8 picture books to inspire and delight kids this summer

The school holidays are the perfect time to introduce kids to these Canadian picture books, which talk about all the great things about summer: family, nature, fun adventures and more!

I Hear You, Forest is a nature picture book by Kallie George, left, illustrated by Carmen Mok. (Greystone Kids, Luke Spencer Byrd)

Summertime is the perfect time for children to explore the great outdoors, whether it’s going for walks in the woods near where they live or going on family camping trips.

I hear you forest reminds children that if they step into the forest with open ears and hearts, they can hear some wonderful things. From the rustling of leaves revealing their secrets to tiny beetles balancing on branches, the closer children listen, the more they can learn.

Kallie George is a Vancouver-based children’s author whose books include the Heartwood Hotel series and Ann is coming. your next picture book I hear you oceanalso illustrated by Carmen Mok, will be published in autumn 2022.

Carmen Mok is the Ontario-based illustrator of numerous books including Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, look at me now by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones and Percy’s Museum by Sara O’Leary.

The Sun is a Shine is a picture book written by Leslie A. Davidson (left) and illustrated by Slavka Kolesar. (Orca Book Publishers, Sarah Mickle Photography, David + Katie)

The sun is a glow is a picture book about the wonder of weather systems around the world. Through vivid illustrations and poetic language, The sun is a glow reflects the power of the sun and through the lens of cultural diversity, geography, science and gratitude.

Leslie A. Davidson is a retired teacher, author, and grandmother from British Columbia. Her previous picture books include In the Red Canoe, which was shortlisted for the Shining Willow Award and translated into French. Davidson won the 2016 CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize for her essay titled adjustment.

Slavka Kolesar is a BC-based artist, illustrator and painter. She has illustrated books such as La Legende de Carcajouwho was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, and illustrator for the 2017 TD Summer Reading Club.

The Magic Shell is a story about finding one’s family roots by Jillian Christmas, left, and illustrated by Diana Mungaray. (flamingo rampant)

Have you ever picked up a seashell on the beach on a beautiful summer day? When Pigeon Pea has many questions about her family background one afternoon, Auntie entrusts them with a magical cowrie shell, taking Pigeon Pea back in time and across continents to meet, celebrate and celebrate with her ancestors.

The magic shell is for 6 to 8 years.

Jillian Christmas is an educator, activist and community organizer focused on amplifying anti-oppression initiatives through the spoken word. She is the former artistic director of the Verses Festival of Words in Vancouver.

Raised in Stoneville, NC, Diana Mungaray grew up fascinated by the world around her. She began her artistic journey watercoloring pine trees in her composition book before studying animation and interactive design.

Out Into the Big Wide Lake, written by Paul Harbridge, left, and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, is about a girl with Down Syndrome who faces new challenges one summer. (Tundra Books)

During the summer holidays, many children have the opportunity to visit family members near and far. in the Out into the big wide lakea young girl with Down syndrome gains confidence and independence through visiting her grandparents – a story inspired by the author’s sister.

It is Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents alone at their lake house. She’s nervous, but learns how to deliver by boat, gets to know the neighbors, and even quickly becomes friends with Parbuckle, her grandparents’ dog. But when her grandfather falls ill, it’s suddenly up to Kate to take on new responsibilities.

Out into the big wide lake was the 2022 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for writing and was nominated for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction – Illustrated Books.

Paul Harbridge is a Toronto-based writer and illustrator originally from Muskoka whose work is influenced by the lakes and forests around which he grew up. His children’s book when the moon comes was nominated as a finalist for the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young Adult Illustrated Books.

Josée Bisaillon is a children’s book author and illustrator based outside of Montreal. Her other books include Leap!written by JonArno Lawson, and The snow knows by Jennifer McGrath.

Written by Jean E. Pendziwol, left, and illustrated by Carmen Mok, When I Listen to Silence spotlights imagination and creativity. (Groundwood Books)

Summertime is an ideal time to unleash creativity – stillness and stillness let children’s imaginations run wild.

in the When I hear silence, a child listens intently as the trees sway as they begin to dance. Soon some bears join in the kid’s drumming – and make so much noise they wake a dragon! The dragon’s smoky breath fills the sky and the wind forms a knight on steed galloping through the stars.

The child’s adventure continues as one wonderful flight of fancy leads to the next, from pirates to mermaids to whales, until they once again sit in silence among the trees.

When I hear silence is for 3 to 6 years.

Ontario-based writer Jean E. Pendziwol is the author of the novel The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughters and several children’s books, including Once upon a northern night Me and you and the Red Canoe and The red sash.

Carmen Mok is a Studio Arts graduate from the University of Waterloo and a graduate of Sheridan College in Crafts and Design. She has illustrated 11 children’s books to date, including Luna’s green pet by Kirsten Pendreigh, which will be released in August 2022.

In the Clouds is a picture book by artist and educator Elly MacKay that reminds young readers that the sun isn’t the only thing special about the sky. (Tundra Books)

in the In the clouds, a bored and curious little girl wishes for some sun on a cloudy day. But a friendly bird soon whisks her away on an adventure in the sky, where she can explore both scientific and philosophical questions: How do clouds float? Or wear the rain? Where do they go when they disappear? Do you have memories? Have you ever seen another girl like her?

In the clouds captures how even cloudy skies can inspire wonder and stimulate the imagination.

Elly MacKay is an award-winning picture book writer based out of Owen Sound, Ontario. She is the author and illustrator of several books including butterfly park, Red sky at night and If you hold a seed.

In Martin and the River by Jon-Erik Lappano, left, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, a young boy discovers that the joys of nature can also be found in the big city. (Groundwood Books)

in the Martin and the river, little Martin loves to play in the bright sunshine by the sparkling river near his home. He watches the great blue herons and keeps an eye out for crayfish and otters and lies in the tall grass near the water.

But one day Martin’s parents tell him that they have to move away. As he visits his future home, no city’s urban charm compares to his beloved river. But when Martin’s parents show him a small stream that runs through the park, Martin discovers that his connection to nature can be just as special in the big city.

Martin and the river is for 3 to 6 years.

Jon-Erik Lappano is a children’s book author from Ontario. His picture book Tokyo digs a garden won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Prize for Young Adult Literature (pictured).

Since 2005, award-winning Quebec-based artist Josée Bisaillon has illustrated more than 30 children’s books and contributed to newspapers and magazines around the world.

Sun Wishes, written by Patricia Storms (left), and illustrated by Milan Pavlovic, is a companion to her 2019 picture book Moon Wishes. (Groundwood Books)

In this 2019 sequel moon wishesthe sun wanders across the sky brightening our darkest days, celebrating bountiful harvests and enjoying the diversity of life around the world.

The sun’s warm wishes arouse curiosity and gratitude in young readers, and also spur them on to go outside to enjoy its light throughout the summer (and other times of the year too!).

sun wishes is for 3 to 6 years.

Patricia Storms has worked as a part-time cook, library technician and graphic designer, but her favorite pastime is by far making books for children. She is the author and illustrator of The pirate and the penguin and Never let you go. She also collaborated with her husband Guy Storms to write moon wishesillustrated by Milan Pavlovic.

Milan Pavlovic is a Toronto-based illustrator, graphic artist, and educator. He is an illustrator of several children’s books, including The boy who invented the popsicle by Anne Renaud Seamus’ short story by Heather Hartt-Sussman and son of the lucky by Cary Fagan. His first solo picture book, Sonata for Fish and Boywas released in 2021.

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