Books·Forest of Reading

Here are the 2020 Yellow Cedar Award finalists: 10 great Canadian books for readers in Grades 4-8

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2020 Yellow Cedar Award, which celebrates nonfiction books for readers in Grades 4-8.
The Yellow Cedar Award celebrates nonfiction books for readers in Grades 4-8. (Ontario Library Association)

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2020 Yellow Cedar Award, which celebrates nonfiction books for readers in Grades 4-8.

The Yellow Cedar Award will be broadcast at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 16 on, CBC's educational service.

Hubots by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Alex Ries

Hubots is a children's nonfiction book by Helaine Becker & Alex Ries. (Kids Can Press)

This book introduces readers to 10 real world hubots — human-inspired robots — and the ways they've been engineered to look, behave or think like people.

Helaine Becker is an award-winning writer who has published over 90 books for children.

Alex Ries is an illustrator whose work has appeared in Australian Geographic, Cosmos Magazine and the Discovery Channel.

My River by Anne Laurel Carter

My River is a children's nonfiction book by Anne Laurel Carter, about Stella Bowles. (Formac Publishing Company Limited)

Stella Bowles was in Grade 6 when she began campaigning against sewage pipes draining into the LaHave River in Nova Scotia. Her science fair project drew media attention and was the beginning of her work as an environmental activist.

Stella Bowles is now 15. Anne Laurel Carter wrote about her journey. She has written 20 books for children.

Highrise by Katerina Cizek, adapted by Kristy Woudstra

Highrise is a children's nonfiction book by Katerina Cizek, adapted by Kristy Woudstra. (Firefly Books)

Highrise explores the long and surprising history of highrise buildings, from multi-storey residences in ancient Rome to the skyscrapers of modern Toronto.

This book was originally an Emmy-winning documentary by Canadian filmmaker Katerina Cizek. Kristy Woudstra adapted the material as a book for young readers.

Too Young to Escape by Van Ho & Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

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

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. She writes her story with Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, who has published 25 books for young readers.

Be Prepared! By Frankie MacDonald & Sarah Sawler

Be Prepared! is a nonfiction book by Frankie MacDonald and Sarah Sawler. (Nimbus Publishing)

Nova Scotia weatherman Frankie MacDonald offers his guide to all things weather, from interesting facts about snow and rain to answers to questions like, where do clouds come from?

MacDonald writes with Sarah Sawler, who has published work in Atlantic Books Today, Quill & Quire and ParentsCanada.

Killer Style by Serah-Marie McMahon & Alison Matthews-David, illustrated by Gillian Wilson

Killer Style is a children's nonfiction book written by Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews-David and illustrated by Gillian Wilson. (Owlkids Books Inc.)

Killer Style digs into the history of fashion and finds examples of times when clothes literally killed or harmed people, from flammable flannel to mad hatters.

Alison Matthews-David is an associate professor at Ryerson University, specializing in the history of textiles and dress.

Serah-Marie McMahon is the founder of Worn Fashion Journal.

Gillian Wilson is an illustrator whose work has been published in Frankie magazine, Today's Parent and other publications.

Beavers by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas John Frith

Beavers by Rachel Poliquin and illustrator Nicholas John Frith. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Rachel Poliquin explores the ways the unassuming beaver has super-hero qualities. The book is the first in a middle-grade nonfiction series about ordinary animals that have extraordinary talents.

Poliquin is a children's book author. Nicholas John Frith is an illustrator and writer of children's books whose previous work includes the picture book Hector and Hummingbird.

Amazing Hockey Stories: Hayley Wickenheiser by Lorna Schultz Nicholson, illustrated by D.A. Bishop

Amazing Hockey Stories: Hayley Wickenheiser is a nonfiction comic book by Lorna Schultz Nicholson & D.A. Bishop. (Scholastic)

This nonfiction comic book tells the story of Hayley Wickenheiser, one of the most celebrated hockey players in Canadian history. The book begins in Wickenheiser's small Saskatchewan town, where she joined the boys' team, and follows her all the way to her legendary Olympic career.

Lorna Schultz Nicholson and D.A. Bishop have also collaborated on nonfiction comic books about hockey stars P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid.

Follow Your Stuff by Kevin Sylvester & Michael Hlinka

Follow Your Stuff is a children's nonfiction book by Kevin Sylvester & Michael Hlinka. (Scholastic)

Follow Your Stuff is all about how basic everyday objects — like cell phones and clothes — undergo a complex global journey to get to our homes.

Kevin Sylvester is an award-winning illustrator and author based in Toronto. Michael Hlinka is a frequent business commentator for CBC Radio.

Extreme Abilities by Galadriel Watson, illustrated by Cornelia Li

Extreme Abilities is a nonfiction book by Galadriel Watson, illustrated by Cornelia Li. (Annick Press)

Extreme Abilities is all about extraordinary feats the human body is capable of, both physical and intellectual. It offers examples like Usain Bolt's speed and Louis Cyr's incredible strength.

Galadriel Watson has written 24 books for children. Cornelia Li is a Toronto-based illustrator whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and many other publications.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Rachel Poliquin was a taxidermist.
    Jun 11, 2020 4:34 PM ET

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