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  • Writer's pictureRachel

Keeping Christmas Canadian: 6 Canadian Kid Lit Authors

Updated: Apr 16

Books are a wonderful gift to give all year around, but at Christmas especially, it presents a cozy opportunity to curl up with a child you love to read together. I’ve curated a list of 6 Canadian Children’s books that would be a welcome treasure to any child under the Christmas tree.

1. Something Lost, Something Found by Natalia Paruzel-Gibson, illustrated by Laura Catrinella

Publisher : FriesenPress; Illustrated edition (Jan. 21 2020), ISBN-13: ‏978-1525543814

Synopsis: Ella feels like she is stuck in a pile of gloomy mud. She misses her mom so much. So, Ella embarks on a quest to find happiness again; wishing upon a star, trying to cook it up in a magic potion, and searching for it in all the places her grieving young heart leads her. And bit by bit...Ella begins to find solace in memories of her Mom. Something Lost Something Found is a story for young readers about the profound bonds we share with our loved ones, the importance of childhood memories, and the innate yearning to endure even the most indescribable grief. This tale's empathy and wisdom shine through every wistful, charming scene.

My thoughts: Something Lost Something Found is a gorgeously written journey of a girl searching for happiness after the loss of her mother. It covers the topic of moving on from loss in a hopeful way for children that doesn't intimidate with overly-emotional concepts or language. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, drawing you into the story. Overall, a very great pick for kids dealing with any type of loss.

2. Snow Song by A. K. Riley, illustrated by Dawn Lo.

Publisher: Kids Can Press; Illustrated edition (Oct. 6 2020), ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1525302350

Synopsis: This ode to snow, told in rhythmic free verse, follows a girl delighting in the outdoors on a wintry day. All she encounters is framed by the snow. There are fine pearls of snow, a twirl of snow, a curl of snow. The sky unravels into snow, while the hills are knitted caps of snow. She is captivated, as the snow swaddles her world, and makes everything snug — from first light, to the darkness of bedtime. The glorious snow-filled pages of this enchanting story will have children everywhere searching for their mittens.

My thoughts: This delightful winter story will summon all of your most glorious memories surrounded by the whims of snow. With beautiful illustrations and poetic prose, it is a sweet read that tickles the child in all of us when those first flakes start to fall. This author works at A Different Drummer Bookstore in Burlington, ON, so why not hop into her store and request a signed copy!

3. Ants in your Pants by Jenny Lichty

Publisher : Tellwell Talent (Aug. 3 2021), ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-0228850519

Synopsis: It's difficult to be still when all your body wants to do is move. Some things are just a part of who we are meant to be. Even if it seems silly to some . . . never stop being YOU!

My thoughts: Do you know a kid who just won's keep still? (Actually, I know a few adults like that too!) Sometimes it's not because they won't, but because they can't! Molly is a child whose body just won’t stop moving, making her mom always ask if she has ants in her pants. Mom feels exasperated until she tries to experience the world the same way Molly does. Ants in your Pants is a great for teaching empathy and the value of embracing who we are, wiggles and all. Your kids will love the repetitive nature of the phrasing which makes it a fun read.

4. You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel

Publisher ‏: ‎ Orca Book Publishers Ltd.; Illustrated edition (Aug. 21 2017),

ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1459814479

Synopsis: Encourage children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other's well-being in their everyday actions. Consultant, international speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with others. With vibrant illustrations from celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, this is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens.

My thoughts: This lovely book promotes love, empathy and compassion on every page. The authors note in the back shares her intention of creating a book aimed at reconciliation and healing for the indigenous people from Canada’s residential school history. The illustrations depict indigenous families being together, surrounded my love and support, standing together in community. The book is mild and appropriate for the youngest child, with the authors note adding a rich insight for the older children (and adults!). If you’re looking to diversify your bookshelf to show your kids how different cultures and peoples look and walk through life, this would be a great pick.

5. When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge, Illustraed by Matt James

Publisher: Tundra (September 12, 2017 ), ISBN - 13:9781101917770

Synopsis: In this atmospheric story, a group of kids play hockey on a frozen lake by moonlight. At once nostalgic and timely, this is a gorgeous book that will speak to readers young and old. When the moon Comes is steeped in tradition and nostalgia: for hockey, for childhood, for a simpler time. The beauty of the text is matched by the brilliant, rich illustrations that wonderfully capture the magic of a moonlit night in winter.

My thoughts: If you’re a hockey family (and being Canadian, chances are good), you will love this gorgeously written and illustrated story about a group of kids heading out for a night time hockey game. It left me dreamy eyed and longing for those deep, cold nights of frozen lakes and frozen noses. Both author and illustrator live with their families in Toronto.

6. Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

Publisher: Owlkids Books Inc. (March 15, 2020 ), ISBN - 13:9781771474030

Synopsis: Pairing creative rhyming similes with cut-paper collage art, Love You Head to Toe is an adorable book that compares newborn babies to baby animals on every page. Bright, playful illustrations show a different baby and a different species of animal, both engaged in similar behavior: babies stretch their limbs like sea stars, splash in the water like ducklings, toddle around like bear cubs, and fill their chubby cheeks like chipmunks. Action verbs on each page give the book energy and movement and reflect the varied activities of a baby’s day, with key elements like mealtime, bath time, and bedtime in chronological order. Babies and caregivers of a wide range of ethnicities are represented in this heartwarming read-aloud designed to show little ones how much they are cherished and loved.

My thoughts: This board book or hardcover would make a wonderful gift to the new parents in your life. Little rhymes and creative collage art illustrations speak baby love on every page.

I hope this list has helped you see that there is so much Canadian talent in the publishing world! Scan the stacks at your local bookstore to discover more Canadian authors. I also hope that my own little book will find it’s way under your trees for it’s very first Christmas♥ Next week I will be announcing a Christmas Bundle Promo so be sure to subscribe to the mailing list and follow @rachelgreeningwrites on Instagram to be first in line.

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