Books·Forest of Reading

Here are the 2022 Yellow Cedar Award finalists: 10 great Canadian books for readers in Grades 4-8

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2022 Yellow Cedar Award, which celebrates nonfiction books for readers in Grades 4-8.
The Yellow Cedar Award is for nonfiction for readers in Grades 4-8. (Ontario Library Association)

Ten Canadian books are finalists for the 2022 Yellow Cedar Award, which celebrates nonfiction 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 10 finalists in each category are chosen by a committee of library practitioners. 

More than 270,000 students across Canada participate each year through their schools, public libraries, literacy centres and at home. Those with a subscription can tune in through Curio, CBC's educational service. The awards will also be available at CBC Books.

On Day Two of the festival (May 18, 2022), the Yellow Cedar Award (10 a.m. ET), Silver Birch Fiction Award (11:30 a.m. ET) and the Silver Birch Express Award (1:00 p.m ET) are announced. You can see the complete schedule here.

111 Trees by Rina Singh, illustrated by Marianne Ferrer

111 Trees is a picture book by Rina Singh, illustrated by Marianne Ferrer. (Kids Can Press, Marianne Ferrer)

111 Trees is a story based on true events in the life of community activist Sundar Paliwal and explores the power of community and culture. This uplifting story shows how one person can make a difference in a community when Sundar is determined to live in a place where girls are valued as much as boys — and where the land is not devastated by irresponsible corporations. 

Rina Singh is an author who was born in India and now lives in Toronto. She has written more than a dozen books for children, including My Heart BeatsDiwali Lights, A Forest of Stories and Moon Tales and Grandmother School.

Marianne Ferrer is an illustrator living in Montreal. Her other books include Carmen and the House That Gaudí BuiltA Story About Cancer (With a Happy Ending) and The Invisible Garden.

Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats by Cylita Guy, illustrated by Cornelia Li

Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats is a middle-grade book by Cylita Guy, left, and illustrated by Cornelia Li, right. (Annick Press, Travis Guy, JS Li)

Dr. Cylita Guy shows how studying urban wildlife can help us make cities around the world healthier for all of their inhabitants in Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats. In the process, Guy reveals how social injustices like racism can affect not only how scientists study city wildlife, but also where urban critters are more likely to thrive. 

Cylita Guy is a Toronto-based ecologist, data scientist and science communicator who studies bats.

Cornelia Li is a Chinese-born illustrator based in Toronto.

Finding Home by Jen Sookfong Lee, illustrated by Drew Shannon

Finding Home is a nonfiction middle-grade book. (Orca Book Publishers)

Finding Home explores the nature of human migration and how it has shaped the modern world. This middle-grade book is a nonfiction look at the past and present issues affecting immigrants and refugees — and author Jen Sookfong Lee offers a first-hand account of her experience as a second-generation Canadian.

Jen Sookfong Lee is a Chinese Canadian broadcaster, novelist and author. Lee is the author of the novel The Conjoined and the nonfiction book Gentleman of the Shade

Drew Shannon is a Toronto illustrator and artist. His freelance work has been featured in New York Public Radio, NPR Music and the Globe and Mail.

In the Dark by Lisa Deresti Betik, illustrated by Josh Holinaty

In the Dark is a book by Lisa Deresti Betik, illustrated by Josh Holinaty. (Kids Can Press)

In the Dark is a fun, fact-packed book about the science of what happens to the world at night. With answers to questions like why we dream, and why stars twinkle In the Dark is an engaging introduction to the science of night.

Lisa Deresti Betik is a children's author and former teacher originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but currently based in Waterloo. In the Dark is her first published book.

Josh Holinaty is an artist, illustrator and designer based in Edmonton. His other books include Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings and The Space Adventurer's Guide.

The International Day of the Girl by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Rona Ambrose, illustrated by Simone Shin

The International Day of the Girl is a picture book by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Rona Ambrose, illustrated by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press)

The International Day of the Girl is a celebration about what it means to be a girl all around the world. The United Nations designated Oct. 11 every year as the International Day of the Girl, a day to increase awareness of problems that affect girls around the world and to encourage progress toward gender equality. The stories in this book showcase the importance of the day and the power of being a girl. 

Jessica Dee Humphreys is a Canadian writer and researcher. She is also the author of Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War and has written two books with Roméo Dallaire.

Rona Ambrose is the former interim leader of the federal Conservative Party and the opposition leader between 2015 and 2017. She lives in Calgary and led the global movement to create the International Day of the Girl at the United Nations.

Simone Shin is an American children's book illustrator.

It Takes Guts by Dr. Jennifer Gardy, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich

It Takes Guts is a book by Dr. Jennifer Gardy, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich. (Greystone Books, Simon Fraser University)

It Takes Guts is an illustrated science book all about the digestive system, how it works and the role food can play in your mood and immune system. It also teaches young readers about the difference between good and bad bacteria and investigates the science behind burps, barfs and everything else going on in your gut. 

Dr. Jennifer Gardy is a Canadian microbiologist, TV host and children's author based in Chicago. Her other book is called It's Catching.

Belle Wuthrich is a designer and illustrator who has contributed to dozens of children's publications. Her other books include Do You Know Where the Animals Live? and The Disability Experience.

Mad for Ads by Erica Fyvie, illustrated by Ian Turner

Mad for Ads is a book by Erica Fyvie, illustrated by Ian Turner. (Kids Can Press)

Mad for Ads is an amusing look at advertising and how it influences and shapes the world around us. Mad for Ads aims to teach children to pay more attention to ads and be more aware the tricks they use to grab our attention.

Erica Fyvie is an award-winning author and editor based in Toronto. Her first book, Trash Revolution, was nominated for a Red Maple Award in 2019. 

Ian Turner is a graphic artist and illustrator based in Hamilton, Ont. His other books include Biometrics, which won the Lane Anderson Award in the young reader category in 2018.

The Power of Style by Christian Allaire

The Power of Style is a YA nonfiction book by Christian Allaire. (, Annick Press)

The Power of Style is a YA nonfiction book about the power of fashion. Christian Allaire is a Ojibwe fashion and style writer who has always had a passion for looking good. In The Power of StyleAllaire highlights the need for diversity and representation in fashion — and examines topics such as cosplay, make up, hijabs, and hair to show the intersection of style, culture and social justice over the years.

Allaire is an Ojibwe author who grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario. Allaire is the fashion and style writer at Vogue.

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Drew Shannon

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes is a book by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrated by Drew Shannon. (Kids Can Press)

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes examines the science behind stereotypes, why our brains from them and how knowing about them can help us be more unbiased. It's a hopeful and timely look at racism, homophobia, sexism and discrimination that offers strategies to make change. 

Tanya Lloyd Kyi is and award-winning author from Vancouver. She is author of the YA novels Anywhere but Here and The Prince of Pot and the nonfiction titles Shadow Warrior and Eyes and Spies.

Drew Shannon is a Toronto-based illustrator born in London, Ont. His other books include The Devil's Music and Finding Home

Wild Outside by Les Stroud, illustrated by Andrew P. Barr

Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert, filmmaker and musician. (Laura Bombier, Annick Press)

Wild Outside  is a middle-grade adventure book that offers kid-friendly activities and tips about how safely observe wildlife. Les Stroud uses his decades of wilderness adventures and facts about nature to pass on practical advice about spending time outdoors to young readers.

Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert, filmmaker and musician best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman.

Andrew P. Barr is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Toronto. His other books include Monstars: Bootleg Horrors from Hollywood and Bride of Monstars.

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