Books·Forest of Reading

Here are the 2021 Yellow Cedar Award finalists: 10 great Canadian books for readers in Grades 4-8

Here are the 2021 Yellow Cedar Award finalists: 10 great Canadian books for readers in Grades 4-8.

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2021 Yellow Cedar Award, which celebrates books for readers in Grades 4-8.

The Yellow Cedar Award is part of the Forest of Reading program, in which students from kindergarten to high school are encouraged to read from a selection of shortlisted books and vote for their favourites over several months.

The Forest of Reading program is organized by the Ontario Library Association.

The winners will be revealed in spring 2021.

The Boreal Forest: A Year in the World's Largest Land Biome by L.E. Carmichael, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

The Boreal Forest is a children's book by L.E. Carmichael, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. (,, Kids Can Press)

The Boreal Forest is a middle-grade book that introduces readers to the largest land biome in the world: the boreal forest. The boreal forest covers much of Canada and northern Europe.

L.E. Carmichael writes science books for children. She has published more than 20 books, including Fox Talk and Forensics in the Real World.

Josée Bisaillon is a children's book illustrator from Montreal. She has illustrated more than 20 books, including The Snow Knows by Jennifer McGrath and The Moon is a Silver Pond by Sara Cassidy.

An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space by Bob McDonald

An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space is a nonfiction book by Bob McDonald. (Jennifer Hartley, Simon & Schuster)

In An Earthling's Guide to Outer Spacescience radio host Bob McDonald shares his unbridled enthusiasm for space — and tries to answer any question you may have about it, from black holes and aliens to dark matter and Mars.

Bob McDonald is the host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks. He is also the author of the nonfiction book Canadian Spacewalkers. He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2011.

Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat by Isabelle Groc

Gone is Gone is a children's book by Isabelle Groc. (Orca Book Publishers)

Gone is Gone examines how and why species become endangered, as well as what scientists and conservationists are doing to prevent animals from going extinct. Brought to life by photos taken by Groc, the book hopes to show young readers what they can do to help wildlife.

Isabelle Groc is an author, conservation photographer, documentary filmmaker and speaker from Vancouver. She is also the author of the middle-grade nature books Sea Otters: A Survival Story and Gentle Giants.

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel: And Other Poems of Birds in Flight by Susan Vande Griek, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel: And Other Poems of Birds in Flight is a book by Susan Vande Griek, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. (Kids Can Press)

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel is a poetry book inspired by the majesty of birds in flight. Featuring illustrations of birds in flight, the books aims to educate young readers about how any why each species of bird flies the way it does.   

Susan Vande Griek is a children's book author who splits her time between Ontario and New Brunswick. Her other books include Loon, Go Home Bay and A Owl at Sea.

Mark Hoffman is a children's book author and illustrator based in New Hampshire. 

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad

It Began with a Page is a picture book by Kyo Maclear (above) and illustrated by Julie Morstad. (Tundra Books)

It Began with a Page is a picture book that tells the story of iconic children's book writer and illustrator Gyo Fujikawa. Fujikawa wrote more than 50 books, including the popular Babies and Baby Animals. But as a Japanese woman, she faced many challenges to become an artist and fought for every opportunity she could.

Kyo Maclear is an essayist, novelist and author of children's books from Toronto. Her other children's books include Virginia Wolf and Bloomwhich Julie Morstad also illustrated.

Morstad is an artist based in Vancouver. Her other books include Today, How To and This is Sadie, written by Sara O'Leary.

One Earth: People of Color Protecting the Planet by Anuradha Rao

One Earth is a nonfiction children's by Anuradha Rao. (Curtis Andrews, Orca Book Publishers)

One Earth highlights BIPOC activists from around the world who are trying to protect the environment. It features 20 short biographies and examines how the intersection of ethnicity and environment can be an asset in reaching environmental goals. 

Anuradha Rao is a conservation biologist and author based in the Coast Salish territories of B.C. One Earth  is her first book.

Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane

Powwow is a nonfiction kids book by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane. (, Orca Book Publishers)

Powwow is a celebration of Indigenous song and dance from around North America. Lifelong competitive powwow dancer Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane takes readers through the history of powwow culture and introduces them to the rules, song and dances, clothes and food that play a role in the ceremonial tradition. 

Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane is an Anishinaabe dancer, educator, writer, artist and orator from Wiikwemkoong on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Powwow is her first book.

Science Comics: Crows, Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt

Science Comics: Crows, Genius Birds is a graphic novel by Kyla Vanderklugt (First Second/CBC)

Science Comics: Crows, Genius Birds is a graphic novel dedicated to these genius birds that are known for their problem solving skills. The book is full of facts about how crows make their own tools, never forget human faces and lead complex social lives.

Kyla Vanderklugt is a comic writer, artist and illustrator based in Ontario.

Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular by Kira Vermond, illustrated Clayton Hanmer

Trending is a nonfiction kids book written by Kira Vermond and illustrated by Clayton Hanmer. (, OwlKids)

Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular is a picture book that looks at how and why things become popular in our culture. Trending explores what exactly makes a fad catch on and unpacks the fascinating and sometimes frightening effects trends have had in modern times and throughout history.

Kira Vermond is a journalist and middle-grade author from Guelph, Ont. She is also the author of The Secret Life of Money: A kid's guide to cash and Growing Up, Inside and Out.

Clayton Hanmer is a cartoonist, writer and animator from Bloomfield, Ont. He also illustrated  several picture and middle-grade books, including Not Your Typical Book about the Environment by Elin Kelsey and The Lowdown on Denim by Tanya Lloyd Kyi. He also created the puzzle book CTon's Super A-maze-ing Year of Crazy Comics!

Under Pressure: The Science of Stress by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay

Under Pressure is a nonfiction kids book by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay. (Kids Can Press,,

Under Pressure is a book for adolescents that looks at the science behind stress, from the human body's reactions to pressure situations, to how some people deal with chronic stress. This nonfiction book is an organized, fact-checked resource that hopes to empower young people with knowledge they can draw from when the pressure is on.

Tanya Lloyd Kyi is a YA and middle-grade author from the Vancouver. Her books include the YA novels Anywhere but Here and The Prince of Pot and the nonfiction titles Shadow Warrior and Eyes and Spies. 

Marie-Ève Tremblay is an illustrator and animator based in Montreal.

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