Blue Spruce Award Nominees for 2018

The Forest of Reading, an initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA), released its list of nominees for the 2018 Blue Spruce Awards.

If you aren’t sure what the Blue Spruce Award is, it’s a provincial primary reading program that helps children in kindergarten through to grade 2 develop the skill of evaluating a picture book. Once the children have read through the titles, they vote to determine the winning book.

The nominees for the Blue Spruce Award in 2018 include the following titles:

Blue Spruce Award Nominee 2018

Publisher: Kids Can Press
Author: Mireille Messier
Illustrator: Pierre Pratt

When an ice storm snaps a small girl’s favourite branch from the tree in her years, she’s crestfallen. The girl’s mom says it’s just a branch. But not to her! “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship…”

Luckily, her neighbour Mr.Frank understands. He says the branch has “potential.” “What’s potential?” she asks. “It means it’s worth keeping.” And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr.Frank’s guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure.

Blue Spruce Award Nominee 2018

Publisher: Tundra Books
Authors: Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion
Illustrators: Eric Fan & Terry Fan

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem– at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He;s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest of dark there is– and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

2018 Blue Spruce Award Nominee

Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Writer: Shelly Becker
Illustrator: Eda Kaban

Colourful action-packed illustrations and a dynamic rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed. 

2018 Blue Spruce Award Nominees

Publisher: Pajama Press
Writer: Kari-Lynn Winters
Illustrator: François Tisdale

Phoebe-half Jamaican, half French-Canadian-hates her school nickname of “French Toast.” So she is mortified when, out on a walk with her Jamaican grandmother, she hears a classmate shout it out at her. To make things worse, Nan-Ma, who is blind, wants an explanation of the name.

How can Phoebe describe the colour of her skin to someone who has never seen it? “Like tea, after you’ve added the milk” she says. And her father? “Like warm banana bread.” And Nan-Ma herself? She is like maple syrup poured over …well…

Blue Spruce Award 2018 NomineePublisher: Puffin Canada
Writers: Glen Gretzky & Lauri Holomis
Illustrator: Kevin Sylvester

Taylor is so excited when he makes the hockey team – and not just any team, but HIS team. The boy they are already calling The Great One. Taylor wants to be great too, but he’s still got a lot to learn.

Lucky for him, Coach Wally is in his corner, guiding him through the ups and downs of being part of a hockey team, and being the best player he can be. As Coach Wally says, if you have a good time, work hard and do your best, “that is all that matters.”

Blue Spruce Award 2018 Nominees

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Writer: Carolyn Huizinga Mills
Illustrator: Brooke Kerrigan

Sally loved taking baths. It wasn’t because the water was full of bubbles? or because she had the bathroom all to herself? and it was not because she always came out squeaky clean? Sally loved taking baths because it was the only time she could talk to the Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain.

Sally found out about him when her mother sang to Sally’s baby brother about Baa Baa Black Sheep and his three bags of wool, one of which went to the Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain. And thus a friendship was born. Every bath that Sally took after that was devoted to discovering more about her new friend. 

Blue Spruce Award Nomination 2018

Publisher: Owlkids Books
Writer: Bree Galbraith
Illustrator: Josée Bisaillon

When Milo’s family moves to a new city, he vows to officially retire from having fun. So he stays inside for days while is little sister, Georgie, yearns to explore the new neighbourhood. Finally, Milo ties Georgie to the end of a ball yarn so she can go out, on one condition: she has to come home when he tugs the string twice. 

But one day, Georgie isn’t at the end of the string. While means Milo might just have to step outside and discover everything he’s been missing. Charming, detailed artwork illustrates their vibrant new city in this heartwarming story about supporting each other, building community, adapting to change, and embracing new things.

Blue Spruce Award Nominations

Publisher: Inhabit Media Inc.
Writer: Roselynn Akulukjuk 
Illustrator: Amanda Sandland

As Owl swoops down and blocks the entrance to a lemming den, he is sure that he has a tasty meal in the little animal he has cornered. But this lemming is not about to be late. This smart little rodent will need to appeal to the boastful owl’s sense of pride to get away.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Writer: Jess Keating
Illustrator: Marta Alvarez Magueys

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary-and they didn’t think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname Shark Lady. Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

Blue Spruce Nominations 2018

Publisher: Kids Can Press
Writer: Andrew Larsen
Illustrator: Mike Lowery

A young boy wants to write a story, just like his big sister. But there’s a problem, he tells her. Though he knows his letters, he doesn’t know many words. “Every story starts with a single word and every word starts with a single letter,” his sister explains patiently. ” Why don’t you start there, with a letter?”

So the boy tries. He writes a letter. An easy letter. The letter I. And from that one skinny letter, the story grows, and the little boy discovers that all of us, including him, have what we need to write our own perfect story. 

For the full list of 2018 Forest of Reading nominees, click here. If you’d like to learn more about the Forest of Reading, you can download their 2017 informational kit.

Congratulations to all of the nominees of the Blue Spruce Award. Click on any of the books listed above to purchase a copy of the picture book for your family.

Readers will be able to vote on their favourite book in April, with the winner being announced in May.

Check back this week for the Forest of Reading Silver Birch Award nominees. In the meantime, you can watch the nominees being announced on the video below:

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