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9 Canadian Kids Books You Can Sit Down And Talk About

August 15, 2018

Reading is fun. And it should always be fun. But books and reading are also a great place to start when teaching your kids about the social, political, and historical topics they should know growing up. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite fun and informative stories that you can take home to your kids!


1. The Boy & the Bindi

Tackling gender norms and cultural traditions, The Boy & the Bindi is a children’s book written by Vivek Shraya and illustrated by Rajni Perera. It tells the story of a young boy fascinated by the bindi from Hindu tradition, and his exploration of what it means for him.



2. When We Were Alone

David A. Robertson and illustrator Julie Flett tackle delve into Canada’s history of residential schools in their book, When We Were Alone. This beautifully illustrated book explores the effects of residential schools on Indigenous peoples, and engages the power of reclaiming Indigenous and First Nation traditions.



3. A Family Is A Family Is A Family

A Family Is A Family Is A Family is written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng. As children in a classroom are asked to describe their families, one child worries that her family is just too different—but soon learns that every family is different.



4. Oscar Lives Next Door: A Story Inspired by Oscar Peterson’s Childhood

Oscar Lives Next Door is the story of Oscar Peterson, famous virtuoso jazz pianist, told from the perspective of a fictional next-door neighbour named Millie. She admires his trumpeteering as a child, but when he is struck by a bout of tuberculosis and his lungs are weakened, she’s there to encourage him towards his future as a legendary pianist.



5. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community

Robin Stevenson’s Pride texplores Pride around the globe, the history of the celebration, and the rights that the LGBTQIA+ community have been fighting for.



6. The Elders Are Watching

The Elders Are Watching is an older book, but its lessons are as valuable today as when it was first published over 20 years ago. This book combines poetry, First Nations art, and traditional teachings, and urges us to value our relationship with the planet.

7. Emily Included

Emily Included tells the true story of Emily Eaton. Emily was born with cerebral palsy during a time that disabled children were segregated from “regular” classrooms. This non-fiction books retells Emily’s fight up to the Supreme Court for more inclusive education for people of all abilities.

8. West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Snack Snatcher

If your child is ready to start reading on their own, they might love the cases of the West Meadows Detectives. This short book series follows the adventures of Myron, an autistic third grade detective, as he solves schoolyard mysteries alongside his friends.

9. Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged

Viola Desmond made waves in 1946 for refusing to move to the balcony in a Nova Scotian movie theatre. Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged is a historically accurate account of the stand she made, and an excellent entry point into discussing the civil rights movement with your kids!

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