May 2022

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
May Reading List: Spring into Reading
Author’s Corner: Sheree Fitch
Illustrator’s Studio: Lori Joy Smith
Experts’ Picks

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends

Fast Friends Selected as the 2022 TD Grade One Book Giveaway

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is proud to announce the title for the 2022 TD Grade One Book Giveaway. Fast Friends, written by Heather M. O’Connor, illustrated by Claudia Dávila and published by Scholastic Canada, will be distributed to over 550,000 Grade 1 students in fall 2022. Translated into French by Isabelle Allard, francophone Canadians and French immersion students across Canada will receive copies of Amis instantanés, published by Éditions Scholastic.

Become a Member of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and Help Us Promote The Books You Love

All throughout the month of May, we are reminding everyone of what we do and how becoming a member will not only help us, but more importantly will help Canadian creators, publishers and the young people who read your books. 

Make a difference by becoming a member today.

Purchase One-Of-A-Kind Art to Support the CCBC!

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to share the virtual Picture Book Gallery.  Award-winning Canadian illustrators are selling original art to support the CCBC’s annual Canadian Children’s Book Week program. Illustrators are donating 60% of the value of their original art in support of the CCBC.

Visit the gallery here!

We’re Hiring!

We are currently hiring for two positions: Executive Director and Program and Events Coordinator. The deadline is today at 5PM ET. Learn more here.

Be a Friend, Share a Book!

Be a friend, share a book! Support the CCBC by purchasing this vintage style poster by celebrated children’s book illustrator Pierre Collet-Derby. Produced entirely in Canada, these prints are letterpressed by Everlovin’ Press and are signed by the illustrator. Proceeds go to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Buy your copy here!

Support the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award

Established in 2022, the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award is intended to recognize excellence in Canadian children’s and youth poetry. The award honours David Booth, former Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), who passed away in December 2018. The biennial award is a cash prize of $3,500 and is sponsored by David’s colleague and dear friend Shelley Stagg Peterson.

Help support the award by donating today!

Nominations for the 2022 CSL Awards are now open

Canadian School Libraries is seeking nominations for their two biennial awards, the Angela Thacker Memorial Award and the Leading Learning Implementation Award. Learn more here.

Accessible books for all readers!

Accessible books open the world of reading to everyone. But, it can be a challenge to identify and locate accessible books for young readers. As part of our mission to help readers “discover great Canadian children’s books,” work is underway at Bibliovideo and the CCBC to promote the production, discoverability, and use of accessible Canadian books for young readers. 

With support from Canada Book Fund, the project includes producing an Accessible Books playlist on Bibliovideo where some of the growing number of books in accessible formats from Canadian creators and publishers will be showcased. Look for the launch of the pilot playlist April 28, with more videos added every month. 

Do you have a video featuring accessible books you’d like to share? Let us know! Contact

“This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.”

« Ce projet a été rendu possible  grâce au gouvernement du Canada. »

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Presents “Imaginations Ignite!” Event Series for Schools

With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the EMWF presents Imaginations Ignite!, an national online event series for schools that invites students to explore worlds beyond their own, featuring Canadian authors Jade Armstrong, Lawrence Hill, Kirstie Hudson, Dane Liu, Carey Newman, Heather M. O’Connor, KC Oster, Dom Pelletier, and Darcy Whitecrow.

Designed for students ages 4-13, all events are free of charge and include live ASL interpretation. Learning themes are provided for all events to allow teachers and home-schooling families to integrate events into their classroom curriculum.

Learn more here.

Letter-Writing campaign for #OurLondonFamily

Educators and students are invited to write digital Letters of Remembrance for #OurLondonFamily—the Afzaal family—marking one year after the London terror attack. 3 generations of the Afzaal family: Grandmother Talat, Father Salman, Mother Madiha, and daughter Yumnah were brutally murdered in London, ON in June 2021. Only Fayez, now 10, survived. Letter-writing is a way to heal, reflect, and learn. It’s also an instant action against Islamophobia, and will keep the memories of the Afzaal’s alive.

This is a historic opportunity for students to affect change. All ages welcome. The #OurLondonFamily Educators Tip Sheet will help students write letters immediately.

The essential guide to today’s book market

Sales of English-language print books in the Comics & Graphic Novels and Psychology categories had large increases in sales in 2021 as compared with 2020, according to new research released by BookNet Canada. For the fourth year running, two out of every five print books sold in the English-language market in Canada were categorized as either Juvenile or Young Adult. Though the Juvenile category market share dropped slightly in the English market, the Young Adult share had a significant increase: from 3.5% in 2020 to 4.8% in 2021. More insights can be found in the 2021 edition of BookNet Canada’s annual The Canadian Book Market report. It’s a comprehensive guide to the national print trade market with detailed information on more than 50 subject categories, including:

  • market share;
  • weekly unit sales;
  • price-point analysis;
  • top 10 hardcover and paperback sellers;
  • year-over-year comparative data; 
  • and more!

The report also includes insights into consumer buying behaviour and top-level highlights from the French Canadian market. And new this year, information about sales of books by Canadian contributors.To read a sample of the report and get your copy, visit Special pricing is available for those who subscribe to BNC SalesData.

Attend Our 2022 Annual General Meeting

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 6:00 pm (EDT). Members* in good standing and public welcome to attend.

This year’s AGM will feature a talk and Q&A with accessibility expert Laura Brady. Accessibility is the buzzword du jour in publishing circles these days but what does it really mean in a tangible way for writers, publishers, and readers? Some markets are about to close to content that doesn’t meet accessibility standards, so this is a more urgent topic than ever. Laura will talk about print-disabled readers, the marketplace, and the publishing work necessary to meet those needs.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 6:00 pm (EDT)
WHERE: ZOOM Video Conference (link available day of)
RSVP by May 31

Register here!


IBBY Canada invites published Canadian children’s book illustrators to apply for the annual Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence program. The 2022 program in October will be primarily online, with some in-person sessions at the Toronto Public Library North York Central Branch. The deadline for applications is Wednesday June 15. Learn more here.

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.

Order the Newest Issue of Canadian Children’s Book News!

The Spring 2022 edition of Canadian Children’s Book News celebrates illustrators and the beauty they bring to children’s books. Montreal illustrator Nathalie Dion shares her journey to becoming a children’s book illustrator. Heather Camlot explores the relationship between author and illustrator and what happens when that relationship moves off the page and into real life. Canadian illustrators are selling their artwork in support of the CCBC. Find out more about the virtual Picture Book Gallery and the inspiration for it’s creation. The 45th Canadian Children’s Book Week tour takes place in May! Learn more about the authors, illustrators and storytellers participating in this year’s virtual event. Our Bookmark column features books that have been acknowledged for their beautiful illustrations and design. Our Keep Your Eye On column introduces you to Ojibwe woodland artist Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. And, as always, we have reviews of over 40 new Canadian books for you to enjoy!

Buy your copy today!

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

Links We Love

Articles and videos of interest to educators and parents.

Students across Canada chose these 9 books as the 2022 Forest of Reading Award winners (CBC)

The AAPI Reading Challenge (Book Riot)

Author Cory Silverberg is trying to make sex-education more relatable for a new generation (The Star)

2020 & 2021 Alcuin Book Design Award Winners (CCBC)

40 Canadian books coming out in May we can’t wait to read (CBC Books)

May Reading List: Spring into Reading

Our May newsletter is all about spring! Get young readers excited about reading with this list of picture books all about spring, great for parents, librarians and teachers to use.

Abigail’s Wish
Written by Gloria Ann Wesley
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki
Nimbus Publishing, 2016
IL: Ages 10 and up RL: Grades 3-4

Young Abigail Price is excited about spring in her new Birchtown home. Spring means her Aunt Dinah’s new baby will be born and just maybe she will get a new dress. This first picture book set in historic Birchtown, Nova Scotia, opens a window into the life of a Black Loyalist family in the early years of the historic colony.


Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh/This Is How I Know
Written by Brittany Luby
Illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
Translated by Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere
Groundwood Books, 2021
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 2-3

A child and her grandmother explore the natural wonders of each season in this bilingual story-poem. Summer days bring bees and blueberries. In fall, bears feast before hibernation and cattails swell and bend. On winter mornings, deer and birds search for food, while spring brings green shoots poking through melting snow. Available in French as La Terre me parle : Un livre sur les saisons.


Written and Illustrated by Matthew Forsyth
Simon & Schuster, 2022
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades P-3

Mina and her father live in a hollowed-out tree stump on the edge of a pond on the edge of a forest. Nothing ever bothers Mina, until one day, her father brings home a suspicious surprise from the woods.

Should Mina trust her father—or listen to her own instincts?


Rosario’s Fig Tree
Written by Chris Wahl
Illustrated by Lucky Melanson
Groundwood Books, 2015
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 1-2

Every spring, the little girl who lives next door to Rosario helps him plant vegetables. One spring, Rosario plants a fig tree, which bears sweet purple fruit. When fall comes, he bends it over and buries it in the ground. What kind of magic is Rosario performing? The next spring, on planting day, Rosario unearths the buried fig tree. It looks dead, but is it?


Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms
Written by Robert Paul Weston
Illustrated by Lisa Saburi
Tundra Books, 2018
IL: Ages 3-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Sakura’s family moves to America from their home in Japan. Sakura misses her Obaachan (grandmother) and spending time with her under the cherry blossom trees. Finding friendship with a boy named Luke eases the ache of homesickness. Sakura and Luke’s friendship blooms and, when spring comes, Luke takes her to see the cherry blossom trees flowering right there in her new neighbourhood.


Spring Days/Winter Days
(a Flippable Book of Seasons)
Written by Kate Colley
artwork by Dale Nigel Noble
Orca Book Publishers, 2019
IL: Ages 0-3 RL: Grade 1

An introduction to the seasons, these flipbooks can be read forward, backward and upside down! This title showcases the best of the seasons’ activities in vibrant illustrations and rhyming verse. Two books in one, toddlers and early readers will love reading about winter and spring — from hot cocoa and skating to bicycle riding and baby birds — in this fun format.


West Coast Wild Babies
(West Coast Wild)
Written by Deborah Hodge
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch
Groundwood Books, 2020
IL: Ages 3-8 RL: Grades 2-3

It’s spring on the Pacific west coast and wild babies are being born — in the ocean, on the shore and deep inside the rainforest. Wolf pups, cougar kittens, bear cubs and whale calves all begin their life in this magnificent place. In this second book in the series, readers meet the baby animals born in the pristine wilderness of the Pacific west coast.


Visit the online version of Best Books for Kids and Teens for amazing books recommended by our committees of experts.

A colourful, illustrated image of Sheree Fitch, art by Sydney Smith

Author’s Corner

Sheree Fitch has been a groundbreaking force in the literary arts and literacy community throughout Canada and beyond since 1987. 

Sheree is widely recognized as an innovative master writer, literary artist and inspirational speaker whose body of work explores the human condition. Her lyrical style gives her a unique literary voice in her writing both for adults and children.She lives with her husband, Gilles, and many critters on Happy Doodle Do Hobby farm in River John, Nova Scotia where they run a seasonal book shoppe, Mabel Murple’s Books Shoppe and Dreamery.

What initially drew you to writing poetry?

Language. The oral tradition of poetry.  I love playing and dancing with words. My father ‘s voice reciting poetry. My mother’s love of tongue twisty tunes.  My Grade Two superhero kind of teacher who was ahead of her time and put my first  poem in our school fair. I watched people reading my poem and then smiling. I discovered fire! That was 1963. I was 7. 

Your most recent books, Summer Feet and Sing in the Spring!, are both inspired by the seasons. How does nature and the world around you inspire you as a writer?

How could it not? The wonder, the mystery, the magic. There it all is. Unfolding before our eyes:  cycles of life and death, cycles of our lives, of beauty and vastness. Stories in every bud. I think I might have been married William Blake in a past life or dream or something.  I “see” eternity in a grain of sand. I “know” there is heaven in a wildflower. The natural world is numinous.I learned to read by myself perched in an oak tree in my grandmother’s backyard. A. A. Milne. It’s all so interconnected to me: the world of the imagination, the trees, the whispers of leaves, stories, poetry of my childhood and beyond. 

How did your seasonal bookshop, Mabel Murple’s Books Shoppe and Dreamery, begin?

I got mad! When our small community school closed after a long creative protest I was just furious. That’s energy. So take that energy, transform and create!  “What to do in the face of so much closure,” I asked my husband? “Let’s open something! Wish I had enough money  to rent in the village and open a… open a… book shop!” I laughed when I said it. He didn’t.  He said let’s renovate the old granary in front of our barn. It really was his idea and blood, sweat and (mostly happy)  tears as well as a community to make it happen.  We opened our seasonal shop on a dirt road in 2017 and are gobsmacked still. So many happy readers streaming through our door and enjoying our donkeys and other critters. This has continued to be the most creative adventure and collaboration of my life. I never ever knew I would go into business at 60 and like selling books-maybe even more than writing them! True. It feels magical. 

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

 I’m working on an  otherworldy-space-time-humorous-travel-adventure-romance for adults, a radio documentary for CBC on women artists in early 20 the century and a never ending adult poetry collection. As for actual books….stay tuned for…Great-Granny Gertrude Green down the line.

Learn more about Sheree by visiting her website at

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

Indigenous / Autochtone


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.

Illustrator’s Studio

As a young girl, Lori Joy Smith made weekly trips to the nearby children’s library with her father. These trips sparked her love of reading and children’s books. As a teenager, Lori lived in Italy and visited some of the most beautiful museums in Europe, which left her wanting nothing more than to make art. Now she gets to put these two loves together every day, working as an artist and illustrator.

Lori lives in a cute little house on a beautiful little island with her husband, two daughters, two cats and a dog. Her work has appeared in Chirp and American Girl magazines. She has illustrated four books for children and has more on the way!

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author and illustrator?I started by selling little hand painted greeting cards at Indie crafts shows in Vancouver many years ago. One day a lady came up to me and told me I could probably get them published. She was a comic artist and children’s book illustrator. She showed me everything to do to submit my work to companies. 
I started selling illustrations to greeting card companies and then eventually got my work into Chirp magazine. An editor from KidsCan Press contacted me after seeing my work in Chirp and offered me my first Children’s book.  I have now illustrated 16 books and still do a monthly drawing page with Chirp magazine. 

Your book, We Adopted a Baby Lamb, is about your lamb Albert. What made you decide to turn your family’s experience into a picture book? Is the latest in the series, We Adopted a Baby Chick, also based on your family?
It was so exciting for our family to adopt Albert. We moved to the country dreaming about one day being able to get some farm animals, but never really imagined it would happen so fast. It all felt very meant-to-be, and I really wanted to share the story.  I decided to made a little comic about the whole experience and posted it to my Instagram account. 
Tara Walker from Tundra Books, who I had worked with on Count Your Chickens saw it and really loved it. She asked if I wanted to make it into a book!
We Adopted a Baby Chick is the sequel. We originally thought the second book would be about Martha, the little lamb we got for Albert so he wouldn’t be lonely. While we were working out the story,  I kept talking to my editors about our sassy little chicken named Tina. Eventually we all realized the book needed to be about her instead. 

We love your bright art style! What inspired your signature style?
I’m not sure what has inspired my style. I have always loved art and children’s book. I love nature and cute things. My favourite children’s book artists are Tove Jansson, Richard Scary and Marc Boutavant. I’m inspired by so much… from cute nail polish designs I see on Pinterest to flowers in my garden. 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Do what you love, not what you think you should be doing. Whenever I’ve done a project just for fun it has always taken me somewhere exciting. The comic about Albert lead me to a book. The hand painted greeting cards lead me to being published. I created an illustrated map of Prince Edward Island (where I live) many years ago just for fun. That lead me to creating many more products such as prints, posters, greeting cards, stickers and tea towels that I sell online and in several stores on PEI.  
Listen to those whispers of inspiration. They are always right. 

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

We Adopted a Baby Chick is coming out this June. It’s all about how Albert felt about sharing the spotlight when we brought home a sassy little chicken to live with us.

I’m currently working on the sequel to I am a Peaceful Goldfish which is called I am a Shooting Star. It’s written by Shoshana Chaim and will be published by Greystone Books in 2023.

Learn more about Lori by visiting her website at

Experts’ Picks

Bookseller’s Picks

Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. Find an independent bookseller here.

Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS:

Decoding Dot Grey by Nicola Davison (Nimbus Publishing, 2022) Ages 12 and up

Both at home (in her shabby basement apartment) and at work (at a local animal shelter), Dot is surrounded by an interesting assortment of animal friends. In them, she finds solace and comfort. She is deeply committed to the shelter, and it is there that she finds a sense of purpose. It is also a way to avoid the aspects of her life that she just can’t face. Always a bit of a loner, she isn’t quite sure how to react when new colleagues at the shelter seem intent on befriending her. As she hesitantly opens herself up to the possibilities of friendship, she also ultimately begins the painful process of opening herself up to her own feelings of grief, loss and letting go. Davison’s prose is precise and deliberate, and her story is understated but poignant. The characters are believably flawed and their relationships are messy and imperfect in a way that feels just right. This is a quietly beautiful book that will speak to teen and adult readers.


—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager

Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 6013 Shirley St, Halifax, NS B3H 2M9

Librarian’s Picks

Canadian librarians share their recommendations for kids and teens.

The Secret Diary of Mona Hasan by Salma Hussain (Tundra Books, 2022) Ages 10-14

Growing up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during the 1991 Gulf War, Mona Hasan is a Pakistani Muslim tween who pours a year’s worth of observations, ruminations and bad poetry into the pages of her trusty diary. Much like the main character in her favourite book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾, Mona is by turns knowingly astute and “comically clueless” as she navigates many changes and challenges, from experiencing her first crush, to immigrating with her family to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  Readers will cheer for Mona as she becomes the hero of her own story, with the ability to “question the world’ and “dream of a better one.” An impactful coming-of-age epistolary novel with heaps of humour, hope and heart.   


—Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library

June Newsletter

See you next month for our June newsletter, all about being your authentic self!