19 Canadian books for kids and young adults to read this Halloween
Check out these scary good books by Canadian authors, just in time for Halloween.
The Rock from the Sky is a picture book about hope, community and the meaning of friendship. Using his signature illustrations and deadpan humour, author-illustrator Jon Klassen features futuristic visions and a group of animals trying to figure out what it all means.
Jon Klassen is a Toronto author and illustrator now based in Los Angeles. His long list of prestigious honours includes the American Caldecott Medal and CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal (both for This Is Not My Hat, which he wrote and illustrated), as well as the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — illustration for Cats' Night Out, which was written by Caroline Stutson. He has also frequently collaborated with American author Mac Barnett on books like The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, Triangle, Square and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.
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.
It Fell from the Sky is the latest picture book by the award-winning team The Fan Brothers. It Fell from the Sky is a quirky picture book about an insect community and the strange unidentified object that falls from the sky one day. When Spider creates a wondrous display around the object, he's convinced that it belongs to him and starts charging money to see it. But when the insects stop coming by, Spider wonders if he's done the right thing.
It Fell from the Sky is for ages 4 to 8.
Eric Fan and Terry Fan are brothers and frequent collaborators on children's books. Their books include The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky. They also illustrated The Darkest Dark, which was written by Chris Hadfield.
Devin Fan is an artist, poet and youth worker. The Barnabus Project was his first children's book and marked the first time all three brothers have written and illustrated a picture book together.
The Fan Brothers won the 2020 Governor General's Literary Prize for young people's literature — illustrated books for The Barnabus Project.
A Sure Cure for Witchcraft is set in the world of 18th century Württemberg, in what is now Germany, and features magic, witches and time travel. A young girl named Lilli knows all about witches and also knows that her wise teacher, Alisz, just wants to help others. But Lilli's father hates witches and witchcraft and moves the family to the New World. Alisz and Lilli pledge to be soul friends, no matter the time — and it is in present day Nova Scotia where the two are fated to meet again once more.
A Sure Cure for Witchcraft is for ages 8 to 12.
Laura Best is a Nova Scotia author of middle grade and YA novels. Her first YA book, Bitter, Sweet, was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.
Screamers is a middle-grade novel about a group of kids who are selected to appear on the hit television show Screamers. The show's set, an abandoned amusement park called Pennyland, happens to be haunted by a ghost — setting off an adventure where the kids soon learn what true fear is all about.
Screamers is for ages 9 to 12.
Joel A. Sutherland is a Ontario author of thriller, horror and fantasy short stories and novels, anthologies and children's books. His work includes Haunted Canada 10 and Haunted: The House Next Door.
Set in 1426 Korea, The Forest of Stolen Girls is a YA novel about a young woman named Hwani who seeks to know the truth about a past crime that affected her family. But when her detective father vanishes after looking into the mystery, Hwani is forced to locate her family and solve the mystery that forever changed all their lives.
The Forest of Stolen Girls is for ages 13 and up.
June Hur is a South Korea-born writer based in Toronto. She has a degree in history and literature from the University of Toronto. She is also the author of The Silence of Bones.
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.
Anthony and the Gargoyle is a picture book about a boy named Anthony and his favourite pet rock. One day, the rock breaks open to reveal a baby gargoyle. The pair became fast friends, but when they travel to Paris on a family trip, a visit to Notre-Dame cathedral helps them realize where the gargoyle truly belongs.
Anthony and the Gargoyle is for ages 6 to 9.
Jo Ellen Bogart is an American Canadian children's book author. Based in Ontario, her work includes The White Cat and the Monk, illustrated by Sydney Smith, Jeremiah Learns to Read, illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson and Gifts, illustrated by Barbara Reid.
Maja Kastelic is an artist and children's book author and illustrator based in Slovenia.
Little Moar and the Moon is a picture book about fear and facing the unknown. Moar loves the fall season — but when the days grow shorter and colder, he becomes a bit more concerned and fearful of the moon's eerie face. Moar wants to get home after school before it gets dark, but there are so many fun things to do!
Little Moar and the Moon is for ages 6 to 8.
Roselynn Akulukjuk is an author and filmmaker who was born in Nunavut. She wrote and directed her first film, the live-action and puppetry short The Owl and the Lemming. She also wrote a children's book of the same name, which was based on the film.
Jazmine Gubbe is an illustrator from Ontario currently working in the animation industry.
Tell Me When You Feel Something is a YA thriller novel that revolves around a mysterious after-school program at a medical school. When a teen named Viv gets involved in the program — which involves being a "simulated" patient for med school students to practice on — she soon ends up in a coma. No one seems to know what really happened, and the other kids just don't know who to trust to get the real answer.
Tell Me When You Feel Something is for ages 10 and up.
Vicki Grant is an author from Halifax. Her other books include 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You, The Puppet Wrangler, Quid Pro Quo and Not Suitable for Family Viewing.
The Wild Ones is a YA novel featuring magic powers — and a team of girls who are forced to solve a mystery, challenge the patriarchy and save the day from dangerous forces. Paheli is a leader and original Wild One, someone who overcame abuse and reclaimed her power. She is now on a mission to help girls use their own special abilities to save others in need.
The Wild Ones is for ages 14 and up.
Nafiza Azad is a Canadian YA novelist who was born in Fiji. Her previous YA novel, The Candle and the Flame, was shortlisted for the William C. Morris Award for debut YA fiction. Azad is a children's literature writer and identifies as Indo-Fijian Muslim Canadian. She is now based in B.C.
The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story is a middle-grade mystery that takes place around a creepy dollhouse. Alice's world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice's mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that's an exact replica of the house she's living in.
The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story is for ages 9 to 12.
Charis Cotter is a Newfoundland author known for books such as The Ghost Road and Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland.
Trip of the Dead is a middle-grade book about the adventures of a crafty raccoon named Trip within an ongoing zombie apocalypse. Trip seems to be the last raccoon in his neck of the woods — but he soon discovers that being a raccoon just might be the answer for getting rid of zombies forever.
Trip of the Dead is for ages 9 to 12.
Angela Misri is a Toronto-based journalist and author of detective fiction and children's books. Her detective series, called The Portia Adams Adventures, is set in the 1930s, and her middle-grade series is called Tales from the Apocalypse.
Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose is about a bat named Bailey who just can't seem to sleep. The picture book sees Bailey sneak out from home and seek adventure in the forest. But when Bailey encounters a moose who is tangled up in a fence, Bailey must summon the courage to save the day.
Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose is for ages 6 to 8.
Grant Lawrence is a Vancouver-based CBC personality, singer and the author of three books for adults: Adventures In Solitude, The Lonely End of the Rink and Dirty Windshields. His first two titles won the Bill Duthie Booksellers Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes, marking the first time that the same author has won this prize twice.
Noémie Gionet Landry is a doctor, artist and illustrator based in Moncton.
Curse of the Divine is a YA fantasy novel featuring tattoo magic, evil gods and creatures known as inklings. It's about the ongoing adventures of Celia Sand and her battle against dark forces. Celia lost her best friend to an evil being known as Diavala — and is determined to use her magical abilities to win once and for all.
Curse of the Divine is for ages 14 and up.
Kim Smejkal is an author of dark YA fantasy novels. She lives on Vancouver Island. She is also the author of the YA novel Ink in the Blood.
In Guardians of Porthaven, Malcolm Gravenhurst is preparing to take on the mantle of Guardian on his 15th birthday. The Guardians are tasked with defending the city of Porthaven, and his family is the only one to possess the superpowers necessary to battle the frequent alien invasions of robotic klek. With the threat of annihilation, Malcolm must choose between family loyalty and doing the right thing.
Guardians of Porthaven is for ages 9 to 12.
Shane Arbuthnott is the Saskatoon author of books such as Terra Nova and Dominion, which was nominated for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.
In Valley of the Rats, Krish hates the outdoors, camping and especially germs. When Krish and his father take a camping trip to Ladakh, he convinces himself they'll bond, despite their differences. But when Krish and Kabir break the most sacred rule, the Imdura threaten to keep them there forever. Can Krish overcome his fears to save his father and himself?
Valley of the Rats is for ages 9 to 12.
Mahtab Narsimhan is the author of a young adult trilogy, four middle-grade novels and two picture books. Her first novel, The Third Eye, won the Silver Birch Award. Originally from Mumbai, Narsimhan now lives in British Columbia.
I Dare You is a YA novel about a teen named Rainey. When the video he filmed of a fight at high school hits social media, Rainey is convinced by schoolmates to create a prank video about a suspicious figure in the nearby woods. But when rumours start to spread about a ghost and kids being kidnapped, Rainey realizes that he might have gone too far — and grapples with his guilty conscience about telling the truth.
I Dare You is for ages 12 and up.
Jeff Ross is an Ottawa-based author of books for young adults. He currently teaches scriptwriting and English at Algonquin College.
Blood Donor is a YA novel about a teen girl named Jo who is locked out of her home one night after being late for curfew. Now wandering the cold streets with no money or place to stay, Jo unwittingly becomes a target for a kidnapper. She finds herself being held prisoner with other teens by captors who drug them and extract their blood. Jo must find a way out before her time runs out.
Blood Donor is for ages 12 and up.
Karen Bass is an Ontario author. Her previous books include Graffiti Knight, The Hill and Two Times a Traitor.