Sponsored annually by the Ontario Library Association, the Red Maple Award reading program is geared to readers in Grade 7 and 8. Ten novels are nominated each year and ten non-fiction are selected every second year.
All the Ways Home by Elsie ChapmanAfter losing his mom, Kaede Hirano developed anger issues and spent his last year of middle school acting out.Best-friendless and critically in danger of repeating the seventh grade, Kaede is given a summer assignment: Write an essay about what home means to him, which will be even tougher now that he's on his way to Japan to reconnect with his estranged father and older half-brother. Still, if there's a chance Kaede can finally build a new family from an old one, he's willing to try. But building new relationships isn't easy, and one last desperate act will change the way Kaede sees everyone--including himself. This is a book about what home means to us--and that there are many different correct answers. Sometimes, home isn't even where you expected to find it.
The Barren Grounds by David A. RobertsonMorgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them.
A Boy Is Not a Bird by Edeet RavelA young boy named Natt finds his world overturned when his family is uprooted and exiled to Siberia during the occupation of the Soviet Ukraine by Nazi Germany. In 1941, life in Natt's small town of Zastavna is comfortable and familiar, even if the grownups are acting strange, and his parents treat him like a baby. Natt knows there's a war on, of course, but he's glad their family didn't emigrate to Canada when they had a chance. His mother didn't want to leave their home, and neither did he. He especially wouldn't want to leave his best friend, Max. Max is the ideas guy, and he hears what's going on in the world from his older sisters. Together the boys are two brave musketeers. Then one day Natt goes home and finds his family huddled around the radio. The Russians are taking over. The churches and synagogues will close, Hebrew school will be held in secret, and there are tanks and soldiers in the street. But it's exciting, too. Natt wants to become a Young Pioneer, to show outstanding revolutionary spirit and make their new leader, Comrade Stalin, proud. But life under the Russians is hard. The soldiers are poor. They eat up all the food and they even take over Natt's house. Then Natt's father is arrested, and even Natt is detained and questioned. He feels like a nomad, sleeping at other people's houses while his mother works to free his father. As the adults try to protect him from the reality of their situation, and local authorities begin to round up deportees bound for Siberia, Natt is filled with a sense of guilt and grief. Why wasn't he brave enough to look up at the prison window when his mother took him to see his father for what might be the last time? Or can just getting through war be a heroic act in itself? Key Text Features historical note map author's note Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6 Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Dog Driven by Terry Lynn JohnsonFrom the author ofIce Dogs comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won't hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen. McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness--a race she doesn't know if she can even see to run. Winning would mean getting her disease--and her sister's--national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights. A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness,Dog Drivenis the story of one girl's self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.
Ember and the Ice Dragons by Heather FawcettA stunning middle grade fantasy about a girl who used to be a dragon and her adventure to save her new home--from Even the Darkest Stars author Heather Fawcett. Perfect for fans of the Nevermoor and His Dark Materials series. Ember St. George is a dragon. At least she was before her adoptive father--a powerful but accident-prone Magician--turned her into a human girl to save her life. Unfortunately, Ember's growing tendency to burst into flames at certain temperatures--not to mention her invisible wings--is making it too dangerous for her to stay in London. The solution: ship Ember off to her aunt's research station in frigid Antarctica. Though eccentric Aunt Myra takes getting used to, Ember quickly feels at home in a land of ice storms, mischievous penguins, and twenty-four-hour nights. She even finds herself making friends with a girl genius called Nisha and a mysterious orphan named Moss. Then she discovers that Antarctica is home to the Winterglass Hunt, a yearly tradition in which rare ice dragons are hunted for their jeweled scales. Furious, Ember decides to join the hunt to sabotage it from the inside. But being an undercover dragon isn't easy--especially among dragon hunters. Can a twelve-year-old fire dragon survive the dangers that come her way in the Antarctic wilderness and protect the ice dragons from extinction?
The Ghost Collector by Allison MillsGhosts aren't meant to stick around forever... Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts. In their hair. Just like all the women in their family, they can see souls who haven't transitioned yet; it's their job to help the ghosts along their journey. When Shelly's mom dies suddenly, Shelly's relationship to ghosts--and death--changes. Instead of helping spirits move on, Shelly starts hoarding them. But no matter how many ghost cats, dogs, or people she hides in her room, Shelly can't ignore the one ghost that's missing. Why hasn't her mom's ghost come home yet? Rooted in a Cree worldview and inspired by stories about the author's great-grandmother's life, The Ghost Collector delves into questions of grief and loss, and introduces an exciting new voice in tween fiction that will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo's Louisiana's Way Home and Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls.
Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson; Tara Anderson (Illustrator)Now in paperback, the award-winning story of a lost West Highland Terrier warming hearts and bringing generations together A dog's world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a Harvey the West Highland Terrier wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge. Austin, a young volunteer at the Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man's Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey's original owner? Supported by warm graphite illustrations from acclaimed artist Tara Anderson, author Colleen Nelson immerses readers in a rich and unflinchingly human tale of struggle and hope--all inspired by one curious dog.
The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber2021 Silver Birch Fiction Award -- Shortlisted Being yourself isn't always easy. When you're new in school, all you want is to fit in. When eleven-year-old Warren and his family move to a new city, his twin brother, who has Down syndrome, attracts too much attention for Warren's liking. Bennie's different and doesn't care about it. But while Bennie may be oblivious to those who are curious or uneasy with him, Warren notices every smirk, comment, and sideways glance. Warren is weary of flip-flopping between trying to be just like everyone else and being the protective brother of a boy with special needs. Sometimes he thinks his life would be easier if he had no brother. But what he really needs is to stop worrying about what other people think.
Music for Tigers by Michelle KadarusmanFrom Governor General's Literary Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman comes a novel about a young violinist who discovers her mother's family secretly harbor a sanctuary for extinct Tasmanian tigers in the remote Australian rainforest Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom's eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family's remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock. Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor--a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia's huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers' trust. As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and--through Eleanor's journal--with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever? A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.
Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian GoerzJamila Waheed is staring down a lonely summer in a new neighborhood--until she meets Shirley Bones. Sure, Shirley's a little strange, but both girls need a new plan for the summer, and they might as well become friends. Then this kid Oliver shows up begging for Shirley's help. His pet gecko has disappeared, and he's sure it was stolen! That's when Jamila discovers Shirley's secret- She's the neighborhood's best kid detective, and she's on the case. When Jamila discovers she's got some detective skills of her own, a crime-solving partnership is born. The mystery of the missing gecko turns Shirley and Jamila's summer upside down. And when their partnership hits a rough patch, they have to work together to solve the greatest mystery of all- What it means to be a friend.
The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber2021 Silver Birch Fiction Award -- Winner * 2022 Diamond Willow Award -- ShortlistedBeing yourself isn't always easy.When you're new in school, all you want is to fit in. When eleven-year-old Warren and his family move to a new city, his twin brother, who has Down syndrome, attracts too much attention for Warren's liking. Bennie's different and doesn't care about it. But while Bennie may be oblivious to those who are curious or uneasy with him, Warren notices every smirk, comment, and sideways glance.Warren is weary of flip-flopping between trying to be just like everyone else and being the protective brother of a boy with special needs. Sometimes he thinks his life would be easier if he had no brother. But what he really needs is to stop worrying about what other people think.