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2022 Blue Spruce Award™ Nominees

JK-Grade 2, picture books

48 Grasshopper Estates

Written and Illustrated by Sara de Waal and Erika Medina

Published by Annick Press

A little girl uses imagination and inventiveness to spread friendship through her community. But will she find a friend of her own?

Whether it’s a supersonic sandwich maker or a twelve-tailed dragon, Sicily Bridges can make
almost anything from materials she finds around her apartment complex. But when it comes to
making friends, Sicily has yet to find the perfect fit. With a diverse cast of characters brought to
life by illustrator Erika Medina, Sara de Waal’s whimsical debut emphasizes the power of
imagination and finding companionship where you least expect it.

Beep Beep Bubbie

Written and Illustrated by Bonnie Sherr Klein and Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal

Published by Tradewind Books

Kate is upset when her grandma (Bubbie) gets a motorized scooter. Will Bubbie still be Bubbie in that scooter? Kate slowly warms to the scooter after she sees what a good friend it is to Bubbie. And shopping at Granville Island Market with Bubbie and the scooter turns out to be so much fun! Her little brother Nate loves the scooter’s bells and whistles, and Kate makes new friends on their joyous outing.

The Doll

Written and Illustrated by Nhung N. Tran-Davies and Ravy Puth
Published by Second Story Press

A simple act of kindness welcomes two little girls, both refugees, to a new home generations apart.

A young girl and her family arrive in an airport in a new country. They are refugees, migrants who have travelled across the world to find safety. Strangers greet them, and one of them gives the little girl a doll. Decades later, that little girl is grown up and she has the chance to welcome a group of refugees who are newly arrived in her adopted country. To the youngest of them, a little girl, she gives a doll, knowing it will help make her feel welcome. Inspired by real events.

Harley the Hero

Written and Illustrated by Peggy Collins

Published by Pajama Press 

Harley the service dog is on the job! He goes to school every day with Ms. Prichard to make sure she feels safe. Their students are a lot of fun, but Harley can’t play with them while he’s wearing his work vest. They write him lots of letters instead, and everything is perfect in the best, most quiet class in the whole school. Until the day the old stage curtains catch fire. As the fire alarm blares and chaos erupts, Harley remembers that Ms. Prichard isn’t the only human in his class who gets upset by loud noises.

Inspired by a true story, Harley the Hero celebrates the work of service animals and the normalization of neurodivergence. Author-illustrator Peggy Collins brings Harley and his class to charming life and concludes with an Author’s Note about the real dog behind the fictional Harley.

The Library Bus

Written and Illustrated by Bahram Rahman and Gabrielle Grimard
Published by Pajama Press

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn.

It is still dark in Kabul, Afghanistan when the library bus rumbles out of the city. There are no bus seats—instead there are chairs and tables and shelves of books. And there are no passengers—instead there is Pari, who is nervously starting her first day as Mama’s library helper. Pari stands tall to hand out notebooks and pencils at the villages and the refugee camp, but she feels intimidated. The girls they visit are learning to write English from Mama. Pari can’t even read or write in Farsi yet. But next year she will go to school and learn all there is to know. And she is so lucky. Not long ago, Mama tells her, girls were not allowed to read at all.

Brought to life by the pensive and captivating art of award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard, The Library Bus is a celebration of literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.

Malaika’s Surprise

Written and Illustrated by Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher
Published by Groundwood Books

When Malaika finds out she is going to have a new baby brother or sister, she worries that her mother will forget about her. But a surprise arrives on Malaika’s birthday that gives her more reason to celebrate her family’s love.

It’s summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing in the sunshine. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me?

Back at school, Malaika is excited to see her teacher and classmates, and makes friends with a new girl who has recently arrived from a faraway country, just like Malaika. Then on her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family’s love.

Malaika’s Surprise is filled with the same warmth and charm as the first two books in the series, with Nadia L. Hohn’s enchanting prose, written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois, and Irene Luxbacher’s colorful collage illustrations.

No More Plastic

Written and Illustrated by Alma Fullerton
Published by Pajama Press

A young girl takes action against ocean pollution in a timely story with unique plastic-waste diorama art from award-winning author-illustrator Alma Fullerton.

Isley loves the ocean and everything in it. Well, almost everything. Her heart sinks at the sight of her Alantic Ocean shoreline covered in trash. One day, upon discovering a beached right whale that has starved to death after swallowing plastic, Isley decides enough is enough. She steers her family into adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, inspiring others to do the same. But when the adults around her give way to apathy and routine, how can Isley make sure her whale’s memory inspires lasting change?

With diorama art made from plastic waste by award-winning author-illustrator Alma Fullerton, No More Plastic is a moving, eye-catching, and ultimately hopeful reminder that the health of our oceans—and our planet—is in our hands.

The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe

Written and Illustrated by Stephanie Simpson McLellan and Zoe Si
Published by Owlkids Books

An impulsive little boy experiences the power of unconditional love

Timothy Shmoe isn’t a bad kid, but sometimes he makes honest (and not-so-honest) mistakes. Time after time, Timothy finds himself in disasters of his own creation, leaving a trail of broken heirlooms, torn tutus, and innocent bystanders (including his cat, Fluffy).

Told in a series of letters, readers follow Timothy through his hilarious antics and missteps. When his pocketful of marbles wreaks havoc at his sister’s ballet recital, Timothy realizes he’s gone too far. In one final, remorseful letter, Timothy apologizes for the ballet blunder and says his father probably wishes Timothy had never been born. What follows is a touching lesson about the redeeming power of acceptance.

Bright, comic-like illustrations and hand-lettered text bring Timothy and his shenanigans to life. Hilarious and heartwarming, The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe is a call to empathy for children who struggle with impulse control, and a tribute to unconditional love.

Thunder and the Noise Storms

Written and Illustrated by Jeffrey Ansloos, Shezza Ansloos, and Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
Published by Annick Press

When the world gets too loud and chaotic, a young boy’s grandfather helps him listen with wonder instead.

Kids laughing, sneakers squeaking, balls bouncing—for Thunder, the sounds of the school day often brew into overwhelming noise storms. But when Thunder’s mosom asks him what he hears on an urban nature walk, Thunder starts to understand how sounds like bird wings flapping and rushing water can help him feel calm and connected. Gentle, inviting illustrations by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley emphasize Mosom’s lessons about the healing power of the world around us.

When We Are Kind

Written and Illustrated by Monique Gray Smith and Nicole Neidhardt
Published by Orca Book Publishers


What makes you feel kind?

“Notably centering Indigenous families and characters of color in personal and communal activities—and encouraging readers to evaluate their actions toward others.”—School Library Journal

When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.