Books

Students across Canada chose these 9 books as the 2021 Forest of Reading Award winners

Forest of Reading curates a wide selection of Canadian titles for school-aged children to read and vote for their favourite.

Forest of Reading curates a selection of Canadian titles for children to read and vote for their favourite

Students from kindergarten to high school are encouraged to read from a selection of shortlisted books and vote for their favourites in the Forest of Reading program. (Forest of Reading)

The 2021 Forest of Reading Awards, divided by age group and reading level, have been announced through a virtual celebration.

Forest of Reading is Canada's largest annual recreational reading program where children and young adults pick their favourite authors and illustrators.

The 10 finalists in each category are chosen by a committee of library practitioners. The Forest of Reading program is organized by the Ontario Library Association.

Young readers across Canada vote on their favourite to determine the winner.

The 2021 winners are:

  • White Pine Award: Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena
  • Red Maple Award: Bloom by Kenneth Oppel 
  • Yellow Cedar Award: Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular by Kira Vermond, illustrated by Clayton Hanmer
  • Silver Birch Fiction Award: The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber
  • Silver Birch Express Award: Peter and Ernesto: Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable
  • Blue Spruce Award: Bad Dog by Mike Boldt
  • Le prix Tamarac: Lac Adélard by François Blais, illustrated by Iris
  • Le prix Mélèze: Sergent Billy: La vraie histoire du chevreau devenu soldat by Mireille Messier, illustrated by Kass Reich
  • Le prix Peuplier: Pas Moi by Elise Gravel

The virtual award ceremonies took place from May 18 to 20. CBC broadcast the 2021 award ceremonies on Curio, CBC's educational service. You can watch replays of all the ceremonies here.

Get to know the winning titles for the English-language categories below.

White Pine Award: Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Hunted by the Sky is a book by Tanaz Bhathena. (Nettie Photography, Penguin Teen)

The White Pine Award is for fiction for readers in high school.

Hunted by the Sky is a YA adventure novel set in medieval India. Gul, a young girl, has a birthmark on her arm that makes her a mark. So she's on the run. Her parents were murdered because Gul is marked. A group of female rebel warriors take Gul in and train her to become one of them. And she has one thing on her mind: revenge.

Tanaz Bhathena is a YA novelist based in Mississauga, Ont. She is also the author of The Beauty of the Moment and A Girl Like That.

Red Maple Award: Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

Bloom is the first novel in a new adventure trilogy by award-winning writer Kenneth Oppel. (HarperCollins, Mark Raynes Roberts)

The Red Maple Award is for fiction for readers in Grades 7-8.

Bloom is the first book in a series by Kenneth Oppel about three teenagers, Anaya, Petra and Seth, who live on Salt Spring Island. After a rainfall, black plants spring up and take over the island, spouting toxic pollen that only Anaya, Petra and Seth are immune to. The trio must work together to figure out how to stop the invasion from taking over the planet.

Oppel is a bestselling Canadian author whose books include the Silverwing trilogy and Airborn, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — text. His most recent books include Inkling, Every Hidden Thing and The Nest.

Yellow Cedar Award: Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular by Kira Vermond & Clayton Hanmer

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

The Yellow Cedar Award is for nonfiction for readers in Grades 4-8.

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.

Kita 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, and created the puzzle book CTon's Super A-maze-ing Year of Crazy Comics!

Silver Birch Fiction Award: The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber

The Jigsaw Puzzle King is a book by Gina McMurchy-Barber. (Dundurn Press)

The Silver Birch Fiction Award is for fiction for readers in Grades 3-6.

In The Jigsaw Puzzle King, twins Warren and Bennie, move to a new town. Bennie has Down syndrome, and Warren struggles with the fact his brother doesn't fit in. He's trying to protect his brother, but also trying to find friends at his new school. Can he do both? Or should he just stop caring what people who aren't nice to his brother think?

Gina McMurchy-Barber is a writer from Surrey, B.C. Her other books include the YA novel Free as a Bird and the middle-grade nonfiction book When Children Play.

Silver Birch Express Award: Peter and Ernesto: Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable

Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night is a book by Graham Annable. (First Second, grickle.com)

The Silver Birch Express Award is for fiction or nonfiction for readers in Grades 3-4.

Two sloths named Peter and Ernesto love living in the jungle but are very aware of how dangerous it can be, particularly at nighttime. But when their friend Bernard goes missing at sundown, the two animals round up a team to help find their lost friend. Peter and Ernesto is a charming tale of overcoming fears and doing your best to help a friend in need. 

Graham Annable is an author, cartoonist and animator originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., now based in Portland, Ore. He is also the creator of Grickle, published by Alternative Comics. 

Blue Spruce Award: Bad Dog by Mike Boldt

Bad Dog is a children's book by Mike Boldt. (Doubleday Books for Young Readers)

The Blue Spruce Award is picture books for readers in kindergarten to Grade 2.

Bad Dog is a fun-filled tale about a little girl who wants a dog — but gets a cat named Rocky for her birthday instead. Rocky doesn't listen or obey like all the other dogs. But the little girl insists that Rocky is a dog regardless. 

Mike Boldt is an author and illustrator from Alberta. His other books include Find Fergus, Thunder Trucks and I Don't Want to Go to Sleep.

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