At this time of year, top ten lists, awards and holiday season highlight some of the favourite (and popular) picture books available for young readers. The following list outlines some recent Dr. Larry Purchases, with 2017 publication dates (unless noted otherwise). A shout out is  given to the winners of the 2017 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards and a special shout out to Pembroke Publisher’s newest release What is a “Good” teacher by David Booth and Richard Coles.


Shout Out to this colourful and informative picture book which is the TD Grade One Book Giveaway given to over 550 000 children. Beck’s book is a tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday, inviting readers to say good morning to the beaver, the moose, the Canada goose, the kayak and the people of Canada coast to coast.

WILLY AND THE CLOUD by Anthony Browne

Why is everyone having a wonderful day, except Willy?A dark cloud has settled over Willy, a cloud that really has nothing to do with rain. Browne’s gorilla character helps readers understand that the best way to face our problems is to confront them.

SINGING IN THE RAIN by Tim Hopgood (song by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown)

I bought this book because it gave me ‘a glorious feeling’ that put ‘a smile on my face’ and made me wanna sing to and sing with children.

HERE WE ARE: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

This excellent book is the one I’ll be giving for the holidays to young people in my life to arouse their curiosity and to help them consider their place on the earth.

TOKYO DIGS A GARDEN by Jon-Erik Lappana; Illus. Kellen Hatanaka (2016)

Tokyo’s grandfather remembers a time before cities had eaten up the meadows and ruined the homes of the deer, foxes, birds and salmon. When an old woman gives Tokyo three seeds to plant   helping him to grow wishes and a garden place. 2016 Winner of Governor General’s Literary Awards for Children’s Literature.

THE SNOW KNOWS by Jennifer McGrath; Illus. Josee Bisaillon

A lullaby to creatures sleeping, stepping, pondering, pitter-skittering, trotting hiding and sliding in a snowy winter landscape. This Canadian picture book was the winner of the Marilyn Baillie  Picture Award.

WHEN WE WERE ALONE by David Alexander Robertson; Illus. Julie Flett

A young girl is curious about her grandmother’s hair and clothing, language and stories. This picture book takes a gentle, yet informative approach in a residential school. Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature.

LIFE by Cynthia Rylant; Illus. Brendan Wenzel

Life begins small. Then grows. Even for elephants. This beautiful picture asks the question, “What do you love about life?” and award-winning author Cynthia Rylant and award-winning artist Brendan Wenzel (And the Cat Saw) introduce us to a snake,  a turtle and a bird that help remind us that “in every corner of the world there is something to love.”

THE BOY & THE BINDI by Vivek Shraya; Illus. Rajni Perera (2016/2017)

Canadian author Vivek Shraya tells the story ofa young boy is fascinated by the dot on his mother’s forehead. When he is given his own bindi to wear, it  allows him to express and celebrate his difference.

THE TOWN IS THE SEA by Joanne Schwartz; Illus. Sydney Smith

A young boy looks out at the sea and  thinks about all in his town ‘that spreads out this way, and that’. Most of all he thinks of his father who is a miner and works under the sea, deep down in the coal mines. Listed as one of the New York Times best illustrated picture books of 2017.


Author and artist Jan Thornhill tells the tragic story of the extinction of The Great Auk, a bird that couldn’t fly or walk very well but avoided its predators until humans took to the sea. This Non-Fiction selection was awarded the $30 000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, 2017.



TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

  •      TRAGIC TALE OF THE GREAT AUK written and illustrated by Jan Thornhill

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

  •      THE SNOW KNOWS by Jennifer McGrath; Illus. Josee Bisaillon

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

  •      CANADA YEAR BY YEAR by Elizabeth MacLeod; Illus. Sydney Smith

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

  •      THE MARK OF THE PLAGUE by Kevin Sands

John Spray Mystery Award

  •      SHOOTER by Caroline Pignat

Amy Mathers Teen Book Award



What is a “Good” Teacher?

    by David Booth and Richard Coles, Pembroke Publishers

An important resource for novice and experienced educators who are encouraged to reflect on their past, current and future teaching.  The book is framed around thirty characteristics of excellence of teaching that help educators be the best they can be for their students. David Booth and Richard Coles have included voices that provide theoretical and classroom practices that help teachers consider:

  1. The Need to Know Our Students
  2. The Significance of Building Community
  3. The Essential Need to Reflect on Our Teaching