Books·Fall Book Preview

13 Canadian middle-grade books to watch for this fall

If you have a middle-grade reader in your life, be sure to watch for these books coming out in fall 2018.

If you have a middle-grade reader in your life, be sure to watch for these books coming out in fall 2018.

Dodger Boy by Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is the author of Dodger Boy. (Groundwood Books)

What it's about: Coming of age in Vancouver in 1970, 13-year-old best friends Charlotte and Dawn wish they could skip adolescence altogether. But Charlotte's mind begins to change when her Quaker family shelters a charismatic draft dodger from Texas, who teaches her about war, civil disobedience and women's liberation. As Charlotte explores these new ideas, a rift begins to form between her and her best friend.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2018

Planet Grief by Monique Polak​

Monique Polak is the author of Planet Grief. (John Fredericks/Orca Book)

What it's about: Acid-tongued Abby would much rather spend her weekend playing soccer, but instead she's stuck talking about her feelings at a grief retreat. Christopher quietly agrees that it's all a waste of time. In spite of themselves, Abby and Christopher start to bond with the other kids in the group.

When you can read it: Sept. 4, 2018

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

Inkling is a middle-grade novel by Kenneth Oppel. (Mark Raynes Roberts)

What it's about: With mom gone, the Rylance family is in a rut — that is, until Inkling comes into their lives. Inkling leapt from the page of a sketchbook and began solving the Rylance's problems — getting rid of dad's writer's block, helping with Ethan's school art project and being the dog Sarah's always wanted. Then one day Inkling disappears, which makes the Rylance family think about what they need, rather than just what they want.

When you can read it: Sept. 11, 2018

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen is the author of the middle-grade novel No Fixed Address. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

What it's about: When 12-year-old Felix Knuttson's loving, but unreliable, mother loses yet another job, the two are forced to live in a camper van. While Astrid looks for work, Felix enrolls at school with a fake address and learns about a national quiz show. He becomes determined to win the cash prize so he and his mother can afford a home.

When you can read it: Sept. 11, 2018

Winnie's Great War by Lindsay Mattick​

Lindsay Mattick is the author of Winnie's Great War. (Courtesy of HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about:  After winning the 2015 Caldecott Medal for their picture book Finding Winnie, Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall have added Josh Greenhut to their team for a middle-grade novel on the story of the Canadian black bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie was purchased by Canadian veterinarian Captain Harry Colebourn, who brought her to Europe during the First World War. Colebourn donated her to the London Zoo where she became the favourite of a boy named Christopher Robin and his father, children's writer A.A. Milne. This book is narrated by a descendent of Colebourn, who is telling the story to Colebourn's great-great-grandson.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

The Band of Merry Kids by David Skuy​

The Band of Merry Kids is written by David Skuy. (Courtesy of Cormorant Books)

What it's about: Twelve-year-old Pip idolizes the merry thief Robin Hood and the way he stands up to society's unjust ways. When Pip and his cousins go to a country fair with his father, a cowardly wool merchant, they learn of an innocent family trapped in the Sheriff's dungeon. Together they set off on a dangerous, rollicking adventure.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2018

The Lotterys More or Less by Emma Donoghue

The Lotterys More or Less is written by Emma Donoghue and illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono. (Courtesy of HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: In Emma Donoghue's second book for middle-grade readers, nine-year-old Sumac Lottery lives with seven siblings, four parents, one grandfather and five pets. She's in charge of making sure every Lottery family tradition is celebrated, but things are thrown off-course by a visitor from Brazil who overstays his welcome. Then an ice storm grounds all flights, stranding one of her dads and favourite brother in India. On top of all that, the power has started shutting down all around the city.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

Call of the Wraith by Kevin Sands

Kevin Sands is author of the middle-grade novel Call of the Wraith. (Thomas Zitnansky/Simon and Schuster)

What it's about: Christopher Rowe has survived a shipwreck in Devonshire, but wakes up without any memories of who he is or where he's from. The locals tell him he was possessed by evil and revived by a witch. Christopher's friends Tom and Sally track him down and remind him of his unique abilities as an expert in the apothecary sciences. When children go missing, Christopher struggles to get his memories back in order to help them. This is the fourth book in Kevin Sands' bestselling Blackthorn Key series.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

Sweep by Jonathan Auxier

Jonathan Auxier is the author of Sweep. (Puffin Canada)

What it's about: For nearly a century in Victorian London, chimney sweeps have kept orphans as "climbing boys" to keep flues clean and homes safe from fire. The best in the business is an 11-year-old girl named Nan Sparrow, who one day finds herself stuck in a deadly chimney fire. Miraculously, Nan wakes up alive in an attic with her rescuer — a small creature called a golem, that is made from ash and coal.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

Swallow's Dance by Wendy Orr

Wendy Orr is the author of Swallow's Dance. (Courtesy of Pajama Press)

What it's about: Leira's world is shaken by a series of catastrophic environmental disasters. First, a violent earthquake destroys her home, then a volcanic eruption casts darkness around the world and finally a tsunami breaks any semblance of order in society. Her noble-born status no longer protecting her, Leira must use all her strengths to keep her injured mother and elderly nurse safe in the chaos.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2018

​​A Grain of Rice by Nhung Tran-Davies

Nhung Tran-Davies is the author of A Grain of Rice. (

What it's about: A Grain of Rice is a semi-autobiographical novel by Alberta physician and picture book writer Nhung Tran-Davies. It follows a 13-year-old girl's escape from war-torn Vietnam. The protagonist finds hope and courage as she struggles through oppression and poverty.

When you can read it: Oct. 15, 2018

Putuguq & Kublu and the Qalupalik​ by Roselynn Akulukjuk and Danny Christopher

Putuguq & Kublu and the Qalupalik​ is a middke-grade book by Roselynn Akulukjuk and Danny Christopher.

What it's about: Putuguq and Kublu are two siblings who can't stand each other. One day, their grandfather warns them to beware of the qalupalik — a creature that waits under the ice for children to snatch. As Kublu and Putuguq head to the shoreline, they wonder if their grandfather is just trying to scare them... or is he telling the truth?

When you can read it: Nov. 1, 2018

Too Young to Escape by Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch​​

Too Young to Escape was written by Van Ho & Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. (Submitted by Pajama Press)

What it's about: As the Vietnam War ends and a communist regime begins in Ho Chi Minh City, Van Ho wakes up to find that her mother, sister Loan and brother Tuan have escaped in the middle of the night without her. At just four years old, Van is too young — and her grandmother is too old — to make the dangerous boat journey west. Once the family is settled, they plan to send for Van and grandmother, but until then Van is treated like a servant by her aunt and uncle and is bullied by a classmate, who turns out to be the son of a military policeman. This nonfiction book is based on co-author Van Ho's childhood.

When you can read it: Nov. 2, 2018​


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