Summer is the perfect time of year for young readers to explore new stories – when they aren't exploring the outdoors, of course! To mark the season, we've curated a collection of new or recently released books for the young readers in your life.
This list features books for young readers. To check out our picks for adult readers, click here.
Find these books at your local indie bookstore today!
Journey of the Midnight Sun
By Shazia Afzal, illustrated by Aliya Ghare
Orca Book Publishers (March 2022)
In 2010 a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque over 4,000 kilometers to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic. A small but growing Muslim community there had been using a cramped trailer for their services, but there just wasn't enough space. This beautiful picture book reminds us that the collective dream of fostering a multicultural and tolerant Canada exists and that people of all backgrounds will come together to overcome obstacles for the greater good of their neighbours.
Shazia Afzal has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty years. Having immigrated to Canada in 2002, Shazia sought to live near her community mosque with every move. She felt compelled to share the story of the Midnight Sun Mosque with children who may not have heard of its epic adventure and to remind young readers that it is a blessing to live in a country where people are free to practice their faith.
Aliya Ghare graduated from OCAD University, where she majored in illustration and minored in English, with the hope of combining the two disciplines to write and illustrate children’s picture books and graphic novels. She enjoys creating visually rich and poetic imagery, and exploring social and political issues, as well as human interest subjects, in her work. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and Adobe, and has been awarded by and published in the Applied Arts and 3x3 magazines.
Bibi's Got Game: A Story about Tennis, Meditation and a Dog Named Coco
By Bianca Andreescu, illustrated by Chelsea O'Byrne with Mary Beth Leatherdale
Penguin Random House Canada (June 2022)
From the moment she wakes up, Bibi is very busy. Even before school begins, there are cartwheels to do, world records to break, and her dog, Coco, to snuggle. Bibi's mother suggests she try a sport, but nothing feels right. Until she tries tennis. In the first picture book written by and based on real-life tennis star Bianca Andreescu, a young athlete learns how to work through life's toughest moments through inner strength and meditation.
Bianca Andreescu is a Canadian professional tennis player who grew up in Romania and Mississauga. With a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world, Bianca set a new record as the highest-ranked Canadian in the history of the Women’s Tennis Association. She was the first Canadian tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title and the Rogers Cup in 50 years.
Chelsea O’Byrne is an author, illustrator, and art teacher based in Vancouver. She graduated in 2016 from Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a BFA in Illustration. Since then, she has worked in editorial illustration and children’s books.
By Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault and translated by Susan Ouriou
House of Anansi (August 2022)
Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault are back with a new graphic novel, this time featuring Truffle, younger brother, best friend, aspiring rockstar. The book features three linked stories: “Truffle the Rockstar,” “Truffle Loves Nina,” and “Truffle Tackles Existence.” Fans of Louis Undercover will be delighted that Louis’s funny, music-loving little brother now has his own book.
Fanny Britt is a playwright, novelist, and translator. She collaborated with Isabelle Arsenault on two previous graphic novels: Jane, the Fox and Me, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration, and Louis Undercover. Her other award-winning works include the play Bienvaillance and the novel Les maisons.
Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator. In addition to her work with Fanny, Isabelle’s books include Spork and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, and Colette’s Lost Pet, which marked her debut as an author. She has won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times.
Autumn Bird and the Runaway
By Melanie Florence and Richard Scrimger
Scholastic Canada (July 2022)
Cody is a smart kid and a survivor of a home life that is a messy, too-often terrifying story of neglect and abuse. Autumn is, quite literally, on the other side of the tracks. Her home life is loving and secure and she is “in” at school, even if she has a secret life as a comic book nerd at home. Told in alternating narratives, Autumn Bird and the Runaway is a collaboration by two of Canada’s finest writers of books for young readers. Infused with themes of identity, belonging, and compassion, this story reminds us that we are more than our circumstances and we’re all more connected than we think.
Melanie Florence is an award-winning writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. Her most recent picture book, Stolen Words, won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Her other books include Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools and several teen novels including Just Lucky, He Who Dreams, The Missing.
Richard Scrimger has written more than twenty books for children and adults, many of which have won for been nominated for major awards and been published internationally. He is also a contributor to the Seven series and is a popular presenter in schools. His latest novel, part of the Almost Epic series, is Irresistible. Richard lives in Toronto.
The Queen of Junk Island
By Alexandra Mae Jones
Annick Press (May 2022)
Still reeling from a recent trauma, sixteen-year-old Dell is relieved when her mom suggests a stay at the family cabin. But the much-needed escape quickly turns into a disaster. The lake and woods are awash in trash left by a previous tenant. And worse, Dell’s mom has invited her boyfriend’s daughter to stay with them. Set during a humid summer in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island is a compelling, nuanced exploration of bi identity and body image that simmers with the intensity of a teenage girl navigating suffocating societal expectations.
Alexandra Mae Jones is a queer writer based in Toronto. Her short fiction has been published in several literary magazines, and she is a freelance reporter for CTVNews.ca.
Let the Monster Out
By Chad Lucas
Abrams Books (May 2022)
Bones Malone feels like he can’t do anything right in his new town. He almost punched his babysitter’s son, he’s one of the only Black kids in Langille, and now his baseball team just lost their first game. Kyle Specks feels like he can never say the right thing at the right time. He thinks he might be neurodivergent, but he hasn’t gotten an official diagnosis yet. His parents worry that the world might be too hard for him. When things in the town start getting weird, Bones and Kyle must face their worst nightmares in this middle-grade mystery perfect for fans of Stranger Things.
Chad Lucas has been in love with words since he attempted his first novel on a typewriter in the sixth grade. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, communications advisor, freelance writer, part-time journalism instructor, and parenting columnist. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, he lives with his family near Halifax.
All Cats Welcome
By Susin Nielsen, illustrated by Vivian Mineker
Simon & Schuster Canada (May 2022)
Leonard adores his human. “Stay! Let’s play!” he says when it’s time to leave for work. His human just hears “Meow.” Sometimes Leonard gets lonely. So does Mariposa, who is new in town. Maybe they could keep each other company? “Hello,” says Leonard. “Hola,” says Mariposa. While the friends don’t share a language, they do share adventures. And together they find a place where all cats – and their humans – are welcome.
Susin Nielsen is a critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling author of many children’s books, ranging from picture books to young adult novels, including No Fixed Address and We Are All Made of Molecules. She lives in Vancouver, with her family and two felines: Emily Brontë and Erwin Schrödinger.
Vivian Mineker is a Taiwanese American illustrator whose work derives from a love of nature and animals, as well as an appreciation of the world around her. She has illustrated a number of children’s books, including The Road Not Taken, The Secret Life of Trees, and What a Ship Sees.
Twice as Perfect
By Louisa Onomé
HarperCollins Canada (June 2022)
Ever since her brother left over a few years ago, life for seventeen-year-old Ada Nkwachi has been all about duty: to school and the debate team, to her parents, and even to her soon-to-be-married cousin Genny. One day, chance brings the siblings back together and they start working to repair their bond. Netflix’s Never Have I Ever meets Crazy Rich Asians with a Nigerian twist in this young adult novel about being caught in between worlds.
Louisa Onomé is the Nigerian Canadian author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Like Home. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, crying over her favorite video games, and perfecting her skin-care routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area.
Wild About Camping
By Jane Whittingham, illustrated by Bryanna Chapeskie
Nimbus Publishing (July 2022)
In this delightful picture book, a brother and sister are excited for their first camping trip. On each page they experience all the fun of setting off for the woods, and readers will delight in seeing the siblings’ actions mirrored by wild animals. From yanking the cords to get the tent set up (pulling, tugging moose) to swimming in the lake (floating, bobbing loons) to laughing and singing around the campfire (calling, hooting owls), kids and animals alike experience all the fun of a good camp-out.
Jane Whittingham is a picture book author, librarian, and mum with a passion for early literacy. She lives with her family in beautiful British Columbia, and loves exploring the great outdoors at home and around the world.
Bryanna Chapeskie is an illustrator and graphic designer from Halifax.
Sky Wolf’s Call: The Gift of Indigenous Knowledge
By Eldon Yellowhorn & Kathy Lowinger
Annick Press (April 2022)
How do knowledge systems get passed down over generations? In Sky Wolf’s Call, award-winning author team of Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger reveal how Indigenous knowledge comes from centuries of practices, experiences, and ideas gathered by people who have a long history with the natural world. Indigenous knowledge is explored through the use of fire and water, the acquisition of food, the study of astronomy, and healing practices.
Eldon Yellowhorn (Piikani Nation) is an archaeologist and professor of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University. His research responds to the Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to search for children who died at residential schools.
Kathy Lowinger is an award-winning author whose books include Give Me Wings! How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World, Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People, and What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal.