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September is upon us, school is back in session, and it's good to be a book lover! To celebrate the season, we’ve curated a collection of new and forthcoming books to fill out your list this fall. Use the "Shop Local" button to pick up or pre-order these titles at your nearest indie bookstore.

This page includes recommendations for young readers. To see our list of books for adults, click here. Click here for our YA picks.

Mehndi Boy
By Zain Bandali, illustrated by Jani Balakumar
Annick Press (October 2023) 

The first time Tehzeeb tries mehndi, his passion for the art form blossoms. Soon, he’s creating designs for all his friends and family. So Tez is hurt and confused when his favorite uncle tells him mehndi isn’t for boys. An artistic, fashion-loving boy unlocks a new talent—and learns to stand up for it—in this chapter book perfect for fans of the Sadiq series and Meet Yasmin!

Zain Bandali is an unapologetic Ismaili Muslim queer artist of Indo-Tanzanian heritage living in Ontario. He writes on themes related to mysticism, queerness, diasporas, and where they interact. His poetry has been published in multiple journals and his spoken word has graced stages across the province. 

Jani Balakumar is a Tamil-Canadian illustrator and 2D animator that resides in Toronto. She has a bachelor’s in animation from Sheridan College where she honed her craft. Her works often have a bold palette and mixed textural elements to make the work pop off the page.

Pride and Persistence: Stories of Queer Activism
By Mary Fairhurst Breen
Second Story Press (October 2023) 

Every day, people face discrimination because of their sexuality and gender identity. The people in these pages have stood up for the queer community, on their own behalf or in support of others. Book four of the “Do You Know My Name?” series tells stories of some people who made a difference by confronting injustice and others who did so by daring to be fully themselves.

Mary Fairhurst Breen is the author of the memoir Any Kind of Luck at All and the children’s book Awesome Andie’s Best of the Block. Mary is a queer feminist who spent decades working for social change and equal rights. She lives in Toronto.

Garden of Lost Socks
By Esi Edugyan, illustrated by Amélie Dubois
HarperCollins Canada (August 2023) 

Akosua was always told she was too nosy… she always seemed to find trouble. “Trouble isn't what I find!" said Akosua. “I'm an Exquirologist. What I find is lost things."

This big-hearted picture book debut from one of Canada's brightest literary stars follows Akosua, a budding Exquirologist, as she finds both a new friend and a remarkable world hidden right in her very own community. Acclaimed artist Amélie Dubois adds a layer of magic to Akosua's charming adventure with her delicate, compelling illustrations.

Esi Edugyan is the author of Half-Blood Blues, Dreaming of Elsewhere, and Washington Black, which won the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She lives in Victoria, BC. 

Amélie Dubois grew up in Montreal but found her true home in Mauricie, QC. She has illustrated children’s books such as Lapin perdue, Rien du tout!, and Mingan les nuages. A critically acclaimed artist, she most recently illustrated Copine et copine, which was the French-language finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Award.

I’m Hungry
By Elise Gravel
Orca Book Publishers (September 2023) 

The little monster is hungry. What can they eat? A slice of pizza! But the monster is STILL hungry, so they gobble up the plate, the pizza box, the fridge… This adorable board book will make the young picky eaters and food lovers in your life giggle at the absurdity of eating inedible things. Toddlers will holler along with the repeated text until they squeal with delight when the insatiable monster finally notices THEM!

Elise Gravel is an award-winning author and illustrator. Well known for her odd critters and unusual drawing style, Elise creates books that are popular with adults and children alike. In 2012 she won the Governor General’s Award for French-language illustration for La clé à molette. Elise lives in Montreal with her husband, two daughters and two cranky cats.

Grand Chief Salamoo Cook is Coming to Town!
By Tomson Highway, illustrated by Delphine Renon
The Secret Mountain (September 2023) 

Once upon a magical time, a young rabbit named Weeskits hurried home to Kisoos—a town known as the Earth’s belly button—to deliver some thrilling news. Salamoo Cook, the Grand Chief of all rabbits in the world, was on his way to announce a mysterious contest. The prize? A year’s supply of all-healing waaskeechoos juice! This book by beloved writer Tomson Highway is accompanied by 12 song recordings.

Tomson Highway is one of Canada’s most renowned storytellers. As a celebrated author, playwright, and musician his work shines a light on Indigenous people and culture. In 2022, he received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Highway is also an Officer of the Order of Canada. He lives in Gatineau, QC.

Delphine Renon is a French illustrator, ceramicist, and graphic designer. After graduating from École de Communication visuelle de Paris, she joined Éditions Nathan jeunesse where she became artistic director in 1998. Since 2014, she has illustrated over 30 picture books.

Nish: North and South
By Isabelle Picard, translated by Kateri Aubin Dubois
Scholastic Canada (September 2023)

In this acclaimed book, readers meet thirteen-year-old twins Leon and Eloise who live in Matimekush, an Innu community in Northern Quebec. While Leon spends all his free time playing hockey, Eloise works on a school project that opens her mind to the history of her people. But when their father gets sick and someone from their village mysteriously disappears, the twins learn lessons about the fragility of humanity and the dangers of the land they call home.

Isabelle Picard, originally from Wendake reserve in Quebec, is an ethnologist, Radio-Canada’s Senior Specialist in Indigenous Affairs, and a lecturer at UQAM. She aims to increase understanding of the realities and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples of Quebec.

Kateri Aubin Dubois is a freelance translator and a prolific beadworker. Her beadwork can be found under her Indigenous name, Nisnipawset. Kateri is from the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation. She lives with her husband, two children and a fluffy cat in Terrebonne, QC.

Ethan and the Strays
By John Sullivan, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Simon & Schuster Canada (October 2023)

On the way to school, Ethan notices some stray kittens in the alleyway. He wants to look after them, but his dad has a strict no-pet policy. Still, with the help of his older brother, Ethan does what he can to rescue the kittens and realizes that caring for something else can bring great joy. This hopeful story is based on the author’s real-life experiences rescuing stray animals.

John Sullivan received the Ezra Jack Keats Award and Margaret Wise Brown Prize for his debut picture book Kitten and the Night Watchman. He is also the author of Stanley’s Secret. John is a cat lover and tap dancer who formerly worked as a night watchman.

Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator who currently lives in beautiful New Brunswick with his wife, son, and more pets than people. He has illustrated many books for young people that earned multiple starred reviews and positions on The New York Times bestseller list including The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali, In My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel, Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi, How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, and many more. He has more upcoming books and projects in the works.


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