Symptoms of Being Human
Jeff Garvin
Epic Reads, http://www.epicreads.com
$21.99
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is, Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for re-election in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure — media and otherwise — is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school — even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast — the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created — a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in — or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
Editor’s Note: Wow. What a fantastic book. I think Symptoms of Being Human is a must-read for everyone so we can perhaps begin to understand what it is like to live being #genderfluid or other #genderissues and with #anxiety. Lots of disturbing information including 64 per cent of transgender and non-binary people in the U.S. experience sexual violence in their life, 12 per cent before they graduate high school. And so much violence from their own families. It’s heartbreaking. Great story. Great characters. Amazing book.

Book News
Ubisoft and Scholastic announced in February a collaboration on a new young adult book series, Last Descendants, based on the hit video game franchise Assassin’s Creed.
Written for readers ages 12 and up by author Matthew J. Kirby, the first book in the Last Descendants series will launch simultaneously in September in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The second book will follow in January.
Last Descendants is an action adventure, historical fiction saga featuring a group of teens caught up in the centuries-old Assassin-Templar feud. Inspired by the popular video game series, the first book is set concurrently in the present-day, 1860s New York City and during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and will feature historical figures including William “Boss” Tweed, Hernán Cortés, renowned opera singer Adelina Patti, among others.
More about Last Descendants
Nothing in Owen’s life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn’t commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father’s name by letting him use an Animus — a device that lets users explore the genetic memories buried within their own DNA. The experience brings Owen more than he bargained for. During a simulation, Owen uncovers the existence of an ancient and powerful relic long considered legend — the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact — the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. It soon becomes clear to Owen that the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first.
Under the guidance of Monroe, Owen and a group of other teenagers enter a simulation of memories they all share within their DNA: the 1863 draft riots in New York City. Owen and his companions will find themselves tested on the gritty streets of New York, and their experiences in the past will have far-reaching consequences in the present.

Harry Potter script book
Earlier in February, Scholastic Canada also announced it’s publishing a script book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
Visit http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/6271271-harry-potter-fans-take-note-scholastic-canada-publishes-new-script-book/ to read more.

A Dog Day Susan
Maureen Fergus
OwlKids, http://shop.owlkids.com
$18.95
Spencer and his family are expecting a visit from Great Aunt Alice and her dog, Susan. All Spencer knows is that she’s dignified and graceful, with long, beautiful hair — the dog, that is. Spencer and his own pup, Barney, are excited to have another dog to play with and decide to give her a chance. But it soon becomes clear that Susan is no regular dog. She eats cake off a china plate, takes scheduled naps, and needs an umbrella held over her in the rain. Spencer and Barney decide to teach Susan how to be a real dog. With Barney as a role model, they take her to the off-leash dog park to develop skills like barking at buses, cyclists and squirrels, eating garbage, resisting grooming, and refusing to come when she’s called. Susan returns from the park covered in burrs, having shed her dignity and grace enough to fully embrace her inner dog.
Editor’s Note: I loved my dog. She was an important part of our family, but I couldn’t imagine going to someone’s house, feeding cake to my dog off their good China or letting her sleep on the couch. But Great Aunt Alice gets her due. My seven year old and I enjoyed the book.

Art’s Supplies
Chris Tougas
Orca, http://www.orcabook.com
$9.95
In this delightful tale of the power of the imagination, Art’s supplies come to life in the studio, creating mayhem and magic — and art! Pastels, pencils and paints, crayons, brushes and markers, everything gets in on the act of creating a mess-terpiece of fun. Chris Tougas’ brilliant illustrations and clever text explore the essence of the creative process in a way that children will understand.
Editor’s Note: My seven year old said the book was OK. I didn’t like it at all. The art supplies offered a lot of double meanings, which my son didn’t get and of which I didn’t really want to explain. It made me wonder what age group the book is intended for? Were the art supplies included for the parents’ pleasure, in which case I could have gone without. Unlike many other books, it didn’t inspire my son to create his own masterpiece.

Be a Friend
Salina Yoon
Penguin Random House Canada, http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/537303/be-friend#9781619639515
$21
Dennis is an ordinary boy who expresses himself in extraordinary ways. Some children do show-and-tell. Dennis mimes his. Some children climb trees. Dennis is happy to BE a tree… But being a mime can be lonely. It isn’t until Dennis meets a girl named Joy that he discovers the power of friendship–and how special he truly is! At its core, this book is a heartwarming story of self-acceptance, courage, and unbreakable friendship for anyone who has ever felt “different.”
Editor’s Note: What a lovely book. I like that once Dennis found Joy, more kids, who also didn’t need words, joined their friendship.

Cat Nap
Toni Yuly
Feiwel and Friends, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
$19.50
It’s naptime, and Cat is ready for Kitten to settle down. But Kitten has other ideas!
In this book filled with opposites (big and little, black and white, sleepy and awake) Toni Yuly proves once again – as she did with Early Bird and Night Owl – that simple concepts come alive for the youngest readers through bold art and charming language.
Feiwel and Friends, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
Editor’s Note: We love this book. Cat’s expressions are priceless. My seven year old and I both laughed out loud at the end. It was fun to find mouse, too.

Frankencrayon
Michael Hall
HarperCollins, harcollinschildren.com
The crayons are ready to tell the thrilling tale of Frankencrayon. The costumes are made, the roles are cast, the pages are all set, but then disaster strikes. Someone has scribbled on the page! Hideous! Horrifying! The story can’t go on! Try as they might, the crayons can’t erase the scribble, and this picture book must be canceled. Until the crayons playing the title role of Frankencrayon think of a solution, that is.
Editor’s Note: My seven year old and I like this book. It makes us laugh. We like that while the crayons have a return role (they were first featured in Hall’s book Red), it is a completely different book, not a sequel in disguise. Lesson No. 4 is important and makes us laugh each time we read it.

Going for a Sea Bath
Andree Poulin
Pajama Press, pajamapress.ca
$17.95
Leanne’s bath time is boring. It’s annoying. It’s a pain. Luckily, her father has some excellent, terrific, and spectacular ideas to make it more interesting. He runs down to the sea and brings back one turtle. Then two eels. Then three clown fish. Soon Leanne’s bath time is fun! It’s amusing! It’s exciting! But when the ten octopi arrive, could it be too much of a good thing?
Editor’s Note: What a fun book. The illustrations are lovely, the story funny. I particularly loved the last page.

How to be an International Spy, Your Top-secret guide to espionage
Andy Briggs
Lonely Planet Kids, lonelyplanetkids.com
US$17.99
There’s no going back, Agent. Once you enter this book, your training will begin as you join the secret world of spies. You’ll rise through the ranks from recruit to secret agent, learning a host of skills to put into covert operation immediately. Get the scoop on some of the biggest agencies in the world, discover the coolest gadgets out there, crack some fiendish codes and lots more. For aspiring spies aged 8 years and up. Great for on-the-road entertainment.
Editor’s Note: This book is likely for children older than seven so I edited what I read to my son. He did ask, though, that after he finished reading it, if would he be a spy. There is lots of information, including cue cards with actual spies information, real spy agencies and tips on how to make your own gadgets. My son has already set up his headquarters and we do a lot of spying on his dad. We each have a code name. I can’t tell you what they are, of course, but I will tell you the cat’s name is Midnight Claw!

Ideas Are All Around
Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook, us.macmillan.com/publishers/roaring-brook-press
$21.99
As an author and his dog, Wednesday, walk through their neighborhood, they look at sunflowers, say hi to Frank, a turtle, who makes quick for the water and disappears, and watch a train rumble by as they walk uphill to a big purple house that belongs to their friend Barbara. Wednesday chases squirrels while the two friends discuss fishing and war and how back before the neighborhood was there enormous woolly mammoths roamed where houses now sit.
Thoughts open up to other thoughts, and ideas are born and carried forward, often transforming into other ideas until he finds that ideas really are all around, you just have to know what to do with them.
Editor’s Note: My seven-year-old son and I both disliked this story. My son made it pretty far before he physically closed the book. I, too, was bored. What was the point of this story? I could write about my day as well and it would be just as interesting, likely more so.

In a Cloud of Dust
Alma Fullerton
Pajama Press, pajamapress.ca
$10.95
In a Tanzanian village school, Anna struggles to keep up. Her walk home takes so long that when she arrives, it is too dark to do her homework. Working through the lunch hour instead, she doesn’t see the truck from the bicycle library pull into the schoolyard. By the time she gets out there, the bikes are all gone. Anna hides her disappointment, happy to help her friends learn to balance and steer. She doesn’t know a compassionate friend will offer her a clever solution—and the chance to raise her own cloud of dust.
Editor’s Note: Another book that lead to talking about how the world is so different for many people. A beautiful story about generous, kind children.

In Grandpa’s Day, Memories of Pioneer Life
Roxanne McLaren
Paintings by Kevin Dodds
Another Chapter Publishing
Kevin Dodd’s painting depicting early life in Upper Canada, accompanied by Roxanne McLaren’s stories create a special book about life in earlier times.
Editor’s Note: I met Roxanne McLaren at the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference downtown in January. She is a new book publisher who creates books in both French (Canadian) and English (her books go through five translators). I was impressed by her enthusiasm and dedication. I received a copy of In Grandpa’s Days (and bought the French one for my niece), one of her more popular titles. I loved it. I am a huge fan of pioneer days, Black Creek Pioneer Village is my favourite location and Anne of Green Gables is one of my favourite books. McLaren’s books described the beauty of pioneer life; I could picture it in my head. I don’t usually comment about illustrations, although they are as important as the words particularly in children’s books, but pieces by Kevin Dodds are absolutely beautiful. Paintings in a book. I also purchased Le Dragon Des Chips Pimentes (accent on e). Did you know in Quebec they don’t say trick or treat? One of McLaren’s translators ensures the translations are culturally correct.I look forward to reading more from this new book publisher.

Jon Le bon! Super Agent, The Brain of the Apocalypse
Adventure Press, http://www.adventurepress.ca/\
$12.95
Amidst a world filled with dangerous criminals, terrorists and government conspiracies, stands the Agency – an ultra secret organization who’s mission is to protect the innocent and safeguard the World. This legendary organization brings together the greatest minds, the most talented agents and cutting edge technologies. However, something unusual is about to happen : a brilliant new recruit with unusual methods is about to join the Agency. His name : Jon Le Bon. Because of his innocence and fearlessness, Jon Le Bon gets himself in all sorts of trouble – but there’s nothing he can’t handle with a little help from his friends.
Editor’s Note: I discovered this book publisher at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, and what pulled me in was the title – Jon Le Bon – I thought it was French. It turns out the graphic novel was originally published in French and has now been translated into English. They are doing a TV show about it as well. Great graphics, not a lot of words. We look forwad to reading more in this series.

My House is Alive, The Weird and Wonderful Sounds your House Makes
Scot Ritchie
OwlKids, http://www.owlkidsbooks.com$17.95
What’s that sound? Starting with a simple question, My House Is Alive! takes readers on a tour of the basic inner workings of a house and explains the scientific reason for the knocks, thumps, bangs, and booms we hear. For example: that knocking sound in the walls? It’s caused by the expansion and contraction of metal vents that carry air to heat your home. Creaking can happen when wood dries out, and buzzing can come from vibrating plates inside fluorescent lights. Two spreads are devoted to each scary sound: the first shows the source of the noise as imagined by a small boy- a monster, giant insect, or other wacky creature – and the second explains the reality behind it. Scot Ritchie’s explanations of scientific ideas are accessible through text and illustration in this imaginative informational picture book that will dispel fears about scary noises and satisfy scientific curiosity.
Editor’s note: I brought home both Orangutan Orphange and this book and it is this book my son was most interested in. The pictures, monsters based on the sounds the boy in the story heard in the house, were too abstract a concept for my son. I explained that is what the boy imagined the noises look like while the book actually explaind the buzzing noise was not a giant bee you could ride on, but the sound of florescent lights. We both found it interesting.

Orangutan Orphange
Suzi Eszterhas
OwlKids, http://www.owlkidsbooks.com/$18.95
Orangutan Orphanage is the second in the four-book Wildlife Rescue series. Each book introduces a species of animal in danger somewhere in the world and profiles a rescue center that helps them. Stunning photos by award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas give readers a rare view of these adorable animals and the high level of care they receive.
Orangutan Orphanage invites readers inside the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine, operated by Orangutan Foundation International, in the South Pacific jungles of Borneo. It explores why baby orangutans become orphaned and the process of healing and rehabilitating them for return to the wild. It also highlights the people who work at the rescue center and how they aid the animals.
Editor’s Note: We (my seven-year-old son and myself) wasn’t that interested in this book. We loved the pictures and read the caption information, but neither of us wanted to read deeper into the information. We did enjoy the “Kids Ask Suzie” section at the end and my son was impressed at how smart orangutans are. As a note, we think orangutans are adorable when they are babies, but are pretty scary looking as adults.

Skunk on a String
Thao Lam
OwlKids, http://www.owlkidsbooks.com
$18.95
In Skunk on a String, we meet a skunk who has been tied to the tail of a balloon. Try as he might, the persistent critter can’t get anyone to untie him. In this wordless story, he is shooed and swatted through a bustling parade, past the windowpanes of the city’s apartment buildings with their diverse, busy inhabitants, then up to the construction cranes high above the city. He floats through the zoo, into traffic, under water, and eventually lands atop a Ferris wheel. When he finally unties himself, the skunk misses the aerial life — so he comes up with an inspired way to fly again. Paper collage art in whimsical colors and patterns – polka dots, gingham and florals – creates a playful dynamic and brilliantly captures details of urban life, from the legs of a crowd to window boxes, spilled ice cream, and clothing flapping on clotheslines. This heartwarming, highly visual adventure
Editor’s Note: Apparently I didn’t read the press release very well when I requested a copy of this book. While it is cute, and I liked the paper collage art that it was used to create the story, my seven year old and I didn’t like that there were no words.

Spare Dog Parts
Alison Hughes
Orca, http://www.orcabook.com/Spare-Dog-Parts-P1088.aspx
$19.95
A stumpy tail, mismatched paws, a long, drooly snout and the biggest dog heart that ever beat. In a celebration of what makes a pet unique, a little girl imagines how an odd assortment of parts combined to make the perfect dog.
Editor’s Note: My seven year old hated Spare Dog Parts, but gave no explanation as to why. I thought it was cute, but I am a fan of Alison Hughes as well as illustrator Ashley Spires (Binky, Over-Scheduled Andrew, The Most Magnificant Thing).

Tell me a Tattoo Story
Alison McGhee
Chronicle Kids, chroniclekids.com
US$16.99
The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. There’s a tattoo from a favorite book his mother used to read him, one from something his father used to tell him, and one from the longest trip he ever took. And there is a little heart with numbers inside-which might be the best tattoo of them all.
Editor’s Note: Confession: I hate tattoos. Despite my dislike for this “art form”, I thought it was a beautiful book and a pretty fantastic way to tell the story of this family. While I will never like tattoos, particularly giant ones, like in this book, I am always interested in the stories behind them, and why people choose a particular tattoo mark their body.

The Dead Bird
Margaret Wise Brown
HarperCollins, harcollinschildren.com
$21.99
There is a little bird lying on its side. Its eyes are closed and there’s no heart beat. The children are very sorry, so they decide to say good-bye. In the forest, they dig a hole for the bird, and cover it with warm ferns and flowers. Finally, their sweet song sends the little bird on its way.
Editor’s Note: I don’t find death a difficult subject to talk about with my seven year old. And as far as books to broach the subject of death goes, this certainly is not my favourite. I thought it kind of silly, particularly the song. I also didn’t like the fact children are picking up dead birds with their hands – hello west nile.

The Sandwich Thief
Andre Marois
Marin loves the sandwiches his parents make for him – every day they’re different and more delicious than the last. One morning, someone dares to steal his favorite sandwich: ham-cheddar-kale. Furious, Marin begins a fevered and famished investigation to unmask the thief. The days go by, the suspects multiply, and Marin’s sandwiches continue to disappear. This droll, graphic caper is a funny school mystery exploring the high stakes of low blood sugar. The first in a series, the book’s witty text and graphic illustrations make this funny school mystery perfect for early and advanced readers alike-and for anyone who’s been the victim of lunchtime crime.
Editor’s Note: My seven-year-old son didn’t want to stop reading this book so we read a graphic novel chapter at a time until we got to the end. We never guessed who dunnit. The ending is kind of gross really.

There is a Giraffe in my Soup
Ross Burach
HarperCollins, harcollinschildren.com
$21.99
What if you found a giraffe in your soup, an alligator in your entreé, an elephant on the table, or even an ostrich in your dish? An assortment of hairy, scary animals pop out from under the lid at a restaurant.
Editor’s Note: I was a little afraid this book was going to sound like Dennis Lee’s poem (Alligator Pie), but it did not. A silly read, but fun nonetheless.

The Thundermaker
Alan Syliboy
Nimbus Publishing, https://www.nimbus.ca, http://thundermaker.ca
$19.95
The Thundermaker brings to vivid life the story of Little Thunder. Readers will be transported by Syliboy’s bold, petroglyph inspiredillustrations, as Little Thunder’s father, Big Thunder, teaches him the important responsibility of making thunder for his people.  As Little Thunder grows, he learns about his Mi’kmaw identity through his father’s teachings and his mother’s traditional stories. When the day finally comes, readers will root for him as he takes his journey — with the mischievous Wolverine — to finally become the Thundermaker. Does Little Thunder have what it takes to become Big Thunder?
Editor’s Note: My son is currently enjoying learning about First Nations and their stories. He seemed to enjoy the story while it was being read, but didn’t love it. It’s not my favourite either.

Middle grade to young adult
After the Woods
Kim Savage
Farrar Straus Giroux, macteenbooks.com
$20.50
Would you risk your life to save your best friend? Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
Editor’s Note: Where to start? I needed an easy read after Symptoms of Being Human, and After the Woods was that. Julia was a fantastic character – brave, funny, but still young. The journalist was beyond ambitious, and gives the rest of us a bad name. She disgusted me as much as Liv’s mother. I guessed some of the parts, but was kept reading until the end.

The Skelton Tree, Only The Wild Survive
Iain Lawrence
Tundra Books, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca
$21.99
Less than 48 hours after 12-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive. Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn’t expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue.
Editor’s Note: What a great book, a page turner that kept me reading until the book was finished in a couple of days. I guessed, correctly, some things, but it didn’t stop my heart racing the last several pages in. I found some a couple parts unbelievable, but turns out I was wrong – skelton trees did in fact exist. I loved the raven – whoever thinks birds are stupid should read this: http://www.insidetoronto.com/blogs/post/4854843-pets-crows-are-smart-and-hold-a-grudge-says-toronto-wildlife-centre/ There is also a great book about the connection between wolves and ravens called The Wolf-Birds, which was written and illustrated by Willow Dawson (OwlKids, https://store.owlkids.com). Read my review here: http://www.mykawartha.com/blogs/post/5934476-book-time-features-amazing-grace-by-lesley-crewe-everything-everything-by-nichola-yoon-and-animal/

Under the Dusty Moon
Suzanne Sutherland
Dundurn, dundurn.com
$14.99
Victoria Mahler is the 16-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky’s solo career is finally starting to take off. When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom’s lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow. But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky’s second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?
Editor’s Note: I really liked this book. Victoria, or Vic’s, choices are not the ones I would make, but I can understand why she makes them. The female characters are strong, Shaun, the boyfriend, respects women and their choices, which is also nice to read. I also liked the fact the book is set in Toronto, and in Parkdale specifically. It’s always really neat to read about places familiar to you in books.

Other books for kids
An Inheritance of Ashes

Leah Bobet
Scholastic Canada, http://www.scholastic.ca/books/view/an-inheritance-of-ashes
Six months ago, the men of the lakelands marched south to fight a dark god. Weeks after the final battle was won, 16-year-old Hallie and her sister, Marthe, are still struggling to maintain their family farm — and are waiting for Marthe’s missing husband to return. After a summer of bitter arguments, Hallie is determined to get Roadstead Farm through the winter — and keep what’s left of her family together, despite an inheritance destined to drive them apart. But when Hallie hires a wandering veteran in a bid to save the farm, every phantom the men marched south to fight arrives at her front gate. Spider-eyed birds circle the fields, ghostly messages writes themselves on the riverbank, and soon Hallie finds herself keeping her new hired hand’s despite desperate secrets — and taking dangerous risks. But as she fights to keep both the farm and her new friend safe, ugly truths about her own family are emerging — truths that, amid gods, monsters and armies, might tear Roadstead Farm apart.

Big Nate Blasts Off
Lincoln Peirce
HarperCollins, http://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062111128/big-nate-blasts-off
For fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, here comes the eighth novel in the New York Times bestselling series Big Nate. Nate has a crush on Ruby. But after his scrap with Randy Betancourt makes headlines in the Weekly Bugle, he’s got a problem WAY worse than detention! Can Nate bounce back? And will the annual Mud Bowl be a blast…or a bust?

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover
Jane O’Connor
HarperCollins, http://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062269850/fancy-nancy-saturda
When Nancy’s parents win an all-expenses-paid vacation, Nancy and JoJo get to sleep over at their neighbor’s home, Mrs. DeVine’s. But JoJo is a little nervous to sleep at someone else’s house — luckily Nancy is an expert on sleepovers and can help prepare her little sister. The big night arrives, and JoJo and Nancy have a blast at Mrs. DeVine’s. But when it’s time for bed, it turns out Nancy wasn’t as prepared as she thought. Good thing there is nothing better than a sister to make you feel better.

Friday Barnes, Girl Detective
R. A. Spratt
Roaring Brook, us.macmillan.com/publishers/roaring-brook-press
$15.99
When Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country – and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime!
Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school, who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?
With black-and-white art throughout, this is the launch of an exciting new mystery series!

Just My Luck
Cammie McGovern
HarperCollins, http://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062330659/just-my-luck
Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn’t found a new best friend. He’s still not a great bike rider, even though his brother George, who’s autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad’s recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom’s advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn’t know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life seems to have thrown their way.
Just My Luck is a deeply moving and rewarding novel about a down-on-his-luck boy whose caring heart ultimately helps him find the strength to cope with tragedy and realize how much he truly has to offer his friends and family.

Little Hoot
Melissa Amy Krouse Rosenthal
It’s not fair! All Little Owl wants is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, like his friends do. But Mama and Papa say little owls have to stay up late and play. So Little Owl spends all night jumping on his bed, playing on the jungle gym and doing tricks on his skateboard, but he’s hooting mad about it. Children who have a hard time going to bed will love this fun twist on the universal dilemma.

Nettie & Hellie Crook, Orphan Train Sisters
Feiwel and  Friends, mackids, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
No one tells Nettie and Nellie why their parents can no longer care for them, and later, no one explains why the orphans are put on a train headed west. The girls soon find themselves put on display in various small towns, where prospective parents examine and select children for adoption. Nettie and Nellie are taken by Mr. and Mrs. Chapin―will this be a happy ending for the twins?

Sybil Ludington Revolutionary War Rider
Feiwel and  Friends, mackids, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
In 1777, Sybil and her family believe the American colonies should be free from British control. Sybil’s father leads a regiment of New York militiamen, and everyone in the family is dedicated to the Patriot cause. Using spy tactics and codes, the Ludingtons gather intelligence, hoping to stay one step ahead of their enemies. When British troops raid nearby Danbury, Connecticut, Sybil gallops through the night to call out her father’s men. But the journey is dangerous for a girl who’s all alone. With obstacles at every turn, will she make it in time to stop the British?

The Boy Who Knew Everything (Sequel)
Victoria Forester
Feiwel and Friends, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
Conrad Harrington III doesn’t want to be a super genius; he just wants to live a normal life. But with Conrad’s father the newly elected President of the United States, he knows being normal isn’t really an option. When suspicious disasters suddenly start happening all over the globe, his best friend Piper McCloud knows the world needs Conrad’s gifts―and that all of the exceptional children need him to lead them in order to put a stop to it. Can they work together to save themselves and the world?

The Rake, http://therakebook.com
Peter Whelan
Upon a Star Books, https://www.uponastarbooks.ca
The Rake is a true story of a boy stepping on a rake and hurting himself. He is outraged by this and demands the rake be punished. It’s a simple story to discuss a simple truth. Sometimes there is #Nothing2Forgive. Just because you feel hurt or angry doesn’t mean that you have a good reason to seek revenge.

The Rule of 3 Will to Survive (final book)
Eric Walters
Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.ca/
$21
Here is the gripping conclusion to an acclaimed trilogy about one suburban neighborhood’s existence after a global blackout. Teenager Adam Daley has killed again. It had to be done, part of him knows that, but murder changes a person. It can certainly change a kid who’s already grown up too quickly, too harshly, in the wake of the catastrophic global shutdown four months ago. In the name of safety and survival, Adam and his neighbors have turned their middle American community into a fortress, defending against countless enemies. But what’s lurking in the dark is a greater danger than ever before: somebody who wants to destroy the neighborhood and Adam at any cost. Soon, the hunted will have to become the hunter . . . and Adam hates himself for what he will have to do. Because sometimes even the dark is not cover enough for things that would never happen in the light.

Salt To The Sea
Ruta Sepetys
Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.ca/
$24.99
1945, East Prussia. The Second World War is drawing to a close as Russian forces overtake the Germans, and thousands of refugees are on a frantic trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among the throngs of people seeking safety are Joanna, Emilia, Florian and Alfred: each one borne of a different homeland, yet equally desperate to escape a life marked by brutality and war. Told in alternate points of view, the story chronicles their journeys as their paths converge en route to the Wilhelm Gustloff: the former cruise ship that promises each character’s salvation and future just beyond the Baltic Sea. Yet just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, Russian torpedoes strike the massive ship. Neither country, nor culture, nor status matter as all 10,000 people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Shimmer
Paula Weston
Book 3, The Rephaim
Tundra Books, penguinrandomhouse.ca
$12.99
Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated. She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the 19-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim – a 140-year-old half-angel – whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all. But now Rafa — sexy, infuriating Rafa — is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all. It’s a race against time – and history. And it may already be too late.

These Vicious Masks
Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Feiwel and Friends, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
$11.50
Evelyn is bored to death of society and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t change that. But when her beloved sister Rose is kidnapped, Ev suddenly has much more excitement that she’d ever wanted. Desperately searching all of London with only Mr. Kent to help, she has no time for distractions, especially ones like Sebastian Braddock – not only is the reclusive gentleman both vexing and surprisingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad.
Then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…

Other new releases
Dina’s Lost Tribe

Brigitte Goldstein
Available in hardcover, softcover and e-book Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iUniverse
The story follows American historian Nina Aschauer, who is irresistibly driven to France in search for her birthplace in the Pyrenees Mountains at the time of her parents’ flight from Nazi persecution during the Second World War. What Nina finds is love, a medieval outpost arrested in time and a written codex that thrusts her into the world of Dina Miryam, a 14th century Jewish woman who was left behind when her family fled France in the wake of the expulsion of the Jews in 1306. The dramatic unfolding of the two women’s stories reveals many parallels, personal and historical, that connect their lives along the unbroken thread of Jewish history.

Prince Ivan
Ryerson University
http://www.princeivangraphicnovel.wordpress.com
A media production student team at Ryerson University has created a graphic novel that advocates a unique approach to reading print – through your phone. Prince Ivan is an enhanced reality graphic novel, based on the Russian fairytale, “Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.”
The story revolves around Prince Ivan who, after running from the throne, finds himself trapped in a threatening forest. While searching for a way back, he seemingly discovers the solution to all his problems. But as the castle comes within reach, uncertainty grows when he discovers the truth may come in many layers.
The project uses interactive print technology, combining both print and digital media in the hands of the reader. The free mobile app Layar allows readers to venture deeper into the living world of Prince Ivan, activating animations hidden in the illustrations.
With 127 pages of comic art and 24 animations, readers will be amazed by the artistic skills displayed in the novel.

The Forgetting Time A Novel
Sharon Guskin
Flatiron Books, us.macmillan.com/publishers/Flatiron-books
$29.99
Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah’s single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now – and life as she knows it stops.
For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. His first thought – I’m not finished yet. Once a shining young star in academia, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw it all away because of an obsession. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he didn’t care – something had to be going on beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he’s found it.
Soon Noah, Janie and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years – and when that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.

This blog was originally posted at insidetoronto.com

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