First and Best 2017

December 1, 2017 | Yoojin

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Today, Toronto Public Library unveils the winning titles for this year’s First and Best List. The list, which has been released annually since 2007, features the year’s best in Canadian books for young children that will foster a love for reading from an early age.

Submissions were carefully reviewed by a working group of children’s staff from Toronto Public Library to select the best books that are not just fun to read together, but also helpful in developing early literacy skills. Eligible titles were written, translated, or illustrated by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada for children between birth and five years old. They are also all in their first editions, published between January 1 and December 31 of the current year, and written in English, or English and other languages.

Parents are a child’s first and best teacher. So this holiday season, cozy up with the little ones in your life and share the joy of reading, with these great Canadian books available at library branches across the city.

A horse named Steve

A Horse Named Steve by Kelly Collier (Kids Can Press)

Steve is a fine horse, but he wants to be exceptional. When Steve finds a gold horn just lying there on the ground, he considers himself very lucky. That is until all of Steve’s friends want to be exceptional too, and silliness ensues.  


I Love My Purse

I Love My Purse by Belle DeMont, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer (Annick Press)

A young boy’s unselfconscious determination to stay true to his style instincts inspires others to embrace their own uniqueness.


Charlotte and the rock

Charlotte and the Rock by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill (Dial Books)

Charlotte wants a pet very badly; a dog or a hamster would be great! When Charlotte’s parents buy her a pet rock for her sixth birthday, it isn't exactly what she had in mind. Soon she comes to love her new pet and discovers things are not always what they seem. 


I am Canada

I Am Canada by Heather Patterson, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard, Ruth Ohi, Barbara Reid, Jon Klassen, Marie-Louise Gay, Danielle Daniel, Ashley Spires, Geneviève Côté, Cale Atkinson, Doretta Groenendyk, Qin Leng, Eva Campbell, Irene Luxbacher (North Winds Press)

A beautiful tribute to Canada and the children who live here. The text and images, by Canada’s finest illustrators, celebrate our realities and aspirations as a nation.

Check out I Am Canada, the current exhibit in the TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library.


There's Nothing to Do!

There’s Nothing to Do! by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt (Doubleday Books)

Frog is bored and can’t find anything to do, no matter how many great suggestions his dad and friends make. Will he find an exciting way to spend his day?


Picture the Sky

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid (North Winds Press)

Expressive Plasticine artwork and poetic text demonstrate many different ways in which the sky can be pictured and invite readers to explore what they think of the sky.


Bugs from Head to Tail

Bugs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick, illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya

Readers are challenged to guess which bug a particular body part belongs to. Informative, colourful and best of all: filled with bugs!


Different Same

Different? Same! by Heather Tekavec, illustrated by Pippa Curnick

A tiger lives in a jungle, a walrus in the Arctic, a wombat in a forest, and a dog in a house, yet they all have something in common. Children will have fun guessing the similarities in this clever exploration of animal characteristics.


Wild One

Wild One by Jane Whittingham, illustrated by Noel Tuazon

Follow this energetic little one through a day of wild activities and adventures that ends with a sweet goodnight and snuggles.


Hello Humpback

Hello Humpback! by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

Gentle, rhyming text and bold illustrations depict the wild beauty of the West Coast for the youngest of readers. Illustrated by First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers.


What do you think of our top picks? Do you have other great titles to recommend? Share with us in the comments below!