Today is Children's Book Day! To celebrate I've compiled a list of amazing, best-selling and all 'round well-loved Canadian children's books—scientifically selected by my kids of course! It was actually very difficult to keep this list to just 10, there are so many iconic and glorious Canadian books to choose from. These are in no particular order (but Norbert Nipkin is my absolute all-time hands-down fave!).
Help me add to this list by sharing your absolute favourites in the comments—or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
My kids are 8 and 3-years-old so this list favours younger kids, but these are timeless stories that I'm sure we'll be reading in my family for years to come.
1. Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt; Kids Can Press
This neurotic little fella stole the hearts of my entire family the first time we picked it up. Perfect for wee people who have some fears to conquer, but also a fabulous tongue and cheek way to point out things that we parents could stand to relax about as well. It's a laugh-out-loud funny read that we go back to time and again.
2. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch; Annick Press
This is not your average princess story! The message of empowerment and girl-power depicted by the clever and strong Elizabeth—who outwits a fire-breathing dragon to save Prince Ronald—is one that every child should read.
3. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery; Penguin Canada
It doesn't get much more Canadian than Anne of Green Gables. When 11-year-old orphan Anne is sent accidentally to live with a family on PEI, it isn't long before her charming spirit wins over the island... and you!
4. Alligator Pie, by Dennis Lee; HarperCollins
My kids love poetry! And they are obviously not alone, Canada's Father Goose has sold over half a million copies of this glorious book of poems since it's initial publication in 1974. With delightful illustrations by Frank Newfield, this book is an absolute feast for the eyes and the ears.
5. The Hockey Sweater, by Roch Carrier; Tundra Books
Regardless of what team your family cheers for, this distinctly Canadian story of a boy and his (gasp! wrong team!) hockey jersey is always a fan favourite.
6. Stella Star of the Sea, by Mary-Louise Gay; Groundwood Books
We own all the books in the Stella series and are particularly enamoured with little brother Sam. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from his oh-so-wise big sister is very reminiscent of the real-life adventures of my two sibs.
7. Chester, by Melanie Watt; Kids Can Press
We're big Melanie Watt fans around here, as you can tell. In this cute read Chester the cat and his red marker and the author herself and her little mouse side-kick duke it out for control over the story—hilarity ensues!
8. Mortimer, by Robert Munsch; Annick Press
We went through a period of about two months when this is the only book my then-two-year-old would let me read to her. She also NEVER GOES TO SLEEP (still) and forged an instant and fast kinship with Mortimer and his nightly singing. Me? "Clang, clang, rattle bing bang, gonna make my noise all day" strikes a very real and very raw nerve!
9. Lost in the Barrens, Farley Mowat; Emblem Editions
Couldn't have a Canadian kid's book list without Farley Mowat. This story of Awasin, a Cree boy, Jamie, a caucasian orphan and Angus his uncle, is a sometimes harrowing tale of danger, adventure and page-turning excitement that takes place in the magical arctic wilderness.
10. Norbert Nipkin, by Robert McConnell; Napoleon and Co
This was, and remains, my absolute favourite book from my own childhood. With stunning illustrations by Steve Pilcher this gorgeous rhyming tale about a most unlikely friendship is beautiful to read and will transport you time and again to a lush, glorious world you won't soon forget. I can read it almost entirely by heart. "The meeting of strangers is funny, It's odd how it so often ends, After less than an hour together, It's really not hard to be friends."
What's your favourite Canadian kids' book? Did it make our list or do you have one to add?