2019 Blue Spruce Award™ Nominees
Barnaby Never Forgets
Written and Illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby
Published by Candlewick Press
Barnaby has a very good memory. He remembers to brush his teeth and feed his grasshoppers, and he always, always remembers when it’s ice-cream night. So how can someone with such a good memory forget something so important? As Barnaby soon finds out, sometimes the thing that’s slipped your mind is right under your nose (or right above it). Lovable, scatterbrained Barnaby will win the hearts of adults and kids alike in Pierre Collet-Derby’s funny and familiar tale of remembering what you’ve forgotten — and learning to laugh at yourself.
Meet Barnaby, an unforgettable bunny (with a few blind spots)!
The Better Tree Fort
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Published by Groundwood Books
“Let’s build a tree fort,” Russell says to his dad when they move into a house with a big maple tree in the backyard. His dad doesn’t know much about building, but he gamely follows Russell’s plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect — right up until he notices another tree fort going up three houses over.
When Russell goes over to investigate, he meets Warren, whose bigger tree fort has castle turrets and working lights. Russell is in awe until it dawns on him that it’s not worth worrying about who has the better tree fort when he has a loving dad there to build one with him.
In this subtle, humorous story, Jessica Scott Kerrin explores the idea of keeping up with the Joneses — and what that means when you’re a kid with a tree fort. Qin Leng’s lighthearted watercolour illustrations show the unshakeable bond between a father and son, as well as the delightful details of two tree forts.
Written by Jean Little
Illustrated by Joe Weissmann
Published by Orca Book Publishers
Harry tries and tries to get rid of his hiccups. He tries drinking a glass of water upside down, he tries putting an ice-cold key down his back, he gleefully tries eating a spoonful of sugar. But nothing works!
In this charming picture book, written by children's literature legend Jean Little and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Joe Weissmann, Harry is afflicted with a case of the hopeless hiccups. It's not until Harry has a surprise encounter with a different sort of neighbour that it seems like Harry might finally get some relief...hiccup, hiccup...
I Love My Purse
Written by Belle DeMont
Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
Published by Annick Press
Charlie loves his bright red purse, so why does everyone else have a problem with it? Charlie loves the bright red purse that his grandmother let him have. One day, he decides to take it to school. First his father, then his friends, and even the crossing guard question him about his “strange” choice. After all, boys don’t carry purses. But Charlie isn’t deterred. Before long, his unselfconscious determination starts to affect those around him. His father puts on his favourite Hawaiian shirt to go to work, his friend Charlotte paints her face, and the crossing guard wears a pair of sparkly shoes. Thanks to Charlie, everyone around him realizes that it isn’t always necessary to conform to societal norms. It’s more important to be true to yourself. With its humorous, energetic illustrations, this book is sure to entertain young readers. It can also be used to open a discussion on gender roles.
I Love Sharks, Too!
Written by Leanne Shirtliffe
Illustrated by Lorenzo Montatore
Published by Sky Pony Press
Stevie likes sharks. Like a LOT. In response to everything his mom asks him, Stevie has an excellent shark fact in response.
"Brush your teeth, Stevie.
"Mom, Mako sharks don’t have to brush their teeth because they are covered in fluoride."
From morning to bedtime—you would think this might totally wear his mom down. But guess who likes, sharks, too?
The book is filled with tons of fun facts, and also information about different shark breeds.
The Magician's Secret
Written by Zachary Hyman
Illustrated by Joe Bluhm
Published by Tundra Books
Charlie loves when Grandpa comes to babysit because he always brings his magical imagination. Grandpa was a magician who knows the most amazing tricks; he can pull a rabbit from a hat and make a coin disappear. But what Charlie loves most are his wonderful adventure stories, and they all begin with something his grandfather has saved in his Magic Story Chest. An hourglass is a reminder of how he defended the treasure in King Tut's tomb from raiders. A long white scarf inspires the story about Grandpa's dogfight with the notorious Red Baron, the great First World War fighter pilot. A coconut shell heralds the story about his encounter with a nasty Tyrannosaurus Rex. Charlie's parents, though, aren't too sure they like Grandpa's stories and warn Charlie that they're just "tall tales." What is Charlie to believe? How can his grandpa convince him that all you need to do is believe and a dream can be turned into something real?
Written by Deborah Kerbel
Illustrated by Suzanne del Rizzo
Published by Pajama Press
Juno and her boy live in a red house at the top of the world. One day Juno will be big and strong enough to help pull a sled across the tundra, but for now she is just a small puppy with a big-dog heart. Small puppies have to go to bed when their boys do, but Juno can’t sleep with the midnight sun shining out across the town. She slips outside to play. Returning to see a hungry polar bear sniffing around the open door, Juno has no time to be afraid. It’s time to find her voice, summon the big dog inside her, and save her beloved boy.
Written and illustrated by Kari Rust
Published by Owlkids Books
The Duke and his dog, Tricky, spend their days making trouble. They cheat, steal, and play cruel-hearted pranks on their neighbours, just for fun. But one day, somebody new comes to town and gives Tricky a treat that melts his mischievous heart — and sets him thinking about the effect his actions have on others.
Inspired to change his ways, Tricky decides to set things right the only way he knows how… with tricks! Tricky’s ploy might just lead The Duke to reconsider his ways. Stylized cartoon-inspired art adds a distinctive mood and humour to this fun debut picture book about empathy, revenge, and reform.
What's My Superpower?
Written by Aviaq Johnston
Illustrated by Tim Mack
Published by Inhabit Media
Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than her at a million other things.
Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower.
But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special—and that her superpower was right in front of her all along
Where Oliver Fits
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Published by Tundra Books
Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs. Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit.