First and Best 2016

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!

Ages: 0-5 years

A Family is a Family is a Family

Sara O'Leary

A young girl doesn’t know how to describe her family to her classmates. As she listens to their touching, humourous descriptions of their own families, her nervousness vanishes.

A Hungry Lion or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals

Lucy Ruth Cummins

We start with a hungry lion, and thirteen other animals. These numbers keep changing. The pictures are sometimes vibrant and cheerful, and sometimes dark.

Lila and the Crow

Gabrielle Grimard

Lila is new in town and longs to make friends. Unfortunately, the other children make fun of her appearance. A crow helps Lila work some magic to win the children over.

My Heart Fills with Happiness

Monique Gray Smith

A free-spirited young girl shares the things that bring her joy. Simple, bold yet gorgeous depictions of Indigenous life are perfect even for infants.
Also Available in eBook

The Night Gardener

Terry Fan

Every night, the trees in Grimloch Lane are worked into fantastic sculptures until the entire town is transformed. A local orphan investigating, finds inspiration and a calling.

Skunk on a String

Thao Lam

A skunk gets his leg tangled in a balloon string and is carried through a bustling city in this wordless book with so much to see and talk about.
Also Available in eBook

The Toad

Élise Gravel

Funny, gross, educational and cute. This is the latest enthusiastically illustrated information book from Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series.
Also Available in French

Tokyo Digs a Garden

Jon-Erik Lappano

In a sprawling metropolis where glass, steel, pavement and concrete have long since encroached, a boy lifts free a paving stone to plants three magic seeds.
Also Available in eBook

We Found a Hat

Jon Klassen

Two turtles find a hat. It looks good on both of them! Since there’s just one, it would be best to forget about it – assuming they can.
Also Available in French

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

Julie Fogliano

Well-crafted poems for all seasons are complemented with beautifully compelling illustrations. This is a book one can open at random and read with anyone.
Also Available in eBook

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Toronto Public Library- First and Best

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!

Ages: 0-5 years