First and Best 2021

Our top picks of the best Canadian children's books for building reading readiness in kids under five. Because the first books you share with your child should also be the best!

Learn more on our Growing a Reader blog.

A is for Anemone

Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

With crisp, luminous illustrations by celebrated Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers, and a simple rhythmic text, this sturdy board book introduces the alphabet using iconic imagery of the West Coast.


Priti Birla Maheshwari and Ashley Barron

When their train makes a ten-minute stop at the station in Jaipur, a young girl and her mother hurry to get in line for a cup of chai.

Hair Twins

Raakhee Mirchandani and Holly Hatam

A father and daughter become hair twins when he styles her hair in a tight bun on the top of her head, just like the joora he wears every day under his turban.

My City Speaks

Darren Lebeuf and Ashley Barron

A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves.

One, Two, Grandma Loves You

Shelly Becker and Dan Yaccarino

In this rhyming picture book, a little girl and her grandmother count up to their next visit and then do all of their favourite things together.

Pride Puppy!

Robin Stevenson and Julie McLaughlin

A rhyming alphabet book featuring a family who have lost their dog at a Pride parade.

All formats.

The Rock from the Sky

Jon Klassen

Turtle really likes standing in his favourite spot. He likes it so much that he asks his friend Armadillo to come over and stand in it, too. But now that Armadillo is standing in that spot, he has a bad feeling about it...

All formats.


Thao Lam

"Thao" seems like a simple enough name, yet Thao has been called everything from "Tail" to "Theo" to "Towel." Completely fed up, she decides to try an "easy" name like "Jennifer." But trying to be someone else only works for so long.

This Is How I Know / Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh

Brittany Luby and Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

In this lyrical story-poem, written in Anishinaabemowin and English, a child and grandmother explore their surroundings, taking pleasure in the familiar sights that each new season brings.

Time is a Flower

Julie Morstad

An imaginative picture book that combines nature and play to talk about the passage of time.

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