Thursday 15 October 2020

2021 Forest of Reading® nominees: Blue Spruce™, Silver Birch®

Today the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading, Canada's largest readers' choice award program, announced the nominees for this year. The lists of all nominated books are available on the OLA website here. Young readers from JK through high school have the opportunity to read and vote on their favourite books in nine different categories:

  • Blue Spruce: JK-Grade 2, picture books
  • Silver Birch Express: Grades 3-4, fiction and non-fiction
  • Silver Birch Fiction: Grades 3-6, fiction
  • Yellow Cedar: Grades 4-8, non-fiction
  • Red Maple: Grades 7-8, fiction
  • White Pine: Grades 9-12, fiction
  • Le prix Peuplier: French-language picture books, less text, simpler subject matters, perfect for read-alouds
  • Le prix Mélèze: shorter French-language chapter books with maximum 100 pages or more mature picture books, larger text with pictures, simpler vocabulary and verb tenses
  • Le prix Tamarac: French-language chapter books from 100 to 250 pages, smaller text with little or no illustrations, more complicated verb tenses and vocabulary

Because there are ninety nominated titles, I will break up the posts listing them in three groupings. Here are the lists of this year's nominated titles for the 2021 Blue Spruce™, Silver Birch Express® and Silver Birch Fiction® Awards of the Forest of Reading. Links to the other lists follow.


Bad Dog
Written and illustrated by Mike Boldt
Doubleday Books For Young Readers
Be You!
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Reviewed here

Written and illustrated by Kim Smith

Fast Friends
Written by Heather M. O’Connor
Illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Scholastic Canada

Going Up!
Written by Sherry J. Lee
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Kids Can Press 

Grandmother School
Written by Rina Singh
Illustrated by Ellen Rooney

My Day with Gong Gong
Written by Sennah Yee
Illustrated by Elaine Chen
Annick Press

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
Written by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali
Illustrated by Hatem Aly
Little, Brown and Company 

Salma the Syrian Chef
Written by Danny Ramadan
Illustrated by Anna Bron
Annick Press

The Truth About Wind
Written by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert
Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Annick Press


Cells: An Owner’s Handbook
Written by and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher
Beach Lane Books





Genius Jolene
Written by Sara Cassidy
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Orca Book Publishers

Ghost’s Journey: A Refugee Story
Written by Robin Stevenson
Illustrated by Rainer Oktovianus
Rebel Mountain Press

The Grizzly Mother
Written by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw
Illustrated by Natasha Donovan
HighWater Press

A Last Goodbye
Written by Elin Kelsey
Illustrated by Soyeon Kim
Owlkids Books

Peter and Ernesto: Sloths in the Night
Written by and illustrated by Graham Annable
First Second

The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden
Written by Heather Smith
Illustrated by Rachel Wada
Orca Book Publishers

Planet Hockey: First Star of the Game
Written by J. Torres
Illustrated by Tim Levins
Scholastic Canada

Terry Fox and Me
Written by Mary Beth Leatherdale
Illustrated by Milan Pavlović

The Train
Written by Jodie Callaghan
Illustrated by Georgia Lesley
Second Story Press


All The Ways Home
Written by Elsie Chapman
Feiwel & Friends

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga Book 1
Written by David A. Richardson
Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

A Boy is Not a Bird
Written by Edeet Ravel
Groundwood Books

Dog Driven
Written by Terry Lynn Johnson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ember and the Ice Dragons
Written by Heather Fawcett
Published by HarperCollins

The Ghost Collector
Written by Allison Mills
Annick Press

Harvey Comes Home
Written by Colleen Nelson
Illustrated by Tara Anderson
Pajama Press

The Jigsaw Puzzle King
Written by Gina McMurchy-Barber

Music for Tigers
Written by Michelle Kadarusman
Pajama Press

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer
Written and illustrated by Gillian Goerz
Dial Books


Nominees for the other programs can be linked from below:

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