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2024 Spring Preview: Books for Young People – Picture Books

Over the course of three instalments, Q&Q presents the young readers titles we’re most excited about this spring. This week’s instalment features picture books. Middle grade and graphic novels will be featured next week, with young adult and nonfiction to be featured on Feb. 14. 

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers.

When I Wrap My Hair
Shauntay Grant and Jenin Mohammed, ill.
Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins, Jan.

From acclaimed author Shauntay Grant comes a beautiful story of hair wrapping and how the act ties together generations both past and present. Jenin Mohammed provides the vibrant illustrations. –Inderjit Deogun

Still My Tessa
Sylv Chiang and Mathias Ball, ill.
North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, Jan.

Sylv Chiang, teacher and author of the Cross Ups series, drew inspiration for her first picture book from her own family. In this book about love and allyship, Evelyn learns ways to support her nonbinary sibling. Trans-identified artist Mathias Ball provides the warm artwork. Back matter includes information on gender and how to be a kind and effective ally. –Linda Ludke

Hair Oil Magic
Anu Chouhan
Bloomsbury Children’s Books/Raincoast Books, Feb.

When Meenu’s Mommy massages sweet-smelling oils into her scalp and hair, it always gives her a magical feeling. Debut author-illustrator Anu Chouhan takes inspiration from her family, and celebrates the cultural tradition of hair oiling, along with the bond it forms between parent and child. ID

Angela’s Glacier
Jordan Scott and Diana Sudyka, ill.
Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, Jan.

Award-winning author Jordan Scott (I Talk Like a River) brings his poetic sensibility to a story about a deep and enduring connection between a girl and an Icelandic glacier. Themes of one’s sense of self and respecting the environment are conveyed in illustrator Diana Sudyka’s atmospheric watercolours. –LL

A collection of picture books that celebrate the cherished tradition of making food with the ones you love. ID

Rising, Sidura Ludwig and Sophia Vincent Guy, ill (Candlewick, May)Awe-samosas!, Marzieh Abbas and Bhagya Madanasinghe, ill. (Clarion Books/HarperCollins, March)The Girl Who Loved Poutine, Lorna Schultz Nicholson and Rachel Qiuqi, ill. (Sleeping Bear Press/Saunders Book Company, March)



Take Me to Lăolao
Kelly Zhang and Evie Zhu, ill.
Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins, Jan.

In author and translator Kelly Zhang’s picture book debut, a girl goes on a fantastical night-sky adventure, and comes to terms with the loss of Lăolao, her beloved grandmother. Evie Zhu’s expansive illustrations highlight figures from Chinese mythology and traditions of the spring Lantern Festival. –LL

A Rose, a Bridge, and a Wild Black Horse
Charlotte Zolotow and Crescent Dragonwagon; Julie Morstad, ill.
Cameron Kids/Abrams, March

This re-envisioned edition of a classic (originally published in 1964 by the late American picture book writer Charlotte Zolotow) is about a girl imagining all the wondrous things she’ll do for her mother when she grows up, and showcases gorgeous artwork by Governor General’s Award finalist Julie Morstad. –LL

Dear Muslim Child
Rahma Rodaah and Aya Ghanameh, ill.
HarperCollins, Feb.

Rahma Rodaah, author of Dear Black Child, returns with Dear Muslim Child. This lyrical ode encourages Muslim children to celebrate their faith and traditions. ID



Oma’s Bag
Michelle Wang and Sam Nunez, ill. 
Arsenal Pulp Press, March

The five Lim children are delighted that Oma and Opa, their grandparents, are over for a visit. However, Oma doesn’t seem herself – her cooking tastes different, she’s asking the same questions, and things are going missing. When the family realizes she has Alzheimer’s, they create new experiences together. ID

Spider in the Well
Jess Hannigan
Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, March

Debut author-illustrator (and winner of Sheridan College’s Jon Klassen Award) Jess Hannigan weaves a wonderfully weird and darkly droll tale about a newsboy dispatched to the town’s wishing well who discovers a spider, piles of gold coins, and a web of fibs. The striking, bold block-print-style artwork makes a splash. –LL

Lost Stick
Anoosha Syed
Viking Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House Canada, March

Anoosha Syed’s Lost Stick provides a charming twist on a lost-pet story. Milo goes to great lengths to retrieve Stick, which he believes is his owner’s prized possession. As he searches the globe, Milo learns that next to Louise is where he wants to be. ID 

Reader favourites return with stories of adventure, love, and nature. ID

Circle of Love, Monique Gray Smith and Nicole Neidhardt, ill. (Heartdrum/HarperCollins, March)Let’s Go!, Julie Flett (Greystone Kids, May) Sometimes I Feel Like an Oak, Danielle Daniel and Jackie Traverse, ill.
(Groundwood Books, April)




I’m From
Gary R. Gray Jr. and Oge Mora, ill.
Puffin Canada/PRHC, March

A Black boy recounts the people, places, foods, and events that make him who he is, in Nova Scotia educator Gary R. Gray Jr.’s lyrical debut. Themes of identity, community, and belonging are explored in Caldecott Honoree Oge Mora’s stunning collages. –LL

The Scooter Twins
Dorothy Ellen Palmer and Maria Sweeney, ill.
Groundwood Books, March

Twins Melvin and Melanie are excited to get their first mobility scooters, and they navigate obstacles with agency and aplomb. Disability advocate and mobility scooter user Dorothy Ellen Palmer shares the joys and challenges of childhood with disabilities in this debut picture book. The twins’ snazzy scooters are presented as tools for independence in comic artist Maria Sweeney’s illustrations. –LL

Archie Celebrates an Indian Wedding
Mitali Banerjee Ruths and Parwinder Singh, ill.
Charlesbridge/PRHC, April

In Archie Celebrates an Indian Wedding, the follow-up to Archie Celebrates Diwali, Archie helps his friend Emma prepare for her Auntie Julie’s Indian wedding to his Uncle Poppy. From mehndi and sangeet to laddoos, Archie makes certain Emma learns everything she needs to know in this story of love. ID     

Métis Like Me
Tasha Hilderman and Risa Hugo, ill.
Tundra Books/PRHC, April

Bannock bread, crafting beads, and sharing stories are just a few of the many ways a group of Métis children celebrate their heritage. In this picture book that honours Indigenous culture, readers learn it’s never too late to connect with their history. Risa Hugo provides the exquisite illustrations. ID

The Pie Reports
Hayley Lowe
Orca Book Publishers, May

In Vancouver author-illustrator Hayley Lowe’s moving debut, the lines of communication are always open between a child and her ailing loved one who lives continents away. A shared passion for pastry connects Noor and her Granddad throughout the seasons and through good times and bad. –LL

Indigenous grandparents share cultural teachings and artistic practices with their grandchildren in these spring titles.LL

Kaiah’s Garden, Melanie Florence and Karlene Harvey, ill. (North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, Jan.)Poppa and the Sacred Kitpu, Judith M. Doucette and Rebecca Reid, ill. (Flanker Press, May)kekwan etakwak mîkisîhk / What’s in a Bead?, Kelsey Borgford and Tessa Pizzale, ill.; Duane Linklater and Angela Shisheesh, trans. (Second Story Press, March)


The Three Sisters
Paul Yee and Shaoli Wang, ill.
Tradewind Books, June

Known for his attention to historical detail, Governor General’s Literary Award winner Paul Yee turns his hand to a fable-like tale of bravery and determination. Set in ancient China, three sisters use the transformative power of music to save their kingdom from an evil emperor. Colourful folk-art illustrations by Yee’s frequent collaborator Shaoli Wang add to the magic. –LL

The Sun Never Hurries
Roxane Turcotte and Lucie Crovatto, ill.
Pajama Press, May

With the help of her grandfather, Papa Jo, Charlie learns to slow down and appreciate the little moments of everyday life, from making soup to picking flowers to watching a sunset. Lucie Crovatto’s lush palette of yellows and oranges is a feast for the eyes and will warm the heart. ID

SOS Water
Tradewind Books, June

Yayo, winner of the Golden Smile from the First International Biennial of Caricature, tackles plastic-water-bottle pollution in this story that follows a sailor named Lalo in search of a safe place his fish friend, Rosa, can call home. ID

I Do Not Eat Children
Marcus Cutler
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group, Feb.

The big orange creature can’t possibly be behind the children disappearing from the playground. He would never eat a child. He said so himself. Or, would he? Readers will have a rollicking good time as they figure out what the orange creature is up to in this laugh-out-loud story. ID

Can Do: Cantaloupe and HoneyDo Ride a Bike
Mike Boldt
Dial Books/PRHC, June

With a can-do attitude, melons manage the ups and downs of helping each other learn how to successfully cycle. The Alberta author-illustrator’s funny and fruitful series opener offers a tale of friendship, zany speech-bubble banter, and eye-popping artwork created using Photoshop and photographs. –LL

Back Home: Story Time with My Father
Arlène Elizabeth Casimir and Ken Daley, ill.
Candlewick, April

The potent power storytelling has to bring families together and sustain culture is lovingly celebrated. A girl connects with her Haitian roots through the regaling tales her father shares about his homeland. Ken Daley (A Feast for Joseph) adds his signature dynamic, richly saturated artwork. –LL

These new conversation-starting books navigate strong feelings and tricky social situations.LL

Not a Smiley Guy, Polly Horvath and Boris Kulikov, ill. (Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, April)Charlie’s Balloons: A Story of Big Emotions, Sarah Degonse and Élodie Duhameau, ill.; Arielle Aaronson, trans. (Second Story Press, Feb.)The Only Lonely Fairy, Lana Button and Peggy Collins, ill. (Pajama Press, March)People Are My Favorite Places, Ani Castillo (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/HBG, Jan.)



January 31st, 2024

1:19 pm

Category: Industry News, Preview