The 10 picture books every Canadian home should have

May 3-10 marks TD Canadian Children's Literature Week, a week-long celebration of literature for kids of all ages from coast-to-coast. CBC Books knows the importance of developing a love for reading from a early age, which is why we put together this all-time no-fail list of our 10 favourite Canadian picture books -- titles every household in the great white north should have!

Are we missing your favourite? If so, let us know in the comments below.



Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee

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"Alligator pie, alligator pie, If I don't get some I think I'm gonna die."

Well, we'd die if this charming poem turned children's book wasn't on every must-read list. First published in 1974, Alligator Pie has endured 40 years of children chanting about their love for all things alligator. Frank Newfeld illustrated the timeless book, which won the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year award in 1975.





The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

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A princess's castle and clothes are burned to a crisp and a dragon has kidnapped her prince! Whatever shall she do? Well, if you're Princess Elizabeth, you put on a paper bag and get your prince back. And when it turns out he's a superficial "bum," Princess Elizabeth moves on. It's a fantastical tale with a powerful message for young girls and boys everywhere! Illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Robert Munsch's tale was first published in 1980, but is always worth a read.



Boy Soup by Loris Lesynski

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Boy soup: it's a guaranteed cold cure for giants. But when a girl gets in the mix -- watch out. That's the premise for Lois Lesyniski's 1996 children's story, which was recently re-issued with illustrations by Michael Martchenko and was chosen for the TD Grade One Giveaway in 2013.






Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

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No matter what your child is scared of, it's a guarantee Scaredy Squirrel is scared of more. His fears include "tarantulas, poison ivy, green Martians, germs, killer bees, and sharks." There's now a whole series of Scaredy Squirrel books as well as a TV show, but for the classic Scaredy experience, it's best to go with the 2006 original storybook.





Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gillman

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Every kid can connect with "Jillian, Jillian Jillian Jiggs!" a young girl whose room looks like it "has been lived in by pigs." Her reliability combined with her super-fun to shout name have made Jillian Jiggs (and the several sequels) go-to reads for anyone who was, has, or is a high-energy kid.





Mabel Murple by Sheree Fitch

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What is it about girls with alliterative names that make for excellent children's books? Mabel Murple is right up there with Jillian Jiggs. Her purple planet of purple people is a tongue-twisting ride full of fun. Maple Murple was originally published in 1995. The latest edition was illustrated by Sydney Smith.





Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid

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Barbara Reid's Plasticine art works are Canadian classics and no library is complete without at least one of her books. If it has to be just one, we suggest the most Canadian of her collections: Perfect Snow, about the fun kids can have after a perfect snowfall. Perfect Snow won the Amelia Francis Howard Gibbon Award for Illustration when it originally came out in 2010.




Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

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Robert Munsch is the only author with two books on this list, but can you blame us? His story of an enduring love between mother and son is iconic -- so iconic you named it the most iconic Canadian cover last year. Sheila McGraw was the illustrator behind this work. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." Sounds about right to us.




Red is Best by Kathy Stinson

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When kids have a favourite colour, it is their favourite colour. Even if it's not red, everyone who has ever loved a colour so much they want to wear it head to toe always will relate to Kelly, who prefers her red mittens, red boots and red pajamas over any alternatives her parents have to offer. Robin Baird Lewis illustrated the latest edition, and the book has been a must-read for families since 1982.




Wishes by Jean Little

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Jean Little is a Canadian icon. She's won dozens of awards and is a member of the Order of Canada. This means no Canadian children's book list can be complete without at least one of her titles on it. We went with 2012's Wishes because of the whimsical drawings by Genevieve Cote and how Little celebrates creativity and imagination, one rhyme at a time.






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