18 Canadian books for young people to read for I Read Canadian Day
Feb. 19, 2020 is the first I Read Canadian Day. It's a day for encouraging young people to read, and to read more Canadian books.
Here are 18 Canadian books for the young readers in your life.
Children's author Robert Munsch and illustrator Jay Odjick team up for a second picture book called Bear for Breakfast. In this tale, a boy named Donovan decides to catch a bear to eat for breakfast, just like his grandfather used to eat. When he goes hunting, Donovan discovers the bear might have other plans.
Bear for Breakfast is for readers aged 3-8.
Stand on the Sky is about a young girl who goes against her communiy's traditions in order to follow her dreams. In Aisulu's nomadic community, only men have traditionally learned to train eagles. But when her parents take her brother to a distant hospital, Aisulu secretly nurtures an orphaned baby eagle. Stand on the Sky won the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.
Stand on the Sky is for readers ages 9 to 12.
Qin Leng illustrates a picture book based on Sharon, Lois & Bram's beloved children's song. Sharon, Lois & Bram are a Canadian children's musical group that have performed together for over 40 years.
Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink is for readers aged 3-6.
In The Girl and the Wolf, a little girl gets lost in the woods while picking berries. A large grey wolf is able to tell where she is from by smelling her and helps her get home. In the meantime, the girl realizes she had the skills to find her way back all along.
The Girl and the Wolf is for readers aged 3-5.
Both Katherena Vermette and Julie Flett are Governor General's Literary Award-winning artists — Vermette for the poetry collection North End Love Songs and Flett for the children's book When We Were Alone.
The Dragon Thief is the the second instalment of the middle-grade series Dragons in a Bag. It follows the fantasy adventures of young Jaxon and his life with dragons. When he's put in charge of taking care of baby dragons, he discovers that one is missing. This event sets Jaxon off on an adventure to find his best friend's sister, Kavita, who just might be the dragon thief.
The Dragon Thief is for readers aged 8-12.
Zetta Elliott was born in Ajax, Ont., and has lived in the United States for the past 20 years. She is a poet, teacher and writer for children and young adults.
I Promise is a portrayal of all the joys and challenges of parenting and a celebration of the many different forms that loving families come in.
I Promise is for readers aged 3-8.
Catherine Hernandez is a playwright, performer and the author of the novel Scarborough.
Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, activist and scholar whose work has appeared in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Globe and Mail and in Nuit Blanche.
Those Who Dwell Below is a sequel to Aviaq Johnston's debut novel, Those Who Run in the Sky. After being trapped in a spirit world, a young shaman named Pitu returns to his life in the Arctic. When Pitu gets wind of a nearby community that is starving, he realizes he must travel to the depths of the ocean to meet with the sea goddess Nuliajuk.
Those Who Dwell Below is for readers aged 12 and up.
Aviaq Johnston is an Inuk author from Igloolik, Nunavut. She is also the author of the charming children's book What's My Superpower? illustrated by Tim Mack. Her YA novel Those Who Run in the Sky. was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.
In Small in the City, a young boy is on the hunt for a precious item he has lost on a snowy day in a big city. Along the way, he navigates special shortcuts and and shares secrets about the city he lives in.
Small in the City is for readers aged 3-7.
Sydney Smith is a Halifax-based illustrator. His other books include Town Is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, and Sidewalk Flowers, written by JonArno Lawson. Town Is by the Sea won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award in 2018 and the U.K.'s Kate Greenaway Medal for children's illustration.
An amautik is a pouch inside a parka where you can carry children. The picture book In My Anaana's Amautik is told from the perspective of a baby safely nestled in their mother's amautik.
In My Anaana's Amautik is for readers aged 0-3.
Nadia Sammurtok is an Inuk writer and educator. Her books include The Caterpillar Woman and The Owl and the Two Rabbits. Lenny Lishchenko is an illustrator based in Toronto.
How much fun can a frog have with a drum? An energetic frog named Pokko intends to figure out in Pokko and the Drum. This picture book by Montreal writer and illustrator Matthew Forsythe features simple language, quirky illustrations and a sharp sense of humour.
Pokko and the Drum follows the story of Pokko and the assortment of forest animals who join in the musical fun as the percussionist marches to her own little beat.
Pokko and the Drum is for readers aged 4-8.
Forsythe is a comic book artist and children's book creator. His other titles include The Brilliant Deep and Pokko and the Soup.
A Likkle Miss Lou is a picture book about Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett Coverley, a Jamaican poet known for bringing international attention to Jamaican patois.
A Likkle Miss Lou is for readers aged 4-8.
Nadia L. Hohn is a children's book author from Toronto. Her other titles include Malaika's Costume and Malaika's Winter Carnival.
Eugenie Fernandes is an artist and children's book illustrator based in Ontario.
The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills is about a young girl named Shelly with an important job. She catches ghosts in her hair and helps them transition to the afterlife. But when Shelly's mom dies, she stops helping the ghosts and starts hoarding them, as she waits for her mother's ghost to arrive. The Ghost Collector is inspired by Mills's great-grandmother's life and influenced by her Cree heritage.
The Ghost Collector is for readers aged 10 and up.
Mills is a writer based in Vancouver. The Ghost Collector is her first book.
The final book in American Mac Barnett and Canadian Jon Klassen's shapes trilogy is all about Circle, who must save her friend Triangle when he breaks a rule.
Circle is for readers aged 4-8.
In Birdsong, a lonely girl becomes friends with her new neighbour, an elderly woman. Together, they watch the seasons change, but as they both grow older, the young girl learns to cope with her friend's declining health. Birdsong was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration.
Birdsong is for readers aged 5-8.
Julie Flett has illustrated several picture books including Little You, My Heart Fills with Happiness and We Sang You Home. She won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration for When We Were Alone, which was written by David A. Robertson.
In Boonoonoonous Hair!, a girl learns to embrace her wild, hard-to-manage curly hair. Olive Senior is an award-winning writer. Her books include the short story collection The Pain Tree and the picture book Anna Carries Water, which is also illustrated by New York artist Laura James.
Boonoonoonous Hair! is for readers aged 5-9.
Senior is the author of 18 books, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction and children's literature. Her collection Over the Roofs of the World was shortlisted for the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.
I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe & I'm Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, both illustrated by Pauline Young
This children's book shares Rita Joe's iconic poem I Lost My Talk with a new generation. I Lost My Talk is about how Joe, a Mi'kmaw elder and poet, lost her language and culture after she was sent to residential school.
I'm Finding My Talk is Rebecca Thomas's response to Rita Joe's poem I Lost My Talk. Thomas is a poet and a second-generation residential school survivor. In I'm Finding My Talk, she celebrates reconnecting with her language and culture.
Both books are for readers aged 4-8.
Both books are illustrated by Pauline Young, a Mi'kmaw illustrator who lives in New Brunswick.
Operatic is a graphic novel about the beauty of opera. When her music class learns about opera, Charlie becomes obsessed with the life of Maria Callas. She looks to the ultimate diva for direction on how to cope with her feelings for her classmate Emile and her concerns for Luka, who hasn't showed up to school in weeks.
Operatic is for readers aged 10 to 14.
Byron Eggenschwiler is an illustrator who has contributed to publications like the New York Times, New Yorker and GQ.