Nine stories for summer

Whether they’re reading at the cottage or from the comfort of a couch at home, these books will make the most of your kids’ downtime


After a long day of exploring, playing outside and making new friends at camp, there’s nothing like curling up with a good book. Here are new reads by Canadian authors and illustrators.

Books for Babies


In the Ocean

By Olga Agafonova

Publisher: Clever Publishing, January 2024

About the book: Learn about the animals that live in the ocean with this fun lift-the-flap book (opening and closing flaps helps to improve a child’s motor skills and provides an interactive reading experience). Children will meet a dolphin, whale, turtle, and other underwater friends as they explore their ocean home.

About the illustrator: Montreal-based illustrator Olga Agafonova’s passion is creating bright and colourful characters for picture books, board games, and activity books for children.


In the Garden

By Will Millard, Illustrated by Rachel Quiqi

Publisher: Magic Cat, March 2024

About the book: Part of the Magic Flaps series, which includes “In the Pond,” “In the Tree” and “In the Tide Pool,” “In the Garden” is an interactive first introduction to bees, butterflies, and other garden life. The story is set across a double-page spread and is revealed through double-layer lift-the-flaps. Watch a butterfly drink nectar from a flower, a larvae turn into a ladybug, sparrows enjoy a dust bath, and more. Simple rhyming text paired with educational sight words make the story both accessible and educational.

About the illustrator: With a background in animation studies, Canadian Rachel Qiuqi focuses on illustration for children.


In the Tide Pool

By Will Millard, Illustrated by Rachel Quiqi

Publisher: Magic Cat, April 2024

About the book: An anemone hides from a seagull, a hermit crab finds a new shell, and a shrimp cleans up a tide pool. Like “In the Garden,” “In the Tide Pool” features rhyming text paired with educational sight words.



Books for Children


Why We Dance: A Story of Hope and Healing

By Deidre Havrelock, Illustrated by Aly McKnight

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, February 2024

About the book: It’s the day of the Jingle Dress Dance, and one young girl gets butterflies in her stomach thinking about performing in front of her whole community. When the drumbeats begin, her family soothes her nerves and reminds her why she dances. Emerging historically in response to the global influenza pandemic of 1918–19, the Jingle Dress Dance is a ceremonial dance of healing and prayer that still thrives today in many Indigenous and First Nations communities across North America.

About the author: Deidre Havrelock is a member of Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta.


The Walk of the Field Mouse

By Nadine Robert, Illustrated by Valerio Vidali

Publisher: Milky Way Children’s Books, April 2024

About the book: During a morning walk, a field mouse discovers a mysterious blue object sitting at the foot of a big rock. As a group of animals gather to carefully inspect the object, they realize that a robin’s egg has rolled down from its nest. The field mouse volunteers to return the egg to the nest, only to be met with laughter and mockery from its fellow animals. Spurred on by a determination to prove them wrong, the mouse musters all of its strength to take on the task. This timeless picture book is about taking on life’s many obstacles.

About the author: The founder of the publishing house Comme des géants, Montreal’s Nadine Robert is a recipient of the 2022 Governor General’s Award for her story “Clover.”


Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail

By Beatrice Blue

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, May 2024

About the book: A touching story about friendship and protecting our oceans introduces readers to Theodore, a boy with little boat and a big passion: collecting fish. He meets a mermaid and takes her home and puts her in a tank, where she gets weaker and weaker. Can Theodore learn that the creature belongs in the ocean before it’s too late?

About the author: Author and illustrator Beatrice Blue lives in Montreal. The first book of her series “Once Upon” was nominated to the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and her books have been translated to more than 16 languages all over the world.


A Rose, a Bridge, and a Wild Black Horse

By Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Publisher: Cameron Kids, March 2024

About the book: Originally published in 1964, the book explores themes of growing up, dreams, and letting go. A girl declares all the things she’ll do for her mother when she is all grown up — from climbing mountains and swimming across oceans, to picking the pinkest rose, to building the biggest bridge and a castle for her mother to live in, to taming a wild black horse for her mother to ride — ending with the friend she will bring her mother to keep her company while she travels the world.

About the illustrator: Vancouver award-winning fine artist, author, and illustrator Julie Morstad’s work can be found in numerous picture books, including “The Dress and the Girl.”


Sai’s Magic Silk

By Shyala Smith, illustrated by Jani Balakumar

Publisher: Tate Publishing, March 2024

About the book: In this story about celebrating the idea of finding your people, Sai loves to play with his amma’s saris. Under each six yards of magic silk, he is transported to new worlds including the oceans, the forests of Sinharaja and the moon and back.

About the illustrator: Sheridan College graduate and Toronto resident Jani Balakumar is a 2-D animator and debut children’s illustrator.


Books for Teens

How to Manage Your Eco-Anxiety: An Empowering Guide for Young People

By Anouchka Grose, Illustrated by Lauriane Bohémier

Publisher: Magic Cat, March 2024

About the book: Psychoanalyst Anouchka Grose explores the relationship between mental health and the climate crisis and shares insights on how to manage eco-anxiety, validate emotions and build resilience. A tool kit at the end of each of the 10 steps shows ways to build on that knowledge and take action.

About the illustrator: Quebec artist and graphic designer Lauriane Bohémier finds inspiration in nature.