This posting features a list of 10 titles, each one rather different from the next. Some favourites of the batch, made the SHOUT OUT list.


COCOA MAGIC by Sandra Bradley; illus. Gabrielle Grimard

Great Uncle Lewis owns a chocolate shop and eight year old Daniel loves helping to mix, pour and mold chocolates. Daniel is also is on a secret mission to share chocolate delights with students in his class who seem to be having troubles. Cocoa Magic is a delicious story about empathy and  spreading kindness.

“The gift-giving was unstoppable.”


We all worry at sometime, but master picture book artist, Todd Parr captures things that some young people might worry about (meeting someone for the first time, the dark, when someone is being mean, when you are alone) and offers advice on how to conquer worrying (take deep breaths, visit friends, dance, and most of all remembering everyone who loves and takes care of you. Another Parr winner!

“Worrying doesn’t help you. If you are worried, talk to someone you love about it. It will make you feel better.”

FROM FAR AWAY by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar; illus. Rebecca Green

This story was originally published in 1995 with illustrations by Michael Martchenko.  In 2017, Munsch and Askar’s story was published with new illustrations by Rebecca Green.  The book first grew out of a letter that Saoussan Askar wrote to Munsch about her life as a refugee. When war strikes her city, Saoussan is forced to leave home and move far away. Based on Askar’s experiences, life for the young girl in a new school is scary and confusing (the plane ride; the teacher’s conversations; playing with others; going to the washroom, a paper skeleton).

A note from the author: Sauossan completed a Bachelor degree in Health Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. 

“Writing and publishing this story made me realize how many people struggle with finding a place of their own and with being understood by those around them. I have had people from all walks of life share with me their own stories of struggles and integration.”

LIKE by Annie Barrows; illus. Leo Espinosa

How are we, as humans like other things on earth – a tin can, a swimming pool, an excavator, a mushroom, a hyena.  A book that introduces the concept of simile, but more than that it is a celebration of human differences and similarities. 

“I am more like you than I am like most things on Earth.”

THE REAL “DADA” MOTHER GOOSE: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka; illus Julia Rothman (poetry)

Jon Scieszka first began to delight readers with his comic gem The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. His fractured poems of parody  in Science Verse and Trucktown Truckery Rhymes  provide a joyful word-play journey into the world of nursery rhymes.  The Real Dada Mother Goose is a collection of absurd, nonsensical and oh-so-inventive rhymes of poems that may or may not be familiar to young readers. Includes such formats as code, hieroglyphics, comic strip,  crossword, recipe,  rebus, and anagram. Clever! Clever! Clever! Note: Dada = the rejection of reason and rational thinking. 

Jack be imble-nay.

Jack be ick-quay.

Jack ump-jay over-yay the andlestick-cay. 

SUN IN MY TUMMY by Laura Alary; illus. Andrea Blinicke

Sun In My Tummy describes how plants turn air and water and sunlight into food. In free verse style, the author introduces readers to the concepts of matter and energy and how the sun’s light becomes fuel for our bodies through the food we eat. This is a great great STEM story. 

“Inside everything if you look deep enough, you will find the sun. Warm-hearted. Generous. Giving.”

TELLING STORIES WRONG by Gianni Rodari; illus. Beatrice Alemagna; translated from the Italian by Antony Shuggaar

As he tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood,   Grandpa keeps mixing thing up, only to be corrected by his granddaughter.  Gianni Rodari is concerned to be the father of modern Italian children’s literature and this whimsical, twisted tale is sure to delight , bring smiles and ignite ‘baci’ between adult and young reader. 

“Oh right! So the horse said to her…”

“What horse, Grandpa? It was a wolf?”


THE BLUE SCARF by Mohamed Danawi; illus. Ruaida Manna

Layla is given a beautiful new blue scarf which she wears with pride. When a gust of wind carries the scarf away, Layla sets out to leave her blue country  and journeys by boat to other worlds, each of a different colour. This is a poignant that works on many levels, but particularly for mining the theme of emigration and acceptance.  What a special picture this is!

“Proudly wear who you are no matter where you are.”


STILL THIS LOVE GOES ON by Buffy Sainte-Marie; illus. by Julie Flett

I was thrilled to see this title listed as one of the top ten illustrated books of the year, according to the New York Times.  Award-winning Cree-Metis author and illustrator, Julie Flett has provided stunning images to match the lyrics by Cree singer-songwriter, Buffy Saine-Marie. The words and images combine to present a love letter to the seasons, to community and to Indigenous traditions.  Wow!

“In every dream, I can smell the sweetgrass burning. And in my heart, I can hear the drum.”


THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Everyday

Sophie Blackall

A handbook of personal stories and paintings; a list of 52 things to look forward to 

Award winning author-illustrator Sophie Blackall (Hello Lighthouse; If You Come to Earth…) presents a collection of joyful things to consider, to aspire to to ensure that we life is lived optimistically. Through 52 short personal stories accompanied with remarkable paintings, Blackall offers a handbook of things to notice to make the most of our time here on Earth: A Hot Shower; A New Word; First Snow; A Full Moon; Listening to a Song You’ve Never Heard Before; Moving the Furniture Around; Making A List; Coming Home. I so loved this inspirational gem that I bought 10 copies that will take care of much of my Christmas / Chanukah gift-giving for friends and relatives young and old.  



Each year the New York Times selects a list of the best illustrated books. The following list presents the titles of the 10 winners for 2022 as published in the New York Times, Sunday November 13, 2022.


BEDTIME FOR BO by Kjersti annesdatte Skomsvold; illus by Mri Kanstad Johnsen (translated by Kari Dickson)

FARMHOUSE by Sophie Blackall

THE NEW ROOSER by Rilla Alexander

NIGHT LUNCH be Eric Fan; illus. Dona Selferling

STILL THIS LOVE GOES ON written by Buffy Sainte-Marie; illus. Julie Flett

TELLING STORIES WRONG by Gianni Rodari; illus. Beatrice Alemagne

THE UPSIDE DOWN HAT by Stephen Barr; illus. Grace Zhang


THE WRITER by Davide Cali; illus. Monica Barengo