25th Trillium Award

Recommended Reads for Younger Readers: Kingston

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photo credit: Pamela Cornell

By Ginger Pharand

In Part 2 of Recommended Reads: Kingston, we focus on local authors of children?s and young adult books. From picture books to teen novels, Kingston writers offer as many literary options for the younger set as for the adults. In this list, explore Canada?s past, the surreal imaginings of bedtime, Victorian London, urban Japan and countless other destinations. Whatever a young mind?s fancy, there?s likely a story waiting among the creative offerings found here.

Photo credit: Pamela Cornell

Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs (Second Story Press), by Jill Bryant

Jill Bryant introduces young readers to ten remarkable female entrepreneurs from around the world in her latest book, Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs (Second Story Press). Filled with stories of creativity, courage and advice for young people about building the lives they want to live, this book is both a chronicle of achievement and a guide to making dreams come true.

Read Jill Bryant's interview with Open Book in our series On Writing, here.

A Pioneer Alphabet (Tundra Books), by Mary Alice Downie

Beautifully illustrated by artist Mary Jane Gerber, Mary Alice Downie's A Pioneer Alphabet (Tundra Books) is a sweet and informative introduction to the alphabet and pioneer history for younger children.

Dead Beautiful (Upstart Press), by Melanie Dugan

Dead Beautiful (Upstart Press) is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone. In Melanie Dugan's latest book, the smart and strong-willed Persephone rebels against her parents' wishes in order to become the consort of Hades, God of the Dead. Her choices and their consequences make for a contemporary look at a classic myth.

Read Melanie Dugan's interview with Open Book on The Persephone Myth, here.

The Cat?s Pajamas (Kids Can Press), by Wallace Edwards

Lavishly illustrated, The Cat?s Pajamas (Kids Can Press) is Governor General's Award-winner Wallace Edwards' companion volume to Monkey Business. In this book, he introduces 26 new idioms, each with examples of usage — and a cat to be discovered on each page. Humorous and visually engaging, The Cat?s Pajamas will be a hit with kids of all ages.

Amy By Any Other Name (Key Porter Books), by Maureen Garvie

In Amy By Any Other Name (Key Porter Books), Kingston native Maureen Garvie delivers a story of switched identities when the attractive and privileged Amy wakes from an accident in the body of Krystal, a tough and troubled girl from the north end of Kingston. A novel for young adult readers who enjoy mysteries and books with a touch of the supernatural, Amy By Any Other Name also explores the social struggles in developing a clear sense of self in the high school years.

The Agency 1: A Spy in the House (Candlewick Press), by YS Lee

Orphan Mary Quinn, a daring young girl in Victorian London, is rescued from a life of poverty to be trained at a special school for girl detectives. In this first of The Agency series, she works to unravel the secrets of a merchant?s home in order to solve the mystery of his missing ships in The Agency 1: A Spy in the House (Candlewick Press). Kingston writer Y.S. Lee captures the gritty feel of the period in mysteries aimed at young adult readers. For other titles in the series, see Books by Y.S. Lee.

Read the Open Book Kingston WritersFest interview with Y.S. Lee here.

Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust (Orca Book Publishers), by Leanne Lieberman

Lauren Yanofsky is Jewish and doesn't want to be anymore. Funny, outspoken, full of ideas and aware of her own shortcomings, she brings to life Leanne Lieberman's third novel, Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust (Orca Book Publishers). Asked to remain true to friends or to stand up for her heritage, Lauren wrestles with the realization that even when there are no easy answers in life, there are still choices to be made.

Kids Book of Canadian Exploration (Kids Can Press), by Ann-Maureen Owens and Jane Yealland.

From the Kids Books of Series, The Kids Book of Canadian Exploration (Kids Can Press) provides young readers with a look at the history of Canadian exploration from Native Peoples to the European settlers, from the far North to space. Kingston author Ann-Maureen Owens and Jane Yealland bring to life the past and future of exploration in Canada.

Kalladimoun (Interligne), by Martine Périat

Kingston author and teacher Martine Périat has written a fantastic journey into bedtime adventures with Kalladimoun (Interligne). Beautifully illustrated with collage scenes, Kalladimoun is a lyrical book filled with imagination and whimsy. In French.

Nobody Knows (House of Anansi Press), by Shelley Tanaka

From Hirokazu Kore-eda's film of the same, Shelley Tanaka writes the story of 12-year-old Akira, who is left to care for his siblings alone in an apartment building in Japan. Clever and responsible, Akira carries out his familial obligations until the day comes when they must venture out into the world. Based on true events, Nobody Knows (House of Anansi Press) is an unforgettable story for ages 10 and up.

The Stone Hatchlings (Annick Press), by Sarah Tsiang

Voted one of the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2013 by the Canadian Children's Book Centre, The Stone Hatchlings (Annick Press) brings to life the landscape of the preschool imagination. Illustrated by Qin Leng and written by the multi-talented Sarah Tsiang, this whimsical and touching story will be a favourite on any child's shelf.

Sarah is also a poet who publishes under the name Yi-Mei Tsiang. Read her Kingston WritersFest interview with Open Book here.

Sarah was Writer in Residence for Open Book: Toronto in April 2012. Visit her WIR Author Page here.

The Black Sunshine of Goody Pryne (House of Anansi Press), by Sarah Withrow

The Black Sunshine of Goody Pryne (House of Anansi Press) is Kingston author Sarah Withrow's look into the life of Stevie Walters, a geeky loner, still grieving the death of his father. He finds consolation and acceptance in his friendship with the eccentric and slightly scary Goody Pryne. When he has the chance at a more popular life, he must choose to stay with the friend who was there when no one else was or go with the group that will ease his social struggles.

Ginger is the Editorial Intern for Open Book: Ontario. She lives in Kingston, where she writes short stories, frightens squirrels with her bad banjo playing, and cross trains by running downtown then carrying home her body weight in books.

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