Cloud Appreciation Day 2023

September 15th marked Cloud Appreciation Day, an internationally celebrated day where people are encouraged to spend a few moments with their heads in the clouds, so we’ve collected some books to help get you there.

Cloud Babies
By Eoin Colfer
Illustrated by Chris Judge
40 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536231076 | Candlewick
Six-year-old Erin’s favorite game is spotting animals in the clouds with her mom and dad – everything from fluffy foxes and polar bears to little rabbits. Even when Erin falls very ill and has to spend a long time in the hospital, she still manages to find joy in spying “cloud babies” through the window with her new hospital friends. When the doctor tells Erin she can go home, she is so excited! But being back at school is not at all what she expected – so much has changed, and Erin must reconcile the safe realm she’s just left with a world outside that has become unfamiliar. With Mom and Dad’s love and wisdom, however, and with the help of her teacher and friends, Erin comes to see that by sharing her experience she can find happiness again in just being herself. Sensitively told and vibrantly brought to life, Cloud Babies brings recognition and comfort to children facing illness or hardship, as well as guidance to those who wish to offer support but may not know where to start.

In the Clouds 
By Elly MacKay
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266964 | Tundra Books
A bored and curious little girl wishes for a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day. But a friendly bird soon whisks her off for an adventure in the sky, where she can contemplate questions both scientific and philosophical in nature: how do clouds float? Or carry the rain? Where do they go when they disappear? Are there clouds on other planets? Do they have memories? Have they ever seen a girl like her? This dreamy picture book from the inimitable Elly MacKay features her trademark stunning, light-infused spreads that beautifully capture the wondrousness of clouds and the power of nature to inspire and stimulate imaginations.

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

Little Cloud
By Eric Carle
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Paperback
ISBN 9780698118300 | World Of Eric Carle
The clouds drift across the bright blue sky – all except one. Little Cloud trails behind. He is busy changing shapes to become a fluffy sheep, a zooming airplane, and even a clown with a funny hat. Eric Carle’s trademark collages will make every reader want to run outside and discover their very own little cloud.

Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech
By Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek
Illustrated by Richard Jones
72 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203035 | Candlewick
A freewheeling romp through the world of imagery and metaphor, this quietly startling collection of thirty poems, framed by the four elements, is about art and reality, fact and fancy. Look around: what do you see? A clown balancing a pie in a tree, or an empty nest perched on a leafless branch? As poet Connie Wanek alludes to in her afterword – a lively dialogue with former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser – sometimes the simplest sights and sounds “summon our imaginations” and cry out to be clothed in the alchemical language of poetry. This compendium of the fleeting and unexpected turns the everyday – turtles, trees, and tadpoles; cow pies, lazy afternoons, and pillowy white marshmallows – into poetic gold. A brilliant and timeless collaboration that evokes both the mystery and grandeur of the natural world and the cozy, mundane moments of daily life, this exquisitely illustrated collection is the go-to gift book of the season for poetry fans of all ages.

Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day
By Dylan Dreyer
Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593180419 |  Dragonfly Books
When Misty the Cloud wakes up feeling stormy, nothing seems to make her day better! But with help from friends and family, Misty accepts that sometimes she’s just going to be a little stormy – and it will always pass. A perfect story for young children learning to understand their emotions. From award-winning meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day is the first book in a sky-high series about how to deal with good days, bad days, and everything in between. With extra content featuring science experiments for kids to do at home!

Ploof
By Ben Clanton and Andy Chou Musser
56 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774881927 | Tundra Books
Ploof is a puffy cloud who’s a little lonely – but now you’re here, and the fun can begin! Can you help Ploof overcome their shyness? Play pretend? Make Ploof laugh with your funny faces, find their hiding spot, give them a high five! Full of imaginative and interactive fun, each page of this perfect book for preschoolers offers a chance to play. By following cues to say hello, clap, blow, shake, wave or make a funny face, young readers will be delighted to see the effects of their actions on Ploof. They’ll learn social-emotional skills like empathy, encouragement and kindness through Ploof’s emotional journey – and, along the way, they’ll learn how to be a fantastic friend!

Tomie dePaola’s The Cloud Book
By Tomie dePaola
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445486 | Holiday House
Tomie dePaola knows a lot about clouds. He also knows a lot about what people think of them. Some people see animals and pictures in clouds. The ancient Greeks believed that Hermes, the messenger of the gods, once stole the sun’s cattle, which were clouds. In this unique picture book, Tomie introduces some of the most common types of clouds, as well as the myths and legends inspired by their shapes. Simple, whimsical illustrations show the variations in shape and color that herald changes in the weather. This book will tell you many things about clouds we bet you didn’t know. Filled with his signature humor and gentle illustrations, Tomie dePaola’s approach to nonfiction is like no other.

When Cloud Became a Cloud
By Rob Hodgson
64 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593224915 | Rise x Penguin Workshop
The lifecycle of our protagonist, Cloud, is delightfully and sparsely narrated in nine short chapters that follow the stages of the water cycle. Young readers will immediately fall for this wide-eyed puff, and welcome facts along with humor and personality as they bask in the accomplishment of breezing through each chapter.

Who Owns the Clouds?
By Mario Brassard
Illustrated by Gérard DuBois
100 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880210 | Tundra Books
Even though Mila is no longer a child, she is overcome by memories – memories of a childhood halfway between reality and dreaming, and not knowing which is which. In her dreams, Mila and her family leave their bombed village to stand in line for weeks on end, suitcases in hand, hoping to move on to better lives. But the memories of her uncle’s disappearance, and the approach of looming clouds, keep blurring the lines between past and present, real and unreal. How can Mila move forward? Perhaps if the clouds can remind her of where she’s from, they can also show her where to go . . . Winner of a Governor General’s Award, Canada’s most prestigious literary prize, and the Bologna Ragazzi Award, this stunningly evocative book about experience, trauma and healing will stay with readers from beginning to end.

TD Summer Reading Club 2023

TD Summer Reading Club is a free bilingual summer reading program for kids. Developed by the Toronto Public Library in association with Library and Archives Canada, the Club inspires kids to explore the joy of reading and build a lifelong love of literature.

All summer long, kids can read books online, get reading recommendations, track their progress, and connect with other kids all over Canada. There’s something for everyone including kids with print disabilities.

Some of our titles have been included on the Club’s Top Recommended Reads, and we’re so excited to share them with children all across the country this summer.

Picture Books

Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
56 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269255 | Tundra Books
What if you wrote a story about a detective, and he became the most famous detective ever? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Or . . . would it? Arthur has always loved stories. Even as he grew up poor, endured hardships at school and experienced danger on the high seas, Arthur was always thrilled and inspired by stories. Eventually, he writes his own, and after many years of struggle as a writer, he finally finds success with a series of mystery stories starring his genius detective, Sherlock Holmes. But is it possible for a character to become too successful? Too popular? And if that happens to Arthur, will he really throw his greatest literary creation . . . over a cliff?!

Big As a Giant Snail
By Jess Keating
Illustrated by David DeGrand
48 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300848 | Knopf BFYR
It’s a big wide world, full of critters that are larger than life! Sure, there are the usual suspects: blue whales, polar bears, elephant seals . . . but others will take you by surprise. The giant snail, for instance, or the ginormous Atlas moth. Like Pink Is for Blobfish and Cute as an Axolotl, Big as a Giant Snail will cover a wide variety of species, while subtly delving into misconceptions and stereotypes associated with size. Best of all? These tall tales are totally true!

Eric
By Shaun Tan
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269736 | Tundra Books
Eric is a foreign exchange student who comes to live with a typical suburban family. Although everyone is delighted with the arrangement, cultural misunderstandings ensue, beginning with Eric’s insistence on sleeping in a pantry cupboard rather than a specially prepared guest room. The family takes Eric on a number of excursions, but they’re never sure if he’s having a good time, as he just doesn’t say very much. He’s mostly interested in small things he discovers on the ground. When Eric leaves the family suddenly, they’re unsure if they’ve done something wrong. But Eric leaves them a surprise gift that they’ll never forget.

Expedition Backyard
By Rosemary Mosco and Binglin Hu
128 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593127346 | Random House Graphic
Each day, Mole and Vole venture out into the world – never forgetting their nature journal! – to see what they can find in their own backyard. From pigeons and jumping spiders to swamp milkweed and maple trees, these two explorers get to know every part of their local environment. But after an accidental move from the country to the city, Mole and Vole worry that everything will be different. As they explore, they discover plants to look at and animals to meet in their new home as well. The story of these two best friends brings to life a nonfiction adventure of finding wonder in nature everywhere – no matter where you live. This book concludes with fun activities for kids to do at home.

Flowers Are Pretty . . . Weird!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265943 | Tundra Books
Flowers are beautiful. They have bright colors, soft petals and sweet nectar. Yum! But that’s not the whole truth. Flowers can be WEIRD . . . and one bee is here to let everyone know! Talking directly to the reader, a bee reveals how flowers are so much stranger than what we think. Did you know that there are some flowers that only bloom in the nighttime? Some flowers are spooky, and look like ghosts, or bats, or a monster’s mouth. And while most flowers smell good, there are some that smell like dead meat, or even horse poop! This hilarious and refreshing book with silly and sweet illustrations explores the science of flowers and shows that these plants are not always stereotypically pretty and harmless as we often think they are – they are fascinating, disgusting, complicated and amazing.

I Talk Like a River
By Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445592 | Holiday House
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

In the Clouds 
By Elly MacKay
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266964 | Tundra Books
A bored and curious little girl wishes for a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day. But a friendly bird soon whisks her off for an adventure in the sky, where she can contemplate questions both scientific and philosophical in nature: how do clouds float? Or carry the rain? Where do they go when they disappear? Are there clouds on other planets? Do they have memories? Have they ever seen a girl like her? This dreamy picture book from the inimitable Elly MacKay features her trademark stunning, light-infused spreads that beautifully capture the wondrousness of clouds and the power of nature to inspire and stimulate imaginations.

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes
By Elise Gravel and Mykaell Blais
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593178638 | Ann Schwartz Books
Is it okay for boys to cry? Can girls be strong? Should girls and boys be given different toys to play with and different clothes to wear? Should we all feel free to love whoever we choose to love? In this incredibly kid-friendly and easy-to-grasp picture book, author-illustrator Elise Gravel and transgender collaborator Mykaell Blais raise these questions and others relating to gender roles, acceptance, and stereotyping. With its simple language, colorful illustrations, engaging backmatter that showcases how “appropriate” male and female fashion has changed through history, and even a poster kids can hang on their wall, here is the ideal tool to help in conversations about a multi-layered and important topic.

The Bug Girl
By Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by KERASCOET
44 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267527 | Tundra Books
Sophia Spencer has loved bugs ever since a butterfly landed on her shoulder–and wouldn’t leave! – at a butterfly conservancy when she was only two-and-a-half years old. In preschool and kindergarten, Sophia was thrilled to share what she knew about grasshoppers (her very favorite insects), as well as ants and fireflies . . . but by first grade, not everyone shared her enthusiasm. Some students bullied her, and Sophia stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response – letters, photos and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag #BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs – and it worked!

The Mystery of the Monarchs
By Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Erika Meza
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984829566 | Knopf BFYR
Young Fred Urquhart was fascinated by insects, especially his favorite, the monarch butterfly. He wondered where monarchs spent the winter. No one knew. After he became an entomologist (bug scientist),Fred and his wife, Norah, tagged hundreds of butterflies, hoping to solve the mystery of the monarchs. But they soon discovered that they needed help. They started a “butterfly family,” a community of children, teachers, and nature enthusiasts from three countries – Canada, the United States, and Mexico – to answer the question: Where do the monarchs go? Detailed materials in the back of the book include maps of monarch migration, the life cycle of the butterfly, and the cultural relevance of monarch butterflies in Mexico, as well as information on environmental efforts towards monarch conservation.

The Rock from the Sky
By Jon Klassen
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215632 | Candlewick
There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.
Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.

The Treasure Box
By Dave Keane
Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984813183 | Putnam BFYR
Searching for treasures with her grandpa is this young girl’s favorite thing to do. Every week they examine the items in her secret box and go on walks to find more – a broken robin’s egg, rusty spring, even a snakeskin that makes Grandpa squirm and make funny faces. But then Grandpa is too sick to come. She leaves him a few treasures in the hospital, but when he dies, she can’t bring herself to even open the treasure box. When Grammy brings her some treasures Grandpa wanted her to have, they open the box together and continue the tradition, showing that memories of time together are the greatest treasures of all. This poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story celebrates the special bonds kids have with grandparents, even after they are gone.

This Is Ruby
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263611 | Tundra Books
Ruby is a little girl with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm that’s too big to contain! Ruby is always busy – she loves to make things, watch things grow, and figure out how things work, with her dog Teddy by her side. And Ruby has lots of ideas about what she wants to be: maybe an animal conservationist? Or an archaeologist? She’s great at excavating (i.e. digging holes). Or maybe an inventor? She’s already invented a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it) and a time machine (the dinosaurs did have feathers after all, and the future is looking wild). This is Ruby, and this is her world.

Time Capsule
By Lauren Redniss
Illustrated by Erika Meza
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593425930 | Make Me a World
A set of dice. A grandmother’s ring. The key to an old house. A child gathers keepsakes from everyday life, seals them in a jar, and buries them underground. A gift from the present day…to people of the future…that tells a story about the past. A time capsule. The first book for children by renowned artist and writer Lauren Redniss will get readers thinking about the times they are living through and how their world will be remembered in ages to come. It will also spark creativity, inviting young people to envision the future and to make their own time capsules. Extra pages in the back include tips on making your own time capsule and facts about different kinds of time capsules in history.

Wake Up, Little Chicks! (Little Loves)
By Sabina Gibson
18 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board book
ISBN 9781101940853 | Knopf BFYR
These adorable, spare board books follow Sabina Gibson’s fuzzy families as parents guide their babies through daily life. In Wake Up, Chicks!, readers will see mice and insects starting their days while a family of owls is just settling in to sleep. These warm and inviting spreads are perfect for new families to curl up with together.

Whose Bones Are Those?
By Chihiro Takeuchi
40 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536221459 | Candlewick Studio
Whose bones? A scattering of tiny bones, spread across a vivid background, seem to offer no clues. But turn the page and the bones have elegantly come together, revealing the form of a snake or a lion, a crocodile or an elephant, a flamingo or even a whale. Every vibrant spread of this fascinating book features the skeleton – and also a stylized representation – of a different animal. Even the youngest of readers are invited to scrutinize the visual clues to figure out whose bones are portrayed in this fascinating introduction to vertebrates.

Middle Grade

Ghostlight
By Kenneth Oppel
400 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272330 | Puffin Canada
The story of the tragic death of sixteen-year-old Rebecca Strand and her lighthouse keeper father is just an elaborate tale Gabe tells tourists for his summer job on the Toronto Island. Or so he thought. When his ghost tours awaken Rebecca’s spirit, Gabe is drawn into a world far darker than any ghost story he’s ever heard. Rebecca reveals that she and her father were connected to The Order, a secret society devoted to protecting the world from “the wakeful and wicked dead”—malevolent spirits like Viker, the ghost responsible for their deaths. But now the Order has disappeared and Viker is growing even stronger, and he’ll stop at nothing to wreak chaos and destruction on the living. Gabe and his friends – both living and dead – must find a way to stop Viker before they all become lost souls.

Sneaks
By Catherine Egan
336 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593306406 | Knopf BFYR
When Ben Harp sees his teacher’s watch crawling across the hallway, he thinks he must be dreaming. But no, he’s just seen his first Sneak – an interdimensional mischief-maker that can borrow the form of any ordinary object.  He figured this school year would be bad – his best friend moved away, the class bully is circling, and he’s stuck doing a group project with two similarly friendless girls, Charlotte and Akemi. Still, he wasn’t expecting aliens!  And he certainly wasn’t expecting that the woman he and Charlotte and Akemi are assigned to interview for their “living local history” project would be a Sneak expert. Or that she’d foist an old book on them to keep safe . . . and then disappear. Now Ben, Charlotte, and Akemi are trying to understand a book that seems to contain a coded map while being pursued by violent clothes hangers, fire-spitting squirrels, and more. The Sneaks want that book! And they want something else, too: to pull a vastly more dangerous creature into the world with them. Can three misfit kids decode the book in time to stop an alien takeover? And if they do, will they get extra credit on their group project?

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735267640 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265486 | Tundra Books
Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative, but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal – including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends – to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit. Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award-nominated author of historical fiction for children.

The Bear House
By Meaghan McIsaac
272 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823452620 | Holiday House
Moody Aster and her spoiled sister Ursula are the daughters of Jasper Lourdes, Bear Major and high king of the realm. Rivals, both girls dream of becoming the Bear queen someday, although neither really deserve to, having no particular talent in… well, anything. But when their Uncle Bram murders their father in a bid for the crown, the girls are forced onto the run, along with lowly Dev the Bearkeeper and the half-grown grizzly Alcor, symbol of their house. As a bitter struggle for the throne consumes the kingdom in civil war, the sisters must rely on Dev, the bear cub, and each other to survive – and find wells of courage, cunning, and skill they never knew they had.

Water, Water
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Jon McNaught
160 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270039 | Tundra Books
One morning Rafe wakes up to discover his bedroom is floating in a vast sea of water. Alone with only his dog for company, Rafe adapts to this strange new world by fishing cans of food out of the water and keeping watch. Boxes float by, as does a woman, playing her cello. Then, one day, Rafe fishes out a young girl, who joins him in his room – they don’t speak the same language, but together they will face this uncertain future together.

Big Ideas for Little Readers

Here at Tundra Book Group we have many books to help start conversations about big thoughts and feelings your little readers may have. As part of #FindYourselfInABook this January, we have created a list of beautiful children’s books, plus educators’ guides and activity sheets, to explore those big ideas!

A Garden of Creatures
By Sheila Heti
Illustrated by Esmé Shapiro
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268814 | Tundra Books
Two bunnies and a cat live happily together in a beautiful garden. But when the big bunny passes away, the little bunny is unsure how to fill the void she left behind. A strange dream prompts her to begin asking questions: Why do the creatures we love have to die, and where do we go when we die? How come life works this way? With the wisdom of the cat to guide her, the little bunny learns that missing someone is a way of keeping them close. And together they discover that the big bunny is a part of everything around them – the grass, the air, the leaves – for the world is a garden of creatures. With its meditative text, endearing illustrations and life-affirming message, A Garden of Creatures reveals how the interconnectedness of nature and the sweetness of friendship can be a warm embrace even in the darkest times.

Bug in a Vacuum
By Mélanie Watt
Ages 5-9 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770496453 | Hardcover
A bug flies through an open door into a house, through a bathroom, across a kitchen and bedroom and into a living room . . . where its entire life changes with the switch of a button. Sucked into the void of a vacuum bag, this one little bug moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair and eventually acceptance – the five stages of grief – as it comes to terms with its fate. Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?

Check out the educators’ guide and activity sheet.

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

Little Echo
By Al Rodin
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880623 | Tundra Books
Have you ever heard an Echo?
They live in lakes and tunnels and caves.
But have you ever seen an Echo?
Little Echo lives alone in a cave. Shy, she hides away, echoing the noises around her. But Little Echo isn’t just shy – she’s lonely. And when Max comes to the cave one day, in search of treasure, Little Echo starts to discover that maybe she has a voice of her own.

My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
From the way you button your coat to the way you tap your toes, from the top of your head to your adorable tummy, there are so many reasons to love your self, and so many reasons to be loved. Join a group of endearing forest creatures as they bake and eat cranberry-butter-pie muffins, sing silly songs at bath time and stop to smell the chestnut-nettle roses, all the while exploring their individuality. This joyously affirming picture book from the inimitable Esmé Shapiro encourages the youngest readers to get to know and love and be kind to their wonderful selves and the equally wonderful selves around them.

Check out the activity sheets.

Rodney Was a Tortoise
By Nan Forler
Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266629 | Tundra Books
Bernadette and Rodney are the best of friends. Rodney’s not so good at playing cards, but he’s great at staring contests. His favorite food is lettuce, though he eats it VERRRRRRY SLOOOOOWLY. And he’s such a joker! When Bernadette goes to sleep at night, Rodney is always there, watching over her from his tank.  As the seasons pass, Rodney moves slower and slower, until one day he stops moving at all. Without Rodney, Bernadette feels all alone. She can’t stop thinking about him, but none of her friends seem to notice. Except for Amar. Rodney Was a Tortoise is a moving story about friendship and loss. It shows the importance of expressing kindness and empathy, especially in life’s most difficult moments.

Check out the activity sheet.

The Invisible Bear
By Cecile Metzger
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266872 | Tundra Books
A bear sits in his quiet, colorless home in a forgotten place. He feels invisible; no one comes to see him, and he spends his days alone. Then someone moves in next door. Madame Odette is sound and sunshine, and at first, the bear isn’t sure about this colorful new neighbor. But through an act of kindness, the bear and the Madame Odette meet, and as time goes by, they become friends. And in the end, they are both forever changed by the gifts they bring each other. The first book from author-illustrator Cécile Metzger, The Invisible Bear is a powerful and beautiful meditation on the beauty of friendship and how two people can save each other just by being themselves.

The Unforgettable Party
By Noemi Vola
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270909 | Tundra Books
Caterpillar is SO bored. But everyone knows the best cure for boredom: a marvelous, super-long, super-fun, unforgettable party! He already has everything he needs: apple juice, confetti, decorations, party hats and star stickers to stick on your face. Everything is perfect, except for one missing ingredient: FRIENDS. Unfortunately, none of Caterpillar’s friends are available. Caterpillar is SO sad. But then he comes up with an ingenious solution: using a marker, he creates six new friends . . . on himself! After introducing themselves and shaking each others’ hands (or feet), it’s time for the party to begin. They dance, they play, they put on costumes and even eat seven feet of pizza. It’s a marvelous time! But what happens when the party is over? Will Caterpillar’s new friends leave him? Find out in this delightfully quirky picture book.

Thingamabob
By Marianna Coppo
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265790 | Tundra Books
What is a thingamabob? A thingamabob can be anything . . . and so can you! A sweet, empowering picture book about self-discovery from the acclaimed author-illustrator of Petra. In the beginning, the universe was one great big thing. Then that thing exploded into gobs and gobs of thingamabobs. All of the thingamabobs had a purpose . . . all except for one small, shapeless thingamabob. No one knew what it was for. It wasn’t this or that. It wasn’t here or there. What’s the use of this thingamabob? But everything changes for Thingamabob when it makes a friend in the park. And Thingamabob realizes that if you aren’t one thing . . . you can be everything!

Check out the activity sheet.

Time Is a Flower
By Julie Morstad
56 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267541 | Tundra Books
What is time? Is it the tick tick tock of a clock, numbers and words on a calendar? It’s that, but so much more. Time is a seed waiting to grow, a flower blooming, a sunbeam moving across a room. Time is slow like a spider spinning her web or fast like a wave at the beach. Time is a wiggly tooth, or waiting for the school bell to ring, or reading a story . . . or three! But time is also morning for some and night for others, a fading sunset and a memory captured in a photo taken long ago. In this magical meditation on the nature of time, Julie Morstad shines a joyful light on a difficult-to-grasp concept for young readers and reminds older readers to see the wonders of our world, including children themselves, through the lens of time.

Check out the activity sheet.

Find Yourself in a Book

Here at Tundra Book Group we have many books to help conversations around mental health for young readers. As January is self-love month, we have created a list of beautiful children’s books anyone can find themselves in, and to help celebrate who you are!

Celebrate yourself

My Lala
By Thomas King
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269347 | Tundra Books
Lala wakes up one morning and decides that she owns the world. Quick as a fox, she bounds to her box of treasures and finds her shiny red dots – to mark what is hers, because there’s nothing that’s not! Lala’s bear gets a dot, as does her blankie, boots, and even the markers she uses to make scrawls on her walls. When she finishes labeling everything in her room and goes to label her dad-daddy’s socks, Lala realizes that she’s out of dots! But when Lala discovers that she can simply create her own red dots, will anything be safe from Lala? Join rambunctious Lala on her quest to own the world in this joyful picture book that celebrates confidence and positive thinking.

My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
From the way you button your coat to the way you tap your toes, from the top of your head to your adorable tummy, there are so many reasons to love your self, and so many reasons to be loved. Join a group of endearing forest creatures as they bake and eat cranberry-butter-pie muffins, sing silly songs at bath time and stop to smell the chestnut-nettle roses, all the while exploring their individuality. This joyously affirming picture book from the inimitable Esmé Shapiro encourages the youngest readers to get to know and love and be kind to their wonderful selves and the equally wonderful selves around them.

Listen to your voice

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

Little Echo
By Al Rodin
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880623 | Tundra Books
Have you ever heard an Echo?
They live in lakes and tunnels and caves.
But have you ever seen an Echo?
Little Echo lives alone in a cave. Shy, she hides away, echoing the noises around her. But Little Echo isn’t just shy – she’s lonely. And when Max comes to the cave one day, in search of treasure, Little Echo starts to discover that maybe she has a voice of her own.

It’s okay to ask for help

The Pink Umbrella
By Amélie Callot
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
80 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919231 | Tundra Books
When it’s bright outside, Adele is the heart of her community, greeting everyone who comes into her café with arms wide open. But when it rains, she can’t help but stay at home inside, under the covers. Because Adele takes such good care of her friends and customers, one of them decides to take care of her too, and piece by piece leaves her little gifts that help her find the joy in a gray, rainy day. Along with cute-as-a-button illustrations, The Pink Umbrella celebrates thoughtful acts of friendship.

Tough Like Mum
By Lana Button
Illustrated by Carmen Mok
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265981 | Tundra Books
Kim’s mum is tough. Everyone says so. She can deal with unruly customers at the Red Rooster with a snap of her fingers. Kim is tough, too. She doesn’t need to wear a hat to keep her ears warm. And she can make soup all by herself, even without the stove. Kim and her mum are tough. But Kim is learning that sometimes toughness doesn’t look like what you’d expect. In this tender exploration of a mother-daughter relationship, Kim and her mother learn that in order to support and truly take care of each other, they need to be tough – and that sometimes being tough means showing vulnerability and asking for help.

It’s okay to feel down

The Invisible Bear
By Cecile Metzger
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266872 | Tundra Books
A bear sits in his quiet, colorless home in a forgotten place. He feels invisible; no one comes to see him, and he spends his days alone. Then someone moves in next door. Madame Odette is sound and sunshine, and at first, the bear isn’t sure about this colorful new neighbor. But through an act of kindness, the bear and the Madame Odette meet, and as time goes by, they become friends. And in the end, they are both forever changed by the gifts they bring each other. The first book from author-illustrator Cécile Metzger, The Invisible Bear is a powerful and beautiful meditation on the beauty of friendship and how two people can save each other just by being themselves.

What’s Up, Maloo?
By Geneviève Godbout
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266643 | Tundra Books
Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs. No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back. Simple text and adorable art convey the power of friendship over a gloomy mood in Geneviève Godbout’s charming debut as both author and illustrator.

Coping with grief isn’t easy

A Garden of Creatures
By Sheila Heti
Illustrated by Esmé Shapiro
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268814 | Tundra Books
Two bunnies and a cat live happily together in a beautiful garden. But when the big bunny passes away, the little bunny is unsure how to fill the void she left behind. A strange dream prompts her to begin asking questions: Why do the creatures we love have to die, and where do we go when we die? How come life works this way? With the wisdom of the cat to guide her, the little bunny learns that missing someone is a way of keeping them close. And together they discover that the big bunny is a part of everything around them – the grass, the air, the leaves – for the world is a garden of creatures. With its meditative text, endearing illustrations and life-affirming message, A Garden of Creatures reveals how the interconnectedness of nature and the sweetness of friendship can be a warm embrace even in the darkest times.

Bug in a Vacuum
By Mélanie Watt
ISBN 9781770496453 | Hardcover
Ages 5-9 | Tundra Books
A bug flies through an open door where its entire life changes with the switch of a button. Sucked into the void of a vacuum bag, this one little bug moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair and eventually acceptance – the five stages of grief – as it comes to terms with its fate.

Rodney Was a Tortoise
By Nan Forler
Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266629 | Tundra Books
Bernadette and Rodney are the best of friends. Rodney’s not so good at playing cards, but he’s great at staring contests. His favorite food is lettuce, though he eats it VERRRRRRY SLOOOOOWLY. And he’s such a joker! When Bernadette goes to sleep at night, Rodney is always there, watching over her from his tank.  As the seasons pass, Rodney moves slower and slower, until one day he stops moving at all. Without Rodney, Bernadette feels all alone. She can’t stop thinking about him, but none of her friends seem to notice. Except for Amar. Rodney Was a Tortoise is a moving story about friendship and loss. It shows the importance of expressing kindness and empathy, especially in life’s most difficult moments.

Our Stars of 2022

At Tundra Book Group (Tundra Books, Puffin Canada, and Penguin Teen Canada), we think all our books are brilliant, and it’s nice when others think so too! Congratulations to our authors and illustrators; these are our starred books of 2022!

THREE STARS:

Night Lunch
By Eric Fan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270572 | Tundra Books
“Via the glow of streetlamps, the luminous moon, and the cart’s twinkling light, Seiferling (The Language of Flowers) theatrically illuminates the nighttime action,” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“It’s difficult to create stories that plug directly into the looping logic of the minds of very young children that are also smart and engaging enough for adults in charge of bedtime reading.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire
“An inspired inversion of the sleep-pushing picture book.” – Starred Review, Shelf Awareness

The Puffin Keeper
By Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Benji Davies
112 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271807 | Puffin Canada
“A memorable story of the healing powers of art, nature, and human kindness.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Morpurgo’s spare, deeply felt prose, with undercurrents of the otherworldly, creates an irresistible momentum for this elegant story of the sea and a destiny fulfilled.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Whether on land or at sea, this tale of lasting friendship delivers adventure and charm in spades. A welcome addition to most collections.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

TWO STARS:

My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
“A sublime joy” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Shapiro envelops big ideas within this whimsically affirming exploration of individuality and selfhood.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Rodney Was a Tortoise
By Nan Forler
Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266629 | Tundra Books
“Wry, observational writing by Forler and loose, frequently funny vignettes by Ling Kang give this tale of loss its own distinctive, endearing resonance.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“This tender story about losing a friend and making room for a new one ends on a realistically hopeful note.” – Starred Review, The Horn Book

ONE STAR:

A Garden of Creatures
By Sheila Heti
Illustrated by Esmé Shapiro
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268814 | Tundra Books
“The discussions are thoughtful but direct, with no euphemisms or straightforward answers . . . . A beautiful and unconventional meditation on loss and love.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
56 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269255 | Tundra Books
“Bailey, the author of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, writes with a sure sense of her audience . . . . Follath’s droll illustrations capture the look of the Victorian era, the drama of Doyle’s imagination, and the dry wit of Bailey’s text. A lively, memorable biography.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Baby Squeaks
By Anne Hunter
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269095 | Tundra Books
“The gift of gab proves deeply funny in Hunter’s (Where’s Baby?) earnest portrait of early language acquisition.” – Starred Review, Publishers Weekly 

Fight Like a Girl
By Sheena Kamal
272 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265578 | Penguin Teen Canada
“Kamal’s raw novel about a young fighter from a working-class background fittingly pulls no punches when it comes to examining the lasting impact of familial trauma. Trisha’s search for the truth will stay with readers, as will the satisfying feeling that they have finished reading a truly complex page-turner.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Flowers Are Pretty . . . Weird!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265943 | Tundra Books
“Using wordplay (“Bee honest” and “bee-lieving”) and puns galore, a bee explains how flowers are both wonderful and weird.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64  Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
“Sprinkled with Japanese vocabulary, Kumo will impart a new appreciation for clouds and show readers how it can sometimes be frightening to step into the world, then reassuring them that others are willing to help when we overcome our bashfulness.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Midnight and Moon
By Kelly Cooper
Illustrated by Daniel Miyares
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266308 | Tundra Books
“The story’s gentle drama and quiet heroics of two characters with disabilities make this a wonderful read that also affirms being introverted, nonverbal, or shy.” – Starred Review, Booklist

Super Family: Simon and Chester #3
By Cale Atkinson
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272439 | Tundra Books
“Atkinson’s mastery of facial expressions is unmatched in comics today, and the combination of visual and written humor with genuinely sweet revelations about the nature of familial love is so perfectly balanced it’s simply superb.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

The Grave Thief
By Dee Hahn
344 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269439 | Puffin Canada
“Fast-paced and full of magic, this debut is sure to be a smash hit with fantasy and adventure lovers. Readers should come prepared with a box of tissues, however, as there are some tearjerker moments. Recommended first purchase.” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Marianna Balducci
36 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269910 | Tundra Books
“[A] a clever take on metafiction . . . Creative visuals and storytelling make for an absorbing read and a great bridge for both math and writing activities.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270879 | Penguin Teen Canada
“H.N. Khan’s Wrong Side of the Court is finely crafted and well paced, it’s hard to believe it’s his literary debut. Toronto’s infamous Regent Park is brought vividly to life in the novel, and Khan creates relatable, true-to-life characters. He also portrays the multiculturalism of Toronto well, gradually immersing the reader in Fawad’s South Asian culture.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire