9 Canadian Picture Books You Have to Check Out


by Kirsti Granholm

Whether you are looking for a picture book for your children, your students or even yourself, there are a lot of options out there. Knowing which books to look out for makes your book shopping experience a whole lot easier. Check out some of my all-time favourite Canadian picture books to get some inspiration for the next time you are looking for a new picture book.


Africville, written by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell (Groundwood Books, 2018) Ages 4 and up

Many years ago Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was home to a Black community. The residence lived there for over 150 years, but when city officials decided to turn the community into a local dump, the community was forced to live in public housing. Now, Africville has been turned into a park, where families gather to remember the vibrant community in the summer. In this book, a young girl visits the site and learns more about her family’s past while attending the Africville Festival.


All Year Round, written and illustrated by Emilie Leduc (Groundwood Books, 2015) Ages 3 and up

All Year Round is a charming picture book dedicated to the beauty of the natural world. As a young child experiences the seasons, he learns to appreciate the sights and sounds of the passing months. The child spends the fall marvelling at the leaves, and the summers basking in the refreshing water. This wonderful book is simple and poetic, and the beautiful illustrations make this book perfect for young readers. This title is also available in French as La ronde des mois.


Angus All Aglow, written by Heather Smith, illustrated by Alice Carter (Orca Book Publishers, 2018) Ages 3 and up

Angus finds himself attracted to the shiny things in life. Jewels, shimmering water, and the twinkling stars. When his grandmother notices Angus’ eye for shiny things, she gifts him her dazzling necklace. Angus is so excited about it that he wears the necklace to school the next day. Tthe other students do not see the appeal as Angus does; they tease him about his necklace and Angus feels so humiliated he rips it off of his neck. Angus’ perspective changes once again when a new friend moves to town and accepts him for his love for sparkly things. Angus All Aglow teaches children to be kind to one another, despite your differences.


The Artist and Me, written by Shane Peacock, illustrated by Sophie Casson (Owlkids Books, 2016) Ages 5 and up

The Artist and Me tells the story of acclaimed artist, Vincent van Gogh. Vincent was bullied by everyone around him. On top of the humiliation, he loved to paint but no one ever bought his paintings. Vincent knew he had to keep creating art, as it was the only thing that truly made him happy. Despite being put down by his peers, Vincent soon found success and proved to everyone that bullied him that with dedication you can over come any obstacles in your path.


Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock, written by Dallas Hunt, illustrated by Amanda Strong (HighWater Press, 2018) Ages 4 and up

When Awâsis loses his Kôhkum’s bannock, he begins to worry. Awâsis knows he must replace the bannock, and finds himself in shock when the local animals begin to help him find the ingredients. Along with the help of the animals, Awâsis is able to bake a fresh replacement batch of bannock. This book inspires an appreciation for nature and even includes a bannock recipe so you can try to make it at home with your family.


Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, written by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Juile Morstad (Tundra Books, 2018) Ages 7 and up

The famous fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli is adored across the globe. Her style and commitment has served as inspiration for people both young and old. But it was not easy climbing the ladder to the top of the fashion world, and Elsa faced adversity her whole life from her peers, critics and even her own mother. This inspiring story proves that no matter what you are going through, you can still be successful if you follow your heart.


The Boy and the Blue Moon, written by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Ashley Crowley (Henry Holt and Company, 2018) Ages 4 and up

The blue moon rises in the dark night sky and a young boy knows that means it is time for an adventure. When the moon turns blue, there are always endless possibilities to explore. The young boy and his cat decide to set out on an adventure, through fields and forests. But soon, the boy finds himself tucked away in his cozy bed. The Boy and The Blue Moon is illustrated with spectacular shades of blue, making it a must-read for all young children.


A Family Is a Family Is a Family, written by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng (Groundwood Books, 2016) Ages 4 and up

One day at school, a teacher asks her class “what makes a family?” The children ponder the question, and slowly they begin to share their answers. The kids learn from one another that there are so many different family dynamics, but at the root of all of their families is love. Grab this wonderfully written picture book to explore all kinds of different families with your little one.


The Land Beyond the Wall: An Immigration Story, written and illustrated by Veronika Martenova Charles (Nimbus Publishing, 2017) Ages 6 and up

Emma has always dreamed of becoming an artist, but she lives on the grey side of the wall. On the other side, she has heard there is marvellous colours and inspiration. Emma would love to cross the wall, but she is stuck living with her dreadful Aunt Lily since her parents’ disappearance. Aunt Lily does not support Emma’s love for art, so when a boat appears on the water one day, Emma decides to leave the grey side to see the colours for herself.