International Rights

How to Be a Goldfish

  • ISBN 9781443192309, Paperback
  • 240 Pages | Ages 9 - 12

Some family secrets feel too big to share . . . 

When her teacher assigns a family tree project, Lizzie worries what her classmates will think. Most folks in her conservative town are used to the fact that she’s the only kid with an unmarried mom. But when Lizzie’s family tree research uncovers a shocking secret about her grandmother, Lizzie knows the talk about her family will explode once more. She turns to Harry — who’s been like a grandfather to her — for help and advice, but Harry has problems of his own. Someone has arrived at his farm claiming to own it, and is forcing Harry out. Now Lizzie must face losing Harry and the place that’s been her second home. Lizzie finds a surprising ally in David, the new owner’s son. Together, their sleuthing uncovers the keys to saving Harry and his farm. The only problem is that sharing the secrets she and David have uncovered put her complicated family on centre stage.


“When Miss Gambacort assigned this project, she told us that history wasn’t just dates and places in a textbook or an encyclopedia.

She said history happened to people, and there was a hero in every family. I didn’t believe it could be true about my family.

I was certain their lives had been dull and uninteresting. Boy, was I wrong. I had no idea what life was like for them. Wait till you hear.”

– as presented by Lizzie Ross


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Selling Points

  • A stunning debut novel by a writer to watch!
  • A compelling, heartfelt, humorous read about acceptance and understanding.
  • Themes of family, relationships and bullying can expand to offer a gentle introduction to discussions about alternative families, homosexuality, feminism, forced adoptions and social justice.


  • Short-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 2024
  • Short-listed, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, 2023
  • Short-listed, Jean Little First-Novel Award, 2023
  • Short-listed, Snow Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice), 2023
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2023