YRCA: Finding the Perfect Book Match for Division 2 Students

The Young Reader’s Choice Awards is an annual Edmonton Public Library program that takes places every school year for kids in Grades 4 to 12. Starting in the fall, students are introduced to an exciting, diverse and age-appropriate collection of books that they can read and vote on throughout the school year. Each YRCA division (Junior for Grades 4 to 6, Intermediate for Grades 7 to 9 and Senior for Grades 10 to 12) includes eight awesome titles, but students can choose to read from any division, and vote for as many books as they like, until Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

No matter what a child is into, YRCA has something they’ll love. Here’s a sample of some of the previous winners, many of which are so popular that they’ve been made into movies!


To help navigate these awesome titles, we’ll profile the 24 books through a series of blog posts, starting with the Junior division. This way parents and educators can help kids find their perfect match.

Before we jump in, here are a few things adults need to know about the book profiles:

  1. Books are organized into common themes, so start here if you know what a kid likes.
  2. Each title also includes age recommendations, which come from Kirkus reviews, a trusted source of book reviews and recommendations since 1933! This information can help parents and educators find appropriate books for children who want to read outside their division.
  3. Read-Alikes are similar books as the one being profiled, so these titles can be a quick and easy way to find something they’ll love.
  4. There are links to the title in all available formats, so encourage kids to choose the format that works best for their preferences and reading abilities.

Ready? Let’s kick off with books for Division 2 students.

If a kid likes books about magic and fantasy...


Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Recommended for kids eight to 13

About: Morrigan Crow, a cursed child, is destined to die on her 11th birthday until a mysterious stranger named Jupiter North helps her escape to the magical world of Nevermoor. Here Morrigan competes to join the prestigious Wundrous Society and discovers her magical talent. To learn more, watch the book trailer.

Read-Alikes:

Fun Fact: Jessica worked at the Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and was the editor of the children’s magazine Crikey! This is the first book in the trilogy and will be soon be adapted into a film.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD and book in French.

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Recommended for kids nine to 13

About: Xar and Wish embark on an exciting adventure in an ancient, magical time full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites! To learn more, watch the book trailer.

Read-Alikes:

Fun Fact: Cressida Cowell (also the author of How to Train Your Dragon) has filled this book with her own whimsical illustrations. She grew up on a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Scotland, where she was convinced she lived with magical creatures. We meet many of these creatures in her books!

The Wizards of Once is available as a book, audiobook CD and book in French.

If a kid likes mystery or adventure books...


Refugee by Alan Gratz

Recommended for kids 10 to 14

About: Three interconnected stories about a boy from 1930s Nazi Germany, a girl from Cuba in 1994 and a boy from modern-day Syria, all of whom are fleeing from certain death in their own countries. To learn more, watch the book trailer.

Read-Alikes:

Fun Fact: In addition to writing books, plays, magazine articles and tv shows, Alan Gratz has taught catapult-building to middle-schoolers and written more than 6,000 radio commercials.

Refugee is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD, downloadable audiobook and book in French.

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey

Recommended for kids five to 12

About: Eddie never realized how important his love of reading would be, until the day he had to become every character he had ever read about to save the day!

Read-Alikes:

Fun Fact: Author Linda Bailey (from Vancouver) has written more than 30 children’s books, including the bestselling picture books about Stanley the dog. Illustrator Victoria Jamieson also wrote Roller Girl, the 2018 YRCA winner for the Junior division.

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library is available as a book and eBook.

If a kid likes books with humour or with heart...


The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Recommended for kids 10 to 14

About: 13-year-old Arturo finds himself falling in love and fighting to protect his family’s beloved Cuban restaurant from a seedy land developer in a summer filled with laughs, poetry and great food! To learn more, watch an introduction by the author.

Read-Alikes: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

Fun Fact: Pablo Cartaya is also an actor (most notably co-starring on the NBC series “Will and Grace”) and public speaker, giving talks about writing, reading and multiculturalism.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD and downloadable audiobook.

Restart by Gordon Korman

Recommended for kids nine to 14

About: A school bully and football star loses his memory after falling off a roof. As he learns about himself, he finds out he may not like the person he was. To learn more, watch an introduction by the author.

Read-Alikes:

Fun Fact: Gordon Korman wrote his first book at 12 years of age and has since written more than 80 books, including Slacker and The 39 Clues series.

Restart is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD and downloadable audiobook (via Overdrive or RBdigital).

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Recommended for kids 10 to 14

About: Liv’s school institutes a policy insisting all girls wear skirts, but Liv doesn’t identify as a girl and isn’t comfortable with the new rule.

Read-Alikes: The main character has a unique take on the world, similar to Auggie in Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Fun Fact: Cat Clarke lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and decided she was going to be a writer when she was 13.

The Pants Project is available as a book, eBook, downloadable audiobook and book in French.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Recommended for kids eight to 12

About: This is a book about welcoming newcomers, written from the perspective of a two-hundred-year-old tree, whose best friend is a crow named Bongo, and who has a thing or two to teach the humans. To learn more, watch the book trailer.

Read-Alikes: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Fun Fact: Katherine Applegate thinks being a writer is the best job on the planet.

Wishtree is available as a book, eBook, audiobook CD, downloadable audiobook and book in French.


Whew! That’s a lot of awesome books but hopefully these profiles make choosing which one to read first (or next!) an easier task. You can also encourage kids to share their favourite title with us by tagging @EPLdotCA on Twitter or liking us on Facebook.

Ready for more? Check out the YRCA book profiles for the Intermediate division.

Want more reading recommendations for Division 2 students? Check out our page dedicated to kids ages six to 12.

Kids 6-12

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