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.
Butt Sandwich and Tree by Wesley KingFrom New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wesley King comes a tender and grounded middle grade mystery about brothers, basketball, and a young boy on the autism spectrum. Eleven-year-old Green loves his devoted older brother, Cedar, a popular basketball star, but that doesn't mean he wants to follow in his footsteps. He doesn't really care about sports or making friends. Still, eventually Green caves to pressure to try out for the basketball team. He may be tall like Cedar, but he's nowhere near as skilled. And when a confrontation with the coach spurs Green to flee the court, his flight coincides with a priceless necklace going missing--making him the number one suspect. To clear Green's name, the two brothers team up to find the necklace, and along the way, they learn to appreciate their differences...and the things that bring them together.
Forever Birchwood by Danielle DanielThe middle-grade debut of star picture-book author and illustrator Danielle Daniel Adventurous, trail-blazing Wolf lives in a northern mining town and spends her days exploring the mountains and wilderness with her three best friends Penny, Ann and Brandi. The girls' secret refuge is their tree-house hideaway, Birchwood, Wolf's favourite place on earth. When her beloved grandmother tells her that she is the great-granddaughter of a tree talker, Wolf knows that she is destined to protect the birch trees and wildlife that surround her. But Wolf's mother doesn't understand this connection at all. Not only is she reluctant to engage with their family's Indigenous roots, she seems suspiciously on the wrong side of the environmental protection efforts in their hometown. To make matters worse, she's just started dating an annoying new boyfriend named Roger, whose motives--and construction company--seem equally suspect. As summer arrives, so do bigger problems. Wolf and her friends discover orange plastic bands wrapped around the trees near their cherished hangout spot, and their once stable friendship seems on the verge of unravelling. Birchwood has given them so much--can they even stay together long enough to save this special place? With gorgeous yet understated language, Danielle Daniel beautifully captures an urgent and aching time in a young person's life. To read this astonishing middle-grade debut is to have your heart broken and then tenderly mended.
Living with Viola by Rosena Fung"Unforgettable . . . will shake middle grade readers to the core."--School Library Journal, starred review "Beautifully illustrated, relatable, and genuine." --Molly Brooks, creator of Sanity & Tallulah "Everyone needs to buy this book now. Seriously. Buy it, read it, share it."--Colleen Nelson, author and teacher Honest and funny, this award-winning graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school. Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school--and then there's Viola. Viola is Livy's anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola's relentless judgement, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola's days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola. Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier's Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy's rich imaginative world--filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns--to life on the page.
Meranda and the Legend of the Lake by Meagan MahoneyAnne of Green Gablesmeets Song for a Whalewith a touch of Nancy Drew in this debut middle-grade mystery "Mahoney's debut novel combines the fantastical and contemporary to create an accessible story for young readers ... An intriguing mystery set in the mythical backdrop of a coastal Canadian town, starring an unstoppable girl driven by curiosity and her adventurous nature." -- Booklist Eleven-year-old Meranda thought her life was complicated enough with physical challenges (she uses crutches to walk) and her helicopter parents. But when her great-uncle Mark dies, Meranda and her family visit Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where her parents grew up and where she hasn't been since the age of three. Soon, secrets begin to unfold: Why does the newspaper headline say her great-uncle Mark's death was suspicious? Why do strangers keep calling Meranda "miracle baby"? Why does her usually calm mother seem so panicky and scared? And what on earth does all this have to do with mermaids? Meranda and her new friend, Claire, decide to investigate on their own. But as Meranda begins to separate fact from fiction, she finds herself in very real danger ... With an intriguing mystery afoot, and a strong-willed, resilient heroine at the helm, this mythical maritime novel celebrates coming of age and growing into yourself.
Sneaks by Catherine EganMen in Black meets middle school! A school project takes an alien turn when three kids uncover a secret society whose aim is to keep sneaks--mischievous interdimensional sprites--from slipping into our universe! When Ben Harp sees his teacher's watch crawling across the hallway, he thinks he must be dreaming. But no, he's just seen his first Sneak--an interdimensional mischief-maker that can borrow the form of any ordinary object. He figured this school year would be bad--his best friend moved away, the class bully is circling, and he's stuck doing a group project with two similarly friendless girls, Charlotte and Akemi. Still, he wasn't expecting aliens! And he certainly wasn't expecting that the woman he and Charlotte and Akemi are assigned to interview for their "living local history" project would be a Sneak expert. Or that she'd foist an old book on them to keep safe . . . and then disappear. Now Ben, Charlotte, and Akemi are trying to understand a book that seems to contain a coded map while being pursued by violent clothes hangers, fire-spitting squirrels, and more. The Sneaks want that book! And they want something else, too: to pull a vastly more dangerous creature into the world with them. Can three misfit kids decode the book in time to stop an alien takeover? And if they do, will they get extra credit on their group project?
Stealing Home by J. Torres; David Namisato (Illustrator)When a boy struggles after moving to a Japanese internment camp during WWII, baseball shows him another way to approach life. Sandy Saito is a happy boy who reads comic books and is obsessed with baseball --- especially the Asahi team, the pride of his Japanese Canadian community. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his life, like that of every other North American of Japanese descent, changes forever. His family is forced to move to a remote internment camp, and his father must spend months away from them. Sandy, his mother and his brother cope as best they can with the difficulties at the camp. Over time, Sandy comes to realize that life is a lot like baseball. It's about dealing with whatever is thrown at you, however you can. And it's about finding your way home. In this emotionally gripping graphic novel, J. Torres has artfully woven a fictional story into a historically accurate, thoroughly researched account of the events surrounding the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Using the approachable graphic novel format, the story of this grave chapter in North American history is gently told with sensitivity and insight, and the theme of baseball runs through the story as a message of hope and renewal. The time and place are evocatively rendered in David Namisato's detailed sepia-toned art. Along with its links to social studies and history lessons, this book offers a perfect lead-in to discussions about differences, inclusion and empathy, and about why this history is relevant today. The book includes extended background information in an afterword by Susan Aihoshi and resources for learning more.
The Stone Child by David A. RobertsonIt's a race against time to save Eli, in this third book in the award-winning, Narnia-inspired Indigenous middle-grade fantasy series. After discovering a near-lifeless Eli at the base of the Great Tree, Morgan knows she doesn't have much time to save him. And it will mean asking for help - from friends old and new. Racing against the clock, and with Arik and Emily at her side, Morgan sets off to follow the trail away from the Great Tree to find Eli's soul before it's too late. As they journey deep into the northern woods, a place they've been warned never to enter, they face new challenges and life-threatening attacks from strange and horrifying creatures. But a surprise ally comes to their aid, and Morgan finds the strength to focus on what's most important- saving her brother's life.
Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas"Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!" JERRY CRAFT, author of the Newbery Medal-winning New Kid A splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas! Bree can't wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees--until she's stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she's forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help. With Etta's training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school's failing team around. But that's easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake. Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap--for good Praise for SWIM TEAM: "A revelation! You'll root for Swim Team--the water is just right." --JOHN JENNINGS, New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning creator "Swim Team is a beautiful story about trying new things. Johnnie Christmas is a fantastic storyteller and artist." --KAZU KIBUISHI, author of Amulet "Full of charm, heart, and pulse-pounding races. A winner!" --GENE LUEN YANG, author of American Born Chinese and Dragon Hoops
The Undercover Book List by Colleen NelsonHe's known as the class troublemaker. She's known as the bookworm. But when every note they send is anonymous, identity is suddenly what they make it. Between her father's posting overseas and her best friend Sienna's move to the other side of the country, seventh grade is looking lonely for Jane MacDonald. But Sienna has left her with one last trick: a hidden message in a library book--the perfect plot to start a secret club and find Jane a new book-loving friend. Tyson Flamand has problems of his own. Since the fourth grade he's had a reputation as a bad kid, and there's no point fighting it when teachers always think the worst. So when he finds an anonymous note in the library looking for a nerdy new friend, he knows he's the last person in the world it could be meant for. But something makes him answer it anyway, and Tyson finds himself pulled into a secret book club where being hidden may be the first step to being truly seen. With the insight of a veteran middle-school teacher, Colleen Nelson, author of the award-winning Harvey Comes Home and Sadia, weaves together two stories of identity, expectation, and the courage to challenge both. As their paths move ever closer, Jane and Tyson both discover their own self-reliance and their ability to overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable.
Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay ZhaoPercy Jackson meets Tristan Strong in this hilarious, action-packed middle grade contemporary fantasy that follows a young boy as he journeys across China to seal the underworld shut and save the mortal realm. Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open. The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack's body and binds to Zack's AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack's mom's soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history's most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor's incredible water dragon powers. And if Zack can't finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.