A Love Letter to Canadian Publishing

Dear Canadian Children's Book Publishers,

Thank you. Every time I encounter a truly amazing picture book lately, when I flip to the front, I shouldn't be surprised that it came from one of you. Whether its a story about questioning gender roles or being fairy tale superheros, you do not disappoint. With grace and a view to the wider world, you are releasing stories rich with diversity and real life; stories about refugees as children we could all recognize, stories about children looking out for their families, stories about finding your voice, even when you are shy.

Your stories are beautifully illustrated, and the narratives are rich with grit, true friendship, self awareness, and other positive attributes that can be tricky to teach, but at the same time, your tales are not preachy or aggressive. I love the subtle normalcy that permeates the books, even in tales of dramatic differences; we're pretty different, after all, and isn't that a beautiful thing?

I'm astonished that I hadn't read more of your titles before coming here; it's like I've stumbled on the best-kept secret of the children's publishing world, and I don't want to keep it a secret. Your stories sparkle, and I can't wait to read more.

With love,

Me

(Gratitude to one of my brilliant classmates for writing a letter to a book; that planted the seed that became my desire to write this post.)

                                                                                                                                       

Initial Reading List (in the order I refer to them in the love letter):


  • The Highest Number In The World, by Roy Macgregor, Illustrated by Geneviève Després
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino, Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
  • Super Red Riding Hood, by Claudia Dávila
  • Joseph's Big Ride, by Terry Farish, Illustrated by Ken Daley
  • JoJo the Giant, by Jane Barclay, Illustrated by Esperança Melo
  • Willow Finds A Way, by Lana Button, Illustrated by Tania Howells
  • Snap! By Hazel Hutchins, Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
  • The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten, by Maureen Fergus, Illustrated by Mike Lowery
  • Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!), by Heather McLeod, Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
  • Fishermen Through and Through, by Colleen Sydor, Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
For more great Canadian titles, check out Ontario's reader-voted book award, The Forest of Reading.

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