Can we agree that books make the best gifts? Whether you’re providing independent readers with an escape or giving the gift of quality time spent reading with a little one, here are some options to consider this year. Remember to check and see if your local independent bookstore is offering curbside pick-up or delivery, as small businesses can certainly use your support this year. Watch the clip here or read on!
Picture Books, Ages 3-7
PRINCESSES VERSUS DINOSAURS
This is picture book catnip featuring two classic kid obsessions: princesses and dinosaurs. This clever readaloud from Canadian superstar Linda Bailey includes dialogue that invites a little dramatic reading that’s fun for both adults and kids. It’s also a great way to introduce concepts like narration and protagonists and has a subtle but important message about cooperation.
Bed wishes you would drool less and stop kicking the headboard and maybe not hide shoes or old food underneath him. You’ll never look at bedtime the same way after learning Bed’s perspective in this sweet and silly story from Canadian author-illustrator Monica Arnaldo.
We’re all looking for books about kindness these days, and this is a perfect, open-hearted look at small, every day acts of kindness (sharing, walking the dog, bringing food to elders) and also how those acts of kindness make us feel (comforted, joyful, grateful). This is a perfect follow up to Monique Gray Smith’s big-hearted My Heart Fills With Happiness and features both English and Diné languages.
The Canadian author of the bestselling Wreck This Journal has created a similar experience for young kids, encouraging them to fold the pages, make maps, and otherwise engage with the book in creative ways. This book provides hours of entertainment and venues for creative play, perfect for long winter afternoon.
NIAM! COOKING WITH KIDS
Spending a lot of time in the kitchen with your kids? This kid-friendly cookbook was inspired by the Mamaqtuq Nanook Cooking Club, an after school program in Apex, Nunavut, that teaches kids to cook. Each recipe is kid-friendly and features full colour photographs. There are also tips for starting a cooking club and a pronunciation guide for the Inuktitut words featured.
Full of puns and holiday cheer, this early reader graphic novel is a festive addition to the bestselling series. Looking for some holiday entertainment? Check out the Happy Narwhalidays party featuring author Ben Clanton and children’s performer Emily Arrow here.
This beautiful, fully-illustrated chapter book about a boy who cares for magical creatures is a great selection for kids who are learning to read but still love the bright illustrations of a picture book. Look for more books in this magical series from multi-award winning Canadian author Jonathan Auxier next year.
AGGIE MORTON: PERIL AT OWL PARK
Curl up with this cozy, Agatha Christie style mystery that takes place over Christmas at a snowy English manner. This is the second book in the series that imagines Agatha Christie’s life as a tween, perfect for fans of Netflix’s Enola Holmes. There’s also a fantastic audio version, perfect for family listening. Listen to a clip here.
This is the first book in a new graphic novel series that combines hockey and aliens. Think Space Jam, but for hockey! A misunderstanding leads a group of aliens to abduct so-so hockey player Isaac to help them win the interstellar championship. Luckily his friend Lily, a star goalie, tags along to help the rag-tag team out. Silly, light-hearted fun.
Charming first generation Haitian-American Henri meets his match when his intense neighbour Corinne discovers his less-than-above-board dog walking scheme and blackmails him into helping her change her image. A smart and witty BIPOC rom-com for readers who want to escape into a love story. The New York setting and witty banter reminded me of another Netflix hit, Dash and Lily.
Teen thrillers are here to stay, and this one has an irresistible, slightly supernatural twist and an East Coast setting. When Cat is sent to stay with her aunt over the summer she discovers that her childhood friend is missing and the small, sleepy town of Montgomery Falls is hiding some dark secrets.
Happy reading, everyone!