Honor roll: Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature – Text

Each of these books has been nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature – Text. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

Kenneth Oppel

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures…until the day their adventures turn all too real.

They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor’s curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

Book:Airborn

Airborn

Kenneth Oppel

Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow’s nest, being the ship’s eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there’d been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud…

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. …[more]

Book:Blink & Caution

Blink & Caution

Tim Wynne-Jones

Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a cell phone dropped by an “abducted” CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it’s OK as long as he s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold.

Enter a girl named Caution. As in “Caution: Toxic.” As in “Caution: Watch Your Step.” She’s also on the run, from a skeezy drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won’t let her go. When she spies Blink at the train station, Caution can see he’s an easy mark. But there’s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. …[more]

Book:Seraphina (Rachel Hartman)

Seraphina

Rachel Hartman

The kingdom of Goredd is populated by humans and by dragons who fold themselves into a human form. Though they live alongside each other, the peace between them is uneasy.

But when a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon the peace and treaty between both worlds is seriously threatened…

Into this comes Seraphina, a gifted musician who joins the royal court as the assistant to the court composer. She is soon drawn into the murder investigation and, as she uncovers hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace in Goredd for good, finds herself caught desperately in the middle of the tension.

For Seraphina hides a secret—the secret behind her musical gift—and if she is found out, her life is in serious danger…

Book:The White Bicycle

The White Bicycle

Beverley Brenna

The White Bicycle is the third stand-alone title in the Wild Orchid series about a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. This installment chronicles Taylor Jane’s travels to the south of France where she spends a summer babysitting for the Phoenix family. Including flashbacks into Taylor’s earliest memories, along with immediate scenes in Lourmarin, a picturesque village in the Luberon Valley, The White Bicycle results in a journey for independence both personal and universal, told in Taylor’s honest first-person prose.

Book:Dust

Dust

Arthur Slade

Seven-year-old Matthew disappears one day on a walk into Horshoe, a dust bowl farm town in Depression-era Saskatchewan. Robert, his older brother, is determined to find Matthew, even when the grownups seem to give up. Other children go missing just as a strange man named Abram Harsich appears in town. He dazzles the townspeople, long plagued by the effects of drought, with magic mirrors and the promises of a rainmaking machine. Only Robert seems to be able to resist Abram, and to discover what happened to Matthew.

Book:True Confessions of a Heartless Girl

True Confessions of a Heartless Girl

Martha Brooks

In the midst of a heaven-rattling summer storm a young stranger blows into a small prairie town. On the run after taking her latest boyfriend’s truck, with a pocketful of stolen money and a heart full of pain, seventeen-year-old Noreen Stall seems to invite trouble. And trouble comes soon enough as Noreen’s new mistakes trigger calamities that shake the lives of the residents of Pembina Lake: Lynda Bradley, a divorced mother and owner of a failing café who’s given up on life and love; Dolores Harper, the village elder who, in spite of her signature sweatshirt that says MEDDLING FOR JESUS, has lost her enthusiasm for helping others; and Del Armstrong, a middle-aged bachelor farmer who is still paying for the tragic events of his own seventeenth summer.

Set against the vast skies of a prairie landscape, with a rich cast of unforgettable characters and an unlikely heroine as endearing as she is tough, this affecting novel reminds readers that it’s never too late for forgiveness—and that sometimes the most unlikely messenger can deliver a small miracle.

Book:The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Teresa Toten

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He’s determined to protect and defend her—to play Batman to her Robyn—whatever the cost. But when you’re fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it’s hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a “normal” relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that’s not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam’s mother has started to receive…

Teresa Toten sets some tough and topical issues against the backdrop of a traditional whodunit in this engaging new novel that readers will find hard to put down.

Book:The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

Susin Nielsen

Darker than her previous novels, Susin peoples this novel about the ultimate cost of bullying with a cast of fabulous characters, dark humour, and a lovable, difficult protagonist struggling to come to terms with the horrible crime his brother has committed.

Book:From Then to Now: A Short History of the World

From Then to Now: A Short History of the World

Christopher Moore, Andrej Krystoforski

Just 50,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors ventured off the African savannah and into the wider world. Now, our technology reaches far out into the cosmos. How did we get to where we are today?

With lively text and colorful illustrations, From Then to Now explains how individual societies struggled to find their own paths, despite war, disease, slavery, natural disasters, and the relentless growth of human knowledge. From Hammurabi to Henry Ford, from Incan couriers to the Internet, from the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower, from Marco Polo to Martin Luther King, from Cleopatra to Catherine the Great, from boiled haggis to fried tarantulas—this is no less than the story of humanity. It’s the story of how we grew apart over all those years of migration and division, and how—as we recognize our common heritage and our often mixed ancestry—we can come together.

An index, maps, and notes make this a must-have reference, as well as a delight to read and to discuss. From Then to Now is bound to create a generation of history buffs!

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