Books

16 festive Canadian children's books to read over the holidays

These books will get young Canadians reading over the holiday season!

If you're looking for a festive book to read with your family this holiday season, look no further.

Here are 16 books great books that celebrate winter and the holidays.

Merry Christmas, Anne by Kallie George, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout

Merry Christmas, Anne is a book by Kallie George, left, and illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, right. (Luke Spencer Byrd, Tundra Books)

Merry Christmas, Anne is a picture book inspired by L.M. Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. Anne is experiencing Christmas in Avonlea for the first time. She has a lot to be thankful for, including Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who adopted her, and her friend Diana. But Anne is unsure just how to show how much she cares about the people around her. She soon learns how to overcome those feelings and how to have the best holiday season yet. 

Merry Christmas, Anne is for ages 3 to 7.

Kallie George is a Vancouver-based writer for children whose books include the Heartwood Hotel series and Anne Arrives.

Geneviève Godbout lives in Montreal and is the illustrator of numerous children's books, including Pink Umbrella, When Santa Was a BabyKindergarten Luck and Joseph FippsWhat's Up, Maloo? is Godbout's debut as both author and illustrator.

Baseball Bats for Christmas by Michael Kusugak, illustrated by Vladyana Langer Krykorka

Baseball Bats for Christmas was written by Michael Kusugak, pictured, and illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka. (Annick Press)

In Baseball Bats for Christmasit's 1955 on Repulse Bay, a small community set in the Arctic Circle. When a group of children come across a bunch of Christmas trees delivered by a bush pilot, they decide to use their imaginations to have a fun game of baseball in the cold. With illustrations by Vladyana Langer Krykorka, Baseball Bats for Christmas is a celebration of creativity, culture and the spirit of the season.

Baseball Bats for Christmas is for ages 7 to 11.

Michael Kusugak's other books include The Littlest Sled DogThe Curse of the ShamanT is for Territories and the classic A Promise Is A Promise, which was co-written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Krykorka.

Krykorka is a Czech painter and children's book illustrator who now lives in Toronto. She has illustrated all of Kusugak's books.

Sounds Like Christmas by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Sounds Like Christmas is a picture book written by Robert Munschl left, and illustrated by Michael Martchenko, right. (Scholastic Canada)

Robert Munsch takes on Christmas in his latest children's book. In Sounds Like Christmas, Lincoln and Georgia want to make their Christmas tree the best tree ever, complete with the best — and the noisiest — decorations.

Sounds Like Christmas is for ages 3 to 8.

    Munsch is one of Canada's iconic storytellers and Michael Martchenko is the long-time illustrator of several of his books. Their books together include MortimerThe Paper Bag Princess and many more. 

    We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Helaine Becker, illustrated by H. Werner Zimmermann

    We Wish You a Merry Christmas is a Canadian picture book published in 2021. (Scholastic Canada, Trina Koster Photography)

    It's holiday time for Porcupine and his friends in We Wish You a Merry Christmas! All the animals are at the Porcupine Cafe and getting ready to have a grand holiday feast. Porcupine, Beaver, Moose and the rest of the animal gang want all their favourite foods and it's up to Porcupine to keep up and make sure there are enough treats for the holiday party.

    We Wish You a Merry Christmas is for ages 3 to 8.

    Helaine Becker is a Toronto children's author of more than 90 books, including Hubots, Monster Science, Zoobots, The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea and Lines, Bars and Circles. She is a two-time recipient of the Lane Anderson Award and a winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Red Cedar Award. 

    Werner Zimmermann is an award-winning and bestselling Canadian children's author and illustrator. His illustrations appear in the books Porcupine in a Pine Tree and Dashing Through the Snow by Helaine Becker, Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little and the Farmer Joe series by Nancy Wilcox Richards. Zimmermann is the author and illustrator of books like Snow Day, and most recently At the Pond.

    Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg

    Meet the Latkes is a picture book by Alan Silberberg. (Viking Children's Books, silberbooks.com)

    The Latke family is celebrating the holiday season in Meet the Latkes. They all gather around while Grandpa Latke tells everyone the story of Hanukkah, but the tall tale he tells features giant dreidels and evil alien potatoes! It's up to the Latke family dog to make sure everyone knows the real story.

    Meet the Latkes is for ages 3 to 5.

    Alan Silberberg is a Canadian author, cartoonist and children's TV creator who has worked with Nickelodeon and Disney. He's the author and illustrator of three previous middle-grade novels, including Milo: Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze.

    Fox and Squirrel: The Best Christmas Ever by Ruth Ohi

    Ruth Ohi is a Canadian children's book writer and illustrator. (Scholastic Canada)

    Children's book writer and illustrator Ruth Ohi uses watercolours and humour to tell this festive tale of Fox and Squirrel preparing for the holidays. In Fox and Squirrel: The Best Christmas Ever, the two animal friends can't decide on the best way to celebrate the season. While very different, Fox and Squirrel decide that being best friends and spending time together is what really matters during Christmas.

    Fox and Squirrel: The Best Christmas Ever is for ages 2 to 7.

    Ohi has worked on more than 60 books for children, including Scribble, the Fox and Squirrel series and Choose Kindness. She lives in Toronto.

    The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters & Nicole Wellwood, illustrated by Carloe Liu

    The Boy Who Moved Christmas is a picture book by Eric Walters, centre, and Nicole Wellwood, left, pictured with her son Evan, illustrated by Carloe Liu, right. (Nimbus Publishing)

    The Boy Who Moved Christmas is based on the true story of a little boy named Evan Leversage. Evan's family and community moved Christmas so he could celebrate after he became ill and wouldn't survive until the holidays.

    The Boy Who Moved Christmas is for ages 3-7.

    Walters is the author of nearly 100 books. The Boy Who Moved Christmas is one of two books Walters has on this list. The other is Hockey Night in Kenya.

    Nicole Wellwood is a mother to three children and is an advocate for childhood cancer awareness.  In 2015, she launched Evans Legacy in her son's honour.

    Carloe Liu is a Halifax illustrator, printmaker and art teacher. She also illustrated the picture book Always With You by Walters.

    The Case of the Shrinking Friend by Eric Hogan & Tara Hungerford

    The Case of the Shrinking Friend is a picture book by Eric Hogan, left, and Tara Hungerford, right. (Firefly)

    The Case of the Shrinking Friend is the latest book in the adventures of Scout and Daisy from the TV show Scout and the Gumboot KidsThe Case of the Shrinking Friend is a nature mystery that features a winter hike, a shrinking snowman and mindful exploration of their natural world.

    The Case of the Shrinking Friend is for ages 4 to 7.

    Eric Hogan and Tara Hungerford are a Vancouver husband-and-wife team who run Imagine Create Media and are the creators of children's television series The Gumboot Kids

    Snow Doves by Nancy Hartry, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

    Snow Doves is a picture book written by Nancy Hartry, left, and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, right. (Second Story Press, Emmanuelle Roberge)

    In Snow Dovesa boy named Sami has arrived in a new country and doesn't know anything about the snow that is all around him. His new neighbour Joy doesn't speak his language, but the two children connect about understanding and facing fears on a cold and snowy day. 

    Snow Doves is for ages 3-6.

    Nancy Hartry is a novelist and picture book author from Toronto. She is also the author of the picture books Hold On, McGinty! and Jocelyn and the Ballerina.

    Gabrielle Grimard is an author and illustrator from Quebec. She wrote and illustrated the picture books Lila and the Crow and Nutcracker Night and illustrated the books Stolen Words by Melanie Florence and The Magic Boat by Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris.

    Hockey with Dad by Willie Sellars, illustrated by Kevin Easthope

    Hockey with Dad is a picture book written by Willie Sellars, left, and illustrated by Kevin Easthope, right. (Caitlin Press)

    Hockey with Dad, a picture book by author Willie Sellars, is the follow-up to his book Dipnetting with Dad. Featuring illustrations by Kevin Easthope, Hockey with Dad is the continuing adventures of Little Brother who plays hockey within his Secwépemc community. It's the championship game, and Big Sister and her hockey team are ready to win. But when their goalie gets injured, it's time for Little Brother to step up and make his father and community proud.

    Hockey with Dad is for ages 4 to 7.

    Sellars was born and raised in Williams Lake, B.C., and is the Chief of the Williams Lake First Nation. Sellars published his first children's book, Dipnetting with Dad, in 2014, which won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award.

    Easthope is a B.C.-based illustrator. His artistic work spans a variety of mediums including oil painting, graphite and graphic design.

    Song for the Snow by Jon-Erik Lappano, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler

    Song for the Snow is a picture book written by Jon-Erik Lappano, left, and illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, right. (Groundwood Books, Robert Scarborough)

    In the picture book Song for the Snow, author Jon-Erik Lappano and illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler deliver a fable-like tale about old traditions, new connections to nature and how hope can establish a bright future. In the town where Freya lives, snow hasn't been seen for a long time. There's a song that her own grandmother used to sing that made the snow fall — but when Freya tries to sing it, nothing happens. But when she shares the song with others, the weather feels like it is going to change once more.

    Song for the Snow is for ages 3 to 6.

    Lappano is a children's book author from Ontario. His picture book Tokyo Digs a Garden won the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration.

    Eggenschwiler is an illustrator who has contributed to publications like the New York Times, New Yorker and GQ. He also illustrated the books Operatic by Kyo Maclear and Coyote Tales by Thomas King.

    One Wild Christmas by Nicholas Oldland

    One Wild Christmas is a picture book by Nicholas Oldland. (Kids Can Press)

    In One Wild Christmasbest friends moose and beaver are hard at work getting ready for the holiday season. But when they realize they've forgotten to get a Christmas tree, the two pals embark on a journey through the snowy forest to find one that's just right. 

    When they do find a suitable tree to cut down, the moose and the beaver can't quite decide on whether Christmas can be Christmas without cutting down a beautiful tree.

    One Wild Christmas is for ages 3 to 7.

    Oldland has created several bestselling books for children, including Big Bear HugMaking the Moose Out of Life and Walk on the Wild Side.

    Malaika's Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher 

    Malaika's Winter Carnival is a picture book written by Nadia L. Hohn, left, and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher. (Groundbook Books, Yellow Butterfly Photography)

    In Malaika's Winter CarnivalMalaika has moved to Canada, where everything is different. It's cold, no one understands when she talks and Carnival is not the celebration it was back home. Malaika's Winter Carnival uses a mix of standard English and Caribbean patois to tell the story of a young girl who misses her home but learns about the meaning of family during a winter carnival.

    Malaika's Winter Carnival is for ages 3 to 7.

    Nadia L. Hohn is a writer, musician and educator based in Toronto. She was named one of six Black Canadian writers to watch by CBC Books in 2018. Her other books include Malaika's Surprise, Malaika's Costume and A Likkle Miss Lou.

    Irene Luxbacher is an acclaimed artist and author living in Toronto. The picture books she has written and illustrated include Deep Underwater, an Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award finalist; Mr. Frank, a USBBY Outstanding International Book; and most recently, Once I Was a Bear. Her other works of note include illustrations for Malaika's Costume and Malaika's Surprise by Nadia L. Hohn, and her illustrations for The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen were shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award.

    Snow Days by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Miki Sato

    Snow Days is a picture book written by Deborah Kerbel, top right, and illustrated by Miki Sato, bottom right. (Pajama Press, Adrian Fiebig)

    Snow Days uses textured collage art and rhyming couplets to depict the joy and magic of the season called winter. The picture sees children marvelling at the fun winter can bring. 

    Snow 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 previously appeared in Today's Parent, Reader's Digest and the Walrus.

    Nutcracker Night by Mireille Messier & Gabrielle Grimard

    Nutcracker Night is a picture book by Mireille Messier, pictured, and Gabrielle Grimard. (Pajama Press)

    Mireille Messier's Nutcracker Night reworks the classic holiday story through the eyes of a young child going to see the ballet at New York City's David H. Koch Theater. Using whimsical characters, drawn by illustrator Gabrielle Grimard, and clever onomatopoeia, Nutcracker Night brings the experience of seeing the classic ballet to life.

    Nutcracker Night is for ages 3 to 7.

    Messier has written more than 20 books for children. She was born in Montreal, grew up in Ottawa and is based in Toronto.

    Grimard is an author and illustrator from Quebec. She wrote and illustrated the picture books Lila and the Crow and Nutcracker Night and illustrated the books Stolen Words by Melanie Florence and The Magic Boat by Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris.

    Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Isabelle Follath

    Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park is a book by Marthe Jocelyn, left, and illustrated by Isabelle Follath, right. (Tundra Books, isabellefollath.ch)

    Inspired by the life and work of Agatha Christie, Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park is the second book in the Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen series. The latest book sees budding detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector put to the test once again as they find adventure and a new mystery. The duo must use their skills and imaginations to work to find a murderer on the loose during the Christmas holiday season.

    Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park is for ages 10 and up.

    Marthe Jocelyn is a Toronto-based writer and illustrator. She is the author of over 20 children's books, including The Invisible Enemy and Mayfly. She was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration for her 2000 picture book Hannah's Collections.

    Isabelle Follath is an illustrator from Switzerland.

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