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2023 Yellow Cedar Award Nominees

Grades 5-8, non-fiction

Amazing Athletes: An All-Star Look at Canada's Paralympians

Written by Marie-Claude Ouellet, Phyllis Aronoff (Translator), Howard Scott (Translator)

Published by Owlkids Books

Discover the world of Para sport and meet some of its greatest athletes in this fascinating look at the third-largest sporting event in the world, the Paralympic Games.

This nonfiction book introduces readers to Canadian Paralympians and the sports they play, from PEI-born Para ice hockey pro Billy Bridges, to Goalball player and Iranian refugee Ahmad Zeividavi. Each section details a competitor’s journey to professional sports, their greatest triumphs, and what inspires them most. Along the way, readers will deepen their knowledge of Para sports like Wheelchair curling, Para swimming, and more.

Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook

Written by Karim Alrawi and Sobhi and Tamam al-Zobaidi and Illustrated by Nahid Kazemi

Published by Tradewind Books

Arab Fairy Tale Feasts is the latest title in the highly acclaimed Fairy Tale Feasts series in which prominent writers of diverse cultures have created enchanting tales paired with traditional recipes easily accessible to young cooks and their families.

These magical tales, by award-winning author and master storyteller Karim Alrawi, all feature food or feasting and conclude with an iconic recipe. They are accompanied by intriguing anecdotes illuminating Arab culture and culinary traditions.

Can You Believe It?: How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts

Written by Joyce Grant and Illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte
Published by KidsCan Press

Everything kids need to know to tell facts from “fake news” on the internet.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to how real journalism is made, what “fake news” is and, most importantly, how to spot the difference. It provides practical advice, thought-provoking examples, and loads of explanations, definitions and useful context. Never judgmental, it encourages young people to approach what they find online with skepticism and helps them hone their critical-thinking skills to make good choices about what to believe and share. It’s a must-read book on a topic that couldn’t be more important in today’s online world. 

Sure, kids know how to look for things on the internet. Now they’ll know how to look at them, too.

Fred & Marjorie: A Doctor, a Dog, and the Discovery of Insulin

Written by Deborah Kerbel and Illustrated by Angela Poon

Published by Owlkids Books

In 1921, Frederick Banting was a young doctor with an idea: could the mysterious secretions of the pancreas be used to treat diabetes? We now call this substance insulin, and its life-saving discovery was an impactful milestone in medical science.

Banting and his assistant, Charles Best, worked together in a small lab to test the theory with street dogs. Banting formed a special bond with one of his test dogs and gave her a name: Marjorie. After Marjorie responded well to insulin treatments, the treatments went on to be used for humans with diabetes—and the results were deemed practically miraculous.

A real-life scientific milestone told in an innovative graphic novel format, the book also thoughtfully discusses the use of animals for medical research, including back matter on the subject and further information about diabetes.

Growing Up Trans: In our Own Words

Edited by Dr. Lindsay Herriot and Kate Fry

Published by Orca Book Publishers

What does it mean to be young and transgender today?

Growing Up Trans shares stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth aged 11 to 18. In their own words, the works illustrate the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life, school, their bodies and mental health. Together the collection is a story of the challenges, big and small, of being a young trans person. At the same time, it’s a toolkit for all young people, transgender or not, about what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like. In addition to the contributed works, there are questions and tips from experts in the field of transgender studies to challenge the reader on how to be a trans ally.

Growing Up Trans came out of a series of workshops held in Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together trans youth from across the country with mentors in the community.

The Hanmoji Handbook: Your Guide to the Chinese Language Through Emoji

Written by Jason Li, An Xiao Mina and Jennifer 8. Lee and Illustrated by Jason Li
Published by Candlewick Press, MITeen

Even though their dates of origin are millennia apart, the languages of Chinese and emoji share similarities that the average smartphone user might find surprising. These “hanmoji” parallels offer an exciting new way to learn Chinese—and a fascinating window into the evolution of Chinese Han characters. Packed with fun illustrations and engaging descriptions, The Hanmoji Handbook brings to life the ongoing dialogue between the visual elements of Chinese characters and the language of emoji. At once entertaining and educational, this unique volume holds sure appeal for readers who use emojis, anyone interested in learning Chinese, and those who love quirky, visual gift books.

The Science of Song: How and Why We Make Music

Written by Alan Cross, Emme Cross and Nicole Mortillaro and Illustrated by Carl Wiens
Published by Kids Can Press

The coolest facts about the music we make, listen to and love.

This illustrated book explores how music and the ways we experience it has transformed over the years and the science behind all of it. It starts with the basics — how does sound work? and what, exactly, is music? — then follows the progression of music-recording technology, from the phonograph to streaming. It covers how everyday items like headphones were created, and includes a look at the science of how we experience music (like why we can’t get certain songs out of our heads). All while suggested playlists accompany the text so that readers can listen along!

Kids know that music moves them. Now they can learn how!

Sky Wolf's Call: The Gift of Indigenous Knowledge

Written by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger
Published by Annick Press

From healing to astronomy to our connection to the natural world, the lessons from Indigenous knowledge inform our learning and practices today.

How do knowledge systems get passed down over generations? Through the knowledge inherited from their Elders and ancestors, Indigenous Peoples throughout North America have observed, practiced, experimented, and interacted with plants, animals, the sky, and the waters over millennia. Knowledge keepers have shared their wisdom with younger people through oral history, stories, ceremonies, and records that took many forms.

Snoozefest: The Surprising Science of Sleep

Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Illustrated by Valéry Goulet
Published by Kids Can Press

An eye-opening look at the science of sleep — covering everything adolescents could possibly want to know about a subject that’s suddenly keeping them up at night!

For something that all humans do every night, sleep is not that well understood. One thing we do know, though, is that it’s important. Here’s the scoop on why it’s so crucial, including what our bodies do while we’re sleeping, what happens when we don’t sleep enough, and how the science of sleep research began. Also included are the reasons why teens and tweens aren’t getting enough sleep — and what school principals can do about it!

It’s a deep dive into a fascinating subject that’s so intriguing, it just might keep kids up at night!

The Witness Blanket : Truth, Art and Reconciliation

Written by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson 
Published by Orca Book Publishers

For more than 150 years, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools across Canada.

Artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket to make sure that history is never forgotten. The Blanket is a living work of art—a collection of hundreds of objects from those schools. It includes everything from photos, bricks, hockey skates, graduation certificates, dolls and piano keys to braids of hair. Behind every piece is a story. And behind every story is a residential school Survivor, including Carey’s father. This book is a collection of truths about what happened at those schools, but it’s also a beacon of hope and a step on the journey toward reconciliation.