My Books

I’ve written two critically-acclaimed young adult novels, Walking Backward and All Good Children, two middle-grade comedies, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 and 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6, and one unfortunately titled picture-book, My Cat Isis.

I have a second picture book in development, an animal adventure in its final stages, and many short stories in literary journals that I’ve yet to amass into a collection.

All Good Children cover

All Good Children (Orca Book Publishers)

Quick-witted, prank-pulling graffiti artist Maxwell Connors is more observant than the average New Middletown teenager. And he doesn’t like what he sees.

New Middletown’s children are becoming frighteningly obedient, and their parents and teachers couldn’t be happier. As Max and his friend Dallas watch their classmates transform into model citizens, Max wonders if their only hope of freedom lies in the unknown world beyond New Middletown’s walls, where creativity might be a gift instead of a liability.

Winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award.

Winner of the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic (Young Adult category).

“Action packed, terrifying, and believable, this entertaining novel will provoke important discussions about subservience, resistance, and individual freedom.”Booklist.

“Whether you need a rebuttal for someone who stubbornly insists on stigmatizing the YA genre, or you’re looking for a great read for yourself or a teenager you know, Catherine Austen’s novel All Good Children is an excellent choice….”The Montreal Review of Books.

  • Teen Fiction (ages 12+)
  • 312 pages, hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions
  • Themes: friendship, responsibility, social control; dystopia

To purchase a copy of All Good Children, visit your local independent bookstore (find one at Indie Store Finder), buy online from Amazon-Canada, Amazon-USAChapters, Barnes & Noble, or order directly from the publisher, Orca.

For more information on All Good Children, to read the first chapter, or try some follow-up fun, visit the author’s website.

Walking Backward book cover
Read this to see where your fear of snakes might lead.

Walking Backward  (Orca Book Publishers)

When Josh’s mother dies in a phobia-induced car crash, she leaves two questions for her grieving family: how did a snake get into her car? and how do you mourn with no faith to guide you?

Twelve-year-old Josh is left alone to find the answers. His father is building a time machine. His four-year-old brother is talking to a plastic Power Ranger. His psychiatrist offers nothing more than a blank journal.

Isolated by grief, in a home where every day is pajama day, Josh makes death his research project. He tests the mourning practices of religions he doesn’t believe in. He reads the Darwin Awards to judge the stupidity of his mother’s accident. He interviews the neighbours in search of a murder suspect. He  mends his little brother’s shattered heart. He observes, records and waits—for his life to feel normal, for his mother’s death to make sense, for his father to come out of the basement.

Short-listed for the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award and numerous provincial awards.

“An elegantly crafted volume of lasting power.”Kirkus Reviews

 “[An] outstanding debut novel….[Austen’s] writing cuts straight to the heart. She delivers a wise, rich novel, wonderfully compelling for children and adults alike.” The Globe and Mail

  • Upper Middle-grade Fiction (ages 9+)
  • 167 pages, paperback or e-book editions
  • Themes: grief, phobias, journals, families, brothers

To order Walking Backward, visit your local independent bookstore (find one at Indie Store Finder), buy online from Amazon-Canada, Amazon-USA, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, or order directly from the publisher, Orca.

For more information on Walking Backward, to read the first chapter, or learn more about phobias, visit the author’s website.

28 tricks cover

28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 (Lorimer)

Got fear? Get laughing.

Afraid of dancing at the school dance? Dave Davidson has tricks to fix that: sprain an ankle, eat expired food to get sick, or even get yourself suspended for a few days. Terrified of the public speaking competition? Dave has tricks for that, too: pick up a virus, forge a note from a therapist, or become a punk rock singer and lose your voice.

Get to know fear-slayer Dave Davidson and all his friends as they make their hare-brained, fun, and fearless way through the ups and downs of sixth grade. (A boyish companion to the award-winning 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6.)

“This slender tome packs enough laughs and overall good feelings to satisfy readers aged 11 to 111.” – The Montreal Review of Books.

“****/4 …guaranteed to make readers laugh out loud…” – CM Magazine.

  • Juvenile Fiction, ages 9-12
  • 168 pages, available in paperback or e-book editions
  • Themes: Humourous stories; school stories; friendships; phobias
  • For reluctant or enthusiastic readers

You can purchase a copy of 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6  from the publisher, James Lorimer & Company; an online retailer including Amazon (Canada), Chapters,  Barnes & Noble (USA) or your local independent bookstore. Find one at Indie Store Finder.

For more information on 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6, to read the first chapter, or learn more about phobias, visit the author’s website.


26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 (Lorimer)

Did you ever work for weeks to master a skill, then watch your best friend ace it on her first try? Did you ever do a “group project” all by yourself because your homework partner was too busy flirting with your brother? Did you ever have to spend the entire Christmas break entertaining your housebound grandmother in the middle of nowhere?

Did you ever jump to a conclusion, make an idiot of yourself, and totally mess things up?

Becky Lennox does all these things in sixth grade, and she tells us all about it with honesty and humour in this middle-grade novel. Perfect for girlfriends, comedy lovers, and reluctant readers.

Winner (English Fiction) of the 2012-2013 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award.

Winner of the 2012 Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and Young Adults’ Literaure

“26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 is a simply told yet fast-paced and colourful blend of humour and drama [with] well-rounded, credible characters….This book will certainly appeal to female readers. Highly recommended.”Canadian Materials Magazine

  • Juvenile Fiction (ages 9-13)
  • 128 pages, available in hard cover, paperback, or e-book editions
  • Themes: Humourous stories; girls & women; friendships; jealousy

To purchase a copy of 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, visit your local independent bookstore (find one at Indie Store Finder), buy online from Amazon (Canada), Chapters, Barnes & Noble, or order directly from the publisher, Lorimer.

For more information on 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, to read the first chapter, or to get fun tips for surviving other situations like tornadoes and zombie attacks, visit the author’s website.

Isis Cover

My Cat Isis, written by Catherine Austen and illustrated by Virginie Egger (Kids Can Press)

Thousands of years ago, Isis was worshipped as an Ancient Egyptian goddess, the revered daughter of Earth and Sky. Today, there is a cat named Isis who is just as special — at least in the eyes of her owner.

Through a series of light-hearted comparisons between his cat and its goddess namesake, a young boy reveals surprising and playful similarities and differences between their two worlds. My Cat Isis is both an homage to a beloved family pet and a journey into the realm of Ancient Egyptian myth. An ideal book for cat lovers and lovers of ancient history alike.

“Kids intrigued by ancient Egypt and cats will appreciate the narrator’s evident love for both topics.” (Booklist)

“Whether you wish to start an approach to Egyptian mythology or just love cats and want something lightly humorous, this unique book with fascinating collage illustrations is just the ticket.” (Biblio Reads Children’s Book Review)

Recommended by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre:My Cat Isis takes a loving look at the similarities and differences between an ancient Egyptian divinity and a boy’s cat.”

  • Picture Book (ages 4-7)
  • 32 pages, full colour, hardcover
  • Themes: pets, ancient Egypt, humour
  • Out of print, alas.

For more information on My Cat Isis, and some background info on ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, visit the author’s website.


One Comment on “My Books

  1. Pingback: Friday Fable: Belling Oprah | Deadline? What Deadline?

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