The twelve picture books listed below are all Canadian, several published in the last couple of years. Acceptance is the key theme of these books whether its about puffins, sneezing cows, a little red shed or kids who are nervous about fitting in to a new school, a new home. 


ATLANTIC PUFFIN: Little Brother of the North by Krisin Bieber Domm; illus. Jeffrey C. Domm

I purchased this book during a recent trip to Newfoundland at the end of August, in preparation for a trip to a puffin colony in the Bonavista Peninsula. This book is filled with information about this amazing bird and is a good example of fact-filled nonfiction picture books. (Alas, the puffins had already headed out to the Atlantic for the winter and I only saw a few flying overhead on the rock. (Puffins webbed feat aand beak turn orange in the spring; Puffins eat a lot of capelin, herring and sand lance; Puffins have a bathroom in their burrows which the young use in an area near the front of the tunnel).

THE COW SAID BOO by Lana Button; illus. Alice Carter (2021)

When Cow catches a cold, her familiar “Moo” sounded like a “Boooooo!” through her stuffy nose. When Cow gets entangled in a clothesline her animal friends mistake Cow for a ghost and run away from her. An amusing, rhythmic barnyard adventure.

GREETINGS LEROY by Itah Sadu; illus. Alix Delinois

When his family moves to North America, Roy sends an email to his friend, Leroy,  back in Jamaica, describing his new home and his nervous feelings about coming to a new school. A celebration of making new friends – and of Bob Marley. 

HELLO, DARK by Wai Mai Wong; Illus Tamara Campeau

To help overcome his fear of the dark, a little boy, re-imagines bedtime darkness as a new friend by talking to it “I hear the creaks you make around the house.” / “The starry sky and moon shines brightly thanks to you.”  A book that will likely bring comfort to many youngsters, who too might be afraid of the dark.

THE HOMESICK CLUB by Libby Martinez illus. Rebecca Gibbon

Monica misses her home in Boliva. Hanna misses her home in Israel. The two become friends and form The Homesick Club to build connections from those who have come from far away (including their teacher). 

SHOUT OUT: A KID IS A KID IS A KID by Sara O’Leary; illus. Qin Leng (2021)

Being the new kid in school can be hard. The children in this school are bewildered by the questions that come their way (Are you a boy or a girl? Where do you come from? Why are you so small? Why was your sister born different?) and hope that their classmates will learn about the important and interesting things about themselves. Told with simple, text accompanied by lively playful illustrations this title is one of a favourite new acquisition. It will be the first picture book I will read to my grad class entitled Play, Language and Learning and I look forward to sharing it in classrooms to help students think about differences and acceptance. The dynamic duo who wrote A Family is a Family is a Family have given us another picture book gem. Love it!

LISTEN UP! TRAIN SONG by Victoria Allenby (2021)

A celebration of trains, with vivid photographs=, rhymes and sounds that sing of the railroad (Whooosh! Swooosh! / Rattle-Tattle, Rattle-tattle; Hisss! Fissss!)

THE LITTLE RED SHED by Adam and Jennifer Young; illus. Adam Young

Once white, the little red shed, her fellow sheds thought she being different and didn’t belong. Little Red Shed sets out on an ocean voyage and comes upon a whale, a new friend who helps her see how special she really is. A story from Newfoundland that celebrates differences.

MALAIKA’S SURPRISE by Nadia L. Hohn; illus. Irene Luxbacher (2021)

The creators of Malaika’s Winter Carnival reintroduce the charming Malaika Who enjoys playing carnival.  When she learns that her mother is expecting a baby, Malika is worried that she might be forgotten. A kind new school friend helps Malaika deal with her fears,

MY FRIEND by Elisa Amado; illus. Alfonso Ruano

A young girl moves from Mexico to Brooklyn and makes a new ‘best’ friend who she then invitees to dinner with her family. At dinner, the guest feels somewhat uncomfortable with exposure to new cultural experiences.  A story about fitting in and about being true to who you are. . 

ON THE LINE by Kari-Lynn Winters; illus. Scot Ritchie (2021)

The Moore family is best known for producing hockey heroes in their small town. But young Jackson feels like a potato on skates and feels that he doesn’t live up to the Moore reputation. But hockey heroes can be more than goal-scorers as Jackson finds out with a game plan to help his team who is at risk of losing the tournament with a shortage of equipment. A delightful story.

VIOLET SHRINK by Christine Baldacchino; illus. Carmen Mok

Many young readers will empathize and sympathize with Violet who is anxious about being in crowds with others. With a family reunion fast approaching Violet needs courage to join the party.