2018 Blue Spruce Award™ Nominees



The Branch
Written by Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Pierre Pratt
Kids Can Press

When an ice storm snaps a small girl's favourite branch from the tree in her yard, she's crestfallen. The girl's mom says it's just a branch. But not to her! "That was the branch i sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship..." Luckily, her neighbour Mr.Frank understands. He says the branch has "potential." "What's potential?" she asks. "It means it's worth keeping." And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr.Frank's guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure.

The Darkest Dark
Written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by Eric Fan and Terry Fan
Tundra Books

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem-- at night, Chris doesn't feel so brave. He;s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest of dark there is-- and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
Written by Shelly Becker
Illustrated by Eda Kaban
Sterling Publishing

When Superheroes don't get their way, when they're sad, when they're mad, when they've had a bad day...they COULD super-tantrum, then COULD but they DON'T, because REAL Superheroes just WOULDN'T-they WON'T!

All kinds have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes-even young superheroes! But what do they do when they're having a bad day? Colourful action-packed illustrations and a dynamic rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they're sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book of fun ideas to help kids cope when they're feeling overwhelmed. 

French Toast
Written By Kari-Lynn Winters
Illustrated by François Tisdale
Pajama Press

Phoebe-half Jamaican, half French-Canadian-hates her school nickname of "French Toast." So she is mortified when, out on a walk with her Jamaican grandmother, she hears a classmate shout it out at her. To make things worse, Nan-Ma, who is blind, wants an explanation of the name. How can Phoebe describe the colour of her skin to someone who has never seen it? "Like tea, after you've added the milk" she says. And her father? "Like warm banana bread." And Nan-Ma herself? She is like maple syrup poured over ...well...

Written by Glen Gretzky and Lauri Holomis
Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Foreword by Wayne Gretzky
Puffin Canada

Taylor is so excited when he makes the hockey team - and not just any team, but HIS team. The boy they are already calling The Great One. Taylor wants to be great too, but he's still got a lot to learn. Lucky for him, Coach Wally is in his corner, guiding him through the ups and downs of being part of a hockey team, and being the best player he can be. As Coach Wally says, if you have a good time, work hard and do your best, "that is all that matters."

The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain
Written by Carolyn Huizinga Mills
Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited

Sally loved taking baths. It wasn't because the water was full of bubbles? or because she had the bathroom all to herself? and it was not because she always came out squeaky clean? Sally loved taking baths because it was the only time she could talk to the Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain. Sally found out about him when her mother sang to Sally's baby brother about Baa Baa Black Sheep and his three bags of wool, one of which went to the Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain. And thus a friendship was born. Every bath that Sally took after that was devoted to discovering more about her new friend. 

Milo and Georgie
Written by Bree Galbraith
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
Owlkids Books Inc.

When Milo's family moves to a new city, he vows to officially retire from having fun. So he stays inside for days while is little sister, Georgie, yearns to explore the new neighbourhood. Finally, Milo ties Georgie to the end of a ball yarn so she can go out, on one condition: she has to come home when he tugs the string twice. 

But one day, Georgie isn't at the end of the string. While means Milo might just have to step outside and discover everything he's been missing. Charming, detailed artwork illustrates their vibrant new city in this heartwarming story about supporting each other, building community, adapting to change, and embracing new things.

The Owl and the Lemming
Written by Roselynn Akulukjuk 
Illustrated by Amanda Sandland
Inhabit Media Inc.

As Owl swoops down and blocks the entrance to a lemming den, he is sure that he has a tasty meal in the little animal he has cornered. But this lemming is not about to be late. This smart little rodent will need to appeal to the boastful owl's sense of pride to get away.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist
Written by Jess Keating
Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Magueys

This is the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire. This is the story of Shark Lady.

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn't imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary-and they didn't think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname Shark Lady. Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

A Squiggly Story
Written by Andrew Larsen
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
Kids Can Press

A young boy wants to write a story, just like his big sister. But there's a problem, he tells her. Though he knows his letters, he doesn't know many words. "Every story starts with a single word and every word starts with a single letter," his sister explains patiently. " Why don't you start there, with a letter?" So the boy tries. He writes a letter. An easy letter. The letter I. And from that one skinny letter, the story grows, and the little boy discovers that all of us, including him, have what we need to write our own perfect story.