Books

10 Canadian picture books that will get your family in the holiday spirit

These books for younger readers will get you ready for winter!

It's December! These 10 books for younger readers will get your whole family ready for the holiday season.

Sounds Like Christmas by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Sounds Like Christmas is a picture book by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko. (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.

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. 

Sounds Like Christmas is for aged 3 to 8.

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 aged 2 to 7.

Ohi has worked on more than 60 books for children. She lives in Toronto.

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 aged 3 to 7.

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

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

Nadia L. Hohn is the author of Malaika's Winter Carnival. (Elizabeth Dungan, Groundwood Books)

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 aged 3 to 7.

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.

Nutcracker Night by Mireille Messier & Gabrielle Grimard

Mireille Messier is a children's book author from Ottawa. (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 aged 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.

My Winter City by James Gladstone, illustrated by Gary Clement

My Winter City is a picture book by James Gladstone and Gary Clement. (Groundwood Books)

The city in winter, as seen through the eyes of a young child, is the focus of My Winter City. Walking through the snowy streets with his father, the child takes note of the sights and sounds along the way, from the singing buskers to the tobogganing hills that the pair gleefully play on. 

My Winter City is for aged 4 to 7.

James Gladstone is a Toronto editor and children's book author. He won the 2019 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction for his book Turtle Pond. Gary Clement is a children's book illustrator who has won a Governor General's Literary Award for his work.

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

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

In Baseball Bats for Christmas, it'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 aged 7 to 11.

Michael Kusugak's other books include 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 Munsch and illustrated by Krykorka.

Lucy Tries Hockey by Lisa Bowes, illustrated by James Hearne 

Sports journalist Lisa Bowes is the author of the children's picture book Lucy Tries Hockey, illustrated by James Hearne. (Ewan Nicholson, Orca Book Publishers)

Lucy Tries Hockey is the latest book in the Lucy Tries Sports series. When Lucy sees a hockey game on an outdoor rink, she's too scared to try it. Her parents sign her up for a beginner's lesson. After getting all new equipment and learning the ins and outs of Canada's national game, Lucy realizes that it's a fun sport that she loves to play.

Lucy Tries Hockey is for aged 6 to 8.

Lisa Bowes is a Canadian sports broadcaster who has worked for TSN, CTV and CBC. The Lucy Tries Sports book series features Lucy trying several different sports, including luge, soccer and speed skating.

The Night Before Christmas by Barbara Reid

The Night Before Christmas is a picture book by Barbara Reid. (Scholastic Canada, Ian Crysler)

The classic holiday poem is illustrated by iconic Canadian artist Barbara Reid. Reid is known for her colourful and detailed Plasticine illustrations. The Night Before Christmas reimagines the story with cute animal creatures and humour, making it a delight for the whole family.

The Night Before Christmas is for readers aged 3 and up.

Reid is a bestselling children's writer whose books include Picture a Tree and Sing a Song of Mother Goose. In 2013, she was appointed member of the Order of Canada.

When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James

When The Moon Comes is a picture book written by Paul Harbridge and illustrated by Matt James. (Matt James, Penguin Random House, Paul Harbridge)

In this visually arresting tale of an evening spent playing hockey on a frozen pond, creators Paul Harbridge and Matt James bring the forest to life. Readers are transported into a night filled with perfect ice, a crackling fire and the sense of anticipation that accompanies that trek into the woods for some shinny. The adventure unfolds under the magic of a full moon that will leave you craving the year's first snow fall. 

When the Moon Comes is for readers aged 4 to 8.

When the Moon Comes was a finalist for the  TD Canadian Children's Literature Awardthe Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustrated books and won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, a $20,000 prize recognizing Canadian picture books.

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