Books

16 books for Canadian kids and young adults to read in summer 2021

Looking for something for kids to read this summer? Check out these picture books, middle grade books and YA books by Canadian authors.

Are your kids looking for something to read this summer? Check out these picture books, middle grade books and YA books by Canadian authors. 

Sunny Days by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Miki Sato

Sunny Days is a picture book by Deborah Kerbel (left) and illustrated by Miki Sato. (Pajama Press)

Sunny Days is a picture book for preschool readers about the joys of warm weather. Featuring textural collage art, the book explores the childhood magic of the perfect sunny day.

Sunny Days is for ages 2 to 5.

Deborah Kerbel is a children's book author from Ontario. Her other books include the picture books Before You Were Born and Sun Dog, both illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, the middle-grade books Feathered and Bye-Bye Evil Eye and the YA books Mackenzie, Lost and Found and Girl on the Other Side.

Miki Sato is a Japanese Canadian illustrator originally from Ottawa. Her work has appeared in Today's Parent, Reader's Digest and the Walrus.

Hidden Treasure by Elly Mackay

Hidden Treasure is a picture book by author-illustrator Elly MacKay. (Running Press Kids)

Hidden Treasure is a picture book about a young treasure hunter and an eventful day at the beach. The young girl has fun in the sun and surf with her grandfather and furry best friend all while exploring and finding treasure all around her.

Hidden Treasure is for ages 4 to 8.

Elly MacKay is an Ontario author and illustrator. Her previous work includes Butterfly ParkIf You Hold a Seed, Shadow Chasers, Waltz of the Snowflakes and The Tallest Treehouse.

Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

Summer Feet is a picture book written by Sheree Fitch and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher. (Nimbus Publishing)

Summer Feet is a tongue-twisting picture book that celebrates all the things summer has to offer, including barefoot days, bonfires and dances in the rain. 

Summer Feet is for ages 4-8.

Sheree Fitch is the author of several children's books, including Mabel Murple, and young adult novels, like The Gravesavers. She received the Vicky Metcalf Award in 2000, which recognizes the career of a children's book writer or illustrator. She has also authored poetry books, including the 1993 collection In This House Are Many Women, and novels for adults, including Kiss the Joy as it Flies.

Carolyn Fisher is an author and artist. She has illustrated seven books, also authoring two of them. Her illustration credits include Weeds Find a Way and Good Night, World.

Natsumi's Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston, illustrated by Misa Saburi

A picture book by Robert Paul Weston, illustrated by Misa Saburi. (Tundra Books, Machiko Hombu)

Set against the backdrop of the warm weather season, Natsumi's Song of Summer is about two young cousins who learn more about language and culture through the course of learning about themselves. When Jill's family travels to Japan from America to stay with Natsumi and her family one summer, the two cousins learn that they share more in common than they first realized. 

Natsumi's Song of Summer is for ages 3-7.

Robert Paul Weston is an Ontario-raised, U.K.-based author of children's books. His books include ZorgamazooDust City and Blues for Zoey and Sakura's Cherry Blossoms.

Misa Saburi is a New York-based illustrator of children's books. 

Stand Like a Cedar by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Carrielynn Victor

Stand Like a Cedar is a picture book by Nicola I. Campbell (left) and illustrated by Carrielynn Victor. (Highwater Press, Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works Photography)

Stand Like a Cedar is a picture book about nature, animals and the wonder of the wilderness. It is an educational look at what it means to "stand like a cedar" and features the names of animals in the Nle7kepmxcín or Halq'emeylem languages.

Stand Like a Cedar is for ages 3 to 5.

Nicola I. Campbell is Nłeʔkepmx, Syilx and Métis from the Nicola Valley in B.C. She is also the author of Shi-shi-etkoShin-chi's CanoeGrandpa's Girls and A Day With Yayah.

Carrielynn Victor is an artist and illustrator of Stó:lö, Coast Salish and settler heritage from the XwChí:yóm (Cheam) community in B.C. 

C is for Carnival by Yolanda T. Marshall, illustrated by Daria Lavrova

C is for Carnival is a picture book by Yolanda T. Marshall (left) and illustrated by Daria Lavrova (not pictured). (Submitted by Yolanda T. Marshall, Chalkboard Publishing)

C is for Carnival is a celebration of Canada's Caribbean Carnival by Canadian children's author Yolanda T. Marshall. The rhyming alphabet book highlights diversity, colourful costumes and Caribbean music as it showcases the magic of dance and the historical importance of emancipation. 

C is for Carnival is for ages 4 to 8.

Yolanda T. Marshall is a writer of children's books including My Soca Birthday Party. Marshall was born in Guyana and grew up in Scarborough, Ont. The children's books she writes are full of her love and appreciation for that culture.

Daria Lavrova is a children's book illustrator and painter based in Amsterdam.

Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

Terry Lynn Johnson is the author of Rescue at Lake Wild. (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Rescue at Lake Wild is a middle-grade novel about 12-year-old Madison "Madi" Lewis, a girl with a passion for animals. Her parents forbid her from bringing home any more stray pets but Madi soon finds herself in an adventure involving orphaned baby beavers and a mystery around who is harming the innocent creatures. 

Rescue at Lake Wild is for ages 8 to 12.

Terry Lynn Johnson is an author and animal lover from Ontario. She is also a writer of outdoor adventures inspired by her own team of 18 Alaskan huskies.

Hard Road to Victory by Brock Greenhalgh, illustrated by Lazar Cupic & Daniel Veronese

Hard Road to Victory is a middle grade book by Brock Greenhalgh. (Peppett Publishing)

Hard Road to Victory is a middle-grade book that tells the true tale of the Black athletes who comprised the Chatham Coloured All-Stars, a baseball team that was based in 1930s Ontario. Hard Road to Victory highlights the fact that, in the fall of 1934, Chatham Coloured All-Stars competed for a major baseball championship, more than a decade before Black American Jackie Robinson broke baseball's colour barrier south of the border in Major League Baseball.

Hard Road to Victory is for ages 8 to 12.

Brock Greenhalgh is an author, publisher and public speaker based in Ontario. He has been telling the story of the 1934 Chatham All-Stars baseball team in one form or another for the past 30 years.

Lazar Cupic is a Canadian illustrator. He is a recent graduate of the Integrated Arts Program at Eastwood Collegiate Institute in Kitchener, Ont.

Daniel Veronese is a Canadian artist working on his artistic career in illustration.

Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke & Insha Fitzpatrick, illustrated by Juliana Moon

Oh My Gods! is the first in a new middle grade graphic novel series. (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Oh My Gods! is the first in a series of middle-grade graphic novels involving comedy and Greek mythology. The book is about a New Jersey teen named Karen who moves to Mt. Olympus — and discovers that all the students are actually gods and creatures from myth. Karen has to navigate growing up and finding her own identity around immortal beings.

Oh My Gods! is for ages 9 to 12.

Stephanie Cooke is a comic book writer and editor living in Toronto. Her writing work is featured in Mark Millar's Millarworld AnnualWayward Sisters: A Monstrous AnthologyThe Secret Loves of Geek Girls and Toronto Comics Anthology.

Insha Fitzpatrick is a writer and editor living in New Jersey. She's the founder and co-editor-in-chief of Dis/member and co-editor-in-chief of Rogues Portal.

Juliana Moon is a Brazilian digital artist and illustrator.

The Serpent's Fury by Kelley Armstrong

The Serpent's Fury is a book in the Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series. (Puffin Canada)

In the third book in the Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series, Rowan embarks on her most challenging adventure when she encounters new monsters. The Serpent's Fury is a story about Rowan's continuing growth as a Royal Monster Hunter — and whether she is up to the task of slaying a new set of fearsome beasts.

The Serpent's Fury is for ages 10 to 14.

Kelley Armstrong is the author of several young adult books. Her standalone novels include Aftermath and Missing, but she is best known for her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series as well as her Cainsville and Otherworld series.

The Frog Mother by Brett D. Huson, illustrated by Natasha Donovan

The Frog Mother is a book for middle-grade readers. (HighWater Press)

The Frog Mother is a story about prey and predators in the wild. It's a story about survival, as the tiny tadpoles birthed to Nox Ga'naaw, the frog mother must fend for themselves in a pond — and continue the circle of life by growing to adulthood and having tadpoles of their own.

The Frog Mother is for ages 9 to 11.

Hetxw'ms Gyetxw, also known as Brett D. Huson, is a writer from the Gitxsan Nation of the Northwest Interior of British Columbia.

Natasha Donovan is a Métis illustrator originally from Vancouver. Her sequential work has been published in the This Place: 150 Years Retold comic anthology and the Wonderful Women of History anthology.

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Hurricane Summer is a YA novel by Asha Bromfield. (Wednesday Books)

The YA novel Hurricane Summer is a coming-of-age story about a teen named Tilla. Her relationship with her Jamaican-born father is straining due to his frequent absences from her life. Tilla decides to spend the summer in Jamaica in order to reconnect with her father and understand herself and the island he calls home.

Hurricane Summer is for ages 14 and up.

Asha Bromfield is a Black Canadian actress, singer and author best known for her role as Melody Jones, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in the television show Riverdale.

Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali

S. K. Ali is the author of YA novels Saints and Misfits and Love from A to Z. (Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Andrea Stenson)

Misfit in Love is the latest book by Toronto author S.K. Ali and a sequel to her debut YA novel Saints and MisfitsIn Misfit in Loveit's summertime and Janna's brother Muhammad is getting married. But things quickly get complicated — her brother's wedding isn't going according to plan, her father is acting strange and her mother is spending a lot of time when an old friend. On top of all that, two new people enter Janna's life that leave her confused about love and relationships.

Misfit in Love is for ages 14 and up.

Ali is a writer and teacher from Toronto, best known for her YA novels, Saints and Misfits and Love from A to Z. 

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Liselle Sambury is an Ontario writer and YA author. (Margaret K. McElderry Books, Stuart W.)

YA novel Blood Like Magic, is a dark fantasy story about Voya Thomas, a Black Canadian teen witch from Toronto who is tasked with sacrificing her first love to save her family's magic. But when Voya does eventually fall in love with her soulmate, she is forced to make the choice between her morality and her duty to her bloodline.

Blood Like Magic is for ages 14 and up.

Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian Canadian YA author and vlogger from Toronto currently residing in northern Ontario. Blood Like Magic is her debut YA novel.

Sisters of the Snake by Sasha & Sarena Nanua

Sisters of the Snake is a YA novel by sisters Sasha and Sarena Nanua. (HarperTeen)

Sisters of the Snake is a YA novel about a lost princess, a street urchin and dark prophecies. When Princess Rani and Ria encounter each other and discover they look identical, the princess and the thief switch places but soon find themselves involved in a dangerous mystery involving magic and a hidden temple. 

Sisters of the Snake is for ages 13 and up.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua are YA authors and twin sisters based in Ontario. Born minutes apart from each other, they grew up loving stories about twins and magic, and began writing books together at a young age.

Mr. Universe by Arthur Slade

Mr. Universe is a YA novel by Arthur Slade. (Brenda Baker, Orca Book Publishers)

Mr. Universe is a YA novel that features a 17-year-old teen, his eccentric scientist uncle and a time travel adventure. When his uncle's experiments go awry, a teen named Michael finds himself lost in an alternate universe — with seemingly no way to get back home.

Mr. Universe is for ages 12 and up.

Arthur Slade is a prolific Saskatoon author of more than 25 YA, middle-grade and graphic novels. His books include Dust, which won the 2001 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text, and The Hunchback Assignments, which received the 2010 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

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