25 best kids' books of 2016

From colourful board books to true stories and funny tales, check out our list of the best kids' picture books of 2016.

25 best kids' books of 2016

best kids’ books of 2016

The Journey

Written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna, Flying Eye Books (AGES 3–7). When one family loses their dad to the war, Mom decides to leave the country with the kids to find a new home. This sensitive and timely book portrays the refugee journey in a kid-friendly way. $23,

The journey bookPhoto: Flying Eye Books

We Sang You Home

Written by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett, Orca Book Publishers (AGES 0-3). Celebrate the bond between parent and child in this beautiful rhyming board book about a First Nations family that captures what it’s like to welcome a new little one into the world. $10,

We sang you home bookPhoto: Orca Book Publishers


The Darkest Dark

Written by Chris Hadfield and illustrated by the Fan Brothers, Tundra Books (AGES 3–7). Chris (yes, as in THAT Chris, Canada’s very own celeb astronaut!) loves space and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, but he’s scared of the dark. But after watching the historic moon landing on TV, he’s ready to confront his fears. $26,

The darkest dark bookPhoto: Tundra Books

School’s First Day of School

Written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson, Roaring Brook Press (AGES 4-8). Kids aren’t the only ones who get first-day jitters. Frederick Douglass Elementary School is also feeling nervous and wondering if the new kids will like him. $23,

School's first day of school bookPhoto: Roaring Brook Press

An Alphabet

Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, HarperCollins Canada. This sweet board book is a condensed version of the highly-acclaimed Once Upon an Alphabet and teaches the ABCs—from Astronaut to Zeppelin—in a hip, fun way. $16,

An Alphabet bookPhoto: HarperCollins Canada


Ada Twist, Scientist

Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, Abrams Books (AGES 3-5). Like her classmates Iggy the architect and Rosie the inventor, Ada wonders about things and asks a lot of questions. So when she discovers a horrible stench in her house she must get to the bottom of it! $22,

Ada Twist, Scientist bookPhoto: Abrams Books

King Baby

Written and illustrated by Kate Beaton, Scholastic Inc (AGES 4-8). Bow down to the king! King Baby, that is. While he gives his adoring public what they want—kisses, hugs, coos—he still has many demands. When his subjects can’t keep up with him, King Baby decides to take matters into his own hands. $23,

King baby bookPhoto: Scholastic Inc

They All Saw A Cat

Written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, Chronicle Books (AGES 3-5). When you see a cat, what do you see? A book all about curiosity and observation. $24,

They all saw a cat bookPhoto: Chronicle Books



Written and illustrated by Christopher Franceschelli, Abrams Books (AGES 0-2).  In this board book baby gets to explore the city in three sections: Things that go, things to see, and things to eat. Yum! $20,

Cityblock board bookPhoto: Abrams Books

Leave Me Alone

Written and illustrated by Vera Brosgol, Roaring Book Press (AGES 4-7). All this grandma wants is to knit in peace. But she keeps getting interrupted by rude goats, hungry bears and aliens. Can’t everyone just leave her alone so she can make sweaters for her grandchildren?! $25,

Leave me alone bookPhoto: Roaring Book Press

We Found A Hat

Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, Candlewick Press (AGES 4-8). Two turtles have found a hat. It looks good on both of them, but there’s only one hat and two of them. RUH-OH. $22,

We found a hat bookPhoto: Candlewick Press


The Thank You Book

Written and illustrated by Mo Willems, Disney-Hyperion (AGES 6-8). Gerald and Piggie are best friends. Piggie is clumsy but always smiling, Gerald is careful and guarded. When Piggie sets out to thank EVERYONE, Gerald worries Piggie will forget someone very important. $11,

The Thank You BookPhoto: Disney-Hyperion

Tell Me a Tattoo Story

Written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, Chronicle Books (AGES 3-5). A dad tells his tot the story behind his tattoos, including the heart on his chest inscribed with a certain special somebody’s birthday. $24,

Tell me a tattoo story bookPhoto: Chronicle Books

ABC Canada

Written and illustrated by Paul Covello, HarperCollins Canada (AGES 0-2). Teach your little one the ABCs of Canada—like dogsled, Inukshuk, totem pole and Zamboni! $13, 

Canada ABC bookPhoto: HarperCollins Canada


A Child of Books

Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston, Candlewick Press (All ages). From the man behind The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home comes this story of a girl and boy who set out on an adventure through mountains of make-believe to unlock the boy’s imagination. $23,

A Child of Books bookPhoto: Candlewick Press

Thunder Boy Jr.

Written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (AGES 5–8). Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, and he hates that. He wants something unique! Little does he know, his dad has already thought of a perfect new moniker. $23,

Thunder Boy Jr. bookPhoto: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

This Is My Dollhouse

Written and illustrated by Giselle Potter, Schwartz & Wade (AGES 4-8). Get ready for the grand tour of one little girl’s elaborate DIY dollhouse complete with hand-drawn wallpaper, a paper cup elevator and rooftop pool. Sometimes the things that are the most fun don’t come from a store. $24,

This is my dollhouse bookPhoto: Penguin Random House


ThinkTouchLearn ABC

Written and illustrated by Xavier Deneux, Chronicle Books (AGES 3-5). This hefty board book is a feast for the eyes and a world of exploration for little hands with raised letters and clever cut-outs. $28,

TouchThinkLearn ABC bookPhoto: Chronicle Books

If I Had a Gryphon

Written by Vikki Vansickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson, Tundra Books (AGES 3-7). Sam thinks her hamster is boring and longs for a mythical creature like a sasquatch or a gryphon. But when she starts imagining disastrous scenarios, she realizes hamsters aren’t so bad after all. $20,

If I had a gryphon bookPhoto: Tundra Books

Du Iz Tak?

Written and illustrated by Carson Ellis, Candlewick Press, (AGES 4-8). In this book of make-believe and made-up words, a small shoot sprouts from the ground. The kingdom of backyard bugs are intrigued, building a tree fort as it grows taller and taller, but something bad is bound to happen. $22,

Du Iz Tak bookPhoto: Candlewick Press


The Crayons’ Book of Colors

Written and illustrated by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, Grosset & Dunlap (AGES 2-5) From the creators of The Day the Crayons Quit comes a new board book. These rowdy colouring utensils are sick of drawing the same things. What will they do next? $14,

The crayons' book of colors bookPhoto: Grosset & Dunlap

The Ultimate Book of Space

Written by Anne-Sophie Baumann and illustrated by Oliver Latyk, Twirl (AGES 3+) Attention little space fanatics! With more than 40 flaps, pop-ups and pull-tabs, kids can immerse themselves in learning about astronauts, spaceships, galaxies and more. $28,

The Ultimate Book of Space bookPhoto: Twirl

The Water Princess

Written by Susan Verde and Georgie Badiel and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, Penguin Young Readers Group (AGES 5-8). Based on the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel, one little girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her village home in Africa. Wearing a pot on her head instead of a crown, she’s the water princess. $24,

The Water Princess bookPhoto: Penguin Random House


The Polar Bear

Written and Illustrated by Jenni Desmond, Enchanted Lion Press (AGES 5-8). A hoard of fun and informative facts are nestled inside the beautifully illustrated pages of this book about a little girl who reads a book about polar bears. $26,

The Polar Bear bookPhoto: Enchanted Lion Press

Worm Loves Worm

Written by J. J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato, HarperCollins Canada (AGES 4-8). Two worms fall in love and want to say “I do,” and their friends are curious who will wear the tux and who will wear the dress. But all that really matters is that they love each other.  $22,

25 best kids' books of 2016Photo: HarperCollins Canada

Read more:
100 best Canadian books of all time 14 must-have first books for babies 25 best kids’ books for fall

This article was originally published on Dec 04, 2016

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