November 2020


News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
November Reading List: Cooking Together
Author Corner: Paul Coccia
Illustrator’s Studio: Anoosha Syed
Experts’ Picks

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends

Presenting the 2020 Winners of the #CCBCBookAwards!

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of our annual children’s book awards.

Eight awards in total were given out:

  •  Birdsong by Julie Flett (Greystone Kids), won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
  • Les étoiles, by Jacques Goldstyn (Éditions de la Pastèque) won the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse ($50,000)
  • Small in the City by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books), won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
  •  Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through History, written by Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David, illustrated by Gillian Wilson (Owlkids Books), won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non‐Fiction ($10,000)
  •  Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaide (Katherine Tegen Books), won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
  • The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick Press), won the John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
  •  In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen (Running Press Teens), won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
  • Des couleurs sur la Grave, written by Marie-Andrée Arsenault,
    illustrated by Dominique Leroux (Éditions la Morue verte) won the Prix Harry Black de l’album jeunesse ($5,000)

Read more here and rewatch the English-language awards here.

Support the Jean Little First Middle-Grade Novel Award

The Jean Little First Middle-Grade Novel Award is intended to recognize the achievements of first-time Canadian children’s novelists.

After the beloved Jean Little died in April 2020, Sarah Ellis, Kit Pearson and Maggie de Vries came up with the idea of establishing an award in Jean’s name. In Kit Pearson’s words, “We decided that the most appropriate honour would be a prize for a Canadian middle-grade novel by a first-time writer. Much of Jean’s writing was for the middle grades, and Jean was always an enthusiastic supporter of beginning writers. This award would honour her long and successful career and encourage the next generation of writers following in her footsteps.”

Please consider contributing to this exciting venture — no amount is too small! The CCBC is a registered charity and will issue charitable donation receipts.

Donate Today!

Canadian Children’s Book Week: Readers Take Flight/Tournée Lire à tout vent

We are excited to announce the touring creators for Canadian Children’s Book Week: Readers Take Flight. Forty-Five talented Canadian authors, illustrators and storytellers were selected to take part in this virtual tour and share a love of reading with young people in schools, libraries and homes all across Canada.

Established in 1977, this year’s national tour will take place from May 2-8, 2021. See the list of touring creators here.

Bibliovideo to Release Telling Tales Episodes in New Partnership

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is thrilled to announce an important new partnership: Bibliovideo and Telling Tales.

For more than a decade, Telling Tales has celebrated a love of reading. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Telling Tales has gone virtual, creating 13 episodes of quality children’s programming that will engage and delight children from tots to teens.

Bibliovideo is pleased to partner with Telling Tales to release all 13 episodes, starting on October 14, 2020, and continuing twice weekly. Watch the videos here.

Eric Walters is the Canadian nominee for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian section) is pleased to announce author Eric Walters as the nominee for the 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) — the highest international honour for creators of children’s and youth literature. Walters is one of 263 candidates in the running for the award, from 69 countries across 6 continents.

One of Canada’s most prolific authors of books for children and young adults, Walters has published more than 100 novels and picture books, received more than 120 awards, and presented to more than one million students across Canada and internationally.

Learn more here.

I Read Canadian: “Now More Than Ever”

The second annual celebration of Canadian children’s literature is slated for February 17, 2021. The event will be a national celebration of Canadian books for young people, with the goal of elevating the genre, and celebrating their breadth and diversity. I Read Canadian Day will take place in homes, schools, libraries and bookstores all across the country.  Visit the official website to register today!

The First Page student writing challenge is open for submissions!

The First Page student writing challenge is now open for submissions! The CBC is looking for Grades 7 to 12 students to give us a glimpse of the great Canadian novel in the year 2170. Your challenge is to write the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, with your protagonist facing an issue that’s topical today and setting the scene for how it’s all playing out in a century and a half. This contest is open to all Canadian residents who are full-time students enrolled in Grades 7 to 12. Entries will be judged in two age categories: Grades 7 to 9 and Grades 10 to 12. This year’s judge is author David Alexander Robertson!

Learn more here.

Support the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award this #GivingTuesday

This #GivingTuesday, we’re raising money for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. Inspired by Terry Fox’s and Rick Hansen’s Canadian journeys, Amy Mathers decided to honour her passion for reading Canadian teen literature, while working around her physical limitations, by completing a Marathon of Books in 2014 to fundraise for this award. Throughout the marathon, Amy read one Canadian teen fiction book a day for each day of 2014, in order to raise funds. In the six years since the award was founded, $30,000 has been giving directly to creators to support their writing and elevate YA fiction in Canada.

Help keep this important award going by donating today!

Empowering Youth, One Generation at a Time: Free Resources 

The Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) is inspired by Rick’s belief in the power of youth and their ability to change the world. RHFSP raises awareness, challenges perceptions, and changes attitudes, through a variety of lessons and activities, empowering youth to take action on important issues.

RHFSP resources are designed for youth from K-12 and include age-appropriate lessons and interactive activities for every grade level. Free, bilingual, and connected to provincial curriculum, our resources are:

  • Ready-to-use
  • Deliverable online or in the classroom
  • Developed by educators, for educators
  • Grounded in Universal Design for Learning and incorporate Differentiated Instruction Strategies

Learn more here.

Purchase the Fall Edition of Best Books For Kids & Teens Now!

The Fall edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens is available for sale now! Best Books for Kids & Teens is your guide to the best new Canadian books, magazines, audio and video for children and teens. Whether you’re stocking a bookshelf in a classroom, library or at home, every title in this guide has been given the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s stamp of approval. Expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada have handpicked the materials listed in this guide. Committees look for excellence in writing, illustration or performance. Most importantly, these committees focus on selecting materials that will appeal to children and young adults.

Order your copy today!

Start Your Holiday Shopping Early with the CCBC Online Shop!

Support bringing books to children all over Canada and showcase your love for kid lit by purchasing some of our merchandise! We are currently selling packs of greeting cards featuring original art by Barbara Reid, Julie Flett, Ian Wallace, Wallace Edwards, Bill Slavin, Elly MacKay, Gabrielle Grimard and Eugenie Fernandes. All purchases from these packs of eight cards go towards programs like Canadian Children’s Book Week, the CCBC Book Awards and the Bibliovideo. You will also find kids’ clothes, tote bags, phone cases, facemarks and more! All proceeds support the CCBC and make our programs possible. Visit our shop today!

Want to stay updated on the world of Canadian children’s books all month long? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Links We Love

Articles and videos of interest to educators and parents

Series of Indigenous youth books launched at online event: the eight-book series titled Siha Tooskin Knows was written by Charlene and Wilson Bearhead (Anishinabek)

B.C. author Monique Gray Smith celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness in new children’s book (CBC)

26 Beautiful Children’s Books About The Most Impactful LGBTQ+ Icons (Romper)

10 books to pick up for your kids this fall (The Globe and Mail)

In a new picture book, “I Talk Like a River,” the Canadian poet Jordan Scott recalls his childhood struggle with stuttering (The New York Times)

Seeds of a Story: 2020 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards (49th Shelf)

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November Reading List: Let’s Cook Together

This month’s reading list is all about food, cooking and community, featuring Canadian books for young people of all ages.

Picture Books

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Aladdin, 2019
ISBN 978-1-5344-1133-3
IL: Ages 4-10 RL: Grades 2-3

Amy Wu loves to make bao, Chinese steamed buns, with her family. But it takes skill and practice to make bao just right and Amy’s keep coming out all wrong. Today Amy is determined to make the perfect bao bun. While she struggles at first, Amy gets an idea that gives her a second chance… to make her own perfect bao!


Cooking with Bear: A Story and Recipes from the Forest
Written by Deborah Hodge
Illustrated by Lisa Cinar
Groundwood Books, 2019
ISBN 978-1-7730-6074-3
Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 1-3

When Bear wakes up after a long, cold winter, he makes a special spring lunch and invites Fox to join him. The food is delicious, and Fox asks Bear to teach him how to cook. They walk through the forest collecting honey, nuts and other wild ingredients, and they greet their friends along the way. With an armload of tasty foods, Bear and Fox return to Bear’s den and cook up a feast to share.



How to Feed Your Parents
Written by Ryan Miler
Illustrated by Hatem Aly
Sterling Children’s Books, 2018
ISBN 978-1-4549-2562-0
IL: Ages 3-8 RL: Grade 3

Matilda Macaroni loves to try new foods, whether it’s her grandma’s jambalaya or sushi at a sleepover. But, her finicky mom and dad eat only pepperoni pizza, chicken nuggets or cereal. To satisfy her hunger for something more, Matilda secretly sets out to learn how to cook. Can she show her parents there is so much more than pizza and cereal?



It Happened on Sweet Street
Written by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Tundra Books, 2020
ISBN 978-1-1019-1885-2
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades  1-2

Monsieur Oliphant’s cake shop, the only bakery game in town, has long had customers lining up outside its door for Oliphant’s delicious jelly rolls and marvelous wedding cakes . . . until the day cookie concocter Mademoiselle Fée takes over the old shoemaker’s shop. And it isn’t long before the divine piemaker Madame Clotilde soon moves into the old bric-a-brac shop. Three different bakers all trying to outclass one another means their little cul-de-sac is packed with customers every day and night, so, one morning, when everyone is bumpling and jostling each other with their cakes, cookies and pies, a food disaster — a massacre of cream, a devastation of crumbs — is inevitable!



Our Little Kitchen
Written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Groundwood Books, 2020
ISBN 978-1-7730-6262-4
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades K-3

In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbours come together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and people looking out for one another.



Salma the Syrian Chef
Written by Danny Ramadan
Illustrated by Anna Brown
Annick Press, 2020
ISBN 978-1-59643-852-1
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades K-2

All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn’t know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are happy to lend a hand—and a sprinkle of sumac.


Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Krista Kim-Bap
Written by Angela Ahn
Second Story Press, 2018
ISBN 978-1-7726-0063-6
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grades 3-6

Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish-brown hair and she was the “Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador”. She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to make their traditional kimbap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!


Lights, Camera, Cook!
(Next Best Junior Chef)
Written by Charise Mericle Harper
Illustrated by Aurélie Blard-Quintard
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017
ISBN 978-0-544-91260-1
IL: Ages 8-10 RL: Grade 3

A zesty series for fans of kids’ cooking competitions! It’s lights, camera, cook!” for four tween contestants-energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver-who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition.
What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on- and off-camera? Which junior chef will have the grit-and maybe the grits-to make it through each challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?



Neil Flambé and the Bard’s Banquet
(The Neil Flambé Capers)
Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4814-1038-0
IL: Ages 11-14 RL: Grades 5-6

Neil Flambé has sworn off mysteries and is back in his beloved restaurant doing what he does best — cooking. But after preparing a meal featuring some ancient honey for a British Lord, the Lord disappears, and Neil is swept up in a mystery involving the great works of Shakespeare and food. Will he be able to solve the mystery or will he let everyone down, including the Queen?



Original Recipe
(Finley Flowers)
Written by Jessica Young
Illustrated by Jessica Secheret
Picture Window Books/Capstone, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4795-5878-0
IL: Ages 6-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Finley’s has no idea what to give her best friend, Henry, for his birthday. The school cook-off might be the perfect solution. The grand prize is a year’s worth of Flying Pie Pizza — Henry’s favourite. As one crazy concoction leads to another, Finley discovers that cooking is just like life — things don’t always turn out as planned, and friendship is the real prize.


Young Adult Fiction

Theo, 17, fits the definition of a ‘cub,’ but he is self-conscious. He’s nervous to enter a cooking competition at a new trendy restaurant, but winning could kick-start his career. Theo’s obvious talent captures the attention of the audience and the sexy celebrity restaurant owner –— who seems more interested in what Theo might do outside the kitchen… How far is Theo willing to go?



Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat
Written by Paul Ayer
Annick Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-55451-719-0
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 5-6

What do you think of when you think about food? Society’s obsession with food means we are constantly bombarded with messages about what and what not to eat. This entertaining and highly informative book provides the big picture about food — its history, science, marketing, economics, production and more. An indispensable guide for savvy teens to separate food myths from reality.


Meatless? A Fresh Look at What You Eat
Written by Sarah Elton
Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
Owlkids Books, 2017
ISBN 978-1-92681-843-6
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 4-5

This book explores the history of meat-based diets and the varied reasons more people are choosing a meatless lifestyle. Important tips on how to stay healthy without meat in your diet and a primer on how to plan vegetarian meals are included. Whether you are a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian, this book offers lots of food for thought.



Niam! Cooking with Kids
Written by Kerry McCluskey
Inhabit Media, 2019
ISBN 978-1-77227-255-0
IL: Ages 2-5 RL: Grade 7-12

“Niam” is an Inuktitut word that means “yum,” and the recipes in this book are kid-tested for tastiness—a sure sign that they will live up to the name! From simple smoothies to jerk chicken to pizza from scratch, there is something in this book for all taste buds and skill sets. All the ingredients are readily available in Nunavut communities, and all the recipes can be made with country food, so kids both north and south can learn how to create the perfect palaugo (a delightful hybrid of pogos and palaugaaq, traditional Inuit bannock) or make a mean meatball.



What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World
Written by Andrea Curtis
Photographs by Yvonne Duivenvoorden
Red Deer Press, 2012
ISBN 978-0-8899-5482-3
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-7

What’s for Lunch? travels the globe peering into lunch trays, mugs, bowls and school bags in 13 countries — including a refugee camp in Kenya, a community school in Birmingham, England, a remote Andean village in Peru, and an eco-school in downtown Toronto, Canada. It uses the food we eat as a tool to explore worldwide issues like poverty, inequality, social justice and climate change. It also features examples of kids and organizations doing amazing things to reclaim their school lunch and the food system.


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Author’s Corner: Paul Coccia

Paul Coccia is the debut author of Cub from Orca Book Publishers. He has a Specialist in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing. His upcoming titles are The Player and Power Forward which he had the pleasure to co-author with Eric Walters. Paul writes and bakes from his Toronto kitchen with his three dogs and a parrot.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author?

 My start as a published author really comes in the form of a blood debt I owe to authors Susan Juby and Brooke Carter. I put it in writing and now everyone knows it so I can’t back out.

I was accepted into the University of British Columbia Master’s program in creative writing and completed it via distance learning. Among the spectacular faculty was Susan. Brooke and I were her students and despite Brooke being way cooler than I am, we became friends.

Years after graduating, Susan released The Fashion Committee and asked if I would be a guest blogger on her website. Soon after the post came out, Brooke emailed me to say her editor at Orca Book Publishers wanted to know if Brooke was connected to the guest blogger through UBC.

Without Susan and Brooke’s support, friendship and kindness, I wouldn’t have gotten that shot.

As well as being an author, you are a pastry chef, which plays a part in Cub. Was Theo always imagined as a baker and how did your love of cooking shape the novel? 

I love to cook and bake even more although I’ve never been formally trained or worked professionally. A fun fact about Cub, the cover model is an actual chef who was on Chopped.

Theo arrived in my head as a chubby, gay baker and views himself as a recipe for a bad joke where he’s the punch line. He was originally in a dancing competition and it was the brilliance of Orca’s editor to suggest a change. Having watched a lot of cooking shows, the novel’s structure was shaped by the rounds Theo had to progress through. I have a pretty detailed tournament chart tucked away in my notes of how the cooking competition went, the characters who survived or were eliminated, the dishes cooked, who judged and what the criticisms were. A Hungry Games! The rounds follow a chronological order too: brunch, dinner, late night snacks, and (of course) desserts. The bones of the plot revolve around cooking and food and the theme of consumption drove plot and characters.

Cub is a Hi/Lo read, meaning high interest, low reading level. Why do you believe that hi/lo reads are important? 

Hi/Lo books are an invitation to readers who haven’t been hooked by the right book or are at an early stage in their relationship with books. The readers these books are aimed at are usually upper middle grade through to high school and even adults. The target reader may be struggling with literacy, ESL, or be neurodivergent and may prefer other activities to reading. They are very bright and need content at their age level that is accessibly written. There’s such a broad range of topics within the catalogue too. Because Hi/Lo books are fast-paced, quick, good reads and leave no room to hide a writer’s flaws, lots of readers, even avid ones, read them. Part of what the Lo stands for should be low commitment, something I appreciate as sometimes I don’t want to read hundreds of pages to get a good story.

Teachers and librarians have told me how integral these books are to keep students engaging with books despite busy lives with lots of extra-curriculars and demands on their time and energy, and how the length of a Hi/Lo makes novel studies possible due to classroom time constraints. Above all else, Hi/Lo books help kids who don’t identify as readers feel that there are books that include them.

What have you been doing to stay positive while in quarantine?

Staying positive can be tough normally. Because there’s so much negativity to focus on, I have been keeping busy and trying to focus on creative endeavours. I know this can be a struggle for creative people right now. I was lucky I had two writing projects with deadlines I committed to. One is co-written with Eric Walters. Working with him kept me chugging along especially during the worst of quarantine so he is a blessing. I learned some very basic animation skills to make book promo short videos. My partner jokes that I now attend Google U(Tube) because of watching so many tutorials.

To keep things light, I’ve posted a silly volleyball face on my social media every day of the pandemic because it makes my nephew happy and inject some nonsense into our day. One day he’ll see the film Castaway and realize I’m not that clever.

If you could compare Cub to one baking dish, what would it be?

Without a second thought, cupcakes! I once heard cupcakes described as tiny, delicious cakes prepared specially to bring delight and enjoyment. Cupcakes are integral to Cub and one of my favourite things to bake, decorate and eat.

What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?

Absolutely! I have The Player coming out in February 2021. It’s a YA Hi/Lo from Lorimer about a secret relationship between two hockey players on the same team. I was inspired by an article claiming hockey is the most homophobic sport in the world. I wondered what it would be like to be a queer guy on a hockey team.

Although there isn’t a release date from Orca Book Publishers yet, Eric Walters and I have co-written Power Forward. It’s about a thirteen-year-old basketball player in a small town whose parents split and his dad comes out. Working with Eric has been a dream experience and I’ve learned so much through his incredible generosity, kindness, intelligence and friendship. He deserves a special award for patience and not laughing whenever I phoned to ask things like what are the differences between games of one-on-on, pick-up and horse.

Find out more about Paul at

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Watch Your Favourite Book On Bibliovideo

Subscribe to Bibliovideo today to watch videos made specifically for booklovers! Don’t forget to push the bell to receive updates when new videos are uploaded.

Featured Video

Editor’s Note: while this video is in French, anyone can follow along!

Playlists to Binge Watch 

For Educators / Pour les éducateurs

I Read Canadian / Je lis un livre canadien

Telling Tales: Celebrating Stories

Illustrator Demonstrations / Démonstrations des illustrateurs

TD Summer Reading Club / Club de lecture d’été TD

Stay Home, Read Together / Lisons ensemble à la maison

Author Interviews / Entretiens avec des écrivains

Book Readings / Séances de lecture


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


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Illustrator’s Studio: Anoosha Syed

Anoosha Syed is an award winning illustrator and character designer for animation based in Toronto. She has illustrated over 20 children’s books, and has worked with clients including Google, Netflix, Disney Jr and Dreamworks TV.  She takes pride in illustrating inclusive stories and making sure her characters come from all backgrounds and experiences.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I am a freelance illustrator and character designer for animation! I’ve illustrated over twenty picture books and have also worked with clients including Netflix, Dreamworks TV, Disney Jr and Google.

I attended Ceruleum Ecole d’arts Visuels in Lausanne, Switzerland where I studied Illustration and received my BFA. After graduating, I moved to Canada and started working full-time at an animation studio in Toronto. Around the same time, I also joined an illustration agency and started to work on picturebooks as a side gig in the evenings. After a year, I realized that my true passion lied in children’s books, and I quit my job and have been freelancing ever since!  

Art from Bilal Cooks Daal

Your blog and YouTube channel offer tons of great advice for up and coming illustrators. If you could give just a few words of advice to young artists, what would they be?

I think a common piece of advice people give is that you should be drawing all the time, and that’s how you get better at art. And while I think it’s important to practice your skills, you should also be going out and living. Learning new hobbies, having exciting experiences and learning new subjects. A big part of art and creativity is inspiration, and you draw from what you know and are experiencing. If you spend all day cooped up drawing, you might miss out on the spark you need for your next piece!

This months newsletter is all about food and cooking. Your book Bilal Cooks Daal explores cooking, culture and community. Did you draw from your own memories of cooking with family and friends for the illustrations? 

Definitely! I didn’t cook daal on my own until I was in my twenties haha, but as a kid I would help out with my mom’s cooking all the time. Especially when we were hosting a dinner party, which we did a lot because I have a big, social, extended family, we would spend all day in the kitchen. I have some lovely memories cooking in the kitchen with my mom, and even now when we’re apart, we’ll video call as I’m cooking so she can help me cook traditional Pakistani dishes!

Staff of the CCBC love watching Queer Eye! What was it like working on You Are Perfectly Designed with Karama Brown, one of the show’s stars?

I was thrilled to get the chance to work on a book with Karamo Brown! I’m a huge fan of the show as well, so this was definitely a dream job. Unfortunately I didn’t get to directly interact with Karamo; when working on children’s books I actually never have contact with the authors (I only communicate with the publisher). This is just how the job goes (I think it’s to keep it professional) but I hope one day we’ll be able to get together! Regardless, I still have a blast working on this book!

Art from You Are Perfectly Designed

Where do you get your inspiration as an artist from? 

 I am inspired by mid-century modern illustration styles; meaning, the retro art you see from the 1950s. Think of the Little Golden Books and artists like Mary Blair. Those were the type of books I grew up with when I was a kid (no, I wasn’t born in the 50s! I just had old books around the house haha), and so I feel very nostalgic and happy with that kind of style, and try to create that feeling with my own artwork. Since I have a background in animation, I’m also inspired by animated films and designers.

Art from Look! Babies Head to Toe

What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?

I’m currently working on Monster and Boy (I actually have to submit something for it soon!). This is a three book series, and the first book came out this July, and I’m working on the last one right now. As for my upcoming books, I have two which I can talk about! Rise up and Write it! is a super cool interactive picturebook written by Nandini Ahuja coming out in January 2021. It’s about a little girl who wants to build a community garden. It’s really fun because there are a bunch of envelopes that are in the book, with real letters inside them! I also illustrated one of the stories in the new Last Kids on Earth graphic novel coming out April 2021.

Find out more about Anoosha at

Booksellers’ Picks

Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit

Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS: Light in the Forest, written and illustrated by Holly Carr (Plumleaf Press, 2020) Ages 1-8

Lush, light-infused illustrations that are richly textured and intricately detailed bring a myriad of woodland creatures vividly to life in this magnificent new picture book from this beloved artist.  But readers must find their way to the light: at first, there is eerie darkness and each animal appears to be sinister and menacing until you turn the page to see things differently.  With the repeating refrain of “Do not be afraid” followed on each subsequent page by “I am not afraid”, readers of all ages are invited to face the darkness and look beyond the surface to see the beauty that was there all along.  It is an elegant, poetic look at fear in the face of uncertainty and a promise that even in the midst of dark times and shadows, there is light and hope.

Lisa Doucet, Co-manager

Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1

Fa-La-La -La-La Maison Anglaise bookstore in Québec City, QC: Porcupine in a Pine Tree collection, written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann (Scholastic, 2020), Ages 3-8 (as if anyone could ever be too old for funny Christmas songs!)

Canadiana meets Christmas in this delightful collection that brings together Helaine Becker’s three festive books: A Porcupine in a Pine TreeDashing Through the Snow and Deck the Halls, putting a hilarious twist on the classic carols.  The snowy owl, the caribou, and even a puffin or two, invite you to grab your hockey sticks, pull on your Christmas hoodies and join the bounty of Canadian animals enjoying the jolly Holiday, the merry Canadian way!  There will be snowshoes and Stanley Cups, curling rocks and earmuffs, reindeer and beavers a-plenty, and so many giggles, you’ll wiggle like a bowlful of jelly!

This book is a wonderful family read and sing-along.  It’s nearly impossible to get through any of the stories without bursting into song, or laughter!  And the witty illustrations will keep young and old pointing and laughing throughout the Holiday season. Musical arrangements for piano or are also included, so let the goofy carolling begin! ♪Fa-La-La -La-La

—Marie-Josée Sauvageau – Manager

Maison Anglaise bookstore : 164-2600 boul. Laurier, Québec, QC, G1V4T3

If your independent bookstore would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.

Librarians’ Picks

Canadian librarians share their recommendations for kids and teens.

The Barnabus Project written and illustrated by the Fan Brothers with Devin Fan (Tundra Books, 2020) Ages 5-9

The latest picture book from the extraordinary Fan Brothers (this time author-illustrators Eric and Terry are also joined by brother Devin Fan) is a spellbinding story about friendship, being true to oneself, and finding home.  Barnabus, half mouse and half elephant, lives in a hidden laboratory below The Perfect Pets shop.  Confined to bell jars, Barnabus and his friends are deemed to be “Failed Projects” and marked for the recycling bin.  The superbly paced, atmospheric illustrations detail a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat jailbreak.  This exceptional book offers a potent and heartening message for all of us who feel lesser because we don’t meet arbitrary standards of “perfection.”

Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library

Dog Driven, written by Terry Lynn Johnson (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2019) Ages 10-14

Readers will be swept along with McKenna as she faces the race of a lifetime in Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson. This thrilling page-turner takes McKenna across Northern Ontario with her pack of dogs, all while she struggles with her low vision. Only months before, she realized she’s losing her eyesight to the same disease her sister has. Now, she must prove to her family and to herself that she is still capable, confident and able to race. The author’s experience with dogsledding comes across clearly, creating an authentic and exciting read perfect for middle-grade fans of Hatchet.

—Kat Drennan-Scace, Manager, Red Hill Branch, Hamilton Public Library 

Penguin Days, written by Sara Leach, illustrated by Rebecca Bender (Pajama Press, 2018) Ages 7-10

Lauren is going to North Dakota for a family wedding. North Dakota is very flat and full of cows. Lauren is going to be the flower girl, which sounds great, until she realizes two things she wasn’t prepared for: she has to wear a scratchy dress, and she isn’t the only flower girl. That’s just too much change for Lauren, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and has a lot of trouble with change. But Lauren is resourceful, and with some help, can figure it out! A charming book with a terrific protagonist.

—Polly Ross-Tyrrell, Children’s Librarian, Aurora Public Library

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Staff Picks

Staff of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre recommend their favourite books for kids and teens.

My Day with Gong-Gong,
 written by Sennah Yee, illustrated by Elaine Chen (Annick Press, 2020) Ages 4-7

This touching story of one day in the eye’s of  a child is a reminder that love can bring us together even when language cannot. When young May’s mother drops her off to spend the day with Gong Gong, May is worried: what will they talk about when they can’t even speak the same language? As Gong Gong and May spend the morning walking through China Town, Mei finds herself frustrated by Gong Gong’s slow pace and by her lack of understanding of the Cantonese he speaks. But as the day goes on, May learns that Gong Gong understands her more than she thought.

This is a debut picture book by Sennah Yee that captures a touching intergenerational relationship that develops throughout the story. The illustrations perfectly portray the humour and sweetness of this special day between a grandfather and granddaughter. Young readers will emphasize with May and feel the love that these two family members have for one another.

Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing & Communications Coordinator


Next Month

Look for our December newsletter next month, which will be all about our favourite books of 2020!

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