2019 Silver Birch Award® Express Nominees

         
         



A Bear’s Life
Written by Nicholas Read
Illustrated by Ian McAllister
Published by Orca Book Publishers

Black bears, grizzly bears, and spirit bears all make their home in the Great Bear Rainforest. A Bear's Life uses Ian McAllister's stunning photographs to follow these beautiful animals through a year in the British Columbia wilderness—catching fish, eating berries, climbing trees and taking long naps.


Bloom - A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Published by Tundra Books

A dazzling first-person picture book biography of the life of iconic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli by the award-winning team who created Julia, Child.
 Here is the life of iconic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who as a little girl in Rome, was told by her own mamma that she was brutta. Ugly. So she decided to seek out beauty around her, and found it everywhere. What is beauty? Elsa wondered. She looked everywhere for beauty until something inside of Elsa blossomed, and she became an artist with an incredible imagination.

Defining beauty on her own creative terms, Schiaparelli worked hard to develop her designs, and eventually bloomed into an extraordinary talent who dreamed up the most wonderful dresses, hats, shoes and jewelry. Why not a shoe for a hat? Why not a dress with drawers? And she invented a colour: shocking pink! Her adventurous mind was the key to her happiness and success--and is still seen today in her legacy of wild imagination. Daring and different, Elsa Schiaparelli used art to make fashion, and it was quite marvelous.


Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad, the dynamic duo who created the critically acclaimed Julia, Child, team up again to bring to life the childhood memories and the inspiring milestones of the legendary Elsa Schiaparelli. With its warm, lyrical text and enchanting illustrations, Bloom shows readers how ingenuity, vision and self doubt all made Schiaparelli truly beautiful. A gift for her older fans and younger audiences who have yet to discover her genius, Bloom is sure to be an enthralling classic.


The Elephant Keeper: Caring For Orphaned Elephants in Zambia
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Pedro Covo
Published by Kids Can Press

When teenaged Aaron discovers a baby elephant nearly drowning in the swimming pool at the guest lodge where he works, he acts quickly and manages to save the animal just in time. The rescued baby is brought to an elephant orphanage for care and given the name Zambezi. Though Aaron has been raised to think of elephants as dangerous to humans and their crops, on a visit to the orphanage, he learns that illegal poaching of these animals is threatening them with extinction, and the orphanage is trying to prevent that from happening. And when Aaron is offered a job at the orphanage, his life is suddenly transformed, as he discovers a bond of friendship with Zambezi and his lifelong vocation as an elephant keeper.

Inspired by the real-life Aaron and Zambezi at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery in Zambia, author Margriet Ruurs has created a moving story that powerfully demonstrates the plight of endangered animals everywhere. Pedro Covo's stunning illustrations add a level of depth and haunting beauty to the story and the animals. Three nonfiction spreads interspersed throughout the story explore facts about elephants, ivory poaching and elephant orphanages. The back of the book contains ways children can help endangered wildlife.

Useful tools include a table of contents and a glossary. This beautifully illustrated nonfiction book spans the curriculum, from life sciences to global awareness to environmental stewardship. It also offers a unique perspective for character education lessons on empathy, caring and responsibility on a larger scale.


The Heartwood Hotel 02: The Greatest Gift
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Published by Harper Collins Canada

Mona has finally found a place to call home: the cozy Heartwood Hotel, where she works as a maid and sleeps snuggled up to her best friend, Tilly. Following the festive St. Slumber celebration, most of the guests have settled in to hibernate, and the staff is looking forward to a relaxing winter. But disruptions abound, from a difficult duchess to a mysterious midnight snacker. As the snow stacks higher and the food supplies shrink lower, Mona will have to gather friends both old and new to keep the peace, finding help along the way in some of the most unexpected places.


The Hollow Under the Tree
Written by Cary Fagan
Published by Groundwood Books

When a circus train derails in Toronto in 1925, a lion escapes and finds shelter in High Park, a four-hundred-acre park in the west end of the city. No one knows about the creature except for Sadie Menken, the feisty daughter of a pie-maker. As various squirrels, dogs and an expensive peacock meet unfortunate ends, and the park “beast” is spotted by visitors, the lion’s presence draws the attention of the authorities.

Can Sadie save the lion? Can she resist the temptation to try to make a pet of a creature that is wild at heart?

That will take the help of some unlikely allies, including her busy pie-making father, Miss Clemons the retired librarian, and a polite but lonely rich boy named Theodore, as Sadie discovers that an “all-right” ending can sometimes be just happy enough.

A story about a child who follows her heart, set at a time when kids were not always under a grownup’s watchful eye, when wild and urban spaces intertwined, and adventure could be found in a city’s back alley, or just past the picnic tables of the local park.


Meet Viola Desmond
Written by Elizabeth MacLeod
Illustrated by Mike Deas
Published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Meet Viola Desmond, entrepreneur and trailblazer for racial equality in Canada!

On a rainy November day in 1946, Viola decided that she would not give up her seat in the unofficial white section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Viola knew she was being asked to move because she was black. She was jailed, tried and found guilty of an unfair charge. But Viola and her supporters persisted in their campaign for social justice — all the way to Nova Scotia's Supreme Court.

Because when Viola decided to do something . . . she did it!

This new picture book biography series features simple text and full-colour, comic-flavoured illustration with speech balloons that help bring the story alive. Historical photos and a timeline support the narrative.


Tank and Fizz: The Case of Firebane’s Folly
Written by Liam O’Donnell
Illustrated by Mike Deas
Published by Orca Book Publishers

When their school bus veers off course while taking the kids from Gravelmuck Elementary on a field trip, monster detectives Tank and Fizz witness a crime that brings them snout to snout with Rockfall Mountain's oldest monster, the ancient dragon Firebane Drakeclaw. Thieves have stolen the Crown of Peace, which keeps the monster clans of the Dark Depths from fighting, and Tank and Fizz saw the whole thing. Now the detectives must track down the thieves and find the crown or their whole class will become dinner for one very hungry dragon!


The Theory of Hummingbirds
Written by Michelle Kadarusman
Published by Pajama Press

“Hummingbirds and angels don’t need two good feet. They have wings.” That’s what Alba’s mother always says. Of course, Alba doesn’t have wings or two good feet: she has Cleo. Cleo is the name Alba has given to her left foot, which was born twisted in the wrong direction. When she points this out, though, her mother just smiles like the world has some surprise in store she doesn’t know about yet.

Well, Alba has her own surprise planned. After one final surgery and one final cast, Cleo is almost ready to meet the world straight on—just in time to run in the sixth grade cross-country race. Unfortunately, Alba’s best friend Levi thinks there’s no way she can pull it off. And she thinks there’s no way he’s right about the school librarian hiding a wormhole in her office. Tempers flare. Sharp words fly faster than hummingbirds. And soon it looks like both friends will be stuck proving their theories on their own.


What Makes a Monster? Discovering the World's Scariest Creatures
Written by Jess Keating
Illustrated by David DeGrand
Published by Alfred A. Knopf

Monsters are real—and they’re everywhere in nature! Animal Planet meets Godzilla in this nonfiction picture book that puts the “Ack!” into backyard science.
 Some people think monsters are the stuff of nightmares—the stuff of scary movies and Halloween. But monsters can also be found right in your backyard. Animals like aye-ayes, goblin sharks and vampire bats may look scary, but they pose no threat to humans. Others, such as the prairie dog, seem innocent—cute, even—yet their behaviour could give you goose bumps.
 What makes a monster? Read this book to find out, if you dare... Jess Keating and David DeGrand, the author illustrator team behind Pink Is for Blobfish will have readers shrieking with laughter at this latest instalment to the World of Weird Animals series.


Where’s Burgess?
Written by Laurie Elmquist
Illustrated by David Parkins
Published by Orca Book Publishers

Reece Hansen is missing two things: his father and his frog. His parents are newly separated, and his dad is now living in another city, fighting forest fires. Reece struggles to get used to daily life without him. When he loses his pet frog, Burgess, Reece puts posters up around the neighbourhood. But frogs are difficult to find. It takes an unusual classmate, the boy who wears a bathrobe to school, to pull Reece's attention away from Burgess. Through his new friend and a camping trip with his mom, Reece learns that friends can come in human form and families are resilient even when things change.