Books·Fall Book Preview

18 Canadian middle-grade books coming out in fall 2020

Here are the books coming out this season we can't wait to read!

Here are the Canadian middle-grade books coming out this season we can't wait to read.

Haunted Canada 10 by Joel A. Sutherland, illustrated by Mark Savona

Joel A. Sutherland is a Ontario author of thriller, horror and fantasy short stories and novels, anthologies and children's books. (Scholastic Canada, Joel A. Sutherland)

Haunted Canada 10 is the latest edition of the popular series of Canadian ghost stories. The newest book features scary and chilling ghost tales — from Victoria to Halifax — about hauntings of homes, hockey arenas and other spooky hangouts. 

Haunted Canada 10 is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Aug. 4, 2020

Joel A. Sutherland is a Ontario author of thriller, horror and fantasy short stories and novels, anthologies and children's books.

Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland by Charis Cotter, illustrated by Genevieve Simms

A middle-grade book by Charis Cotter and illustrated by Genevieve Simms. (Nimbus Publishing, Andrew Johnson, Jennifer Griffiths)

Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland features stories about ghosts and spectres haunting the East Coast. The 10 ghost stories are all set in and around Old Newfoundland and are based on family tales passed down over generations.

Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Aug. 31, 2020

Charis Cotter is a Newfoundland author known for books such as The Ghost Road. 

Genevieve Simms is an illustrator based in Toronto.

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen

No Vacancy is a middle-grade novel by Tziporah Cohen (Groundwood Books)

No Vacancy is a story about two girls, Miriam and Kate, who decide to team up and help save an old run-down motel one summer. When Miriam's Jewish family purchases and moves into the Jewel Motor Inn, she finds a friend in a Catholic girl named Kate. They soon realize that it might just take a miracle to prevent the motel from closing down forever. 

No Vacancy is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2020

Tziporah (Tzippy) Cohen is an American-born author and oncology/palliative care psychiatrist based in Canada. 

Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath

Pine Island Home is a middle-grade novel by Polly Horvath. (Puffin Canada, Submitted by Polly Horvath)

Pine Island Home is about four sisters — Fiona, Marlin, Natasha and Charlie — who must fend for themselves when their missionary parents are lost to a natural disaster. They are sent to live with great aunt Martha — but when Martha suddenly passes away, the girls create a plan to ensure that no one knows that they are now on their own. 

Pine Island Home is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2020

Polly Horvath is a B.C.-based author of children's books who has won the Newbery Honor and a National Book Award. Her books include the acclaimed 2001 book Everything on a Waffle, the 2017 book The Night Garden and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award 2013 winning book One Year in Coal Harbour.

The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson

A book cover featuring an illustration if four people walking over a barren tundra. A man with short dark hair and glasses.
The Barren Grounds is a middle-grade novel by David A. Robertson (Puffin, Amber Green)

The Barren Grounds is the first book of a new middle-grade series by David A. Robertson. It is set in Winnipeg where two Indigenous kids, Morgan and Eli, are placed in a new foster home. The pair feel out of place and disconnected in their new surroundings — until they uncover a secret portal in the attic that opens up to a magical reality. The frozen barren grounds they find set the pair on a mission of survival and self-determination.

The Barren Grounds is for ages 10 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 8, 2020

David A. Robertson is an author and graphic novelist based in Winnipeg. The multi-talented writer of Swampy Cree heritage has published 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett and the YA book Strangers.

Hatch by Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel is a Canadian children's writer. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, Mark Raynes Roberts)

The latest book in Kenneth Oppel's Bloom series is about three kids named Seth, Anaya and Petra and mysterious seeds that have bloomed into dangerous alien plants. The trio prove to be immune to the plants' toxins and must find a way to stop the plants from spreading. It's a task that proves challenging and involves a mystery that could reveal the true reason why the kids are the way they are.

Hatch is for ages 10 and up.

When you can read it: Sept. 8, 2020

Kenneth Oppel has written numerous acclaimed novels for middle grade and young adult readers. His Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide. His novel Airborn received the Governor General's Literary Award in 2004 and was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. His most recent books include The Nest, Every Hidden Thing and Inkling.

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Skunk and Badger is a 2020 middle-grade novel by Amy Timberlake with pictures by Jon Klassen. (Fred Chartrand, Phil Timberlake, HarperCollins)

Skunk and Badger is the first book in a new illustrated chapter-book series about a pair of unlikely animal friends. When set-in-his-ways Badger gets a new roommate, the easygoing Skunk, both are changed forever by the new friendship that follows. 

Skunk and Badger is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2020

Amy Timberlake is the author of the Newbery Honor book One Came Home, as well as the middle-grade novel That Girl Lucy Moon and picture book The Dirty Cowboy.

Jon Klassen is an award-winning Toronto author and illustrator now based in Los Angeles. His long list of honours includes the American Caldecott Medal and CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (both for This Is Not My Hat, which he wrote and illustrated), as well as the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — illustration for Cats' Night Out written by Caroline Stutson. He has also frequently collaborated with American author Mac Barnett on books like The Wolf, the Duck, and the MouseTriangle, Square and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

Red Fox Road by Frances Greenslade

A middle-grade book by Frances Greenslade. (Puffin Canada, Stuart Bish)

When 13-year old Francie and her parents go on a family vacation, disaster strikes. Red Fox Road is a survival story about a family lost in the wilderness when their GPS leads them astray. Francie's survival instincts kick in — and she and her family will need them as they are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Red Fox Road is for ages 10-14.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2020

Frances Greenslade is a writer who was born in Ontario, raised in Manitoba and currently based in British Columbia. Her other books include the novel Shelter and the nonfiction books By the Secret Ladder and A Pilgrim in Ireland.

Ciel by Sophie Labelle, translated by David Homel

Ciel is a middle-grade book by Montreal author Sophie Labelle. (Second Story Press, Julie Artacho)

Ciel is about a gender non-conforming trans kid determined to make their way in the world. Ciel loves using their YouTube channel as a form of expression and they desperately need a new camera to take things to another level. Ciel's best friend Stephie is a trans girl but desires to be less visible now that they're both in high school. The friends are growing apart, even while Ciel is trying to navigate a long-distance relationship with their boyfriend and a new potential love interest. 

Ciel is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2020

Sophie Labelle is a trans cartoonist, public speaker and writer from Montreal. 

David Homel is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist and translator.

The Desert Prince by Alisha Sevigny

Alisha Sevigny is a Toronto-based author of books for middle-grade readers (Dundurn)

The Desert Prince is the second in a middle-grade adventure novel series featuring the ancient Egyptian healer and scribe Sesha. In The Desert Prince, a search for a hidden oasis leads Sesha and her friends on a journey on the Nile. They are soon caught up in a dangerous rescue mission, one that will force them to encounter wild animals, sandstorms and more.

The Desert Prince is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 19, 2020

Alisha Sevigny is a Toronto-based author of middle-grade and YA books.

The King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters

Eric Walters is a prolific author of books for children. (Orca Books, Kristina Laukkanen)

The King of Jam Sandwiches is about a unique father-son relationship. Rob is 13 and his father isn't like the other kid's dads. Robbie's dad sometimes wakes him up in the middle of the night to talk about dying. Other times, his dad disappears for days, even a week at a time. When Robbie encounters Harmony, the new girl at school, he comes to realize the value of truth and friendship.

The King of Jam Sandwiches is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Eric Walters is one of Canada's most prolific writers for young people. Inspired by reluctant readers when he was a grade five teacher, he decided to write them a story they couldn't put down. Since then, he's penned almost 100 books, including Camp XThe Power of Three and Run.

The Brushmaker's Daughter by Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer is a Toronto-based author of fiction and nonfiction for children about the Holocaust. (Second Story Press)

Set in 1939 Germany and inspired by a true story, The Brushmaker's Daughter follows Lillian and her father on the run from the Nazis. They avoid capture with the help of a real-life hero. Otto Weidt operates a brushmaking factory for the Nazi army, and secretly employs blind Jewish workers. Lillian's father is blind and with the help of Mr. Weidt, the pair hope to survive.

The Brushmaker's Daughter is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Kathy Kacer is a prolific Toronto-based author whose parents were both survivors of the Holocaust. Her books, including Hiding Edith and Masters of Silence explore the lives of young Jewish people who lived during that time.

Arlo & Pips by Elise Gravel

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds is a book by Elise Gravel. (HarperAlley)

Arlo & Pips is a chapter-book series all about Arlo the crow and his tiny friend Pips. Arlo & Pips follows the funny adventures of the two birds as they head to the beach and the big city for food and fun. 

Arlo & Pips is for ages 6-10.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Elise Gravel is an award-winning Canadian children's book author and illustrator from Montreal. Her other books include The Bat, The Mushroom Fan Club, I Want a Monster! and The Worst Book Ever.

Planet Hockey by J. Torres and Tim Levins

Planet Hockey is a middle-grade book by J. Torres and Tim Levins. (Scholastic Canada, Arthur Dela Cruz)

Planet Hockey is about a boy named Issac who is whisked away to outer space to play an interstellar game of hockey. Issac must prove he's the best he can be as he plays in the Galaxia Championship Tournament — but how will he find his way back home afterwards?

Planet Hockey is for ages 7-12.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

J. Torres is Filipino-born Canadian comic book, television and animation writer. 

Tim Levins is an illustrator based in Ontario.

Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el, illustrated by Kelly Pousette

Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North is a middle-grade book by Dan Bar-el, illustrated by Kelly Pousette. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Dan Bar-el, Kelly Pousette)

In this follow up to the 2019 book The Very, Very Far North, the latest Arctic adventure sees polar bear Duane and his animal friends on new adventures. In Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North, Duane encounters new visitors and he learns that life does indeed have its ups and downs.

Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Dan Bar-el is a children's author and educator whose books include Audrey (cow) and Not Your Typical Dragon. He lives in Vancouver.

Kelly Pousette is an illustrator and storyteller, originally from the west coast of British Columbia.

How Jack Lost Time by Stéphanie Lapointe, illustrated by Delphie Côté-Lacroix

How Jack Lost Time is a middle-grade book by Stéphanie Lapointe with illustrations by Delphie Côté-Lacroix. (Greystone Kids)

In How Jack Lost Time, sea captain Jack is considered to be an odd fellow among the fishermen he encounters. Jack is focused on one thing — a scarred grey whale that took his son years prior. Jack is determined to find Julos again, no matter the cost to him and his boat. The middle-grade book is a tale about relationships and the power of the human spirit.

How Jack Lost Time is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 13, 2020

Stéphanie Lapointe is a singer, actress, documentary director and author from Montreal.

Delphie Côté-Lacroix is a Montreal-based illustrator.

Return from Extinction by Linda L. Richards

Return from Extinction is a middle-grade book by Linda L. Richards. (Orca Books)

Return from Extinction is a real-life story about saving animals. While the northern elephant seal was thought to be long extinct, the population is now flourishing as the animals can be found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Mexico. Return from Extinction documents the life of the elephant seal and how the animals have adapted to humans and now thrive.

Return from Extinction is for ages 9-12.

When you can read it: Oct. 13, 2020

Linda L. Richards is a Vancouver-based journalist and author of fiction and nonfiction.

Hockey Super Six: On Thin Ice by Kevin Sylvester

A middle-grade series by Kevin Sylvester. (Scholastic Canada)

In the latest edition of the chapter-book series, the Hockey Super Six: On Thin Ice features six young hockey players on a quest to vanquish the forces of evil by way of a mean slapshot! The book sees the gang batter the evil scientist Clarence Crosscheck and attempt to foil his plans to rule the world. This mission involves teamwork and beating the odds. 

Hockey Super Six: On Thin Ice is for ages 8-12.

When you can read it: Nov. 10, 2020

Kevin Sylvester is a broadcaster and the award-winning illustrator and writer of middle-grade books such as the Neil Flambé Capers series and the MiNRS space adventure series.

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