With childhood anxiety and other mental health concerns on the rise, talking to your child about mental wellness is more important than ever. Here are some picture books that can help start conversations about mental health and wellness with young children.
What’s Up, Maloo?
By Geneviève Godbout
ISBN 9780735266643 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
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.
Noni Is Nervous
By Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
ISBN 9781770493230 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Noni is nervous about playdates, and global warming, and most of all, about the first day of school. Her parents are worried too, and even her brother is a little wary. But Noni finds a friend, someone a little more outgoing than herself, and discovers that through friendship, she can belong and succeed in a world that once filled her with dread.
Where Oliver Fits
By Cale Atkinson
ISBN 9781101919071 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs.
Swarm of Bees
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Rilla Alexander
ISBN 9781101918791 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Watch out! A mischievous boy has unleashed an angry swarm of bees! The result is a zany gallop through a charming town where readers will encounter evidence of some bad behavior, some frenzied anger and thankfully, a hug and some spaghetti. It can feel good to be angry. It can feel better to stop.
Whimsy’s Heavy Things
By Julie Kraulis
ISBN 9781770494039 | Hardcover
Ages 4-6 | Tundra Books
Whimsy’s heavy things are weighing her down. She tries to sweep them under the rug, but she trips over them. She even tries to sail them out to sea, but they always come back. Eventually Whimsy decides to deal with the heavy things one at a time … and a surprising thing happens.
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.
The Bad Mood and the Stick
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
ISBN 9781101918777 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
Moods can be confusing. Especially to children. The Bad Mood and The Stick offers a refreshing, thoughtful look at the ways in which a bad mood wreaks havoc as it moves through the world, from person to person, leaving an unexpected trail in its wake: opportunities for laughter, forgiveness and even love. With wry, luminous art by Matthew Forsythe, at last you can look your bad mood in the eye.
The Pink Umbrella
By Amelie Callot
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
ISBN 9781101919231 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | 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.
The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back! Last year, we were inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 so we decided to make an updated version featuring Tundra’s illustrators from 2018! Once again, we have something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.
Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, mixing watercolor, ink, pencil and more. She has created illustrations and lettering for a range of clients including Galison/Mudpuppy, Simon & Schuster, Disney Publishing, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Penguin Books. Inspired by vintage textiles, all things Slavic, mystery novels, the ocean and long-forgotten ephemera, Halpin also creates mixed media artwork that blends drawing and embroidery, portraiture and needlework.
Ashlyn Anstee grew up in a rainy city in Canada and then settled in a sunny city in the United States. She works as a story artist at JibJab/StoryBots, and in her spare time, makes tiny things out of paper. She writes, draws, illustrates, animates and is the creator of the books No, No, Gnome! and Are We There, Yeti? Ashlyn has never hogged a hedge, but she does live by herself in Los Angeles, California.
Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something Extraordinary; Rex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.
Benjamin Flouw graduated from a CG animation school in France and moved to London to create backgrounds for Cartoon Network’s show The Amazing World of Gumball. He is now based in Paris where he works as a freelance designer and illustrator for films and advertisements, with clients such as Variety, Martha Stewart Living and American Express. His influences run from mid-century illustrators like Miroslav Sasek and Mary Blair to 90’s low-poly video games. The Golden Glow is the first picture book he has both written and illustrated.
Elly MacKay is a paper artist and a children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books If You Hold a Seed, Shadow Chasers and Butterfly Park, among others. She studied illustration and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theatre and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her husband and two children.
Emma Block is the author and illustrator of Tea and Cake and has illustrated several books for children. She has worked for clients including Blue Apple, Harper Collins, Orla Kiely, UNIQULO, Anthropologie, Time Out and Hallmark. She likes charity shops, tea and very sharp pencils. Her art is inspired by the people she meets in her everyday life, old photos, vintage clothes, travel, 1950s illustration and 1930s jazz.
Born and raised in Quebec, Geneviève Godbout studied traditional animation in Montreal and at the prestigious Gobelins school in Paris. She is the illustrator of a number of books for children, including The Pink Umbrella, When Santa Was a Baby, Kindergarten Luck(Chronicle) and Joseph Fipps (Enchanted Lion). Some of her clients include The Walt Disney Company, Chronicle, HMH, Flammarion, Bayard, Les éditions Milan and La Pastèque. She also works for clothing designers like Nadinoo and Mrs. Pomeranz, creating illustrations and prints for their collections.
Once upon a time, Gina Perry picked wild blueberries, floated on lakes in her inner tube and was always on the lookout for a real moose in the woods. Now she writes and illustrates books for young readers from her New Hampshire home, where she lives with THREE monsters: her husband and two kids. She is still on the lookout for moose.
Janet Hill’s work is both elegant and whimsical, often with an underlying narrative that instantly captures the imagination. Her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, humor and comfort. Her work is displayed in private collections throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Some of Janet’s corporate clients include Tiffany & Co., Hallmark UK and Harper Collins. Her work has also been featured in Uppercase Magazine, Matchbook Magazine, Design Sponge, This Is Glamorous, The Neo-Traditionalist and Oh Joy! Her first picture book was Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess, and she illustrated the cover of the middle-grade novel, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, an independent bookseller, and their cat and dog.
Jay Fleck is a designer and illustrator based in Shorewood, IL. He is the illustrator of the picture books Double Take!, Black Belt Bunnyand Everything You. His artwork has been featured on products at the GAP, on Threadless and on the front page of Society6.com, as well as a number of other brick-and-mortar and internet stores. Tilly and Tank is the first picture book he has both written and illustrated.
Joe Morse is an artist living in Toronto, Ontario. Known for his portraits of celebrities and sports stars, his work has been commissioned by Universal Pictures, Nike, Major League Baseball, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and The Guardian, and has won over 200 international awards. The picture books he has illustrated include Casey at the Bat, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration; Play Ball Jackie! and Hoop Genius. He is the Coordinator of the Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.
Júlia Sardà is an artist who has illustrated many books for children, including The Liszts by Kyo Maclear, and number of classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Her work has been published around the world in many languages. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.
Julianna Swaney is an illustrator, designer, and fine artist whose work is inspired by themes of imagination, whimsy, and melancholy. Her books include Mermaid School, I Will Always Be Your Bunny, and Dr. Jo. Julianna studied printmaking at Maine College of Art and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
Julie Morstad is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.
Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Lucy Eldridge is a traditional artist who works primarily in watercolor and gouache to create beautiful, whimsical illustrations. She finds inspiration for her work from a variety of things, including pebbles found on the beach, biscuits, origami paper, dictionaries, maps, Chinese brush painting, clouds, trees, trinkets and cats. Lucy illustrated the middle-grade novel Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird. This is her first picture book. She is based in Brighton, UK.
After obtaining a diploma in animation film at Les Arts Décoratifs de Paris, Marion Arbona started working as an illustrator for children’s books. In addition to drawing, she is particularly interested in deep sea fishes, cats (even though she is allergic) and weird plants. She also likes reading and watching movies. Her favorite gouache color is light cadmium red. Marion has been awarded numerous illustration prizes in the USA and Canada, where she lived for 10 years. She has illustrated over thirty books for children. Her previous picture book, The Good Little Book, garnered wide critical acclaim and was selected as a finalist for the Governor General’s award in 2015. She lives in Paris, France.
Phoebe Wahl’s work focuses on themes of comfort, nostalgia and intimacy with nature. She grew up unschooled in Washington State, and credits her free spirited childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and work ethic. She works in a variety of mediums, from watercolor and collage to fabric sculpture. Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration, and her first book, Sonya’s Chickens, won her the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. Phoebe lives in Bellingham, Washington.
Shaun Tan has been illustrating young adult fiction and picture books for more than ten years. His brilliant wordless book, The Arrival, won The CBCA Picture Book of the Year, The NSW Premier’s Book of the Year, and the Community Relations Commission Award, and received a Special Mention at the 2007 Bologna Ragazzi Awards. He lives in Australia.
Teagan White is a freelance designer and illustrator from Chicago, now living and working in Minnesota, where she earned her BFA in Illustration from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Her work encompasses intricate drawings of flora and fauna, playful watercolors of anthropomorphic critters, illustrated typography, and everything in between. Teagan lives in the woods across the street from train tracks and a fox den, and spends her free time scolding neighborhood squirrels, exploring forests, rivers, lakes, and swamps, picking wildflowers, and collecting animal bones.
Zoe Si is a cartoonist, freelance illustrator and lawyer. She believes in the power of words, but also that wherever words fail, a mildly disparaging cartoon can usually succeed. Wolfie and Fly is Zoe’s first book for kids. She lives and works in beautiful British Columbia.
#WindowWednesday: We are incredibly fortunate to have stores create window features of our books. We want to highlight their amazing work here on our blog for you to see (and perhaps you’ll discover a new local bookstore).
662 Mt Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2N3
Photography: Shona Cook