2020 Silver Birch Award® Fiction Nominees
Cross Ups 02: Anyone’s Game
Written by Sylv Chiang, Illustrated by Connie Choi
What’s up with Cali? Why does she keep changing her gamer tag?
It’s summertime, and even though his good friend Cali moved to another city, Jaden can connect with her online almost every day to play their favourite game, Cross Ups. His mom has loosened her rules on how often he can play, and he has an amazing new controller that will make him even better at tournaments. But then he gets roped into a dorky summer camp with his buddy Hugh, and Cali starts acting really weird… So when a last-minute tournament spot opens up in Cali’s city, Jaden jumps at the chance to go.
But things go badly from the start. Jaden loses his controller on the train, and his reunion with Cali is awkward. She’s unhappy, and Jaden can’t figure out why, especially when she’s getting better and better at Cross Ups—and may even win the tournament.
Written by Kenneth Oppel, Illustrated by Sydney Smith
The Rylance family is stuck. Dad's got writer's block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school—even though he can't draw. Sarah's still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom. So much more than they can say.
Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance's sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together—and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.
Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple of chapters of his math book—not good—and the story he's supposed to be illustrating for school—also not good. But Inkling's also started drawing the pictures to go with the story—which is amazing! It's just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too—for Sarah he's a puppy. And for Dad, he's a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It's exactly what they all want.
It's not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they—and Inkling—truly need.
My Life As a Diamond
Written by Jenny Manzer
Orca Book Publishers
Ten-year-old Caspar "Caz" Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret.
No one knows that back in Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. And it's nobody's business. Caz will tell his new friends when he's ready.
But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz's past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again.
Will Caz's teammates rally behind their star pitcher? Or will Caz be betrayed once more?
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane
Written by Julia Nobel
Emmy's dad disappeared years ago, and with her mother too busy to parent, she's shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England. But right before she leaves, a mysterious box arrives full of medallions and a note reading: These belonged to your father.
Just as she's settling into life at Wellsworth, Emmy begins to find the strange symbols from the medallions etched into the walls and stumbles upon the school's super-secret society, The Order of Black Hollow Lane. As Emmy and her friends delve deeper into the mysteries of The Order, she can't help but wonder—did this secret society have something to do with her dad's disappearance?
Written by Philippa Dowding
The world is slowly recovering after environmental collapse, and the children of the automated, domed city of Oculum have begun to awaken. Miranda, William and the 998 other children wake to tend the fruit trees and gardens behind the thick, opaque walls of their world. Some speak quietly of Outside, which is forbidden. Until William finds a door...
The children outside the dome of Oculum — Mann, Cranker and others raised by Grannie — live amongst the rubble of the old destroyed city. They live with hunger, hard work, and stories about a time before the fall, of buggies without horses, light without fire... and magical fruit called "peaches." But it must be lies, until one day Mann and Cranker get close enough to the ancient dome to find... a door....
Orange for the Sunsets
Written by Tina Athaide
Katherine Tegen Books
Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall.
But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game.
Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship.
Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying
Written by Kelley Armstrong
Twelve-year-old Rowan is destined to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the oldest child is always next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her monster hunting aunt's glorious sword and joining her queen mother for boring diplomatic teas. But tragedy shatters the longstanding rule, and Rowan finds herself hunting the most dangerous monster of all: a gryphon.
Accompanied by a feisty baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, Rowan sets off on a journey that will see her join other unlikely allies: a boy with monster-hunting ambitions of his own, and a girl hiding dangerous motives. It will take all of Rowan's skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this adventure on track. The future of her kingdom depends on it.
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
Written by Jonathan Auxier
For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"—orphans owned by chimney sweeps—to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived—and a girl. With her wits and will, she's managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together—saving one another in the process.
Wings of Olympus
Written by Kallie George, Illustrated by Fiona Hsieh
High on the slopes of mighty Mount Olympus, among the sun-splashed meadows and sparkling waters, glide the winged horses of the ancient gods. Here up high is normally no place for a lost, parentless girl like Pippa. But once every hundred years, the gods and goddesses descend to the mortal realm to choose jockeys for their winged horse race—and Pippa is one of the lucky children chosen to ride.
With her undersized, impetuous winged steed, Zephyr, by her side, Pippa has to confront the greatest challenge of her life: achieving victory in a race across the sky.
No one expects Pippa and Zephyr to win, or even finish, this death-defying race. A poor orphan who’s spent her life working in stables, Pippa doesn’t seem to belong in the world of the gods. And while she loves Zephyr with all her heart, he’s smaller than the other winged horses racing. But if Pippa and Zephyr don’t find a way to win, the gods will separate them—forever.
To stay with Zephyr, Pippa will have to work harder, train longer, and dare more bravely than her competition. In a race filled with petty, jealous gods and goddesses and a host of ruthless riders, Pippa must prove that love is greater than might.
Winnie’s Great War
Written by Linsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Here is a heartwarming reimagining of the real journey undertaken by the extraordinary bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. Follow Winnie’s war adventure—from her early days with her mother in the Canadian forest, to her remarkable travels with the Veterinary Corps across the country and overseas, and all the way to the London Zoo, where she met Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the creation of the world’s most famous bear.
This beautifully told story is a triumphant blending of deep research and magnificent imagination. Infused with Sophie Blackall’s irresistible renderings of an endearing bear, the book is also woven through with entries from Captain Harry Colebourn’s real wartime diaries and contains a selection of artifacts from the Colebourn family archives. The result is a one-of-a-kind exploration into the realities of war, the meaning of courage and the indelible power of friendship, all told through the historic adventures of one extraordinary bear.