Spring is just around the corner and – surprise, surprise – we’re thinking about books. To celebrate the warmer weather on the horizon, we’ve curated a collection of new and forthcoming books to fill out your “to be read” list this spring. Use the "Shop Local" button to pick up or pre-order these titles at your nearest indie bookstore.
Click here to check out our picks for adults.
Abuelita and Me
Written by Leonarda Carranza, illustrated by Rafael Mayani
Published by Annick Press (April 12)
Spending time at home with Abuelita means pancakes, puddle-jumping, and nail-painting. But venturing out into the city is not always as fun. On the bus and at the grocery store, people are impatient and suspicious. Sad, angry, and scared, the story’s young narrator decides not to leave home again. Until a moment of empowerment helps her see the strength she and Abuelita share when they face the world together. Warm, expressive illustrations by Rafael Mayani highlight the tenderness in Abuelita and the narrator’s relationship.
Leonarda Carranza was born in San Salvador and currently lives in Brampton, ON, part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto.
Rafael Mayani is a Mexican artist based in Vancouver, Canada. He draws inspiration from the vibrant colours and shapes of Mexico and the natural beauty of Canadian landscapes.
Boys and Girls Screaming
Written by Kern Carter
Published by Cormorant Books (April 9)
When Ever’s father passes away suddenly, she is devastated. Not long after that, her mom has a stroke and the anguish becomes almost too much to handle. That’s when she gets the idea to form a group called Boys and Girls Screaming. Although the other teens find solace in the group, Ever tumbles further into depression until she reaches a breaking point. As the group learns the true source of Ever’s pain, they jump into action to help her find a way out.
Kern Carter is a full-time freelance writer and author who has written and self-published two novels. Kern also has writing credits in Forbes, The New York Times, Global Citizen, and Elle Magazine.
Written by Deborah Ellis
Published by House of Anansi (March 1)
Annoyed at having to walk his sister’s dog on his birthday, Connor heads into an undeveloped subdivision where he comes across evidence of a stranger’s unhappiness. A girl sneaks away from her class trip and experiences the terror and joy of fending for herself. Dom’s brother gives him a special crystal to boost his confidence, and the gift conjures up a child laborer from the impoverished area of Madagascar. In this powerful collection of short stories, a companion to Sit, children around the world turn eleven and take a step into their futures.
Deborah Ellis is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won multiple awards – including the Governor General’s Literary Award – and is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
Can You Believe It?
Written by Joyce Grant, illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte
Published by Kids Can Press (June 7)
Young people get most of their information online. This must-read guide helps them decide which information they can trust. Joyce Grant is an expert on how young people interact with and think about online media. Never judgmental and often hilarious, she encourages readers to approach what they find online with skepticism and helps them hone their critical thinking skills to make good choices about what to believe and share.
Joyce Grant is a freelance journalist and children's author. She created the popular website Teaching Kids News and has given hundreds of presentations at schools and libraries. She is also the author of the Gabby picture book series and two middle-grade novels.
Kathleen Marcotte is an illustrator from the suburbs of Chicago. She earned her BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and 3x3 magazine.
Where Do Your Feelings Live?
Written by Catherine Hernandez, illustrated by Myriam Chery
Published by HarperCollins Canada (May 17)
In this picture book, young readers are encouraged to show compassion to themselves, their families, and their communities, and to imagine where inside themselves they keep their feelings. Championing young people for weathering the storms of their many emotions, it is a gentle celebration of what makes us who we are.
Catherine Hernandez is an award-winning author and critically acclaimed screenwriter. Her books include Crosshairs and Scarborough, which was recognize by many major awards and made into an award-winning feature film.
Myriam Chery is an illustrator from Quebec. She graduated in arts and film animation from Concordia University.
Funny Gyal: My Fight Against Homophobia in Jamaica
Written by Angeline Jackson with Susan McClelland
Published by Dundurn Press (June 7)
When Angeline Jackson was a child, she wondered if there was something wrong with her for wanting to kiss the other girls. But as her sexuality blossomed in her teens, she knew she wouldn’t “grow out of it” and that her attraction to girls wasn’t against God. Sometimes dark and always honest, Funny Gyal chronicles how Angeline’s faith deepens as a teenager, despite her parents’ conservative values and the strict Christian Jamaican society in which she lives, giving her the courage to challenge gender violence, rape culture, and oppression.
Angeline Jackson is an LGBT human rights activist, an HIV/AIDS educator, and the former executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. In 2015, President Barack Obama recognized Angeline as one of Jamaica’s remarkable young leaders at the Town Hall for Youth in Kingston, Jamaica.
Susan McClelland is a YA non-fiction writer who has received several national and international awards. Her first book, Bite of the Mango, is the true story of a young Sierra Leonean victim of war and has been published in more than twenty countries.
Written by Thomas King, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Published by Penguin Random House Canada (June 7)
Lala wakes up one morning and decides that she owns the world. Quick as a fox, she bounds to her box of treasures and finds her shiny red dots – to mark what is hers! This joyful picture book about confidence featuring a little girl making her mark on the world is for fans of Ladybug Girl.
Thomas King has written several highly acclaimed children’s books including A Coyote Solstice Tale and A Coyote Columbus Story. King, who is of Cherokee and Greek descent and was a Professor of English at the University of Guelph, has also won many prestigious awards for his work.
Charlene Chua grew up in Singapore and immigrated to Canada as an adult. She has illustrated almost twenty picture books, including Hug?, Going Up, Raindrops to Rainbow, and Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao.
Written by Gordon Korman
Published by Scholastic Canada (March 1)
Mason and Ty have been best friends since they were old enough to form thoughts. But one day, Mason finds himself competing against his best friend for the first time in his life, and it’s not pretty. Five years later, Mason’s life is a mess. If he could go back, he would do everything differently. That’s exactly what he’s thinking when his Volkswagen crashes into a furniture van. When he wakes up, he’s 12 years old again. This is his chance for a do-over.
Gordon Korman is the author of over 90 middle-grade and young adult books. He has had multiple books reach #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has received countless awards and honours. His books have sold over 30 million copies and have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Written by Carol Matas, illustrated by Cornelia Li
Published by Orca Book Publishers (April 12)
How do animals see the world? It turns out, very differently. In this nonfiction picture book, a young girl and sister's outdoor adventure (hiking through the forest, picnicking in the grass and swimming in the ocean) is overseen by the local fauna. Through clever illustrations and scientific prose, we are reminded that while we may see things differently, we all live together on planet Earth.
Carol Matas is an internationally acclaimed author of over thirty-five novels for children and young adults. Her bestselling work has been translated into multiple languages and won numerous awards.
Cornelia Li is an award-winning illustrator and storyteller whose work has been featured in The New Yorker and Reader's Digest.
Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor
Written by Xiran Jay Zhao
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada (May 3)
Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So, Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission. Percy Jackson meets Tristan Strong in this hilarious, action-packed middle grade contemporary fantasy that follows a young boy as he journeys across China to seal the underworld shut and save the mortal realm.
Xiran Jay Zhao is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Widow series. A first-gen Hui Chinese immigrant from small-town China to Vancouver, they were raised by the internet and made the inexplicable decision to leave their biochem degree in the dust to write books and make educational content instead.