A blog about books. Oh, and some other stuff too.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Canadian Authors You May Not Know (Yet)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. Are you a blogger as well? All that’s asked is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it!

In honour of the Forest of Reading nominees being announced yesterday (go to accessola.com for the posting!), I’d like to change up my focus a bit. I’m cheating on the rules, and want make my Top Ten about the best in Canadian children’s, middle grade and young adult literature because… well, they rock. I’m not biased (although I do read for one of the Forest Committees) because I think we have a wealth of amazing literary talent in this country that needs to be celebrated. You may know some of these names (and yay if you do because their work is worth knowing), but if you don’t, you need to visit your local indie bookstore (ahem) or Chapter’s/Indigo (hey, any place that celebrates books is good with me) to check them out.

Catherine Austen (All Good Children, Walking Backwards)

Austen has written some pretty great middle grade fiction, but it’s her YA novel “All Good Children” that had me handing out the book like candy to the kids. This novel, about a town where the youth are given a ‘serum’ to make them into perfectly behaved zombie-children, and its protagonist Max, a creative misfit who pretends to take the treatment in order to figure out a way to escape is funny, edgy and suspenseful. Best audience: a fantastic read for your Grade 7 and above reader.

Riel Nason (The Town That Drowned)

Nason’s novel about Ruby Carson during the 1960’s is beautifully written and handles subjects of first love and finding your place in the world with a deft hand. Ruby’s brother is considered weird, and she struggles to cope with life after rather spectacularly falling through the ice at a skating party. Now she is having visions of people in her town floating underwater –a vision of what might happen as the town slowly discovers a plan to put in a new dam that will eventually flood the town.  Best audience: Anyone in Grade 5 or above will fall deep and hard for this lovely novel.

Leah Bobet (Above)

Bobet has written an unapologetically Toronto-based novel while transporting you to somewhere beyond your expectations. Matthew and Ariel live in Safe, a place below the city where they are able to escape the Whitecoats. One night, all that changes and they are forced Above, to the city in light where they must find a way to survive. Part fantasy, part love story, this is a beautifully crafted tale that will leave you wanting more. Best audience: Your Grade 8 and above reader will enjoy this most.

Megan Crewe (The Way We Fall)

When a deadly virus begins to wipe out the people in her community, Kaelyn’s island is quarantined and everyone must fight to survive. Crewe isn’t afraid to write about the bleakness of life, but her strong characters keep you engaged and wanting to know more. Best audience: High school students and beyond for this one.

Carrie Mac (The Opposite of Tidy)

B.C. based novelist Mac has already won several awards for her previous books, but this story about a young girl struggling to hide the truth about her mother’s hording addiction while trying have a normal teenaged life alternates between laughter and heartbreak. Topical and interesting, this is a compelling read. Best audience: Grade 8 and above for some more mature content, I suspect.

Wesley King (The Vindico)

King hits all the right notes with this darkly humourous take on comic books and good v evil. The Vindico are a group of aging supervillians who realize that they need to find replacements, so they kidnap a group of teens and squire them away to a secret island to give them secret powers and teach them the ways of evil. What they didn’t count on was that these kids…. are teenagers, and sometimes they can be scarier than any villain. Best audience: Grade 6 and above, methinks.

Kevin Sylvester (The Neil Flambé series, Splinters, Sports Hall of Weird & other non-fiction)

Author Sylvester is as well-known for his illustrations as he is for his humorous books, both fiction and non.  His most recent addition to the Neil Flambé series is now out (Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure), but he’s also nominated for Splinters for his K-2 books. Best audience: Varies – his non-fiction is interesting to all grades and ages, while Neil Flambé might be better for Grade 4 and above.

Vikki VanSickle (Words that Rhyme with B, Love is a Four Letter Word, Days That End in Y)

The very talented VanSickle sums up life in elementary school with humour and a uncanny accuracy. Her tales of Clarissa and her best friend Benji bring you back to life in middle school, with all the resulting anxieties and emotions. Her characters are relatable and the stories contain enough humour to soften some of the more serious issues. Best audience: Grade 5 and above for sure.

Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat)

There’s something about Klassen’s picture books that make you want to read them again, no matter what age. I Want My Hat Back introduced the bear who searched for his missing hat with a more than slightly subversive edge that delighted parents and children alike. He’s back again with This is Not My Hat, about a hat-stealing fish … and another sly ending. My only question is how does he give his creatures such fabulous facial expressions?? Love them. Best audience: any age, especially if you have a sense of humour.

Nicholas Oldland (The Busy Beaver, Making the Moose Out of Life, Big Bear Hug)

Oldland, perhaps best known as the man behind the fabulous Hadley brand clothing line, has brought his signature moose, beaver and bear to this trilogy of books, but has also written several others. These three are absolute favourites (My 23 year old niece adores them, and got them for her birthday last year), and the stories have both a sense of humour and a gentle underlying message. Well worth re-reading over and over (because you will). Best audience: all ages, again especially if you have a good sense of humour.

What authors am I missing? Are there Canadian authors – or authors from outside of Canada – that we need to be reading? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Categorised in: Personal Musing, Top Ten Tuesday

8 Responses »

  1. This is a great list. It’s refreshing to read about some books I’ve never heard of and i like that you’re promoting authors from your homeland. I’ll be adding some of these to my Goodreads queue – thanks for the recommendations.


  2. A great list with new authors! Thank you! I have heard of Leah Bobet (Above), but because of some mixed reviews I never got Above. I might change that. 😉

    J’adore Happy Endings


  3. I loved All Good Children, and I can’t wait to read some others on this list. I had no idea Megan Crewe is Canadian!


  4. I didn’t know Wesley King was Canadian!

    And yay for promoting Canadian authors!


  5. Leah Bobbet & Megan Crewe are actually the only two I know. I still need to read there books (and I’m looking forward to it) I’m going to check out the rest of the authors you’ve mentioned 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    TTT fairytale authors @thedailyprophecy


  6. This is a great list! I haven’t heard of any of these authors but I definitely will look into checking them out. Thanks for the recommendations! 😀

    ~Allison @ Good Books and Good Wine


  7. It’s so great to see people talking about Canadian writers! 🙂 I’m a Canadian author (international bestseller) with 10 published novels, one of which was #4 on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers list (overall bestsellers, not the genre lists), right under The Hunger Games. If you haven’t read CHILDREN OF THE FOG, WHALE SONG or THE RIVER (my top 3), I invite you to check them out. I was born in Vancouver and currently live in Edmonton.

    Check me out at http://www.cherylktardif.com

    Great blog, by the way!


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