New shoes, new haircut and new books! As kids head back to school, bedtimes creep earlier, and with rose-tinted glasses, we dream of the routines we locked in back in the spring. A great way to get kids motivated for bedtime, as well as to continue their learning at home, is to refresh the bookshelf each season. During fall, books that normalize transitions and the feelings that come with them can start great conversations offering insight into new classes and unfamiliar territory. Keep the old favourites, of course, but introducing a few new books each season keeps your bookshelf fresh and storytime engaging for both readers and listeners.
Written by Amy Beeman
Illustrated by Christina Dill
This sweet, soothing story gets kids in the dream zone. A perfect nighttime primer for anxious sleepers, this book is made for peaceful bedtimes. The beautiful images and calming words help kids drift off to sleep and unwrap their dreams exploring the limitless wonderful places to go and astonishing sights to see—magical animals, underwater experiences, dancing fairies, flights to faraway lands and whatever they choose.
The rich images will spark imagination, encouraging kids to lay down their heads, close their eyes, and let the adventures begin.
Written and illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Inspired by the author’s childhood experiences watching tugs and log booms, this fun, colourful picture book explores the role of a tugboat as it pulls logs down the river, a vital part of the logging industry. The story follows a child and father through their day on a Westcoast tug as they watch a log boom being made, tow it to a sawmill up river steering clear of other boats, weathering a storm and racing against the tide as they navigate the river. The illustrations in this book are delightful, answering many questions for coastal kids and shining a light on these tiny but mighty boats.
Written by Yolanda T. Marshall
Illustrated by Daria Lavrova
This story details a diverse group of children and the food they share at an Easter party. When Jackson's friends and their families bake assorted hot cross buns for his party, it becomes a feast of unique foods and spices from different cultures and countries, including memorable Scottish flavours, Greek mahlepi spice and sweet Jamaican buns with cheese. The book features themes of community with a shared respect, understanding and love for food.
Written by Jon-Erik Lappano
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
This book tells the poetic story of the relationship between a child and the natural world. Martin loves to play by the river with the wildlife near his house and is sad when faced with moving to the city, away from the countryside. When he tentatively visits the city with his parents to explore their new home, he sees a stream running through the urban park. Martin discovers that his connection with nature can be just as wondrous in the city.
This story explores the emotions that come with big transitions and how being open to new places can result in exciting discoveries.
Written by Darcy Whitecrow and Heather M. O’Connor
Illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko
As they await the birth of a new foal, a man teaches his grandchild about the Ojibwe Horses that used to roam the forests of northwestern Ontario. The horses once ran wild and free, but when Grandfather was a boy, they almost disappeared. Now he is the caretaker of his own small herd, keeping the breed alive for future generations and teaching his grandchild about the loving bond between human and animals.
This beautiful story shares the history of the Ojibwe Horse, the only Indigenous-bred horse in Canada and the love found in intergenerational relationships.
Written and illustrated by Rebecca Bender
Dotty the dancing dachshund is a great read for those kiddos who struggle to “sit” and “stay.” Dotty was born to dance ballet and struggles to sit instead of plié or stay when her body wants to assemblé. When Dotty can’t seem to learn, she lands in the Canine School of Obedience. Lost, the little dog flees to the park where a new friend is waiting to help Dotty dance out her dreams with her own kind of discipline. Witty language and amusing illustrations make this a fun and silly book to encourage kindness and understanding.
Written and illustrated by Elise Gravel
This award-winning author showcases all the amazing ways bodies can be different. Different shapes, different sizes, different colours, and different hair makes everybody’s bodies special. This book aims to empower kids to love and accept their own bodies as well as all the bodies around them. Using quirky monster characters, the story explores consent and respect for all bodies, even our own!
Written by Jenn Wint
Illustrated by Allison Arndt
This story explores self-care for kids and managing overwhelm; a great conversation starter during times of uncertainty or transition. When Josie hears school is back, she can’t wait to play with her friends and doesn’t waste time making plans. She fills her calendar with play dates and activities, but after diving back in, she starts to feel tired and restless. Her tummy is in knots, and she feels anxious. Josie listens to her body and takes the quiet time she needs to recharge and be the best friend she can be, both to her classmates and herself. Full disclosure: this book was authored by the reviewer, completely biased!