Canada 150: Ten Books to Empower Younger Readers

April 3, 2017 | RayL

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This week, Chantel P. shares her ten selections for Canada 150: The Best 150 Canadian Books for Children!

Join us next week when Jennifer B. shares her best Canadian children's books! 


Written by Chantel P. 

This week I will be sharing ten Canadian books that are empowering for young readers. These ten inclusive and diverse books have protagonists that overcome insecurities and fears, learn lessons and find inspiration. And all between the pages of picture books!


Stop Kissing Me Mommy

Stop Kissing Me, Mommy by Nadine Chevolleau

Bryce has had it with his mommy’s kisses and decides to tell her to stop kissing him. However, is this what he really wanted?  

This unassuming picture book is heartwarming and surprisingly funny. Bryce learns to embrace his mother’s affections, while also realizing there is a softer side to him too (all at the ripe age of three years old). It is beautifully illustrated and an easy read-aloud book.


Lila and the Crow

Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard

Lila is bullied at her new school and has to learn (through the help of an unlikely friend) to not be ashamed of who she is.

Gabrielle Grimard creates empathy through words and pictures as we go through Lila’s torment each day. Our hearts cannot help but be uplifted as Lila finds beauty in her crow-like features. If you have patient little readers, this book is great for all ages.


Omar on Ice

Omar on Ice by Maryann Kovalski

Omar wants to be a great artist but is disappointed during art class.

This book about bears shows that there is more than one way to be great at something – you just need to find a “different kind of pencil.” Who doesn’t like a book about bears? This is a fun book for young readers.


Chin Chiang and the Dragon's Dance

Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance by Ian Wallace

Chin Chiang has dreamed of dancing the dragon’s dance with his grandfather, but when the time comes he is more scared than excited.

This textually driven picture book is meant for slightly older children. The illustrations by Ian Wallace are stunning watercolours that punctuate the story. The public library also makes an appearance in this story and that is always a plus!


A Family is a Family

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary

The narrator is worried because their family is not like everyone else’s…but they soon learn a family is a family is a family.

This picture book reminds children (and adults) that families come in all different shapes and sizes. There is broad representation through text and illustration showcasing the various people and forms that make a family. The text is short and simple with full page illustrations that can prompt further discussion.


Small Saul

Small Saul by Ashley Spires

Small Saul is not your average pirate and for that, he gets tossed overboard. But his shipmates soon realize that they made a big mistake.

This picture book is lighthearted, silly and a little gross at times (they are pirates after all). A fun story that goes to show that sometimes it is our differences that make us important and we can all be “pirates in our own way.”



Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell

Shi-shi-etko is leaving her family to go to a residential school, but she is determined to keep her memories safe.

The rich illustrations have a softness and somberness that, with combined with poetic language set the tone for the delicate subject matter. Shi-shi-etko allows us to broach the history of residential schools while giving voice to a previously unheard group of children.


The Darkest Dark

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion

Chris dreams of becoming an astronaut, but first he needs to overcome his fear of the dark.

The Fan Brothers' beautiful illustrations of the things that go bump in the night give life to Chris Hadfield’s semi auto-biographical story in a very imaginative way. It is an inspiring (and true) story of overcoming your fears to achieve your dreams!


The Orphan Boy

The Orphan Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel

A star goes missing and the Orphan Boy, Kileken, appears – changing the life of an old man.

This visually stunning picture book won the 1990 Governor General’s Award for illustration. It is based on a Masaai legend about strength, weakness and trust. The Orphan Boy is textually driven and suitable for slightly older young readers.


The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

The trees on Grimloch Lane are being transformed into topiary animals overnight, and it has William captivated.

Illustrated and written by the Fan Brothers, this book does not disappoint. The beautiful illustrations meet with simple text to create a wonderful story of inspiration that is magical.

Canada 150 Lists(s):

Canada 150: Comic Books and Scary Stories

Canada 150: Books for Our Littlest Readers and the "Big People" Who Read With Them 

Canada 150: Sweet, Silly, Serious- We've Got It All!

Canada 150: Ten Powerful Historical Novels

Canada 150: Wonderful Picture Books That Are Perfect for Reading Aloud

Canada 150: Ten Amazing Children's Books

Canada 150: Stepping Outside a Young Reader's World

Canada 150: Ten Books to Empower Younger Readers

Canada 150: Ten Delightful Books for Younger Readers