We’re a family of readers, and we love it that way. Too wet to play outside? Read a book. Waiting for dinner? Read a book. Going on a road trip? Bring lots of books.
Hubby and I take turns reading with 7-year-old Kay every night. We’re currently reading The Spiderwick Chronicles together, and it’s one of the best parts of the day. 9-year-old Tee has already read those books and has now moved on to the Wings of Fire series. We love reading and re-reading old favourites as well as discovering new ones, and we love sharing them with you too.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Canadian children’s book publisher Owlkids Books to share some of our favourite new releases as well as some back catalogue books you might have missed. Take a look at some of Owlkids Books’ most engaging children’s books, then scroll all the way down to enter to win this same collection for your own kiddos!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
by Kari Rust
The Duke and his dog, Tricky, are trouble-makers. They cheat and steal and play mean tricks on their neighbours. Tricky doesn’t know anything different until the day Ms. Paisly, the new baker, moves to town. When she gives him a warm pat and a treat, Tricky starts to reconsider his ways.
He decides to give his sneaky master a taste of his own medicine by playing tricks on him – flooding the toilet, hiding a stinky fish in the house, unplugging the TV. But when the Duke catches him in the act, he is thrown out of the house. Where can he go? Tricky makes his way to Ms. Paisley’s bakery where she takes him in and Tricky turns over a new leaf. Eventually, the Duke misses Tricky and leaves town, perhaps to turn over a new leaf himself. Because “if old dogs can learn new tricks, perhaps the Duke could too.”
Kari Rust’s hand-drawn illustrations give the Duke and Tricky a whole lot of personality and turns a pretty simple tale into something a little bit more. (Ages 3-7)
by Stephen W. Martin & Cornelia Li
Uh-oh! Max and her dog, Boomer, are in BIG trouble. They’ve accidentally broken an heirloom vase, the only thing her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma was able to save when her houseboat sank in 1785.
Max decides the only thing to do is to build a time machine to smash the vase in the past so there won’t be anything for her to smash in the present. But in every time that Max and Boomer end up, something goes wrong. The pair break the nose off the Sphinx and the arms off the Venus de Milo statue. Instead of smashing the vase, Max’s time machine sinks her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma’s houseboat, and the vase is the only thing her ancestor is able to save.
Max realizes she should have just come clean in the first place, so she returns to the present to warn herself not to build the time machine. But despite the warning, Max continues playing Frisbee with Boomer, leading to the vase being smashed all over again.
Colourful and detailed pictures illustrate this humorous tale about the paradoxes of time travel. A great choice for reading aloud! (Ages 4-8)
by Deborah Kerbel & Lis Xu
On the night before the first day of school, a pack of stray dogs moves into Molly Akita’s head. The friendly but wild dogs scamper through her thoughts, scratch at her brain, and beg to be let out. So Molly starts to draw them – everywhere – but her family, her teacher, and her tutor all want her to stop.
Overwhelmed by her feelings, Molly runs away and spends the night in a shed where she relies on the comfort of her dogs. When she is found the next morning, her family and teacher realize that Molly’s dogs have more power than they realize. Soft, fuzzy pencil drawings lend a dreamy quality to this gentle story about coping with anxiety and feelings. (Ages 4-8.)
by Orbie & Karen Li
5-year-old Reggie lives in an apartment above a convenience store. Every time he goes down to the store to spend his pocket money, he runs down the stairs and gives the knot on the clothesline a good yank. He loves the noise it makes: “Ftoiing!” But one day, he takes the stairs a little too fast and slips while hanging on to the clothesline, and he ends up hanging in the air in the middle of the clothesline.
Poor Reggie calls for help, but Mom doesn’t hear. He hangs on as long as he can, but eventually his arms get tired and he falls. Reggie’s hands and knees are skinned, and he bursts into tears. But when he find the coins he dropped while hanging from the clothesline, he pulls himself together and heads to the store to buy some candy.
Reggie has learned his lesson and never touches the clothesline again. But there’s another lesson learned here that’s not as explicitly stated. By recovering from the accident and completing his errand, Reggie also learns that he is capable of handling a crisis on his own. Full of humour and suspense, this is a fun story to read aloud together. (Ages 4-8)
by Kari Rust
Two siblings and their cousin visit their Grandma every summer. One day, as they’re exploring the town, they discover an old house at the end of the road. It’s kind of creepy and rundown, and the kids assume it’s empty…until they see a ghostly face in the window! Frightened, the children race home.
Grandma brings the nervous children back to the old house to meet elderly Mr. Peterson where they discover that Mr. Peterson is actually a friendly retired teacher with a terrific sense of humour and a house chock full of fascinating items. Mr. Peterson gives the children some gardening tools, a notebook, and an old camera. They soon become fast friends, but one day when they arrive at the old house, they find it truly empty. The old house has been condemned and Mr. Peterson put in a retirement home. The children are unable to save any of Mr. Peterson’s belongings, but using the gifts he gave them, they’re able to create a package of mementos for him.
Part picture book and part graphic novel, this gentle story of intergenerational friendship teaches readers to look beyond appearances. (Ages 4-8)
by Etta Kaner & John Martz
When winter arrives, animals have a variety of ways of surviving the cold. Do penguins snuggle? YES! Do whales wear snowsuits? NO! (But they do keep insulated with up to 12″ of blubber.) The first page asks the question, and the second provides the answer and explains how each animals is adapted to survive winter.
Humorous animal illustrations of foxes in earmuffs and monkeys in a bathtub will draw kids in, and the simple text contains plenty of fascinating information about animal adaptations kids will love to share. (Ages 4-8)
In this second Poppy and Sam book, the pair of friends visit Snuggles the Mole and volunteer to help him find his lost pink glasses. The friends retrace Snuggles’ steps all through the garden, down to the creek, to the knitting spider brothers, to the beehives. They don’t find the glasses, but they do find a variety of other lost items: a pink party hat, a flowered umbrella, a blue fan, and more.
The friends finally track down the missing glasses, but what should they do with all the other treasures they’ve found? Set up a lost and found display of course, so all their friends can reclaim their own belongings as well.
Charmingly told in simple cartoon panels and easy-to-read speech bubbles, the friendly characters and story make this a great choice for reading out loud together or for young readers looking for an early graphic novel. (Ages 4-8.)
by Nadia Hohn & Eugenie Fernandes
Better known as Miss Lou, Louise Bennett Coverley was a Jamaican poet and entertainer known for popularizing the use of Jamaican patois in music and poetry. But this bold and colourful picture book introduces readers to Miss Lou when she was still just little Louise Bennett, growing up in Jamaica.
“Louise Bennett loved words. She played with them. She ate them up for breakfast, served with roasted breadfruit, ackee, and saltfish. She swallowed each word whole.”
But Louise feels caught between the strictly regimented “proper” English taught in school and the musical, rhythmic Jamaican patois she hears around her at home and on the street. When Louise moves to a new school, she takes a chance and recites a poem filled with the words she hears on the bus. To her surprise, her teacher and classmates love it! This is a joyful and uplifting story of a young girl finding her voice and her place in the world.
The final pages include an author’s note (including a brief biography of Louise Bennett Coverley) and glossary of Jamaican patois terms. (Ages 4-9)
by Kalle Hakkola & Mari Ahokoivu
Siblings Livi and Nate live in a little house in the hills with their mom and grandpa. After a busy day playing in the snow, the pair head to bed, but Livi’s sleep is filled with vivid dreams. Each dream is rooted in her real world fears, but transformed into a magical fantasy. After being frightened by movement outside, Livi dreams their snow creatures come to life and come to tea. When the children are woken by a mysterious noise, Mom comforts them and tucks them back in bed, leading to the next dream starring Mom as a real-life superhero. And when Livi worries about how long her mother and grandfather will live, she dreams she has become a colourful butterfly.
The graphic novel format is appealing for young readers. Simple cartoon illustrations in saturated yet dichromatic palettes pair well with Livi’s dream worlds. Livi and Nate squabble and fight like any siblings, but their affection for each other and the love between all the members of the family shines through. (Ages 5-9)
by Maria Birmingham & Dave Whamond
Are humans that different from other animals? It turns out maybe they aren’t! Narrated by a folksy, friendly cartoon ant, Acting Wild shows young readers how humans and animals share many different behaviours once thought to be human only, including farming, teaching, laughing, grieving, using tools, communicating, and working together.
Illustrated with colourful, anthropomorphic animals acting just like us, this is a very readable book sure to interest kids in learning more about the complexities of animal behaviour and dispelling the notion that humans are somehow set apart from our animal cousins. (Ages 6-10)
by Brian McLachlan
A handbook for kids with the urge to write or draw comics, this guide will walk them through the ten secrets of creating their own. Discover the different types of comics, styles, genres, and formats. Learn the “grammar” and shorthand unique to comics. Explore the way colour and details help tell the story and give characters personality. Learn about timing and choosing the right tools.
Cartoonist Brian McLachlan illustrates each concept with examples, tips, and plenty of sample comics, making fairly complex ideas simple to understand. Activities at the end of each chapter encourage kids to put those lessons into practice and develop their storytelling skills. (Ages 8-12)
by Joan Marie Galat & Wendy Ding
Trees have been around for nearly 400 million years, and today from 25,000 to 100,000 species are believed to exist. Trees are inextricably intertwined in our culture and economy. Branching Out takes an in-depth look at how we depend on these majestic plants for food and fuel and shelter. Readers will learn the parts of a tree and the roles that trees play in regulating global temperature and flood plains.
The rest of the book profiles 11 different species of trees from the common red maple to the cedar of Lebanon, showing how both people and animals make use of all its parts. Each chapter includes a host of details including a leaf silhouette, its common name and Latin name, a map showing where the tree is native, its height in relation to a 2-story house, distinguishing features, an interesting tree fact, and the benefits of planting that tree. This guidebook wraps up with a discussion of ways that we can help save trees. (Ages 8-12)
by Natalie Hyde & Matt Hammill
We don’t usually think of Canada as a country full of wonders and unsolved mysteries. But Cryptic Canada sets that misconception to rest. Detailing seven different Canadian mysteries, these stories will pique readers’ curiosity and get them thinking about history in a whole new way.
Is Captain Kidd’s treasure buried somewhere on Oak Island? Who built Canada’s Stonehenge? What secrets are hidden by Freemasons in the Manitoba Legislative Building? What causes boats and planes to be lost in the Great Lakes Triangle?
Each chapter starts out introducing readers to the History Mystery, then continues with what we know (“Puzzle Pieces”) and the current status of the mystery. The chapter wraps up with a Q & A with an expert. A fascinating look into the lesser known history of Canada. (Ages 9-12)
Win a Mini Library of Owlkids Books
Books are best when they’re shared, so one of our readers will win the entire collection of books we’ve reviewed here. Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified. Prize delivery is not guaranteed by Christmas, so please plan accordingly.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.