The 2017/2018 Red Cedar nominees for Information are…

5 Giraffes by Anne Innis Dagg (Fitzhenry and Whiteside)

Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho (pajamapress)

All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean by Katherine Ashenburg (Annick)

Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet by Nikki Tate (Orca)

Diwali: Festival of Lights by Rina Singh (Orca)

Dot to dot in the sky: Stories of the aurora borealis by Joan Marie Galat, illustrated by Lorna Bennett (Whitecap Books)

Fight To Learn: The Struggle to Go to School by Laura Scandiffio (Annick)

Half-Truths and Brazen Lies: An Honest Look at Lying by Kira Vermond, illustrated by Clayton Hanmer (OWLKIDS)

I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland (Second Story Press)

Level the Playing Field: The Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Pro Sports by Kristina Rutherford (OWLKIDS)

Making Canada Home:  How Immigrants Shape This Country by Susan Hughes (OWLKIDS)

Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson (Orca)

Water WOW! An Infographic Exploration by Antonia Banyard & Pula Ayer, art by Belle Wuthrich (Annick)

Congratulations to all of the nominees! And happy reading, Red Cedar readers!


2016-2017 Gala

We had a wonderful afternoon at our Gala on May 6, and were so grateful to share the day with so many wonderful students, teachers and writers.  In the end, the winners were Kevin Sands for The Blackthorn Key and Julia Coey for Animal Hospital!

We are especially grateful to our generous sponsors for the support they give us — we couldn’t do Red Cedar without you! HUGE thanks to:




The official 2017/2018 nominees will be announced soon.


Animal Hospital: Rescuing Urban Wildlife

​Julia Coey’s Animal Hospital: Rescuing Urban Wildlife covers the easily overlooked world of wildlife rehabilitation efforts around the world.  Coey focuses on city animals such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks that have been injured or orphaned, often because of human interference. Unlike zoos or wildlife sanctuaries that are long-term animal homes, the goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to help nurse animals back to health before releasing them back into the wild.  The book starts with an introduction to understanding wildlife rehabilitation and its importance before we see these rehabilitation efforts in action through the eyes of the Toronto Wildlife Centre whose hotline fields tens of thousands of calls every year.

The book is filled with striking, full colour photos that filled my heart with love (a pile of baby raccoons) and heartache (a poor helpless skunk whose head got trapped in a plastic dessert lid-– but don’t worry, he was saved!).  It was inspiring to read about these champions of nature and learn new wildlife facts. Did you know 20% of the time squirrels are just sneakily pretending to bury nuts to trick other squirrels or birds who might be watching?  Animal Hospital was a fascinating and enlightening read that’s definitely worth picking up!

-Reviewed by Jamie Fong

Coming to the Red Cedar Gala on May 6 to see if Animal Hospital is a winner? Please RSVP to Hope to see you there!

Manoah Steves Elementary Interviews Tanya Lloyd Kyi

We are super excited that Tanya Lloyd Kyi, author of the fascinating book DNA Detective, will be at the Red Cedar Gala at Vancouver Public Library on May 6. Ahead of her appearance, students from Manoah Steves Elementary interviewed her and asked her some thought-provoking questions.
MSE: Did you know any of these facts before?
TLK: Before I began this project, I knew very little about DNA. And when I started my research, the science of genes and heredity seemed really complicated. It took a long time to sort through the information overload to find great stories about the way DNA affects our daily lives. Right now, DNA research is changing the way we eat, the way governments and police forces track criminals, even the way we choose our pets! Stories about these sorts of implications and changes were really what inspired me to write the book.
MSE: How long did it take to research all of these facts?
TLK: For each of my books, I spend three or four months on research. Once I’ve gathered enough information, I begin to write… and I always, always discover that there’s a lot more to learn. The first draft of DNA Detective took six to eight months of research and writing combined, then a little MORE research once the editor started asking questions and pointing out gaps. Good thing I love research — I like hunting for the best stories and the best ways to explain tricky scientific concepts.
MSE: Why did you name the DNA Scientists Genetic rock stars?
TLK: Like contestants on The Voice, the scientists who made major DNA discoveries were completely obsessed with success. One of them studied fruit flies for a decade before he discovered one teeny, microscopic mutation. And since these scientists changed the world in ways no pop song has ever done, I think they deserve the “rock star” title.
MSE: How did you come up with all the funny names on p. 23?
TLK: Once I started searching for silly names on the internet, there were zillions. Ever since the book was published, I keep stumbling across other great pun-names and thinking, “oooh… I wish I’d included that one!”
MSE: Why did you start writing books?
TLK: I’ve been writing stories since elementary school. I still have an unfinished novel from high school sitting in my crawl space. My first published book was Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World, which came out in 2000.  It was all about girls who’d accomplished amazing things before they turned 20.
MSE: Did you get to choose who did the drawings for your book?
TLK: The publisher always chooses the illustrators for my books, but I’ve never complained — they make amazing choices. Seeing the illustration sketches is one of my favourite parts of book-creation. By that time, most of my work on the project is finished, and I get to sit back and relax while someone else interprets my stories and facts in ways I might never expect. My favourite illustrations in DNA Detective are the genetic rock stars and the detective dog.
MSE: Where did you get the idea to write a non-fiction story combined with a fiction story?
TLK: The entire subject of DNA seems to lend itself to mystery solving. And when I read the story of the twins in Germany who couldn’t be charged with a robbery because the police couldn’t prove which twin committed the crime (that story’s at the back of the book)… well, then I just HAD to include the mystery.
Image credit:

MSE: Did you know anything about DNA before you wrote this story?

TLK: Very little! I wrote a book a few years ago called Seeing Red, which was all about blood. In that book, there was the story of two Chicago families who’d taken their babies home from the hospital only to find the babies were labelled with different last names. So, had the babies been switched, or were the labels wrong? The hospital didn’t know, and the Chicago Commissioner of Health called in a panel of experts. No one could tell which baby belonged to which family! Finally, a pathologist who understood blood types tested the blood of the babies and of all four parents, and figured out the babies had gone home with the wrong families. It was the first time blood types had been used to figure out paternity. That story — which is really about genetics and heredity — helped me get excited about the idea of a DNA book.
MSE: Is it possible to mix DNA  eg. frog and snake  – Can I make a froggy-snake?
TLK: Probably not… yet. But if scientists get that far, I’d like a pet cabbit. (You know: half cat, half rabbit.)

-Lauren Craze, Teacher-Librarian at Manoah Steves Elementary and friends

If you want to see Tanya Lloyd Kyi at the Red Cedar Gala on May 6 please RSVP to Hope to see you there!

Colossal Canada

colossalColossal Canada: 100 Epic Facts and Feats, by Elizabeth Macleod and Frieda Wishinsky

Canada is colossal – no one would doubt that after reading this lively and fascinating compendium of facts about what makes our country unique. The facts include impressive natural phenomena, historical firsts, inventions, flight and space, myth and mystery, events and people – all of which make us proud and rock the world.
The tremendous amount of content is presented in a digestible format that manages to include plenty of photos and sidebars without appearing cluttered. The tone is straightforward and engages the reader with lots of clever wordplay.
There is no index; this is not a reference work, but as a recreational read it offers an impressive and memorable vision of our country that is sure to inspire.

Reviewed by Nona Avren

Trash Talk

Trash Talk by Michelle Mulder

This jam-packed, accessible information book will take you around the world and back through time, exploring how different societies have chosen to manage their garbage. Did you know that ancient Minoans buried their garbage in huge pits? That’s not what they did in New York City though, where people tossed waste right out their windows until the city organized trash collection in 185img_67410!

What is garbage anyway? There are many creative options when it comes to reusing or recycling what we don’t need anymore. During World War II in the 1940s, recycling became popular by necessity, whereas nowadays one favourite solution in Slovenia is to create huge public art exhibits with used plastic. The different perspectives inspire a call-to-action for youth to consider garbage differently and actively engage in a zero-waste world. The pages are filled with many colourful photographs that are appealing and fresh while the extensive text enables a deeper understanding of the topic.

-Reviewed by Johanna Ahn