If you have a tween reader and are looking for new books to quench their thirst, here are some recommendations taken from the new 2015 MYRCA shortlist.
For fans of Dr Seuss: In an updated version of the Emperor’s New Clothes, Robert Paul Weston has given us a masterful example of literary prowess perfect for reading aloud to a classroom of tweens. Written entirely in verse, Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff is a cautionary tale about vanity, perfect for the Lady Gaga generation. Princess Francesca wants nothing more than to than curl up on a pillow, in her pajamas and read books all day long. But the Kingdom of Spiff is ruled by fashion and everyone is expected to dress up for the ball. When Prince Puggly is invited to the extravaganza, will he become a social pariah because of his unfashionable attire?
For dog lovers: Reminiscent of 101 Dalmatians, The Metro Dogs of Moscow by Rachelle Delaney follows the adventures of JR, a Jack Russell terrier whose human is a Canadian ambassador stationed in Moscow. Their cleaning lady has a habit of leaving the living room window open and JR takes full advantage of his newfound freedom. In his daily escapades, he meets snobby embassy dogs who actually like being on leash and scruffy stray dogs living underground in the Moscow subway. When JR discovers that his new friends are being dognapped, he decides he must solve the mystery any way he can!
For fans of the Warriors series: In The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, author Charles DeLint has teamed up with illustrator Charles Vess to create a coming of age tale about the power of choice. Lillian lives with her aunt in a little cabin on the edge of a wood teaming with mystical creatures. One day, as she is searching for fairies, she gets bitten by a venomous snake and slowly begins to die. Even though it is forbidden, the wild cats decide to use their magic to save Lillian’s life. When she wakes, Lillian is happy to be alive, but is devastated to learn she has been transformed into a kitten. Her only hope rests with the Old Possum-Witch who may have magic powerful enough to transform her back into a girl.
For fans of Percy Jackson: If your tweens have watched the movie Thor once too many times, try Loki’s Wolves, a new series written by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. It is the first in a series that uses Norse mythology as inspiration. Set in North Dakota, 13 year old Matt knows that he is the descendant of Thor and isn’t surprised when the town names him as champion. Now he must team up with friends Fen and Laurie to try and prevent the end of the world, Ragnarok. Will they find Thor’s hammer and shield before they are hunted down by Loki’s wolves? Curious tweens can check out the website devoted to the series: http://www.blackwellpages.com/
For fans of The Hobbit: If your teens have read the Hunger Games series and aren’t yet sick of apocalyptic fiction, Urgle by Meaghan McIsaac is a very original take on the Lord of the Flies. A society of boys is living on the edge of the volcanic Ikkuma pit. When a baby is abandoned, one boy must accept responsibility for him and raise him until he is independent enough to raise a baby of his own. Urgle is known as Useless for his inability to properly raise his younger brother Cubby. Not only is Urgle small and unable to hunt like the others, Cubby is sensitive and gets picked on for being a “mother-seeker”. When a strange man appears, hunted and wounded, the Ikkuma boys are amazed; no man has ever returned to the pit! Curious, Urgle notices things about the man that worry him, but when Cubby is attacked and dragged off by wild goblins, Urgle must learn to trust the stranger so that he may find Cubby before it’s too late.
For fans of The Fault in our Stars: Teresa Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is one of those books whose subject matter may seem uninteresting but whose characters are so realistic that you want to reach out and hug them. 14-year-old Adam is trapped in many ways. Not only does he suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), his younger step-brother, Sweetie is exhibiting the same symptoms and his mother has been receiving threatening letters which she refuses to discuss. Adam finds solace in room 13B where he goes to weekly support group meetings. There he meets Robyn and falls instantly in love with her. Will Adam find the courage to face the truth about himself, his family and the girl he loves? Keep a box of tissues handy, you might need them!
MYRCA is the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award which aims to pair readers with great Canadian fiction. Any child, resident of Manitoba may vote for their favorite book as long as they have read 5 from the pre-selected Shortlist of nominees. For more information go to www.myrca.ca, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @MyrcAward.
Some titles are not yet available, please check back soon to get your copy or download them through OverDrive.