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2023 Spring Preview: Books for Young People – Picture Books

What’s in Flora’s Shoebox?
Sarah Jane Conklin and Venus Angelica, ill.
Monster House Publishing, Jan.

Flora has seen the most extraordinary natural wonders travelling the world with her father. To remember each adventure, she stores keepsakes in a small red box, but they aren’t the souvenirs you would expect. Themes of sense of place and respecting the environment are enhanced by Toronto-born Venus Angelica’s vibrant illustrations. 

The Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship
Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali; Hatem Aly, ill.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Jan.

In The Kindest Red, the sequel to the New York Times–bestseller The Proudest Blue, which reunites Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, and illustrator Hatem Aly, Faizah learns that acts of kindness can be returned in the most unexpected ways. 

A Star Explodes: The Story of Supernova 1054
James Gladstone and Yaara Eshet, ill.
Owlkids Books, March

James Gladstone and Yaara Eshet, the dynamic duo behind Journey Around the Sun: The Story of Halley’s Comet, return with another fascinating informational picture book about supernova 1054. It’s one of the brightest supernova events in recorded history, and the remnants are still seen today as the Crab Nebula.

Sometimes I Feel Like a River 
Danielle Daniel and Josée Bisaillon, ill.
Groundwood Books, March

Danielle Daniel returns with Sometimes I Feel Like a River, a companion to her hugely successful Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox. Over 12 short poems, a young child expresses how or why they feel like a cloud, a forest, a river, celebrating our relationship with the natural world.

Garden Wonders: A Guidebook for Little Green Thumbs 
Sarah Grindler
Nimbus Publishing, March

Garden Wonders, the newest book in the Little Explorers series, takes young readers through the steps of how to create their very own garden. From soil to water and sunlight to critters, curious green thumbs will discover all the tips and tricks to grow a bountiful garden.

Smile So Big 
Sunshine Quem Tenasco and Chief Lady Bird, ill. 
Scholastic Canada, March

Sunshine Quem Tenasco and Chief Lady Bird, the creators of Nibi’s Water Song, join forces once again for Smile So Big. When Challa comes home in tears after being teased, her mom gives her a magic mirror that helps Challa see her true self. Themes of body positivity and self-acceptance are also explored.

Walking Together 
Elder Dr. Albert D. Marshall and Louise Zimanyi; Emily Kewageshig, ill.
Annick Press, April

Young readers are introduced to the concept of Etuaptmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing (the gift of multiple perspectives) in the Mi’kmaq language, as they follow a group of children who are connecting to nature as their teacher. Fostering a respectful, reciprocal, and responsible relationship with the natural world is a central theme.

A Tulip in Winter: A Story About Folk Artist Maud Lewis
Kathy Stinson and Lauren Soloy, ill.
Greystone Kids, March

Celebrated children’s author Kathy Stinson and Lauren Soloy team up to bring readers the story of beloved Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Lewis, who lived with rheumatoid arthritis, created stunning paintings of landscapes, animals, and plants that are recognized the world over.

The Girl Who Loved the Birds 
Joseph Dandurand and Elinor Atkins, ill.
Nightwood Editions, April

The Girl Who Loved the Birds, the third book in a series of Kwantlen legends by award-winning poet Joseph Dandurand, is a story of the kinship and the connection a young Kwantlen girl shares with the birds in her life.

Green Papayas
Nhung N. Tran-Davies and Gillian Newland, ill.
Red Deer Press, April

The latest picture book by Nhung N. Tran-Davies, who was born in Vietnam and now lives in Calmar, Alberta, follows a family as they cherish the memory of their beloved Oma (grandmother), who made many sacrifices to ensure her children and grandchildren would have the opportunity to dream.

No Horses in the House!: The Audacious Life of Artist Rosa Bonheur 
Mireille Messier and Anna Bron, ill.
Orca Book Publishers, March

Set in 19th-century Paris, France, this fictionalized story chronicles the early life of feminist and queer artist Rosa Bonheur as she fights to pursue her dream of becoming a world-class painter at a time when girls weren’t allowed to be artists.

Sandy Toes: A Summer Adventure 
Shauntay Grant and Candice Bradley, ill.
Abrams, April

This spare, poetic picture book by award-winning poet Shauntay Grant, finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards for Africville, delights in the simple pleasures of a day at the beach with family. Providing the stunning illustrations is Candice Bradley.

Kai’s Tea Eggs 
Karina Zhou 
Arsenal Pulp Press, April

When Kai runs off because she’s nervous about sharing her family’s Chinese food with her classmates, she meets Ming the dragon who takes her on a magical journey to explore Chinese culture. The journey helps Kai embrace her heritage and celebrate what makes her unique. This is Karina Zhou’s literary debut.

The Care and Keeping of Grandmas 
Jennifer Mook-Sang and Yong Ling Kang, ill.
Tundra Books, April

When grandma moves in permanently, her young granddaughter does everything she can to make her feel at home. Equal parts confusion, humour, and sweetness make for a charming picture book featuring a lovely family dynamic.

A Newfoundland Alphabet
Dawn Baker
Pennywell Books/Flanker Press, March

A Newfoundland Alphabet, which uses words and places associated with the culture, geography, and language of Newfoundland and Labrador, marks its 25th anniversary with a re-release. 

Kimiko Murakami: A Japanese-Canadian Pioneer 
Haley Healey and Kimiko Fraser, ill.
Heritage House, May

The creative force behind Her Courage Rises: 50 Trailblazing Women of British Columbia and the Yukon brings young readers the inspiring life story of Kimiko Murakami, a Japanese-Canadian pioneer and internment camp survivor, who, along with her family, rebuilt their farm and their life from scratch.

I Am BIG! 
Itah Sadu and Marley Berot, ill.
Second Story Press, May

With the cheers of his family, coach, and teammates, a young Black hockey player finds joy in playing the sport he loves and the confidence to face those who are threatened by him. This celebration of Blackness is enhanced by Marley Berot’s vibrant illustrations.

Egyptian Lullaby 
Zeena M. Pliska and Hatem Aly, ill.
Roaring Brook Press, April

As a young girl is put to bed, her Auntie Fatma sings her a lullaby that conjures the imagery of her home in Egypt. From gentle calls to pray and boats on the Nile, readers get a glimpse of modern Cairo.

Granny Left Me a Rocket Ship 
Heather Smith and Ashley Barron, ill.
Kids Can Press, June

Acclaimed children’s author Heather Smith brings readers a story about loss, grief, and memories. With the help of items that belonged to their granny, a young child uses imaginative play to remember her and the adventures they went on together. Cut-paper collage artist Ashley Barron brings the poignant story to life.

Gunner’s Big Day on Frobisher Bay 
Trevor Taylor and Marcus Cutler, ill.
Inhabit Education, June

This dual-language rhyming picture book follows Gunner the dog, as he explores the landmarks and landscapes surrounding Frobisher Bay with his family.


Ary’s Trees 
Deborah Kerbel and Sophia Choi, ill.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, June

Ary’s new home is a tree-covered paradise that she has come to love. When progress threatens her island home, Ary and her friends band together to save the trees before it’s too late. The latest book by Deborah Kerbel reminds young readers that one person can make a difference.

By: Inderjit Deogun

January 11th, 2023

12:46 pm

Category: Industry News, Preview

Issue Date: January 2023