First and Best 2020

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

The Egg

Geraldo Valério

When a gust of wind blows a crane's egg from the nest, the heartbroken crane flies away and spots what appears to be another egg in need of a home. This wordless picture book shows us that loving families come in all shapes and sizes.

All formats.

Fast Friends

Heather M. O’Connor and Claudia Dávila

Tyson is not listened to because of his sometimes disruptive behaviour. Suze is nonverbal with special needs. Learning to interpret Suze's nonverbal cues improves Tyson's ability to understand and communicate, and he ultimately finds his own voice by helping Suze find hers.

All formats.

The Haircut

Theo Heras and Renné Benoit

With hair flopping in his eyes, it's time for this toddler's first haircut. He is nervous at first, but his father's hand is a comfort and the barber's chair is fun. Soon his milestone first haircut is complete.

All formats.

My Ocean Is Blue

Darren Lebeuf and Ashley Barron

During a day at the beach with her mom, a girl is inspired to examine and celebrate every part of her ocean. Vivid illustrations and poetic text are sure to awaken the explorer in every child.

All formats.

Nattiq and the Land of Statues: A Story from the Arctic

Barbara Landry and Martha Kyak

A ringed seal, known in Inuktitut as ᓇᑦᑎᖅ nattiq, has returned to his Arctic home after a long journey south and his friends – a polar bear, caribou, raven, walrus and narwhal – gather round to hear about his trip.

All formats.

Not Me

Elise Gravel

From beloved children's author Elise Gravel comes a hilarious twist to the perpetual question: Who made this mess?

All formats.

Raven, Rabbit, Deer

Sue Farrell Holler and Jennifer Faria Lipke

In an intergenerational winter's story full of quiet wonder, a little boy takes his grandfather for a walk down a forest trail.

All formats.

The Truth About Wind

Hazel Hutchins, Gail Herbert and Dušan Petričić

When Jesse finds a toy horse and names him Wind, his imagination runs wild thinking about all the adventures that await. There's just one problem: Wind doesn’t actually belong to Jesse. Is there a way to make everything okay again?

All formats.

Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White

Saumiya Balasubramaniam and Eva Campbell

A little girl and her mother walk home from school on a snowy winter day. Ma misses the sun, warmth and colours of home, but her daughter sees magic in everything.

All formats.

Weekend Dad

Naseem Hrab and Frank Viva

Naseem Hrab writes a poignant yet hopeful story, strikingly illustrated in Frank Viva's signature style, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.

All formats.

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