing process usually starts with a character and a scene — sometimes inspired by the story’s title, or sometimes an image from a poem. Then I experiment with narrative voice, writing out various versions before deciding which one is best suited to the story. I don’t like plotting in detail, but over time I’ve learned that a little bit of outlining is useful — even essential — in longer books.

What would you most like to see as a new trend in YA books?

I’d love to see more YA books from other countries getting translated into English. There’s so much literature in the world and I love discovering new writers this way.

We loved A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment! What do you draw information from?

Thank you so much! I’m a bit like a sponge when it comes to information. My sources include newspapers, TV, other books, stories I hear from family members and other people, and a lot of what I witness in reality.

This month features International Women’s Day — what does that mean to you?

International Women’s Day reminds me of how far we’ve come when it comes to women’s rights — and also how far we still have to go. I hope that one day every month will be like International Women’s Day. Women make up half of the world’s population;  their achievements should be studied and celebrated throughout the year.

What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?

My second book The Beauty of the Moment was released on February 26, 2019. The book, which is set in my hometown of Mississauga, revolves around two immigrant teens from different backgrounds, who must navigate the messy and familiar roads of love and family relationships in order to find a way to each other. I’m also working on a new YA fantasy series set in a world inspired by medieval India. The first book is titled Hunted by the Sky and releases in spring 2020.

Find out more about Tanaz on her website at

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Illustrator’s Studio: Julie Morstad

Julie Morstad is an award-winning author, illustrator and fine artist known for her surreal, whimsical work. She is the illustrator of numerous children’s books, including Today, When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear, Beyond the Laughing Sky by Michelle Cuevas, and her own How To among several others. Julie has exhibited her work in galleries, animated two music videos with her brother, filled up stacks of sketchbooks, and made countless pots of soup and many loaves of bread. She lives in Vancouver with her family.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I’ve been interested in making books since I was a kid but I really got started in art school when I began to make narrative drawings which seemed to lend themselves to books.

My first book was with Simply Read Books and I had so much creative freedom with it, I wanted to keep going. Although, I  illustrated and bound a version of a child’s garden of verses when I was 12… does that count? 😉

Which artists have inspired you as a creator and influenced your art style?

So many!

Bookmakers: Evaline Ness , Jacqueline Ayers, Alice and Martin Provensen, Gyo Fujikawa, Maurice Sendak, Roger Duvoisin, Marc Simont, Nathalie Parain, Tomi Ungerer, Ingrid Vang Nyman, Fiep Westendorp, André François, Errol Le Cain, Mitsumasa Anno and Tove Jansson!!!

Artists and photographers:

Ruth Asawa, Walker Evans, Helen Levitt, Louise Bourgeois, Kenojuak Ashevak, Shary Boyle, Paul Klee, Saul Steinberg and Barbara Nessim!

Do you have any advice for young creators?

Find your own style through rigorous  daily drawing and creative practice, try to get off the screens, get books out of the library… stacks of books!! Learn from others but find your own visual voice.

You have illustrated books about amazing girls and women such as Julia Child, Elsa Schiaparelli, Anna Pavlova and the fictional Sadie.  What other amazing women and girls would you love to illustrate?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I think I’m most interested in the quiet  but no less dramatic stories of everyday people right now. My grandmother’s life would be fun to dig into… although artist Sonia Delaunay or photographer Lee Miller would fun bios to tackle!

What is next for you? What projects are you working on now?

I am working on a book of my own right now which is still secret (but not a bio). I’ve also just finished the picture book bio of Gyo Fujikawa with Kyo Maclear, a dream project with HarperCollins and Tundra Books.

Oh! And I will soon start the picture book biography of Anne-France Dautheville (first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world), written by Amy Novesky.

Find out more about Julie and her work at

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Booksellers’ Picks

Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit

McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, MB: Ocean Meets Sky written and illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018) Ages 4-8

Finns’ grandfather told him stories about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where the whales soar, and the birds float. To honour his memory of his grandfather Finn builds a sailboat to find this magical place. Ocean Meets Sky is a touching and captivating story about a boy finding his way and discovering there’s a little more out there.  —Sabrina, children’s bookseller

McNally Robinson at Grant Park: 1120 Grant Ave., Unit 4000, Winnipeg, MB R3M 2A6

Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS: How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Natalie Nelson (Groundwood Books, 2019) Ages 7-10

This charming picture book biography tells the story of Emily’s remarkable determination and strength of spirit as she defied the conventions of the time to pursue her dreams.  After pursuing her studies, she met and married Washington Roebling and gave him all the encouragement he needed to accept the challenge of completing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.  When he became ill, Emily herself became the key figure in overseeing the bridge’s completion.  And her accomplishments did not end there as she then chose to go to law school (where she wrote about equal rights for women).  While many men questioned her abilities, Emily persevered nonetheless.  Featuring bold, brightly-coloured collage-style illustrations, this book is a fascinating introduction to an inspiring historical figure.—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager

Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1

If your independent bookstore would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.

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Staff Pick

Be My Love by Kit Pearson (HarperTrophy Canada, 2019) Ages 10-14

How can 20  years change an author and her reader? I first started reading Kit Pearson’s books about 20 years ago in the fourth grade. I loved the War Guests Trilogy, A Handful in Time and Awake and Dreaming. In the time between me picking up my first Kit Pearson book (The Sky is Falling) and the one I read last (Be My Love) the world and I have both changed quite a lot. And it seems that Kit Pearson’s books have changed with us, with this middle grade novel and #OwnVoices story about one girl discovering that she loves another girl a sign of that. If this type of story existed for someone my age back then, I never saw it.  Be My Love still captures everything I loved about Kit Pearson’s books when I first read them — there is a nostalgic pull to this summer time story of a first crush in the 1950s, and the setting of the fictional King Fisher Island seems to hold a special childlike magic, just as it did in The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth. Her most recent novel fits perfectly with her novels of the past, but this time the main character is someone who was once never shown in a middle grade novel: a young girl who likes other girls. — Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing and Website Coordinator

Next Month

Look for our April newsletter early next month, which will be all about humour! Look forward to interviews with Richard Scrimger and Josh Holinaty.

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