Hit the Ground Running
(Orca Book Publishers, 2017)
* 2017 Governor General's Literary Award finalist
* Junior Library Guild Selection 2017
* Resource Links: The Year's Best 2017
*2018 Snow Willow nominee (SK Young Readers' Choice Awards)
* Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books 2018
For Eddie it's a fun road-trip; for Dee it's their survival. No driver's license, limited money and a border interrogation are just a start.
Shelf Awareness (*Starred Review)- Aug 30, 2017 "A touching, thrilling and wryly funny story of an "anchorless family" seeking a safe home port."
Kirkus Reviews - May 24, 2017 "[T]his is a beautiful, if heart-wrenching story of two children left adrift ...The siblings’ humor and loyalty are real...Nail-biting yet endearing."
Publisher's Weekly - July 31, 2017 "'[A] heart-wrenching road trip...a story about embracing the present when the past and future are too heavy to bear."
Quill & Quire - July, 2017 "Hughes supplies a well-paced narrative, honest dialogue, and evocative, descriptive passages...Dee’s fierce, protective love for her younger brother is also a forceful presence. The warm, sometimes comic dynamic between the two is the heart of the story."
Hide and Shriek
(Orca Book Publishers, 2018)
When four friends ignore the new town curfew during their Friday-night game of hide-and-seek, they get more than they bargained for.
CM Magazine - (4/4 stars, Highly Recommended) June 15, 2018 "[Hughes] does an amazing job of capturing readers’ interest and keeping readers wondering what will happen next... Hide and Shriek is a page-turner!"
Resource Links - June 15, 2018 "A suspenseful page-turner, written in the easy to read format typical of Orca Soundings. Ready or not, well worth a read!"
Kirkus Reviews - June 13, 2018 "Fast-paced…a good start for reluctant teen readers."
(Orca Book Publishers, fall 2019)
Fifteen-year-old Charlie does some detective work when a series of break-ins has the whole neighborhood on edge.
Kirkus Reviews - June 15, 2019: "Hughes takes readers on a thrill ride...and ratchets up the tension when describing the fear involved in being an amateur detective.
An entertaining roller-coaster ride of emotions for reluctant readers."
Resource Links - June 2019: "[a] very effective story ... credible mystery and subsequent detection without resorting to cliché or shortchanging the dynamic."
CM Magazine - August 2019: "...a solid book with an engaging plot."
Kasey & Ivy
(Orca Book Publishers, 2018)
*Red Cedar Award (BC) 2019/20 nominee
*Ontario Library Association Best Bets Honourable Mention 2019
* CCBC Best Books selection 2018
* SCBWI Official Reading List 2018
When 12 year-old Kasey has to spend a month of summer vacation in the hospital she writes 26 desperate, funny letters to her friend, Nina, chronicling her observations of life in the geriatric ward.
Quill & Quire - May 30, 2018 "Age-appropriate and emotionally satisfying [it] pulls readers in with its refreshingly original, affecting storyline. But its real strength lies in the author’s memorable scenes and realistic prose, adeptly revealing the tender heart and boundless soul of a girl wise beyond her years.
Booklist - Feb 13, 2018 "The well-paced narrative has lovely, intimate moments. Kasey's slow and subtle change into someone who is capable of feeling genuine affection and warmth for her fellow geriatric-ward residents is a journey worth experiencing."
School Library Journal - Jan 26, 2018 "Hughes has written a realistic fiction novel that will appeal to many. Kasey's wit and liveliness come to life through her letters to Nina, and Kasey's fears…allow readers to empathize along with her…Recommended."
Kirkus Reviews - Dec 6, 2017 "Kasey's observational humor and snarky attitude will have readers chuckling. Hughes... communicates Kasey's fear and vulnerability as well as that sense that she must put on a brave front for the sake of the adults around her…A surprisingly funny look at a subject readers may think is anything but."
Kings of the Court
(Orca Book Publishers, 2017)
*2018 Diamond Willow nominee (SK Young Readers' Choice Awards)
* CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2017
When the Gladiators basketball team's coach finally gets turfed midseason, can Sameer and Vijay help a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity?
School Library Connection - June 20, 2017"[A]ppealing characters, a realistic plot, and plenty of events that take place on the court...This title fills a niche for middle school libraries looking to broaden their sports offerings."
Quill & Quire - April 1, 2017 "Kings of the Court is well paced, and its characters are realistically rendered with depth...a good story about overcoming challenges."
Kirkus Reviews - Feb 1, 2017 "...[E]xuberantly multiracial and multiethnic...a good-hearted story of gladiators, kings and kids with dreams."
CM Magazine - Feb 3, 2017 "Kings of the Court has great pacing and plot arc ...The juxtaposition of theatre and sports creates an interesting dynamic that sets Kings of the Court apart from typical sports-themed novels."
Library Bound (Staff Favorite) - Feb 2017 "This is a really funny, funny book with diverse characters and helpful, empowering messages about bullying, theatre and embracing differences, challenges and change."
Resource Links - Feb 15, 2017 "An unlikely blend of personalities and characters working together promotes the concept of tolerance...Recommended"
Lost in the Backyard
(Orca Book Publishers, 2015)
*Silver Birch Award nominee 2016
*Ontario Library Association Best Bets Award 2016
*Hackmatack Award nominee 2016-17
*Diamond Willow nominee 2016
*Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA), Young Adult Notable Book 2016
*Red Cedar Award nominee 2016/2017
*Surrey Schools' Book of the Year nominee 2016-17
*Ottawa Public Library selection for One School, One Book Project 2016
Flynn's walk in the woods leads him to being lost in the wilderness. Can half a stick of gum, some gross lichen and a handful of snow sustain him until he's rescued? And will he live long enough to recharge his phone?
VOYA, April 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 1): "The reader shares his fear, hunger, pain, and descent into mental confusion as Flynn begins to understand what really matters...the novel is carried by the voice of its engaging and truly adolescent main character. Lost In The Backyard is a satisfying tale of a young man’s personal growth."
Booklist Online - April 1, 2015: "A book that will grab many, including reluctant middle-school readers."
CM Magazine - Feb 27, 2015: "Highly recommended for those who love adventure and the outdoors [and] readers who just want a quick exciting read."
Kirkus Reviews – Jan15, 2015: “Flynn is a 13-year-old with a cocky attitude, eyes that are quick to roll and a flip brashness. The insights he gains during his three-day adventure as he is injured, faces wild animals and becomes hypothermic are satisfying.”
On a Scale From Idiot to Complete Jerk
(Orca Book Publishers, 2014)
*Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2014
*Translated into Korean and Dutch
Beginning with the dawn of humankind and concluding conclusively, J.J. Murphy's eighth grade science project dissects jerkosity through case studies, charts and graphs, and explores the who, what, when, why and how of the jerks of this world.
Quill & Quire - April 1, 2014: "A quirky, funny glimpse into the life and mind of a 13-year-old boy. ...author Alison Hughes deserves an A+ for her smart, engaging middle-grade read."
Canadian Family Magazine - April 1, 2014: "A wonderfully cheeky and smart read."
Canadian Children’s Book News – Fall, 2014 (Vol. 37 No.4): “J.J.’s descriptions will have readers not only laughing out loud but also reading passages aloud to whoever will listen...[a]nd yet, amidst all the hijinks, J.J. waxes philosophical when he poses questions like “Can you be born a jerk?” or “Once a jerk, always a jerk?” leading readers toward a better understanding of why people behave in mean and annoying ways."
(Orca Book Publishers, 2013)
*Red Cedar Award nominee 2015
*Hackmatack Award nominee 2015-16
Twelve-year-old Luke "Spin" Spinelli is sick of fake-running, fake-laughing and fake-pointing. Sure, he once made the cover of Baby Show magazine, but now his secret modeling career is making him miserable.
Kirkus Reviews - Mar 1, 2013 "The entertainment value stays high. Plenty of fun, and substance too."
CM Magazine - Mar 1, 2013 "Poser is funny and easy to read and will be extremely popular. Highly Recommended."
Resource Links - April 1, 2013 "Hughes adopts a fantastic literary device called metareference by having the main character aware that he is writing the book...Hughes inserts life lessons in her humourous prose."
Booklist Online - June 6, 2013 "The tone is breezy and the characters just larger than life, which makes for a fun jaunt through school, friendship, hockey, and the unglamorous life of the child model."
School Library Journal - July 1, 2013 "A witty narrative that embraces important themes...this laugh-out-loud funny novel considers bullying, lying, and appreciating one’s special gifts."
Beatrice More and the Perfect Party
Illustrated by Helen Flook (Orca Book Publishers, 2019)
Hyperorganized perfectionist Beatrice More is determined to plan a spectacularly professional birthday party for her little sister, Sophie. But she is foiled at every turn.
Kirkus Reviews - Dec 11/18: "Beatrice is quirky and familiar, with well-meaning parents...
An appealing family story with a sincere and goodhearted protagonist."
CM Magazine (Highly recommended)- Feb 22/19: "Some really good lessons for kids who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, or the ability to adapt to changing circumstances."
Beatrice More Moves In
Illustrated by Helen Flook (Orca Book Publishers, 2015)
Beatrice More is no average third-grader. She is a list-making, hyperorganized perfectionist whose laid-back parents and messy little sister consistently frustrate her high standards. But she discovers that some of the best experiences are the ones you can’t control.
Kirkus Reviews - Oct, 2015: "Clearly comedic hyperbole...Frequent, equally exaggerated illustrations add to the fun."
School Library Connection-Mar 1, 2016: "A good early chapter book for many young readers. Recommended."
CM Magazine - Sept 25, 2015: "Beatrice [learns] that perfection isn't possible...sometimes being on a schedule is no fun and you don't have to hurry all the time. Recommended."
The Cold Little Voice
Illustrated by Jan Dolby (Clockwise Press, January 2019)
What can we do when that cold little voice inside our own head tells us that we aren't good enough or smart enough to matter? Sometimes all it takes is a bit of self acceptance to make that voice warm up so that we can become our own best friend.
Youth Services Book Review (starred review) (Feb/19) "There is probably not a single time in a child’s life where this book will not come in handy...This is a very positive book about being yourself and silencing the doubts that keep whispering in your ear."
The Silence Slips In
Illustrated by Ninon Pelletier (Orca Book Publishers, March 2019)
* Translated into French
When the party's over and the baby finally falls asleep, when the dog is all barked out and the screens are dark, the Silence pads in on soft, furry feet. This is a quiet story about learning to find calm in the busy world around you.
Kirkus Reviews (Jan/19) "This ode to mindfulness, with its poetic text, offers reassurance to children often overwhelmed by their busy days so that they can find their own way back to calm and steady waters…Just right for busy families who seek balance and mindfulness."
Publishers' Weekly (Dec/18) "Hughes gently alludes to the benefits of finding contentment in quietude and how learning to do so might benefit readers for years to come."
CM Magazine (Highly Recommended) (Mar 8/19): "a lovely book about finding the silence and calm in life...fits well when discussing self-regulation and mindfulness with children."
The Creepy-Crawly Thought
Illustrated by Jennifer Rabby (released February, 2019)
When creepy thoughts slither in and refuse to leave, what can an anxious child do? The Creepy-Crawly Thought answers with a wild, rollicking list of strategies to help chase bad thoughts away. This timely story provides a gentle opening for talking with children about fears, anxiety, wellness and resilience.
Kirkus Reviews (Feb 1/19) - "[Y]oung readers may giggle at the narrator’s ideas, which could help them combat their own fears. The rhymes feel natural and use approachable vocabulary ... Rabby’s humorous, mixed-media illustrations ... will generate enough smiles to put creepy-crawlies on the run. A silly picture book that offers readers humor to confront anxieties."
Canlit for Little Canadians (Feb 6/19): "...with a variety of strategies for dealing with those creepy-crawlies, Alison Hughes ensures that there's at least one that will work for any child. Moreover her rhyming text, sure to annoy those monstrous thoughts, brings a lightness and manageability to the plight of a child dealing with anxiety."
Illustrated by Holly Hatam (Orca Book Publishers, 2016)
*2017 Alberta Literary Awards' R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature, nominee
*2017 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Awards (USA), Honorable Mention
*Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Winter Reading List 2016
*CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2017, starred selection
*Translated into Turkish
From the miniscule to the universal, What Matters sensitively explores nature's connections and traces the ripple effects of one child’s good deed to show how we can all make a big difference.
Kirkus Reviews - July 15, 2016 "In a spread full of joyful splashes of water, Hughes heralds: "He made the earth just a little more blue, a smidgen more green." A beguiling, environmental musing on how one small act can have far-reaching consequences."
School Library Journal - Oct, 2016 "[Hughes] makes the powerful point that all children can help change the world and make "the earth just a little more blue, a smidgen more green." VERDICT: A charming addition that teaches about the interrelationships in nature and the importance of recycling."
CM Magazine (Highly Recommended)- Oct. 7, 2016 "[Hughes] shows readers the importance of connections in our natural world. The ripple effect...is shown simply and dramatically in this book...What Matters is a very small book with a very large message.." Canadian Children's Book News - Winter 2016 "A perfect read-aloud picture book for primary classrooms...In the simplest terms, Hughes and Hatam convey a positive and powerful message to young readers: you are not too young to make a difference."
Spare Dog Parts
Illustrated by Ashley Spires (Orca Book Publishers, 2016)
*Chocolate Lily Book Award (BC Reader's Choice Children's Book Award) 2017, nominee
*Bank Street College of Education (USA) 2017 Best Children's Books of the Year
*Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens list 2016
*Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Reading List 2016
*BC Association of Book Publishers Bestseller List (April 3, 2016)
In an offbeat celebration of what makes a pet unique, a little girl imagines how an odd assortment of parts combine to make the perfect dog.
Booklist - March, 2016 "Bright and full of energy...it hammers home the idea that, more often than not, a "perfect" dog is the dog you have."
Resource Links - Feb, 2016 "A wonderful picture book praising the qualities of a mutt...The slightly whimsical art is delightful and complements the imaginative story of how the little girl's dog came to be."
Quill & Quire (starred review) - Jan, 2016 "When it comes to a true exposition of the canine soul, Spare Dog Parts soars... The text is sparse but affecting and verges on poetic at times...The text and images combine to create a moving, pure, and affection-filled ode to the mutt...Ear scratches and belly rubs all around."
CM Magazine - Oct, 2015 "Spare Dog Parts is a really beautiful story that highlights the uniqueness of pets and the joy they bring into their owners’ lives. Highly Recommended."
Publisher's Weekly - Oct, 2015 "Sure, purebred dogs are special, but is anything more lovable than a mutt?...[R]eaders will understand what Hughes and Spires are getting at—every dog, no matter how wonky or weird, is worthy of love."
Illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2015)
*Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books, Spring 2016
*Forword Review's 16 Best Picture Books of Winter 2016
*Rainforest of Reading Award 2017 nominee (OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation)
Little Gerbil has learned all of the important Gerbil Mottos, but when it comes to sleep, there is one motto that Little Gerbil just can't keep: Curl Up Nose to Toes. She lives a gerbil lie until the truth comes out. And then she realizes she's not alone.
Forword Reviews - Dec, 2015: "This thoroughly enjoyable book shares an important life lesson in a gentle manner that many children will find reassuring. The illustrations are sculptural and intricate and wonderfully fun to explore."
Publisher's Weekly - Sept, 2015: "Hughes uses dry humor and her heroine’s perceptiveness and bravery to grow the story into a thoughtful, rodent-centric take on the idea of being the change one wishes to see. If you don’t like society’s rules—whether that society is human or gerbil—why not work to change them?"
CanLit for Little Canadians - Oct, 2015: "Alison Hughes shares important lessons about cooperation, family and being true to oneself in Gerbil, Uncurled but young readers will be just as charmed by Suzanne Del Rizzo’s plasticine art of the little rodents and their environs."
* Paperback version of What Matters (spring 2020)
* Picture book with Scholastic Canada (spring 2021)
Longlisted for the CBC Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the Writers' Union of Canada Short Fiction Competition
Published in 40 Below Volume 2: Alberta's Winter Anthology (November 2015, Jason Lee Norman, Ed.)
"The Late Show"
Winner of the 2009 Writers' Union of Canada Writing for Children Award