First and Best 2022

December 6, 2022 | Patty

Comments (0)

Toronto Public Library is excited to announce our picks for this year's First and Best list! Every year, a working group of TPL children's staff review submissions from publishers, and select the top ten Canadian books that promote literacy skills and a love of reading in young children from birth to 5 years.

Illustration of a parent and child bear reading a book together.

To be eligible, titles must be:

  • a first edition,
  • authored, illustrated or translated by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada,
  • published between January 1 and December 31 of the current year,
  • written in English, or English and other languages,
  • appropriate for children between birth and five years.

Illustration of a prize-winning ribbon with the number 1

Encouraging a love of books is a great way to help your child get ready for reading. There is no better way than to start with our First and Best list because the first books you share with your child should also be the best! This year's titles feature a wide range of books that reflect a variety of stories and perspectives. All books on the list are available at library branches across the city.

Happy reading with your little one!

Animals Move

Animals Move by Jane Whittingham

Bright, full-colour photographs and simple, rhyming text show readers how different baby animals move and young children move the same way.

Beautiful You  Beautiful Me

Beautiful You, Beautiful Me by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Salini Perera

A child who looks different from her mother finds beauty and belonging in this new book from the creator of the New York Times bestseller, I Sang You Down from the Stars.

Becoming Blue

Becoming Blue by Ellen Tarlow, illustrated by Julien Chung

Blue thinks being Red must be exciting since Red gets to fight fires and tell cars to stop, but when Blue tries being Red for the day he realizes the best thing to be is yourself.

A Day for Sandcastles

A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

A dazzling wordless picture book that celebrates creative problem-solving, teamwork, and the sun-splashed wonder of a day at the beach.

Finding Moose

Finding Moose by Sue Farrell Holler, illustrated by Jennifer Faria

A little boy and his grandfather go for a walk in the forest, searching for a moose. Along the way, the grandfather teaches the boy to identify the traces left behind by the moose and other animals, as well as the Ojibwemowin names for them.


It's My Body

It's My Body! by Elise Gravel

From beloved children's author Elise Gravel comes a book all about the body: how to feel good about it and how to take care of it. 

My Lala

My Lala by Thomas King, illustrated by Charlene Chua

A rambunctious little girl takes ownership of her little universe.

A Person Can Be...

A Person Can Be... by Kerri Kokias, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff

People are complicated, and there are lots of different ways of being. A look — both lighthearted and serious — at some of the contradictory feelings and personality traits that make people so fascinating!

Rainy Days

Rainy Days by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Miki Sato

A celebration of rainy weather and the fun activities it makes possible, including puddle stomping and rescuing worms and snails!

Still This Love Goes On

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Saint-Marie, illustrated by Julie Flett

A celebration of the Indigenous community, and the enduring love we hold for the people and places we are far away from. Based on Buffy Sainte-Marie's song of the same name, this book combines Julie Flett's breathtaking art with vivid lyrics to craft a stunning portrait of a Cree worldview.


Illustration of a parent and child bear reading a book together, inside a circle of multicoloured dots

First and Best is part of  TPL's Ready for Reading program, developed to help parents and caregivers build early literacy skills in their children through fun activities. For more award-winning titles and easy, everyday early literacy support, please visit the Ready for Reading website