Quill and Quire

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Fall preview 2013: non-fiction and international titles for young people

In the June issue, Q&Q looks ahead at fall’s most anticipated books for young readers.


Deborah Ellis spent two years travelling across the U.S. and Canada speaking to native children for Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids (Groundwood, $15.95 cl., Sept.). As with Ellis’s previous work focusing on children in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, the book gives a diverse group of kids a chance to share their experiences in their own words. ¢ Nancy Runstedler chronicles the true and inspiring stories of North American kids who have taken action in the areas of homelessness, human rights, literacy, and more in Pay It Forward Kids: Small Acts, Big Change (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $18.95 cl.), available this October.

If you could write a letter to your teenage self, what would you say? In Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths (Three O’Clock Press Inc., $14.95 pa., Oct.), Sheila Sampath, editorial director of the feminist youth magazine Shameless, brings together social-justice advocates such as Nina Power, Grace Lee Boggs, and Rae Spoon to answer that question. ¢ Those who find other puberty books lacking might appreciate Owlkids’ Growing Up, Inside and Out ($18.95 cl., $11.95 pa., Oct.), written by Kira Vermond and illustrated by Carl Chin. The book, targeting both genders, provides answers to questions about physical and emotional changes associated with puberty, including queer issues.

The roots of conflict are explored in Why Do We Fight? Conflicts, War, and Peace (Owlkids, $16.95 cl., Sept.) by Niki Walker, which examines the factors that lead to clashes, whether personal or global.

Cat Champions: Caring for Our Feline Friends (Pajama Press, $21.95 cl., $14.95 pa., Sept.), by Zoocheck Canada founder Rob Laidlaw, is filled with colour photographs and true stories about kids who volunteer at shelters, foster kittens, and generally make the world a kinder place for feline furballs. ¢ Michael Worek‘s Weird Insects (Firefly Books, $9.95 pa., Sept.) delivers an up-close look at some of the animal kingdom’s strangest (and tiniest) creatures.

Jill Bryant, author of Dazzling Women Designers and Amazing Women Athletes, profiles 10 creative business leaders in Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs (Second Story Press, $10.95 pa., Sept.), which looks at the lives of a diverse group of women including The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and finance expert Naina Lal Kidwai. ¢ Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and more than 20 other musical heavyweights get the profile treatment in Legends, Icons & Rebels (Tundra Books, $29.99 cl., Oct.), written by the Band’s Robbie Robertson, with co–authors Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine.


The YA fantasy genre is as hot as ever, and the new book from Holly Black, best-selling author of the Spiderwick series, will only fan the flames. In The Coldest Girl in Cold Town (Little, Brown/Hachette, $21 cl., Sept.), Tana wakes up one morning to find herself in a dangerous walled city where monsters lurk in search of human prey. ¢ Those hungry for more Suzanne Collins should get ready for something a little different. Year of the Jungle (Scholastic, $19.99 cl., Sept.), featuring James Proimos‘s illustrations, is an autobiographical picture book that follows little Suzy, who is left wondering what her father will face in the jungles of Vietnam.

Iranian-American author Sara Farizan delves into sensitive territory in If You Could Be Mine (HarperCollins Canada, $17.99 cl., Aug.). The novel tells the story of Sahar and Nasrin, teenage girls in Iran who have been in love since they were six. Sahar believes the only chance for them to be together is for her to undergo sex reassignment surgery, which is accepted in Iran but would change her true identity forever. ¢ From Drawn & Quarterly comes a full-colour biography of 19th-century birth-control activist (and Planned Parenthood founder) Margaret Sanger. American cartoonist Peter Bagge brings equal parts humour and respect to the story of the trailblazing woman’s life in The Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story ($21.95 cl., Oct.).

Elizabeth Wein returns to the Second World War setting of last year’s Code Name Verity with Rose Under Fire (Doubleday Canada, $19.95 cl., Sept.), about a young pilot who must survive capture by the Germans and incarceration at Ravensbrück, the Nazi concentration camp for women. ¢ Razia is a young Afghan girl who longs to attend her village’s new school in Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education (Kids Can, $19.95 cl., Sept.). Based on a true story, this picture book by Elizabeth Suneby, with art by Suana Verelst, follows Razia as she teaches her father and brother that going to school would benefit the whole family.