CCBC December 2015 Newsletter


News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Notable News
December Book List
Author Corner: Jonathan Auxier
Amy’s Travels in YA
Illustrator’s Studio: Cybèle Young
Out Now: Fall 2015 issue of Best Books for Kids & Teens

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Attention, teachers and school librarians! Last year, we launched our Teachers’ Book Bank, a database of Canadian historical fiction and non-fiction books, and in the coming year we will be expanding it with more books. To celebrate, we are giving away history-themed author readings to classrooms across the country. Enter the contest by December 31, 2015 by clicking here!

Applications are now open to host an author, illustrator or storyteller visit during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2016. TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is the single most important national event celebrating Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. Thirty authors, illustrators and storytellers will be visiting schools, libraries, bookstores and community centres in every province and territory across the country in May 2016.

Visit to apply today! Deadline for applications is December 31, 2015.

Our 2015 Great Reads for the Holidays list is here! Every year, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre compiles a list of great Canadian books, for kids of all ages, for the holiday season. Click here to access our 2015 reading list!

Last month, we announced the winners of our eight children’s book awards! Click here to read the full announcement with the list of winners.

Notable News & Links
Articles and videos of interest to educators

Comics, graphic novels, art and their power to tell stories

Meaford high schoolers help younger students learn to read

Florida teacher starts each day complimenting students one by one

Watch adults reunite with their favorite childhood teachers in emotional video

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December Book List: Wintertime

This month, our library coordinator Meghan Howe put together a reading list perfect for getting kids and teens in the winter and holiday mood.

Picture Books

A Chanukah Noel
Written by Sharon Jennings
Illustrated by Gillian Newland
Second Story Press, 2010
ISBN 978-1-897187-74-6
IL: Ages 5-10  RL: Grades 1-3
Charlotte and her family have just moved to France where she must learn a new language, make new friends and go to a new school. As Christmas approaches Charlotte pleads with her parents to celebrate Christmas, but, being Jewish, they will not allow this. Charlotte is not willing to give up, however, and finds a way to share the joys of both Christmas and Chanukah with one of her classmates. This title is also available in French as Un Noël Hanoukka.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells
Written by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Werner Zimmermann
North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2014
ISBN 978-1-4431-2452-2
IL: Ages 2-6  RL: Grades 2-3
When Sasquatch upsets Santa’s sleigh, everyone gets the wrong present. But that doesn’t stop them from having a great time! Join in the mayhem as a wild cast of Canadian characters takes over the Christmas holidays. This Canadian twist on “Jingle Bells” is the must-have, must-give book for the holidays. This companion to A Porcupine in a Pine Tree is also available in French as Vive le vent d’hiver!
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Henry Holton Takes the Ice
Written by Sandra Bradley
Illustrated by Sara Palacios
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-55451-703-9
IL: Ages 5-8  RL: Grades 2-3
When Henry Holton holds a hockey stick, he becomes a menace to the game — and an embarrassment to his hockey-mad family. When he sees an ice-dancing performance, Henry recognizes that’s what he is meant to do. He desperately wants a pair of figure skates, but first Henry has to convince his hockey-obsessed family to let him follow his own path.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
One Hockey Night
Written by David Ward
Illustrated by Brian Deines
Scholastic Canada, 2015 ©2010
ISBN: 978-1-4431-4812-2
IL: Ages 4-10  RL: Grades 2-3
When Owen and Holly have to move from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, they miss their friends — and hockey. But their dad has a surprise up his sleeve. On Christmas Eve the secret is revealed — an outdoor hockey rink filled with new friends. This holiday hockey story will warm the hearts of hockey fans young and old.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Stella, Queen of the Snow
Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Groundwood Books, 2010 ©2000
ISBN: 978-1-55498-071-0
IL: Ages 2-5  RL: Grades 1-2
Stella and her little brother, Sam, are spending the day playing in the snow. The forest, snowballs, snow angels and the mysterious white stuff itself provide fuel for Sam’s questions and Stella’s answers as they discover the world of winter together.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Winter’s Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change
Written by Jan Thornhill
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
Owlkids Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-77147-002-5
IL: Ages 5-8  RL: Grades 2-3
When the leaves change colour in Lily’s forest home, the young snowshoe hare is surprised. She hears the other animals say that winter is coming — but who or what is winter? Lily watches some blackbirds fly south, a squirrel hide his food and a frog disappear under a rock to hibernate… how should she prepare for winter? A great introduction to animal adaptation.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Written by Frieda Wishinksy
Illustrated by Norman Lanting
Scholastic Canada, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4431-4638-8
IL: Ages 9-12  RL: Grades 4-5
When a freak avalanche strikes Glory, BC, Alex, Ben and Owen become trapped in steep, immobilizing snow. Alex must keep it together enough to free himself and save the other two. Can the boys put aside their differences long enough to survive?
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Cold as Ice
(Whatever After, Book 6)
Written by Sarah Mlynowski
Scholastic Press, 2015 ©2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-62736-8
IL: Ages 8-12  RL: Grades 3-4
Abby and Jonah follow their puppy through the magic mirror to the Snow Queen’s winter wonderland where the super-mean queen turns their dog into an ice sculpture! To get home, all the siblings will have to do is defrost their frozen friend, ride a chatty reindeer, learn to ice-skate and escape from a band of robbers!
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
A Simple Case of Angels
Written by Caroline Adderson
Groundwood Books, 2014
ISBN 978-1-55498-429-9
IL: Ages 8-12  RL: Grades 4-5
It’s Christmas, but everyone seems cranky and off-kilter. Nicola’s dog June Bug gets into so much trouble she might be sent away. Nicola decides to take June Bug to a local seniors’ home to help cheer up the residents and makes some amazing discoveries. But… will the good deed make up for a little dog’s bad behaviour?
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
(Arctic Moon Magick, Book1)
Written by Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
Illustrated by Andrew Trabbold
Inhabit Media, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-927095-54-6
IL: Ages 10-14  RL: Grades 5-6
In the ancient Arctic, a wandering Inuit hunter named Kannujaq happens upon a camp in grave peril. Unbeknownst to Kannujaq, he has stumbled upon a battle between the Tuniit and a group of Viking warriors. As the camp prepares to defend itself, Kannujaq discovers that the Vikings may have motivations other than murder and warfare in their quest. This lush historical fiction is steeped in Inuit traditional knowledge and concepts of ancient Inuit magic.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Time of Giving: Ten Tales of Christmas
(Dear Canada)
Written by Susan Aihoshi, Barbara Haworth-Attard, Ruby Slipperjack, Karleen Bradford, Sarah Ellis, Janet McNaughton, Jean Little, Norah McClintock and Carol Matas
Scholastic Canada, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4431-3373-9
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-5
Some of Canada’s top authors revisit their favourite characters from the Dear Canada series with a “Christmas after” story. A bonus story from Ojibwe writer Ruby Slipperjack previews her upcoming Dear Canada, These Are My Words — set the winter before the diarist will be sent to residential school.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Wildcat Run
(Orca Echoes)
Written by Sonya Spreen Bates
Illustrated by Kasia Charko
Orca Book Publishers, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55469-830-1
IL: Ages 7-9  RL: Grades 2-3
Lexie and Jake convince Tommy to ski down Wildcat Run with them for their last run of the day but Lexie wipes out on the ski slope and Jake and Tommy have to find a way to get help. A cougar is prowling in the nearby woods and if they don’t get rescued they’ll have to spend the night alone in cougar country.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Young Adult Fiction

Arctic Thunder
Written by Robert Feagan
Dundurn, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-55488-700-2
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 6-7
After Mike Watson’s lacrosse team wins the Alberta championship, his dad, an RCMP officer, gets transferred to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The transition is tough, especially with Joseph Kiktorak threatening him at every turn. As Mike makes new friends, they introduce him to traditional “Arctic Sports,” and an Inuvik lacrosse team is born. The motley group of athletes compete in a tournament and face Mike’s former team.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Big Air
(Podium Sports Academy)
Written by Lorna Schultz Nicholson
James Lorimer, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4594-0531-8
IL: Ages 13 and up  RL: Grades 5-6
Jax is in his last year at Podium Sports Academy and he’s got a sponsorship from a big snowboarding company in the bag. But when his older brother, always the troublemaker in the family, shows up in Calgary unexpectedly, Jax’s sponsorship is threatened. The police are asking questions about a break-in at the house where he lives, and, although he wants to help his brother, he doesn’t want to risk his future as a professional boarder.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
(Winterkill, Book 2)
Written by Kate A. Boorman
Amulet Books, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4197-1663-8
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 8-9
In the sequel to Winterkill, Emmeline leaves her isolated settlement with a brave group in search of the First Peoples, the only hope for fighting the evil that threatens the forest. Danger lies at every turn, but Emmeline must press one, even if it means leaving her beloved Kane behind.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
The Middle of Everywhere
Written by Monique Polak
Orca Book Publishers, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55469-090-9
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 6-7
Noah Thorpe is spending the school term in George River, in Quebec’s far north. The Inuit kids call Noah Qallunaaq – the Inuktitut word for a non-Inuit person, someone ignorant of the customs of the north. Noah thinks the Inuit have a strange way of looking at the world but he realizes he will have to learn a few lessons from his Inuit buddies if he wants to survive in the North.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Non-Fiction including Folktales

The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations
(We Thought of It)
Written by Alootook Ipellie with David MacDonald
Annick Press, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-55451-087-0
IL: Ages 8-12  RL: Grades 3-4
Explore more than 40 ideas crucial to Inuit survival. From items familiar to us today to inventive concepts that shaped their lives, celebrate the creativity of a remarkably resourceful people. Timeline, maps, further reading list, Inuit symbol chart and index included.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
A Prairie Boy’s Winter
Written and illustrated by William Kurelek
Tundra Books, 1984 ©1973
ISBN: 978-0-88776-102-7
IL: Ages 9-12  RL: Grades 4-5
This internationally acclaimed artist tells the story of the life he and his family led on a Manitoba farm. The family was poor and winter on the prairies was very long and cold. This is a book about William’s winter, the work he did and the games he played.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Snow White & Rose Red
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Kelly Vivanco
Simply Read Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-927018-34-7
IL: Ages 6-10  RL: Grades 2-3
Snow White and Rose Red are loving, happy sisters, different as day and night, who live in a cozy cottage in the woods. One snowy day, a giant black bear comes looking for a warm place to rest. The girls realize the bear is kind; in fact, there is more to the bear than meets the eye. Will the girls’ generous nature rescue the bear from his troublesome, hidden fate? This Brothers Grimm tale is deftly retold and stunningly illustrated with modern, magical paintings.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers
Winter Moon Song
Written by Martha Brooks
Illustrated by Leticia Ruifernández
Groundwood Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-55498-320-9
IL: Ages 6-9  RL: Grades 3-4
Have you ever seen the rabbit-in-the-moon? Folktales from many cultures explain how the rabbit came to be there. When award-winning novelist Martha Brooks heard one such tale, she was inspired to write her own story about a rabbit who finds a special way to brighten the darkest month of the year. Tender illustrations capture the story beautifully.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

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Author’s Corner: Jonathan Auxier

Jonathan Auxier is the author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes and The Night Gardener, which won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Monica Hughes Science Fiction and Fantasy Award last month. He lives in Pittsburgh with his family, and recently took the time to answer a few of our questions.

How did you get started as a writer?

It took me a long time to realize that I wanted to be a writer. I have always loved storytelling, but for many years I had hoped to be an artist or illustrator of some kind. It was only when I got to university and realized that my artistic ambition outstripped my skills that I had to take a step back and look for some other way to tell stories.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

I tend to draw and walk a lot while I’m developing a new story. I’ll spend months making little doodles of characters and places and ideas. Then, when I have enough pieces down on paper, I start looking for a way to string together all these little moments into an actual plot.

What inspired you to write The Night Gardener?

There were so many inspirations! One major one was Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I read that book when I was about 11 years old, and it scared the daylights out of me. It was actually during a Something Wicked-inspired nightmare that I got my first glimpse of the character who became the Night Gardener.

How do you imagine that your books might be used in the classroom? Do you have any suggestions for teachers or parents?

My favourite part of reading a book has always been talking about the story with other people as I go along — trying to guess what it all means and what will happen next. The Night Gardener has a lot of twists and turns, and there’s plenty of room for juicy group discussion between chapters.

You do a lot of school presentations. When presenting or reading to children, what do you find is the best way of keeping them engaged?

It’s true that I visit a lot of schools, but I try to avoid reading passages aloud. Generally speaking, I try to focus on talking to kids about my own journey as a reader and on revealing to readers all the wonderful books (by other authors) that helped inspire my own stories.

What can you tell us about your upcoming book, Sophie Quire & the Last Storyguard?

Sophie Quire & the Last Storyguard is the story of a 12 year-old bookmender living in a city that is determined to destroy all of its books. When she discovers a very old, magical book that seems to be alive, Sophie is launched on a giant adventure beyond anything she could have ever imagined. It’s an exciting, creepy adventure story packed full of magic, mysteries and monsters!

For more information about the Jonathan Auxier and his books, visit

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Amy’s Travels in YA

by Amy Mathers

Happy December everyone!

Well, it’s still November as I’m writing this, and while we got our first serious snowfall of the season in Kitchener this past weekend, I am not quite in December mode yet.

It’s probably because after the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards Gala last Wednesday, I want to hang onto November for as long as I can. While I knew the nominees and found out the winner a week before, there were other aspects I hadn’t prepared myself for, such as the beautiful banner for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award with pictures of all of the nominated books, the new ramp that allowed me to go onto the stage this year, and the fabulous Summer Reading Camp theme event planning company Ruby Sky came up with.

The evening was filled with one highlight after another, but my favourites were seeing the amazing award seal designed by author & illustrator Rebecca Bender on the big screen, coming up on stage to Star Wars theme music and announcing that What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn had won the first Amy Mathers Teen Book Award! Oh — and Peter Carver telling me I had the best speech of the evening — do you know how many books I’ve read that were edited by him? I’ve lost count they are so numerous.

Also, Canadian Children’s Book Centre President Daryl Novak announced fantastic news; Sylvan Learning will be sponsoring the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award, keeping it going for the next three years. I’m looking forward to partnering with them to promote Canadian teen fiction and am extremely happy the award will go on, especially since I cannot do a Marathon of Books every year.

After wanting to pinch myself several times during the evening to assure myself it was all real and talking to so many incredible people working in the field of Canadian children’s literature, I came home to the biggest bouquet of flowers I’ve ever received from the kind Marthe Jocelyn, and a bookshelf visited by the book fairy — over 24 Canadian teen books to read for reviews and committees in the next couple of months. Plus a few I had ordered myself because I couldn’t wait to see if I would read them for something else. I think I may have to go into marathon-mode to finish them all, but I look forward to the challenge. I know I’m up for it.

Season’s Greetings and happy winter reading!

– Amy

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Illustrator’s Studio: Cybèle Young

Cybèle Young is an internationally renowned artist, best known for her miniature paper sculptures made with fine Japanese papers. She is also a children’s author and illustrator, and her 2014 book Nancy Knows won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award just last month. Below, she tells us about her process and how she got her start in children’s books.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started as a children’s book author and illustrator?

Over 20 years ago, I majored in sculpture, book arts and printmaking at OCAD. These mediums co-exist in my work. Picture books have always been an important part of my life: I turn to them for my own escape and artistic inspiration, and I rely on them as an intimate link to connect and communicate with my children. I created my first book the year I finished school and was home with a newborn girl, but I shelved it and focused on building a career as a sculptor. I dusted it off and added words to it 15 years later to become Ten Birds. This was after an artist’s residency in Paris that galvanized my love for the medium of books. Although I had illustrated a few books in the past, Ten Birds marked the beginning of my adventures as a book creator.

Can you tell us about your writing process? What comes first, the images or the words?

I wish I could predict how these things play out — but it’s more like a witch’s brew. I find and create ingredients for it every day. I throw these ingredients into my cauldron — words… images… objects — and mix it up until it bubbles and smokes. Then I take a few steps back, and grab the ladle if the brew smells right.

Can you talk about your illustration style and how it came about? Would you share some of your inspiration and method with us?

I’m artistically polyamorous. Home for me is pen and ink, so much that I’ve actually been lulled to sleep mid-draw by the comforting scratches of my pen on paper. So comfort can be dangerous, and I suppose I’m not so much of a homebody, as I seem to venture into unknown territory as each book points me in a new direction. This is never boring, but sometimes takes more experimentation time than I plan for! Recently my sculpture has become more of a focus on the page, which is exciting for me as the stories I tell through it are no longer limited to the confines of a gallery frame.


Do you have any suggestions for teachers on how they could use your books in the classroom?

The questions that arise in children from a reading never cease to amaze me. As each book has its own triggers for imagination, I would suggest teachers initially ask the kids how they would like to use the books in the classroom. I encourage exploration that can span the senses, using visual, tactile and verbal activities and games. I create some of these for most of my books, and I plan to have them linked to my site for educators to access in the near future.

What projects are you working on now? Anything you are particularly excited about?

I’m interested in destroying things. An artist named Jean Tinguely would spend a great deal of time building sculptures that he would rig to take on a life of their own, and eventually destroy themselves. The performances were beautiful. I’m making miniature paper objects and scenes, and doing all sorts of ‘horrible’ things to them with water, ice, fire, air, etc. Out of this, it seems a story has been brewing…


Images courtesy of Cybèle Young. Visit for more information about her work.

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Out Now: Fall 2015 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens

Your book-buying guide for the holidays!

Best Books for Kids & Teens contains recommended books for kids and teens ages 0-18 and helps parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and children’s literature enthusiasts stock their bookshelves with the very best books Canada has to offer.

All of the titles in Best Books for Kids & Teens have been handpicked by expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada, so every book included in the guide is guaranteed to be a great read!

Click here to purchase a copy!

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