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10 great (Canadian) picture books for the holidays


illustration by David Sturge from book A Moose Goes a-Mummering cover

You’ve probably read The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas a million times. Maybe you’re looking for something new to read for Christmas. Here’s a look at some of the best holiday books that Canada has to offer.

book coverBaseball Bats for Christmas

By Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, art by Vladyana Krykorka

A uniquely Canadian story about Inuit children “smack dab on the Arctic Circle” who are perplexed by a delivery of six spindly green things that they’ve never seen before. In a place where there isn’t a single tree to be found, the boys decide to use the unusual things as baseball bats.


book coverA Moose Goes a-Mummering

By Lisa Dalrymple, illustrated by David Sturge

A great east coast version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. When Chris Moose tries to go mummering (a Newfoundland Christmas tradition where friends dress in disguise and go door to door, visiting neighbours, who try to guess who they are), everyone seems to be able to figure out who he is! The disguises get more and more hilariously elaborate with each visit.


book coverThe Night Before Christmas

By Barbara Reid

Barbara Reid recreates the famous poem, The Night Before Christmas with her stunning plasticine artwork featuring a sweet little mouse family in incredibly detailed illustrations. You may have heard the story many times before, but you’ve never seen it done quite this way.


book coversA Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas
Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells
Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol

By Helaine Becker, illustrated by Werner Zimmerman

Three books featuring familiar stories with a distinctly Canadian twist. Each of these books is clever and will have you singing along to lines like “nine loons canoeing, eight Mounties munching” until your parents beg you to stop. Or join in the fun too.


book coverWhen Santa Was a Baby

By Linda Bailey, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout

See Christmas in a completely different way by finding out what Santa was like waaaay before he turned into the man we know and love today. Once upon a time, he was a baby with a big, booming voice and a habit of giving away his birthday presents.


book coverThe Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold

By Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Cale Atkinson

What if Santa stopped believing in YOU? A funny look at a Santa who WANTS to believe in Harold but who just isn’t sure he really exists.


book coverWaltz of the Snowflakes

By Elly MacKay

Magically illustrated with paper-cut artwork that show a girls first experience seeing The Nutcracker ballet. Told without words, you’ll love telling the story in your own words every single time you read it.


book coverChanukah Noel

By Sharon Jennings, illustrated by Gillian Newland

Celebrate the beauty of both Christmas and Chanukah in this story about a Jewish girl who moves to a new country and wants to celebrate Christmas like everyone else. Instead, she learns to embrace the spirit of both holidays and convinces her family to help her make another family’s Christmas dreams come true.