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2016 Silver Birch Forest of Reading Fiction and Nonfiction Nominees



      

SILVER BIRCH® FICTION 2016 NOMINATED TITLES



  
Between Shadows

Kathleen Cook Waldron


Coteau Books

12-year-old Ari inherits his grandfather’s unspoiled lakeside land and cabin. But his aunt and father want to sell it all to luxury hotel developers.

It’s bittersweet: Ari’s beloved grandfather has died, but he’s left Ari an amazing gift – the inheritance of his log cabin and all the land he owned. Tucked into a small lakeside community, the cabin and its land are unusual, full of secrets to discover…and very, very marketable. With the family’s money troubles, the only sensible option from his dad and aunt’s point of view is to sell it at a prime price to a luxury resort developer.

As the grown-ups proceed with the paperwork, Ari sets about discovering everything his new property has to offer. Hidden beaches, forest trails, locked doors – and even an extraordinary (and exasperating) new friend who introduces him to a world into which he sees himself just…fitting. Not only is it the perfect place to live, it’s a connection with his grandfather that is too precious to lose. But the deadline to sign away the property is approaching. How can Ari speak up for his hopes, for his grandfather, and for the land itself? 


  
The Incredible Space Raiders from Space

Wesley King

Paula Wiseman Books


Lord of the Flies meets Star Trek in this outer space story of adventure, mystery, and fantastical fun from the author of The Vindico and The Feros.

When Jonah wakes up on the Fantastic Flying Squirrel, he’s a bit confused. One second he is in his family’s living room doing his homework, and the next he’s sitting on a very cold floor on a very cold ship with a very strange-looking girl staring at him. Her name is Willona the Awesome, and she’s here to welcome him to The Incredible Space Raiders.

Now that Jonah is on board, the Incredible Space Raiders can set off on an important mission: to venture into the Dark Zone and save the universe from the Entirely Evil Things. But when Space Raiders start to disappear, Jonah realizes that if he’s going to make it to the Dark Zone alive, he’s going to have to step up and figure out what’s going on.
Join the Space Raiders aboard the Fantastic Flying Squirrel for an unforgettable journey where imagination and truth collide somewhere deep in space!


  
Jacob’s Landing

Daphne Greer


Nimbus Publishing Ltd.


Coping with the recent death of his father, twelve-year-old Jacob Mosher is sent to spend the summer with his aging, estranged (and strange!) grandparents in rural Newport Landing, Nova Scotia. Reluctantly, he trades the security of his foster mum in “Upper Canada” for a blind grandfather, Frank, who dresses like a sea captain and conducts flag-raising ceremonies, and a quirky grandmother, Pearl, who sometimes forgets her dentures and has Jacob running in circles. Jacob has two short months to figure out how to deal with his ailing grandfather, the surging Avon River tides, and the family secret that’s haunting his newfound grandparents. He didn’t expect so much danger and mystery to be lurking in tiny Newport Landing.


  
Lost in the Backyard

Alison Hughes


Orca Book Publishers


Flynn hates the outdoors. Always has. He barely pays attention in his Outdoor Ed class. He has no interest in doing a book report on Lost in the Barrens. He doesn't understand why anybody would want to go hiking or camping. But when he gets lost in the wilderness behind his parents' friends' house, it's surprising what he remembers—insulate your clothes with leaves, eat snow to stay hydrated, build a shelter, eat lichen—and how hopelessly inept he is at survival techniques.


  
Masterminds

Gordon Korman


Harper Collins


Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a treehouse. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else in Serenity. The thirty kids who live there never lie-they know it's a short leap from lying to the awful problems of other less fortunate places.

Eli has never left Serenity. Why would he want to? Then one day he cycles to the city limits, and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking secret that connects their ideal, crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one-least of all their own parents. So they hatch a plan for what could be the greatest breakout in history. But will they survive? And if they do, where will they go from there?


  
Rain Shadow

Valerie Sherrard

Fitzhenry & Whiteside


Bethany knows that she is special. She doesn't learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names - including the really "bad" name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbor Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Dad when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins.

Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany's world apart in ways she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again.

Award-winning author Valerie Sherrard revisits the world of The Glory Wind in her new historical novel.


  
Rocket Blues

David Skuy


Scholastic Canada Ltd.


When Rocket gets cut from his AAA bantam hockey team, he needs to re-evaluate his priorities.

Bryan Rockwood (aka "Rocket") is faced with the unthinkable: being cut from the Huskies — the AAA hockey team he has played on for three years. With no other teams interested in him, Bryan reluctantly joins a AA team, the Blues, at his best friend Maddy's insistence.

Things only get worse when Rocket sees that the Blues don't take hockey seriously. Facing the Huskies in the round robin will give Rocket the chance to prove his skills, but in order to keep his hockey dreams (and his friends) Rocket will have to realize that while hockey is his passion, it is not his entire life.


  
Speechless

Jennifer Mook-Sang


Scholastic Canada Ltd.


I forced my feet to the stage and turned around. This was going to be the scariest thing I’d ever done in my whole life. I looked down into the expanse of gleaming eyes and willed myself to focus on the next step ahead. I just had to make it through the next five minutes, word by word. Then it would be over.

Jelly Miles would rather be playing video games with his best friend P.B. than preparing for a speech competition. In fact, he’d rather be doing just about anything else. So he’s as surprised as anyone that he’s taking this year’s competition seriously. At first, it’s for the awesome prize. But when the competition turns ugly, Jelly realizes it’s his chance to finally get the last word with the class know-it-all. With his reputation, self-respect and the friendship he values most on the line, can Jelly find the courage to get up in front of the whole school and show his true self?

Laugh-out-loud funny, Speechless is about standing up to bullying, knowing who your friends are and finding your own unique voice.


  
The Swallow: A Ghost Story

Charis Cotter


Tundra Books


In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren't alone--they're actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so... ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose's name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family... before it's too late.


  
Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone

Jordan Stratford, Kelly Murphy


Alfred A. Knopf


History, mystery, and science collide in a new series for middle-grade readers, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket! 

Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!

Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.
 
Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy. 



 SILVER BIRCH® NON-FICTION 2016 NOMINATED TITLES


  
10 Rivers That Shaped The World 

Marilee Peters, Kim Rosen

Annick Press


Navigate the fascinating twists and turns of rivers that have molded our history.

Rivers can be extraordinarily powerful, and not just because of their fast-flowing currents. They can make civilizations rise or crumble, divide cultures or link them together, and even provide crucial clues to where we came from.

 Dive into these 10 surprising stories about the power of rivers through the ages, including:

• How the “lucky accident” of the Nile’s unique flooding patterns allowed the culture of Ancient Egypt to flourish in one of the hottest, driest places on earth;
• How medieval robber barons seized—then lost—control of the Rhine;
• Why the Amazon helped scientists discover how species evolve;
• How Livingstone's ill-fated exploration of the Zambezi changed Africa forever;
• Why you can trace just about every hit song back to the Mississippi River;
• How the massive Three Gorges Dam displaced over one million Chinese in the Yangtze River Valley;
• Why people in India have gathered to bathe in the Ganges for thousands of years;
• The crucial roles of the Awash, the Thames, and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in human history.

 


  
Baseballogy: Supercool Facts You Never Knew 

Kevin Sylvester


Annick Press


The most unusual baseball facts you’ll ever find!
 
Referred to as “America’s National Pastime,” and “The Greatest Sport on Earth,” baseball has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people.
 
Behind the game lies a wealth of science, folklore, mathematics, psychology—and a very colorful past. Whether they are die-hard fans or casual spectators, readers will be captivated by this collection of fascinating, little-known facts. For example did you know that the yarn in a single baseball is long enough to reach from the street to the top of the Empire State Building or that in the old days playoff tickets were sold for people to stand in the outfield: fans might move to help the home team but not budge an inch for opposing players.

 

  
Boredom Busters: 50+ awesome activities, recipes, experiments, and more

Caroline Fernandez


CICO Books


Let''s get crafty! You will never be bored again with the brilliant things to make and do in Boredom Busters. The book is divided into five themed chapters: Art, Craft, Science, Food, and Travel. Art Activities shows you how to create pretty pictures using homemade paint, recycled crayons, and even coffee filter paper and shaving cream! In Craft Activities, reuse milk cartons for your own bowling game, turn a baby food jar into a snow globe, and make cinnamon clay decorations. You will love the cool experiments in the Science section--from growing your own crystals to setting off plastic bottle tornados and creating "lava" in a cup. Cook up a storm with the great recipes in Food Activities: cool ice cream cone cupcakes, delicious chocolate mug cake, and colorful pizza faces. Finally, discover ways to keep yourself busy on journeys and holidays in Travel Activities, such as making a T-shirt pillow, wooden spoon puppets, and homemade travel journal.
 

  
A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

Margriet Ruurs, Katherine Gibson


Pajama Press


Ted Harrison’s brightly coloured and wildly imaginative paintings set in the Yukon have become synonymous with the North. His instantly-recognizable images of the land of the midnight sun hang in galleries and private collections around the world. But how did a boy who grew up in a drab mining town in northeast England become one of Canada’s most beloved and decorated artists? A Brush Full of Colour is the story of a boy whose passion for learning would save him from a life in the coalmines. The books by the American writer Jack London and Canadian poet Robert Service fired his imagination with scenes of the wilderness and the Klondike Gold Rush. He wanted to become an artist and he went on to art school. A stint in the British Intelligence Service gave him the chance to travel. But Ted never stopped dreaming of the North, and when he saw an advertisement for teachers in Northern Alberta, he jumped at the chance. Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson trace the life of Ted Harrison and the influences that would lead to his unique style as an artist. Filled with full-colour examples of his vivid art and with a foreword written by Ted Harrison, A Brush Full of Colour will provide inspiration for a new generation of budding artists.


  
Colossal Canada: 100 Epic Facts and Feats    

Elizabeth MacLeod, Frieda Wishinsky


Scholastic Canada Ltd.


100 things to make us stand up and belt out “O Canada!”

From Chris Hadfield to Cirque du Soleil, peacekeeping to poutine, and mukluks, tuques, grizzlies, and chinooks, this fast-moving and eye-opening book will give young Canadians plenty to cheer about.
Colossal Canada is a wide-ranging round-up of the people, places, animals and events that make us uniquely Canadian. It includes chapters on unforgettable moments in our history, exceptional inventions, monsters and myths, and all of our biggest, best, highest, and most extreme accomplishments.

Kids and adults alike will love learning all about their home and native land — and sharing these fascinating facts with family and friends!


  
Glow-in-the-Dark Creatures

Natalie Hyde


Fitzhenry & Whiteside


Glow-in-the-dark creatures possess one of the most amazing abilities in our world. Using only chemicals in their bodies, they can create bioluminescence, or "living light." The lights they produce come in an astonishing variety of colours and patterns. Glow-in-the-dark creatures use their light displays to hide from enemies, to cry for help, to warn of danger or to find a mate. It is a beautiful silent language. 
From fireflies and glowworms to flashlight fish and velvet belly lantern sharks, the diversity and number of creatures who are bioluminescent have surprised scientists. They have found bioluminescent creatures who flit across the night sky, creep along the shadowy ground, float in moonless oceans and swim in the deepest, darkest parts of the sea. 

• Find out which land and sea creatures make light. 
• Discover why bioluminescence is so important in nature. 
• Examine the chemical process that occurs to make creatures glow. 
• Learn why different creatures create different colours. 
• Discover how scientists are harnessing the powers of bioluminescence for human uses. 
• Make glow-in-the-dark slime, create a firefly-squid necklace and learn how to catch fireflies. 


  
Haunted Canada 5 

Joel A. Sutherland


Scholastic Canada Ltd.


This chilling collection of ghost stories from Canada's past stalks the land from coast to coast. A perfectly terrifying way for young readers to absorb a little of our country's amazing history and geography.


  
Saving Turtles: A Kids' Guide To Helping Endangered Creatures

Sue Carstairs


Firefly Press


A behind-the-scenes look at a hospital for severely injured turtles.

Turtles have been around for 220 million years -- longer than dinosaurs. But now their time might be running out. Of the roughly 300 species worldwide, more than half are threatened with extinction. Freshwater, marine and land turtles are all affected. And their biggest threat is us!

As the human race grows and expands on the planet, turtles are losing their homes, suffering the effects of pollution, the pet and food trade, killed by cars as they try to cross roads, and snared in fishing nets or by fish hooks meant to catch other species. Fortunately, a community of scientists, environmentalists and volunteers around the world are helping to protect and save turtles.

The author, Sue Carstairs, is a veterinarian at a turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. She reveals how she repairs shattered shells, broken jaws, and injured skulls, and nurses severely injured turtles back to health for release into the wild. Carstairs also explains how turtle eggs are harvested from injured mothers, incubated, raised in tanks and released into the wild. Organizations around the world performing similar work with land and sea turtles are also profiled.

What can readers do to help the worldwide effort to save and protect turtles? Two examples from the many offered in the book: participate in World Turtle Day, on May 23rd every year, sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue, and lobby for "turtle crossing" signs in nesting areas.



  
Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World

Michelle Mulder 


Orca Book Publishers


Waste not, want not.
 
Humans have always generated garbage, whether it’s a chewed-on bone or a broken cell phone. Our landfills are overflowing, but with some creative thinking, stuff we once threw away can become a collection of valuable resources just waiting to be harvested. Trash Talk digs deep into the history of garbage, from Minoan trash pits to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and uncovers some of the many innovative ways people all over the world are dealing with waste.


  
When the Worst Happens: Extraordinary Stories of Survival

Tanya Lloyd Kyi, David Parkins


Annick Press


People overcome impossible odds where others surrendered and failed.

What would you do if you were stranded or trapped in a situation where you had to fight for your life? When the Worst Happens is a collection of intense, true stories set in distant corners of the earth.

• After a fierce storm, the crew of the Polaris was stranded on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean.
• A massive cave-in traps 19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez and 32 other Chilean miners deep below the earth.
• Twelve-year-old Bala and his two sisters must survive on a tiny island off the Australian coast after their boat capsizes.
• When her plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle, 17-year-old Juliane struggles to find help.

In extreme situations such as these, people can pull together, show almost super-human skill, and survive. But sometimes they face madness, greed or mutiny. These action-packed accounts reveal the critical decisions that determined the fate of each victim.

In an attempt to answer the question why people react the way they do in extreme circumstances, When the Worst Happens also looks at modern psychological studies, interesting historical details and settings, as well as seemingly unrelated events, to discover what draws the line between success and tragedy.

Graphic icons point readers to successful or poor decisions as each story unfolds, and outstanding illustrations capture the real-time developments in each riveting story.