The following is a list of ten picture books that came across my desk in the past few weeks. Most are recent 2020-2022 publications. 


BALLEWIENA by Rebecca Bender

Dolly the daschund feels that shw was born to dance ballet. Despite attempts to discipline Dolly at the Canine School of Obedience,  the dog just can’t seem to learn. Will he learn to dance the dance of her dreams? Perhaps daily meetings with Louis-Pierre, a rather peculiar squirrel will teacher the proper way to jete, fouette, arabesque.

“It was no use. Dotty wasn’t cut to sit and stay and roll over. After class she ran off in tears. “All I want to do is dance,” she whimpered. 

BEAR WANTS TO SING by Cary Fagan; illus. Dena Sieferling

When bear finds a ukelele in the forest he is delighted to burst out in song. He soon discovers that he is not the only musician as other animals (crow (tambourine); snake (drum) and tortoise (horn) join in to join the wildlife band.  Glorious monochromatic full-page illustrations and  rhyming chorus poems work together to make this a picture book treasure.

I’ma bear. I’m a bear. I’m a bear. I’m a bear,

I’m a bear. I’m a bear, I’m a bear, I’m a bear.

I’m a bear, I’ma bear, I’m a bear…

I’m a BEAR!

COME READ WITH ME by Margriet Ruurs; illus. Christine Wei

A reading journey through pages where readers meet iconic characters from classic stories (gnomes and dragons and pirates and whales, a jungle, a castle and Neverland) Simple rhyming texts, vibrant drawings helping young readers to make connections to stories in their head.

“Come, let’s read.
Cuddle closer, open your eyes.
Let’s look at the pictures and fly through the skies”


During Dat’s first day of school in a new country and every time he hears someone speak it sounds like gibberish – until a friendly girl helps Dat with there are different ways of communicating.

“Back in the classroom, Dat tried to read, but his words broke.”

HARLEY THE HERO by Peggy Collins

Harley, the service dog to ensure that every day Ms. Prichard feels safe so she can be the best teacher she can be,.All the children love Harley but they aren’t allowed to play with him when he’s wearing his work vest. So they write letters to him. Inspired by a true story and winner of OLA Blue Spruce Award book prize by children who voted this their favourite picture book of 2021.

“Our class is the quietest, most amazing class in the whole school. That’s because Harley is always on the job.”

I AM NOT A LABEL by Cerrie Burnell; illus. Laurel Baldo

This is a nonfiction picture book that is a collection of 34 biographies that highlight the lives of disabled artists, thinkers, athlete and activists from past to present. Biographical information is presented in a single page accompanied by a full page illustration. Some familiar names include Beethoven, Helen Keller, Steve Wonder, Terry Fox and Lady Gaga. 

“We all have the power to shine our own light. Everyone deserves to live in an inclusive and accessible world and feel like they belong, A world that embraces differences rather than tries to hide it, and a world where every person’s story” valid. ” (Cerrei Burnell, intoduction)

LULI AND THE LANGUAGE OF TEA by Andrea Wang; illus. Hyewon Yum

Because no one knew how to speak English, the children in the playroom, played alone until one day, Lily pulls out a pot of tea and called out ‘Cha!’ in her native Chinese. Suddenly, the children all perked up and joined in enjoying a cup of tea, each asking for tea in their own language. (“Cay?” asked Kerem in Turkish; “Chah-ee” Nikou said in Persian; “Shay?” asked Hakim in Arabic; 

“Now everyone had a share. Hands curled around warm cups. Mouths curved into shy smiles.”

A QUIET GIRL by Peter Carnavas

Mary is a quite girl, so quiet that her family doesn’t  seem to pay any attention to her – until they go searching for her in the neighbourhood and started to pay attention to the quiet of wind chimes clinking, bees humming, and a gray bird resting at the window. A book that celebrates QUIET and considers MINDFULNESS as a way of helping our minds and bodies to take time to be still and pay attention. 

“Mary was a quiet girl. She thought quiet thoughts, stepped quiet steps, and whispered quiet words. Because Mary was quiet, she heard things nobody else heard.”

ROOM FOR MORE by Michelle Kadarusman; illus. Maggie Zeng

When a fire sweeps through the Australian bush, two wombats find safety and eventually are joined by other animals seeking shelter (wallabies, koalas, tiger snakes) and even though it is rather crowded, there is always room for more. A close-up look at Australian wildlife, devastating fires and generosity of spirit. 

“Dig and Scratch hunkered down in their wombat home, grateful for the cool, damp chamber that kept them safe from the smoke and flames.”

SUMMER FUN by Sheree Fitch; illus. Carolyn Fisher

A rhythmic joyful frolic through summer days sure to make you want to take off your shoes and let your tootsie friends shout, flutter, screech, splash, kick, somersault, hide and seek, dance and soak up the season.` Ms Fit-ch, you are a poem-genius who delights in the fun of words – and feet!

“We race faster than fast/ through pastures of grass/ over freshly mown fields to a strawberry patch/ past barnyards/ to backyards/ then a sprinkler-spray dash!/ in our twinkle toe”d /inky-green-stinky/so very red-berry/ bare-naked/ summer feet.