Patterns in Contemporary Canadian Picture Books: Radical Change in Action

Beverley Brenna, Shuwen Sun, and Yina Liu

University of Saskatchewan

Picture books have been identified as “the staple of children’s literature” along with a trend that “this past decade has witnessed many changes in this popular genre” (Freeman, 2011, p. 28). In order to explore current aspects of children’s literature, an accounting of the field as it now stands is important. This study was conceived as a comprehensive exploration of Canadian picture books in print form during two publication years: 2005 and 2015. In addition to looking for patterns related to these two groups of picture books, the study also evaluated and expanded upon Dresang’s (1999) Radical Change framework—the idea that books for children are evolving with respect to forms and formats, perspectives, and boundaries because of increased interactivity, connectivity and access in today’s digital world..

Definitions of what constitutes a picture book vary. Kiefer’s (2010) definition, adopted for this study, considers an implied child audience as well as the idea that “picturebooks are those books in which images and ideas join to form a unique whole” (p. 156). It is important to note that in our attempt to collect a comprehensive study set, a handful of books not in print or not otherwise available prevented us from cataloguing all of the picture books published in each of the target years. Our efforts resulted in a group of 177 titles, with 57 published in 2005 and 120 published in 2015.

Following collection of the books, we conducted qualitative content analysis while considering definitions of genre adopted from Kiefer (2010) as well as criteria based on Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change. Focus questions included: What patterns emerge in two groups of contemporary picture books in relation to Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change? What differences, if any, appear between these groups of books that might signal potential trends to monitor?

In addition to initial broad target categories for exploration, derived from Dresang’s (1999) work and delineated into subcategories as per a previous content analysis of Canadian children’s books (Brenna, 2010), additional subcategories were applied, resulting in the four major headings with varied numbers of subheadings (see Figure 1). This process for investigation aligns with Berg’s (2009) systematic content analysis based on predetermined as well as emerging categories. Appendix A contains the complete content analysis framework that was used in this study.

Forms & Formats

  • format (sequential/non-sequential); conventions for readability


  • new perspectives (multiple perspectives; previously unheard voices)


  • changing boundaries (subjects previously forbidden; unresolved endings)

  • setting

Additional Info

storyframe (day/weeks etc.) and timeframe (contemporary/past/unknown)

  • book awards?

  • author & illustrator: gender

  • main character: age, gender, parents/caregivers

  • point of view (narrator POV and tense)

  • genre

  • audience age

Figure 1: Categories for Content Analysis (adapted from Dresang, 1999; Brenna, 2010)

There is a great deal of recent research exploring particular content in children’s literature, supporting the central importance of literature in the classroom and community (Bedford & Albright, 2011). While Canadian studies are available that focus on the potentiality of reader engagement through picture books (i.e., Pantaleo, 2008), responses from preservice teachers (i.e., Johnston & Bainbridge, 2013) and particular analyses of picture-book content (i.e. Kalke Klita, 2005), a dedicated comparison study across publication years is lacking. In terms of a publication history of Canadian work, Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman (2010) have produced a comprehensive volume in Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children’s Illustrated Books and Publishing; however, this work does not address the focus of the present study: the patterns in books of the 21st century and the future changes that can be predicted from these patterns.

That books for children are rapidly and continuously evolving is apparent (Wolfenbarger & Sipe, 2007; Dresang, 1999), but how exactly they are changing in contemporary iterations is a captivating question worthy of investigation. Attention to this evolution is important in order to support picture books as curriculum resources and inspire new directions for research as well as offer encouragement and direction for artistic work (Brenna, 2010; Dresang, 1999; Wolfenbarger & Sipe, 2007).

Summary of the Literature

Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change applied to children’s literature identifies that changes are occurring in children’s books, changes that seem connected to innovations in the digital world. Dresang noted that interactive and non-linear texts, for example, are appearing in increasing numbers. In addition to new formats, Dresang discusses how changes in perspectives and topics have also emerged to coincide with societal changes influenced by, as well as impacting, electronic media. Connectivity, interactivity, and access are three digital-age concepts that Dresang lists as underpinning changes occurring today in literature for youth. Dresang (2008) further explains how connectivity refers to the inclusion of hypertext in resources as well as a heightened sense of community and interaction in relation to the social world; she adjudicates interactivity as referring to complex books that appear dynamic, nonlinear, and non-sequential, associated with related learning and information behaviors; and she clarifies access as relating to the breaking of information barriers so that diversity and sophistication in books is increased. Dresang (1999) also identifies three broad types of changes appearing in contemporary titles: forms and formats, perspectives, and boundaries.

Changing forms and formats, according to Dresang (1999), incorporate one or more of the following characteristics: graphics in new forms and formats; words and pictures attaining new levels of synergy; nonlinear and/or non-sequential organization and format; multiple layers of meaning; and formats that are interactive. Dresang identifies changing perspectives as encompassing the following possibilities: multiple perspectives (visual and/or verbal); voices previously unheard; and higher numbers of youth who speak for themselves. She also describes changing boundaries as offering one or more of the following: subjects previously forbidden; previously overlooked settings and/or new types of communities; the portrayal of characters in new, complex ways; and unresolved endings.

Dresang (2008) notes that information books now commonly reflect the nonlinear and non-sequential characteristics of digital media. She also identifies forms such as verse novels that are increasingly framing stories for older youth, and within these, reports techniques such as word pictures. Including multiple voices and perspectives is also cited as a characteristic of titles for older readers, with forms and formats that include letters, journals and diaries, emails, and text messages. The internet, as Dresang indicates, is no longer the only medium where readers can access multiple presentations, perspectives, and layers of reading choices. Four other progressive trends are noted in Dresang’s most recent work. One of these trends is the increasing maturity of “pop-up” or paper-engineered books, heightening interactivity. Another trend involves graphic novels that now appear in all genres and that, at times, occur in tandem with other forms such as retellings of traditional novels. A third trend Dresang labels the dynamic hybrid book reflects the inclusion of phone numbers and web site addresses that encourage or demand interactivity from readers. Dresang also discusses picture books for all ages that incorporate varying font size and shape, multiple visual perspectives, and characters who exit the story and speak directly to the reader as well as characters who author the story.

As Freeman (2011) points out, picture books are no longer limited to fictional stories for the very young; this format hosts all genres, including informational books and biography, and many titles extend to intergenerational audiences. Freeman (2011) also asserts that “in the postmodern picture book, multiple storylines occur concurrently or contain multiple perspectives” (p. 29). According to Wolfenbarger and Sipe (2007), blends of real and invented space and characterization carries readers past a “singular, coherent time and place” (p. 276) in an example of post-modernism where contemporary authors call readers into the text as “co-authors” seeking layers of meaning (p. 280). This type of reader-response goes beyond Rosenblatt’s (2005) work in reader response, and into contrivances in text and illustration that actually create interactivity with readers. Such interactivity also relates to narrative transportation theory in the way that narrative transportation parallels reader response and offers insights into people’s depth of engagement with media, and influences of that engagement (Ward, 2013).

Explorations of children’s literature have often involved content analysis, where one topic is selected and then applied to a small number of texts. Bedford (2011), for example, examined characters’ gender and behavior, summarizing particular picture books that can be used to foster critical discussion. Such content-oriented research has illuminated a broad range of topics, from bullying in young adult novels (Hughes & Laffier, 2016), to nostalgia, heterotopia, and mapping the city in African American picture books (Jenkins, 2016), to an exploration of Spanish poetry picture books using adaptations of adult poetry (Neira-Piñeiro, 2016), to the portrayal of Down Syndrome in picture books for young children (Kalke-Klita, 2005). Brenna’s (2015) wider examination of portrayals of disability identified gaps in treatment of characters with exceptionalities as well as ongoing stereotypes.

Other explorations of changes in children’s picture books have occurred in relation to general changes in children’s literature occurring over time (Dresang, 1999), yet no studies have occurred that specifically interrogate changes in Canadian picture books from one decade to another. The current research team to interrogate patterns in books published in 2005 thus conceptualized such a study and books published in 2015, as well as more generally look at the combined groups of books for evidence of Radical Change in general. As such, this study was conceived with the potential to describe emerging categories of change in addition to subcategories derived from the three categories Dresang (1999) recognizes as evolving from influences of the digital world: changing forms and formats, changing perspectives, and changing boundaries.


Data were collected to offer a comparison between Canadian picture books published in 2005 and those published in 2015. We used content analysis for a “careful, detailed, systematic examination and interpretation of a particular body of material in an effort to identify patterns, themes, biases, and meanings” (Berg, 2009, p. 338). This process of content analysis involved the “simultaneous coding of raw data and the construction of categories that capture relevant characteristics of the document’s content” (Merriam, 1998, p.160). Categories employed were thus determined by a combination of both inductive and deductive means (Berg, 2009; Merriam, 1998). Researchers created and applied an analysis chart (Appendix A) in order to collect data on each of the 177 picture books, recording information while simultaneously using field notes to document emerging patterns. The analysis chart included categories related to Radical Change (1999) as well as additional categories such as author gender and target audience-age. The group of picture books from 2005 were examined first, followed by the group of picture books from 2015. Discussions among members of the research team occurred at intervals throughout the reading and analysis of the picture books, with potential patterns noted and particular titles highlighted in terms of unique content. In cases where evaluations on particular books differed, the team worked towards consensus on final decisions. Consensus was reached through discussions when alternate viewpoints emerged; for example, the team conceptualized blended genres as the best way to describe particular books, such as identifying as both non-fiction and fantasy Cybèle Young’s (2015) The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See. Following data collection, the completed analysis charts were utilized to compile details such as numbers of books demonstrating particular genres, gender and age of characters, and audience age typical of each of the two publication dates.

Following the individual content analysis of books, data was compiled and information from the two publication years was compared for differences as well as similarities. Patterns in the data as a whole were thus identified, along with trends emerging from one decade to the next. Limitations in results may be attributed to the qualitative nature of the analysis, with individual researchers applying the analysis categories through an interpretive stance (Seidman, 2006). In addition, titles may have been missed from these publication years as well as books being identified that were not currently available, although every attempt was made to achieve a complete sample.

Multiple data sources to obtain the necessary lists of books were used in addition to word-of-mouth and included the following: query emails sent to 68 Canadian publishers; use of the WorldCat database; browsing reviews from the online CM Magazine; perusing Governor General’s Award lists (for text and illustration); and searching through a picture book listing compiled by The Picture Book Database. Requirements for inclusion in this study ensured that all of the publishers were Canadian, and that at least one collaborator—either the author or the artist—was Canadian.

Two 2005 titles, Karen Kain’s The Nutcracker and Annette Simon’s Mocking Birdies, were not available for scrutiny during the three-month time period of the study and thus are not included in our book count or findings. Ten 2015 titles were similarly unavailable, whether due to failed interlibrary loans or other issues: Brandee Buble’s Jayde the Jaybird, Kaori Kasai’s Duet, Peggy Kochanoff’s Be a Beach Detective, Jennifer Lloyd’s Murilla Gorilla and the Missing Mop, Mireille Messier’s Fatima and the Clementine Thieves, Scot Ritchie’s P’ésk’a and the First Salmon Ceremony and four books by John Torres: Chirp: A River Leaks Through It; Chirp: Ghost town; Chirp: The Fast and Furiously Happy; and Chirp: Waddle of the Penguins. New editions such as Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle, originally published in 1995, were also not included in our study set; however, Mixed Beasts, illustrated and augmented by Wallace Edwards for its 2005 publication, was included, even though the original book by Kenyon Cox was published in 1904. Similarly, Murray Kimber’s new edition of “The Highwayman,” a poem by Alfred Noyes, was also included. Regretfully, as it was a highly original example of picture book creation, European author Beatriz Vidal’s (2015) Birds was excluded, although it was published by Canada’s Simply Read Books.

Findings and Discussion

Author and Illustrator Gender

A number of patterns emerged in each of the two groups of picture books, as well as between the two groups in relation to gender of authors and illustrators. Of the 2005 set where n=57, 22 male authors were involved while 38 female authors were involved, with multiple authors listed in three cases (two teams of two, and one team of three). With respect to the illustrators, 24 male illustrators appeared compared to 33 female illustrators with one illustrating team of two people (husband-wife illustrators Jacobson and Fernandez in The Mona Lisa Caper, authored by Jacobson) Because one book (Franklin’s Library Book) favoured the title “adaptor” rather than author or illustrator, it was not included in the author/illustrator numbers (thus n=56, in each case). It is interesting to note that in three cases, male authors were involved in illustrating books they also authored, while in three cases female authors illustrated their own books. A number of interesting teams were discovered, including the work of a mother and her two sons (Where’s Mom’s Hair: A Family’s Journey Through Cancer) and a husband/wife author/illustrator collaboration (The Mona Lisa Caper and Over Under).

Of the 2015 set, where n=120, slightly over double the total number of 2005 picture books, 41 occasions of male authoring were involved compared to 85 occasions of female authoring within the book set, and multiple authors appeared in six cases. In terms of illustration, there were 47 instances of male illustration compared to 74 instances of female illustration. Collaboration of illustrators occurred once. In terms of illustration, nine males both authored and illustrated their books, while 19 females both authored and illustrated their own books, without other parties involved. One other unique circumstance occurred in the four titles by J. Torres where a group of books included designers and editors as part of the creating team.

Making sense of the numbers is difficult and, due to study limitations, must be considered carefully in the context of this study. It appears from our data that numbers of published picture books are on the increase in Canada, based on the fact that our 2015 sample was almost double the 2005 sample, and that incidences of female authoring and illustrating occur across both publication dates more often than male authoring and illustrating, with female work increasing at a higher rate than male work, and with incidences of male illustration appearing, in the most contemporary group of books, slightly more than incidences of male authorship, though still not equaling the numbers of females illustrating (see Figure 1 for comparative numbers). In contrast, the numbers of males who author and illustrate their own books are increasing slightly more than the numbers of females who illustrate their own books, although both groups appear to be approximately 4 times greater in number in 2015 than in 2005 (See Figure 2).

2005 (n=57)

2015 (n=120)

Work by males

Work by females

Work by males

Work by females











Figure 2. Comparative Numbers on Incidences of Male and Female Authoring and Illustrating

Numbers of men and women illustrating more than one text or picture book are interesting, as well, and this information appears in Figure 2 in addition to comparative data about individuals who both author and illustrate the same book. As before, while total number of books = 57 and 120, numbers do not total to this figure because of incidences of teams of authors and illustrators as well as books where no author or illustrator is listed (see Appendix B for Jennings, 2005b).

2005 (n=57)

2015 (n=120)

Number of Females Authoring and Illustrating the Same Book

6 (1 book each)

17 (1 book each)

2 (2 books each)

22 books

Number of Males Authoring and Illustrating the Same Book

3 (1 book)

Number of Females Authoring Multiple Books

3 (2 books each)

Number of Males Authoring Multiple Books


Number of Females Illustrating Multiple Books

2 (2 books each)

Number of Males Illustrating Multiple Books

3 (2: 2 books each;

2: 3 books each)

Figure 3. Comparative Multiple Roles Authoring and Illustrating, Males and Females

Characterization and Gender

In terms of characterization, the numbers of key male and female characters seem fairly consistent between the two groups of books, although reaching a final count was complex due to the fact that many books, particularly in 2015, include multiple characters and so the research team had occasional difficulties making clear distinctions between primary, secondary, and background characters. The apparent balance of male and female genders in protagonist roles reflects what Dresang (1999) identified as a “gender revolution,” shifting from previous patterns where “passive females, few in number” (p. 31) compared unfavourably to stronger male counterparts. Although male and female protagonists appeared to be equally represented between the 2005 and 2015 books, no gay, lesbian, or two-spirited protagonists were apparent in either group of titles.


In terms of genre, the 2005 set contained 16 books of realistic fiction, one of which blended with the folktale genre to include a folktale within the realistic frame; 21 were books of fantasy (nine of which involved anthropomorphized animals); seven were books of historical fiction, and four were books of traditional literature (two of which offered fairy tale content in a non-fiction frame). The 2005 set also contained nine books of non-fiction, comprised of five concept/informational books (involving the topic of apples; sleep; birds; and two books on opposites), two alphabet books, one autobiography, and one counting book (that also included a section of facts about the flowers, birds, and animals presented in the book).

In contrast, the 2015 set contained 29 books of realistic fiction, one of which was presented through poetry, three were historical fiction, 37 had fantasy titles (one of these involved poetry, 19 involved talking animals, and two were simple phonics readers), two were modernized fairy tales, seven were works of traditional literature, and one was myth.

The 2015 set also contained 41 non-fiction titles, comprised of 30 concept/informational books (involving the topics of northern lights, energy, where babies come from, dinosaurs, life in a Kenyan orphanage, animal thoughts and feelings, luge, babies (x2), geography (x2), community building, West Africa, schools around the world (x2), swimming, wolves and ravens—infused with Indigenous perspectives, kisses, character education (x3), summer beach vacations, three elephant rescues, head lice, shapes, art, spiders, bears, cats, and the artist Grant Wood), three counting books, three alphabet books (one of which also included acrostics), three auto/biographies, and one rhyming predictable book. In addition to these titles from the 2015 set, one other book, Wallace Edward’s Once Upon A Line, is a collection of storylines for young writers to invent upon, rather than an actual narrative of its own.

2005 (n=57)

2015 (n=120)

Realistic Fiction

16 (28%)

29 (24%)

Historical Fiction

7 (12%)

3 (3%)

Fantasy (Animal)

9 (16%)

19 (16%)

Fantasy (Other)

12 (21%)

18 (15%)

Traditional Tales

4 (7%)

10 (8%)


9 (16%)

41 (34%)

Figure 4. Genre Comparisons Between 2005 and 2015

Other patterns noteworthy in the 2015 set relate to the numbers of books presenting Indigenous content and perspectives, higher in numbers in the 2015 set as compared to the 2005 set. In addition, in the 2015 set, we noticed broader age-ranges, more blending of genres, more unusual character choices, greater ranges in point of view and tense, and increasing diversity in relation to types of illustration and text style, often assisting readability. Diversity in terms of characterization, however, seems limited in both the 2005 and 2015 groups of books. There are limited cultural references as a whole, although a few books do illuminate life in other countries, with large-cast books offering segments about various characters that include particular cultures and occasional depictions of exceptionalities and same-sex families. Cultural differences integral to storyline were markedly absent.

Indigenous Content

In the 2005 sample, the research team identified two books that contain Indigenous content, 3.5% of the total number of titles. One of these is Indigenous author Nicola Campbell’s Shi-shi-etko (illustrated by Kim LaFave), the poignant realistic fiction story of a mother’s deliberate teaching before her daughter is sent to residential school. The second is Jean Pendziwol’s historical fiction The Red Sash, illustrated by Nicolas Debon, a story set on the western shore of Lake Superior in the early 1800s about a young Métis boy who wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a voyageur.

In the 2015 sample, the research team counted 12 books that contain Indigenous content, 10% of the total number of titles. Orca Chief, by First Nations author and artist Roy Henry Vickers, co-written by Robert Budd, is an installment of Northwest Coast traditional tales. Métis author David Bouchard’s The First Flute: Whowhoahyahzotohkohya (illustrated by Don Oelze), is the story of Dancing Raven, told in both English and Dakota, who must prove to his village the importance of his song. Carolyn Mallory’s Painted Skies (illustrated by Amei Zhao) introduces readers to the northern lights as Leslie, a newcomer to the Arctic, is supported by her new friend Oolipika in learning about her new environment. Mi’kmaw artist and storyteller Alan Syliboy’s The Thunder Maker, with illustrations inspired by Mi’kmaw petroglyphs, relays the tale of Big Thunder teaching his son, Little Thunder, about his important responsibilities.

Rebecca Hainnu’s A Walk on the Shoreline (illustrated by Qin Leng) tells the story of a young boy’s annual summer visit to his biological family in Nunavut where he learns about the diverse ecosystem. Hainnu, a teacher, is a graduate of the Nunuvut Arctic College Teacher Education Program. Jennifer Noah and Chris Giroux’s Our First Caribou Hunt (illustrated by Hwei Lim) narrates the story of two Inuit children and their father planning and executing an Arctic hunt, with particular emphasis on cultural values and tradition. Inuit author Suzie Naypayok-Short’s Wild Eggs: A Tale of Arctic Egg Collecting (illustrated by Jonathan Wright) explores traditional teachings from grandparents who understand the importance of respecting the land. In Mary Wallace’s An Inuksuk Means Welcome, readers are given an alphabet acrostic that presents life in the Arctic, with words in both English and Inuktitut, an adaptation of Wallace’s 2009 book.

Germaine Arnaktauyok, an Inuit artist, is the illustrator of Way Back Then, a collection of Inuit folktales presented by Neil Christopher in both English and Inuktitut. Melanie Florence, a Canadian author of Cree and Scottish heritage, is the author of Missing Nimâmâ (illustrated by François Thisdale), a riveting story about a missing Cree woman and the young daughter who is raised by her grandmother (Nôhkom). Danielle Daniel’s Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox was inspired by this Métis author’s desire to extend her young son’s understanding and appreciation of his Indigenous roots. This book explores traditions of the Anishinaabe culture, introducing the reader to 12 different totem animals. Willow Dawson’s The Wolf-Birds is a story about the symbiotic relationship between wolves and ravens, based on scientific data and anecdotal reports from Indigenous hunters.

In Dresang’s (1999) discussion of “multiple perspectives” in American literature for young people, she identifies that “only 64 books on American Indian themes and topics were published in 1997—out of the approximately 4500 books produced for youth, far too few to hope for a substantial diversity in character, story, or settings” (p. 133). At 1.4 % of the total number of books, this figure is somewhat lower than the percentages identified in our picture book study.

Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change identifies changing perspectives as including multiple perspectives that come from “multicultural literature, referring to the cultures of people of color living in the United States” and bringing “previously unheard voices to literature for youth” (p. 25). A shift in current Canadian thinking is to identify as problematic a notion of multiculturalism that includes Aboriginal peoples (St. Denis, 2011). As St. Denis (2011) states:

The prevailing and prevalent policy and practice of multiculturalism enables a refusal to address ongoing colonialism, and even to acknowledge colonialism at all. This leads to the trivializing of issues, to attempts to collapse Aboriginal rights into ethnic and minority issues, and to forcing Aboriginal content into multicultural frameworks.” (p. 315)

Examining children’s literature containing Indigenous content is critically important in Canada where Indigenous people, as the first inhabitants of this land, deserve recognition beyond a multicultural categorization alongside newcomers.

Because Indigenous languages and cultures exist in Canada, and are at risk of being lost, it is more important than ever to foster these understandings for all of our children. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC 2015) released its 94 Calls to Action, and Sections 62 to 65 connect to education for reconciliation. These Calls to Action support educators in considering how Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are helpful to children in current classrooms, and inspire us to consider classroom resources—including picture books—that carry important material and messages in order to forward understanding, empathy, and mutual respect, along with a particular inclusion of Indigenous ideas as reflective of the First Peoples of Canada.

Other Differences Between the 2005 and 2015 Picture Book Sets

Children’s imaginative episode versus commitment to fantasy genre. One response we had to the 2005 picture book set was that in many cases, children with big imaginations were adding a semi-fantastical component to narratives that were, in fact, imaginary. This tendency is not apparent in the 2015 set, with many more books appearing in 2015 as actual fantasy literature, rather than using a framework of daydreaming to describe the fantastical. Further study is suggested in this regard, to identify whether this is indeed a modern trend, and to consider what a rationale might be for an increased allowance for actual fantasy as opposed to couching the fantastical in the imaginary.

Particular 2015 picture books geared towards older audiences only. Another noteworthy response to the 2015 set of picture books was that audiences of older readers seem to be considered as a separate target group. The 2005 set tended to feature books suitable for up to Grade 5 (age 10) with about half as many titles only suitable for up to Grade 2 (age 7), and a couple of titles suitable for all ages including adults. Only one title from the 2005 publication dates, a retelling of Noyse’s ballad poem The Highwayman, is clearly intended for young adults and adults, and is not suitable for younger children. In contrast, the 2015 set tended to feature books suitable for children up to Grade 2, with a small portion also suitable for children up to Grade 5, and one title recommended for all ages: Cybèle Young’s Some Things I’ve Lost—an artistic masterpiece itemizing 12 misplaced objects that, when a facing gatefold opens, morph into striking specimens of underwater life.

The 2015 set, however, also contains picture books that are not deemed appropriate for children up to age 7 at all, even though this is a typical age range for picture book material. The following eight books were assessed by the research team to have content and vocabulary most suitable for readers ages 8 and up, with one title, Missing Nimama, particularly suitable for a range of young adult and adult readers. The other seven titles geared for 8-year-olds and older include: Carolyn Beck’s That Squeak (dealing evocatively with grief and loss), Jon Berg’s Rosie and Rolland in the Legendary Show-And-Tell (a fantasy-adventure story), Cybèle Young’s The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See (informational picture book material blended with an imaginative context), Glen Huser’s The Golden Touch (a wry retelling of the classic Greek tale), Jude Isabella’s The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle (about a bicycle donated to a series of recipients in Africa), Shaker Paleja’s Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy (explaining all forms of energy and its uses), and Nathan Jurevicius’s Junction (a fantasy journey in the land of Face Changers).

Blended genres and new subjects. In the 2015 picture book set, the research team noted that more titles seemed to borrow from multiple genres towards an original product. Cybèle Young’s The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See, for example, delivers non-fiction material in a fantasy context related to how the queen’s party, with unbelievable guests, goes awry. Linda Bailey’s When Santa Was A Baby adopts a detailed non-fiction biographical style while Uma Krishnawami’s Bright Sky, Starry City reads as fiction with non-fiction features.

Choices related to genre also seem particularly innovative in the 2015 picture book set. Margriet Ruurs’ School Days Around the World follows the stories of 14 children in different school contexts, presenting multiple short chapters within the picture-book framework. Wallace Edward’s Once Upon a Line contains a collection of story beginnings, rather than a completed story—a most unusual subject for a children’s picture book. Dušan Petričić’s My Family Tree and Me combines autobiographical material with historical fiction, presenting the story in an intriguing format that works from the book’s beginning to its middle, with a second storyline moving from the book’s ending to its middle. Monica Kulling’s Grant and Tillie Go Walking contains a fictional story arc relating to Tillie’s character, while including more factual information about Grant Wood, painter of “American Gothic.”

In terms of subject matter, Jennifer Couëlle’s Kiss, Kiss lightly takes readers into new territory as it differentiates between types of kisses, from air kisses, to hello kisses, to goodbye kisses. A completely different story, Melanie Florence’s Missing Nimâmâ engages readers with serious content through connections to Pickton’s murder convictions. Missing Nimâmâ offers a storyline through the first person voices of two characters—a daughter raised by her grandmother, and Nimâmâ, the child’s missing mom.

Also noteworthy are the numbers of books that include glossaries, authors’ informational notes, and other additional sections of information to explain and extend concepts presented in the narrative picture books. It is apparent that, particularly in the 2015 group, authors are considering reading for information as a key goal alongside reading for entertainment. Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change identifies an increasing number of subjects appearing in books of the digital age that were not present prior in more “mainstream” models of children’s literature. She labels these books “boundary-pushing” (p. 182); however, it is possible that the boundaries have been sufficiently proportioned as to reveal the tendencies in treatments of contemporary non-fiction materials to be the new mainstream. Certainly, the titles recognized as non-fiction, comprising 34% of the 2015 books (compared with 16 % of the 2005 books) appear as the most common genre in that group.

Unusual character choices. Particularly noteworthy in the 2015 set are some unusual character choices. Carolyn Beck’s That Squeak unfolds as the narrator, Joe, delivers a poignant story about bereavement addressed to “you”—the missing character Jay of the partnership, who through the use of this pronoun becomes us, the reader. Nicola Winstanley’s The Pirate’s Bed has, as its protagonist, the pirate’s bed personified—afraid in a storm and then swept out to see. Jude Isabella’s The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle takes its readers along as Big Red, a donated bike, is helpful to a sequence of new owners in Africa.

Point of view and tense. Point of view is another area for comparison between books from the two publication dates. All of the 2005 picture books are narrated from one person’s point of view, either in first or third person, with two books from the perspective of “we.” However, there are mixed perspectives in 2015 picture books. For example, the text in Annika Dunkley’s Me, too! is from the third person’s view, while the dialogue is from the first person’s view. The story narrator of Melanie Watt’s Bug in a Vacuum, is in third person’s perspective, while the bug’s feelings are presented from the first person’s viewpoint.

            Usually, the non-narrative picture books in 2005 are narrated in present tense while the other books are presented in past tense. Only one picture book from this year has mixed present tense and past tense, and that is Alfred Noyes’ The Highwayman where the fantasy part of the story emerges in the present tense. However, many more mixed tenses can be found in the group of 2015 picture books. These include Melanie Florence’s Missing Nimama (where the daughter’s perspective is in present tense, while the mother’s perspective in past tense), Natalia Diaz and Melissa Owens’ A Ticket Around the World, Kevin Bolger’s Gran on a Fan, Melanie Watt’s Bug in a Vacuum, Caroline Adderson’s Eat, Leo, Eat, Carolyn Beck’s That Squeak, Barbara Reid’s Sing a Song of Bedtime, Charis Wahl’s Rosario’s Fig Tree, Cybèle Young’s The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See, and Tania Howell’s Starring Shapes.

Diversity in relation to types of illustration and text style. In the 2015 set, in particular, diversity is noted with respect to types of illustration and text style. Nathan Jureviciu’s Junction involves a mix of full-page spreads, double-page spreads, wordless sequences, and smaller framed insets, reminiscent of graphic novels yet retaining the picture-book label in its marketing information. Sidewalk Flowers is a wordless picture book, conceptualized by author JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith, which builds through bits of colour infusing a black and white world. Cybèle Young’s artistry, related to intricate sculptures made out of Japanese paper, is on full display in the fold-out book Some Things I’ve Lost. Illustrations and text to forward the storyline appear in every conceivable area of John Crossingham’s Turn Off That Light, including the dust covers. Sidebars in Cybèle Young’s The Queen’s Shadow present factual information relating to the animals that are introduced in the text.

Font is often manipulated to enhance meaning, with particular examples noted in the 2015 books. Italics or bold print for emphasis and varied fonts to differentiate dialogue from narration are commonly seen in this group of books, supporting readability through conventions that are used reliably throughout their respective books. Italics, in Monica Kulling’s Grant and Tillie Go Walking, (illustrated by Sydney Smith) are also used for onomatopoeia. In Annika Dunklee’s Me, Too, (illustrated by Lori Joy Smith) dialogue appears in speech bubbles, comic style—another strategy to enhance readability. Elise Gravel’s Head Lice uses capital letters to set apart important words in each sentence, another comprehension technique. Maureen Fergus’s picture book And What If I Won’t (illustrated by Dušan Petričić) uses different colours to distinguish the real from the imagined. Jillian Roberts’ Where Do Babies Come From (illustrated by Cindy Revell) utilizes different fonts for asking and answering questions.

In the 2005 sample, watercolour was the most popular media style, followed by pencil crayon, photographs, digital, chalk, pencil, oil on canvas, coloured pencil, and acrylic. In the 2015 sample, the most popular media style was watercolour, as well. Within the 2015 group, however, much more variation was seen, with cartoon drawings, acrylics, ink, crayons, pencil drawings, cut-paper collage art, pen and ink, and plasticine images more popular along with other media that appeared only occasionally: petroglyph style, photographed paper sculpture, colored pencil, mixed media, and toothbrush generated.

Picture books in 2015 demonstrated a tendency of storytelling beyond the text. For some books, the text seems purposefully designed as minimal, so that the reader can place attention on the illustration to interpret the message the author is trying to deliver. This practice encourages inferences and develops thinking in a way that explicit text messages cannot. In Melanie Watt’s Bug in a Vacuum, for example, in addition to the main story about the bug’s journey from being caught in a vacuum to being able to escape, the illustration invokes a parallel story about the family dog’s toy in the vacuum.

Multidimensional travel is a name we have given to the inclusion of items that encourage reader-text interaction, moving readers out of the picture book context into another sphere. The provision of a list of websites in Alma Fullerton’s In a Cloud of Dust, for example—a story about a “bicycle library” in rural Tanzania—moves readers into a study of the organizations that distribute bikes in Africa. Websites are also provided in West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet by Deborah Hodge. Other books include CDs that extend the text through music: David Bouchard’s The First Flute, for example, as well as Glen Huser’s The Golden Touch: A Retelling of the Legend of King Midas. One other situation that invites travelling out of the text occurs in Lennon and Maisy Stella’s In the Waves, where at the end of the story, readers are invited to participate in a hide-and-seek game called “Search and Find” where the goal is to locate an object in pictures throughout the book.

Such illustrative patterns are discussed in light of Radical Change, where Dresang (1999) suggests that children of the digital age are used to non-linear narratives that position illustration and text as having equal communicative importance. It may be that greater variation is appearing over time in the illustrations of picture books, and this is a possible trend worth addressing in further research.

Summary of Findings

  • In both 2005 and 2015, picture books tended to feature children as protagonists;

  • historical fiction in both years presented comparatively low, at 12% and 3%;

  • the highest number of books from the 2005 set utilized the fantasy genre (at 34%) or realistic fiction (at 28%);

  • the highest number of books from the 2015 set occurred in non-fiction (at 34%, up from 16% in 2005) or fantasy (at 31%);

  • minimal presence of characters with disabilities occurred in both years (3.5 % in 2005 and .8 % in 2015);

  • the group of 2015 books seemed to consider older readers as a specific target: eight books (6.7 %) were assessed to have content and vocabulary suitable only for readers ages 8 and up versus one book (1.7 %) in 2005 clearly intended for young adults only; and

  • while two books in the 2005 sample (3.5 %) contain Indigenous content, with one of these written by an Indigenous author, 12 books in the 2015 sample (10%) contain Indigenous content while seven out of those 12 books were narrated by Indigenous authors.

Conclusions and Implications for Further Study

While many of the changes appearing in Canadian picture books between 2005 and 2015 might be predicted through the standard categories of Radical Change, involving changing forms and formats, changing perspectives, and changing boundaries (Dresang, 1999), findings such as a broadening of audience-age, with particular picture-book titles for older readers only, and invitations for multidimensional travel out of the texts at hand, are hugely provocative, adding to the implications originally suggested by Dresang’s notion of new perspectives and changing boundaries.

If picture books are to be created for young adult and adult readers, and not for younger children, issues arise regarding availability and marketing. Availability also appears as a concern related to Indigenous content and perspectives, and collections in schools and community centres must be kept current to support the very best possible mirrors and windows for Canadian readers. Part of this attention to collections involves highlighting Indigenous content for its own sake, rather than grouping it with other “multicultural” texts. For reasons that support anti-racist education, an examination of Canadian picture books that specifically identifies Indigenous authors, content and perspectives is imperative.

While Dresang (1999) offered “multiple perspectives” as an important aspect of the changing perspectives encouraged by the digital age, it is critical that Indigenous perspectives be illuminated for their own sake, rather than simply couched in diversity language. Rather than directly influenced by digital technologies, such Indigenous perspectives are defined in importance and breadth by our current understandings of history, treaty, and anti-racist pedagogy. While such understandings may be forwarded by digital communication, they are most certainly shaped by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples whose voices, along with the voices of their allies, resound across the nation.

Continuing to examine children’s literature as artifacts of a culture can illuminate particular aspects of that culture and offer opportunities to engage authors, illustrators, and publishers in filling gaps where particular perspectives or topics are missing. It is important to continue to explore future patterns and trends in relation to Canadian content and resources, supporting educators in an understanding of what items are available, with particular attention to Indigenous content and perspectives, and promoting advocacy as children’s literature continues to be a source of tension for what it portrays and presents as well as its missing voices. This advocacy is an important part of the journey forward in supporting social justice goals, with current researchers identifying possibilities and challenges for classroom practice (Burke, Johnston, & Ward, 2017). Inherent in Dresang’s (1999) notion of Radical Change is the idea that particular changes will become common, just as innovations appear. Following further the path of children’s literature in Canada will no doubt prompt discovery of new iterations of Radical Change in the decades to come.

A relatively uncelebrated medium, picture books have been delineated by some as mere child’s play; such sentiments are, we believe, inattentive to the complexities of this artistic and intellectual medium. Further investigation is suggested in relation to content of picture books from various locations and sources, with explicit attention to changing patterns and themes over time. While possibilities have been posed in this article related to active shifts in content, the collected data is insufficient to mark differences between the two groups of books as actual trends. We put forward the following topics particularly worthy of ongoing investigation in this regard: numbers of picture books in various genres as well as the evolution of blended genres; evolution of target audience-age with respect to picture-books, particularly books dealing with content for older readers only; new treatments of point of view, tense, and time; readability conventions; and voices yet unheard, including minority gender orientations and cultural perspectives reflecting anti-racist pedagogy and representations of various abilities.

In Wolfenbarder & Sipe’s (2007) words, “Picturebook authors are like poets searching for concise, spare evocative language that captures the essence of what the characters are experiencing…in tune with human needs and desires” illuminating “places within the reader’s experiences” and casting “light in those shadowy corners that lurk alongside the pathways to new understandings…self understanding or a greater awareness of one’s place in the world” (pp. 279-280). Casting light into the shadowy corners of picture book resources may also offer greater understanding of our treatment of childhood and children, and an increased awareness of where best to direct future efforts in order to fill gaps and address issues yet to be introduced. We therefore encourage further study of the picture book in an effort to identify trends and more deeply interrogate the reading landscape on which our children reside.


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Appendix A: Final Picture Book Content Analysis Chart

Title/Author Name & Gender/Year

Main Character(s) Name/Age/Gender


Audience Age*

Point of View *


Conventions for Readability*

New Perspectives*

Changing Boundaries*



Story and timeframe

Book Awards

**Notes were also taken for “Other” regarding additional information emerging from the readings

Specific Analysis Criteria Relating to *:

*Genre: Realistic Fiction; Historical Fiction; Fantasy-animal; Fantasy-human based in real world; Fantasy-human based in other world; Science Fiction; Mystery; Non-fiction; Narrative non-fiction; Other (specify)

*Audience Age: Birth-7; Junior 8+; Intermediate 11+; Young Adult 14+; Adult (for multiple audience, include all e.g., J/I/YA)

*Point of View: First Person/Third Person; Present/Past Tense

*Format: Sequential/Non-sequential in terms of time

*Conventions for Readability (specify): Header? Chapter Titles? Use of Italics for…? Bold Print for…? etc.

*New Perspectives (specify): Multiple Perspectives; Previously Unheard Voices (e.g.: exceptionality; minority culture; dialect; minority sexual orientation; occupation; socio-economic level)

*Changing Boundaries (specify): Subjects previously forbidden; new Settings; Unresolved Endings

*Parents: 1/2/specify marital status

*Setting: Landscape (urban, rural, unknown)/Context (Canadian, non-Canadian, unknown)

*Storyframe: Days/Weeks/Months/Years/Unknown; Timeframe: Contemporary/Past/Unknown

Appendix B: Bibliography of Canadian Picture Books Published in 2005

Alda, A. (2005). The book of ZZZs. (A. Alda, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Andrews, J. (2005). The twelve days of summer. (S. R. Jolliffe, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Azore, B. (2005). Wanda and the wild hair. (G. Graham, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Bateman, R. (2005). Backyard birds: An introduction. (I. Coutts & R. Bateman, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Campbell, N. I. (2005). Shi-shi-etko. (K. LaFave, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Carling, A. L. (2005). Sawdust Carpets. (A. L. Carling, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Clibbon, M. (2005). Imagine you’re a knight! (L. Clibbon, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Clibbon, M. (2005). Imagine you’re a princess! (L. Clibbon, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Coakley, L. (2005). Mrs. Goodhearth and the Gargoyle. (W. Bailey, Illustr). Victoria, BC: OrcaBook.

Coates, J. (2005). Rainbow in the dark. (A. Priestley, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press. 

Coulman, V. (2005). I’m a ballerina. (S. Lamb, Illustr). Montreal, QC: Lobster Press.

Cox, K. (2005). Mixed beasts. (W. Edwards, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. 

Dickens, N. (2005). By a thread. (G. Ross, Illustr). Victoria, BC: OrcaBook.

Downie, M. A. (2005). A pioneer ABC. (M. J. Gerber, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Elliott, G. (2005). The boy who loved bananas. (A. Krystoforski, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Ellis, S. (2005). Ben over night. (K. LaFave, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Faulkner, M. (2005). A day at the apple orchard. (A. Krawesky, Photographr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Fitch, S. (2005). Peek-a-little boo. (L. Watson, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Fitz-Gibbon, S. (2005). On Uncle John’s farm. (B. Deines, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Gay, M. (2005). Caramba. (Gay, M, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Gillmor, D. (2005). Sophie and the sea monster. (M. Martchenko, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Harvey, S. N. (2005). Puppies on board. (R. Cowles, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Heidbreder, R. (2005). Crocodiles say. (R. Maté, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books.

Helmer, M. (2005). One splendid tree. (D. Eastman, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Hughes, S. (2005). Earth to Audrey. (S. Poulin, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Jacobson, R. (2005). The Mona Lisa caper. (L. Fernandez & R. Jacobson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Jennings, S. (2005a). Bearcub and Mama. (M. Watt, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. 

Jennings, S. (2005b). Franklin’s library book. (C. Gagnon, S. Jeffrey, S. McIntyre, L. Vegys, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press. (all names listed as adaptors, not authors/illustrators)

Jocelyn, M. (2005). Over under. (T. Slaughter, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Koldofsky, E. (2005). Clip-clop. (D. Parkins, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Levert, M. (2005). Eddie longpants. (Levert, M, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

McNaughton, J. (2005). Brave Jack and the unicorn. (S. Tooke, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Mitchell-Cranfield, R. (2005). Snowy and Chinook. (J. Steedman, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books.

Montgomery, L. M. (2005). The way to Slumbertown. (R. Bédard, Illustr). Montreal, QC: Lobster Press.

Muller, R. (2005). Moon and star: A Christmas story. (Muller. R, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Munsch, R. (2005a). I’m so embarrassed. (M. Martchenko, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Scholastic.

Munsch, R. (2005b). The sandcastle contest. (M. Martchenko, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Scholastic.

Nejime, S. (2005). Bit by bit. (H. Castles, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Noyes, A. (2005). The highwayman. (M. Kimber, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Ohi, R. (2005). And you can come too. (Ohi. R, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Pearson, D. (2005). Kids do, animals too: A book of playground opposites. (N. Hilb, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Pendziwol, J. (2005a). A treasure at sea for dragon and me: Water safety for kids (and dragons). (M. Gourbault, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Pendziwol, J. (2005b). The red sash. (N. Debon, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Radford, S. (2005). Penelope and the monsters. (C. Tripp, Illustr). Montreal, QC: Lobster Press.

Ruurs, M. (2005). Emma at the fair. (B. Spurll, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Santamaria, B. (2005). Tales of the Monkey King. (B. Deines, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra. 

Siemiatycki, J. & Slodovnick, A. (2005). The baseball card. (L. Watson, Illustr). Montreal, QC: Lobster Press.

Sydor, C. (2005). Camilla chameleon. (P. Constantin, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Tibo, G. (2005). Where’s my hockey sweater? Translated by P. Johannson. (B. St-Aubin, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Todd, B. (2005). Roger gets carried away. (Rogé, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Toten, T. (2005). Bright red kisses. (D. Betteridge, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Trottier, M. (2005). The long white scarf. (D. Craig, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Wakeman, D. (2005). Ben’s big dig. (D. Van Stralen, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Watters, D. (2005). Where’s mom’s hair? (S. Hogan, Photographr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

Watts, L. E. (2005b). The baabaasheep quartet. (L.E. Watts, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Wilson, T. (2005a). Frosty is a stupid name. (D. Griffiths, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Yee, P. (2005). Bamboo. (S. Wang, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books.

Appendix C: Bibliography of Canadian Picture Books Published in 2015

Adderson, C. (2015a). Eat, Leo, eat. (J. Bisaillon, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Adderson, C. (2015b). I love you, one to ten. (C. Leist, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood.

Allenby, V. (2015). Timo’s garden. (D. Griffiths, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Arnaldo, M. (2015). The little book of big fears. (M. Arnaldo, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Ayer, P. (2015). Ready, set, kindergarten! (D. Arbour, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Bailey, L. (2015a). When Santa was a baby. (G. Godbout, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra.

Bailey, L. (2015b). Stanley at school. (B. Slavin, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Beaton, K. (2015). The princess and the pony. (D. Beaton, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Beck, C. (2015). That squeak. (F. Thisdale, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Bender, R. (2015). Giraffe meets bird. (R. Bender, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Berg, J. (2015). Rosie and Rolland in the legendary show-and-tell. (J. Berg, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Bolger, K. (2015a). Gran on a fan. (B. Hodson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

Bolger, K. (2015b). Lazy bear, crazy bear. (B. Hodson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

Bouchard, D. (2015). The first flute : Whowhoahyahzo tohkohya. (D. Oelze, Illustr). Markham, ON: Red Deer Press.

Bowes, L. (2015). Lucy tries luge. (J. Hearne, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Bozik, C. (2015). The ghosts go spooking. (P. Storms, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Cali, D. (2015). Snow white and the 77 dwarfs. (R. Barbanegre, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Christopher, N. (2015a). On the shoulder of a giant: An Inuit folktale. (J. Nelson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Christopher, N. (2015c). Way back then. (G. Amaktauyok, Illustr). Iqaluit, Nunavut : Inhabit Media.

Clement, G. (2015). Swimming, swimming. (G. Clement, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Cohen, N. (2015). Here babies, there babies. (C. Mok, Illustr). Halifax, NS: Nimbus.

Cole, K. (2015a). Fifteen dollars and thirty-five cents: A story about choices. (Q. Leng, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

Cole, K. (2015b). Never give up: A story about self-esteem. (Q. Leng, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

Cole, K. (2015c). Reptile flu: A story about communication. (Q. Leng, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

Coüelle, J. (2015). Kiss, kiss. Translated by K. Simon. (J. Laplante, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Crossingham, J. (2015). Turn off that light! (S. Wilson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Crozier, L. (2015). So many babies. (L. Watson, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Daniel, D. (2015). Sometimes I feel like a fox. (D. Daniel, Illustr.) Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Dawson, W. (2015). The wolf-birds. (W. Dawson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Diaz, N., & Owens, M. (2015). A ticket around the world. (K. Smith, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Dubuc, M. (2015a). Mr. Postmouse’s rounds. (M. Dubuc, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Dunklee, A. (2015). Me, too. (L. J. Smith, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Edwards, W. (2015). Once upon a line. (W. Edwards, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Ellis, S. (2015a). A+ for big Ben. (K. La Fave, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Ellis, S. (2015b). Ben says goodbye. (K. La Fave, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Farmer, B. (2015). Oscar lives next door: A story inspired by Oscar Peterson’s childhood. (M. Lafrance, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Fergus, M. (2015a). And what if I won’t? (Q. Leng, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Fergus, M. (2015b). Buddy and earl. (C. Sookocheff, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Fergus, M. (2015c). InvisiBill. (D. Petričić, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Florence, M. (2015). Missing Nimâmâ. (F. Thisdale, Illustr). Richmond Hill, ON: Clockwise Press.

Francis, M. (2015). Mayann’s train ride. (T. Thiébaux-Heikalo, Illustr). Halifax, NS: Nimbus.

Fullerton, A. (2015). In a cloud of dust. (B. Deines, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Gay, M. (2015). Princess Pistachio and the pest. (M. Gay, Illustr; J. Homel, trans.). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Ghigna, C. (2015). A carnival of cats. (K. Bridgeman, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Graham, G. (2015). Cub’s journey home. (C. Graham, Illustr). Markham, ON: Red Deer Press.

Grasso, P. (2015). Five busy beavers. (C. Battuz, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Gravel, E. (2015a). Head lice. (E. Gravel, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Gravel, E. (2015b). The spider. (E. Gravel, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Hainnu, R. (2015). A walk on the shoreline. (Q. Leng, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Heidbreder, R. (2015a). Crocs at work. (R. Maté, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books.

Heidbreder, R. (2015b). Song for a summer night: A lullaby. (Q. Leng, Ilustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books. 

Hicks, N. (2015). Hurry up, Ilua! (N. Hicks, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Hodge, D. (2015). West coast wild: A nature alphabet. (K. Reczuch, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Howells, T. (2015). Starring shapes. (T. Howells, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Hughes, A. (2015). Gerbil, uncurled. (S. Del Rizzo, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Huser, G. (2015). The golden touch: A retlling of the Legend of King Midas. (P. Beha, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books.

Hutchins, H. (2015). Snap! (D. Petričić, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Hyman, Z. (2015). Hockey hero. (Z. Pullen, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Isabella, J. (2015). The red bicycle: The extraordinary story of one ordinary bicycle. (S. Shin, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Jurevicius, N. (2015). Junction. (N. Jurevicius, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Koyama Press.

Kelsey, E. (2015). Wild ideas: Let nature inspire your thinking. (E. Kelsey, Illustr). Toronto, ON: OWL Kids.

Krishnaswami, U. (2015). Bright sky, starry city. (A. Sicuro, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Kulling, M. (2015a). Grant and Tillie go walking. (S. Smith, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Kulling, M. (2015b). The tweedles go online. (M. Lafrance, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Laidlaw, B. (2015). Elephant journey: The true story of three zoo elephants and their rescue from captivity. (B. Deines, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Larsen, A. (2015). See you next year. (T. Stewart, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Lawson, J. (2015). Sidewalk flowers. (S. Smith, Illustra). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Lee, D. (2015). Melvis and Elvis. (J. Tankard, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

Lesynski, L. (2015). Crazy about hockey. (G. Rasmussen, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Lightburn, R. (2015). Frankenstink: Garbage gone bad. (R. Lightburn, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Little, L. (2015). Work and more work. (O. T. Pérez, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Lloyd, J. (2015). Taffy time. (J. Lee, Illustr). Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books.

Maclear, K. (2015a). The good little book. (M. Arbona, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

 Maclear, K. (2015b). The specific ocean. (K. Maurey, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Mallory, C. (2015). Painted skies. (A. Zhao, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Meida.

Martin, W. (2015). Robot SMASH! (J. C. Solon, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Mattick, L. (2015). Finding Winnie. (S. Blackall, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

McCarney, R. (2015a). The way to school. (R. McCarney, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

McCarney, R. (2015b). Tilt your head, Rosie the red. (Y. Cathcart, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Second Story Press.

Mok, C. (2015). Ride the big machines across Canada. (C. Mok, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

Munsch, R. (2015). Ready, set, go! (M. Martchenko, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Napayok-Short, S. (2015). Wild eggs: A tale of Arctic egg collecting. (J. Wright, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Nickel, B. (2015). A boy asked the wind. (G. Newland, Illustr). Markham, ON: Red Deer Press.

Noah, J, & Giroux, C. (2015). Our first Caribou hunt. (H. Lim, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Qitsualik-Tinsley, R., & Qitsualik-Tinsley, S. (2015b). Lesson for the wolf. (A. Cook, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Inhabit Media.

Oldland, N. (2015). Walk on the wild side. (N. Oldland, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

O’Leary, S. (2015). This is Sadie. (J. Morstad, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Paleja, S. (2015). Power up: A visual exploration of energy. (G. Tse, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Petričić, D. (2015). My family tree and me. (D. Petričić, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Reid, B. (2015). Sing a song of bedtime. (B. Reid, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Ritchie, S. (2015). Look where we live: A first book of community building. (S. Ritchie, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Roberts, J. (2015). Where do babies come from? Our first talk about birth. (C. Revell, Illustr). Victoria, BC: Orca Book.

Roderick, S. (2015). Dinosaurs from head to tail. (K. Moriya, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Ruurs, M. (2015). School days around the world. (A. Feagan, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Sherrard, V. (2015). Down here. (I. Malenfant, Illustr). Markham, ON: Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Skibsrud, J., & Blacker, S. (2015). Sometimes we think you are a monkey. (J. Morstad, Illustr). Toronro, ON: Penguin Books.

Snyder, C. (2015). The candy conspiracy: A tale of sweet victory. (C. Dávila, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Stella, S., & Stella, M. (2015). In the waves. (S. Björkman, Illustr). Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.

Syliboy, A. (2015). The thundermaker. (A. Syliboy, Illustr). Halifax, NS: Nimbus.

Thornhill, J. (2015). Kyle goes alone. (A. Barron, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Tibo, G. (2015a). Most valuable player. Translated by P. Johannson. (B. St-Aubin, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Tibo, G. (2015b). The little knight who battled monsters. Translated by P. Johannson. (G. Després, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic.

Torres, J. (2015a). Chirp: Astro-birds. (J. Torres, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Torres, J. (2015b). Chirp: Knights of the awesome castle. (J. Torres, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Torres, J. (2015c). Chirp: Thar she blows. (J. Torres, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Torres, J. (2015d). Chirp: To the peak. (J. Torres, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Tougas, C. (2015a). Dojo daytrip. (C. Tougas, Illustr.) Toronto, ON: Owlkids.

Tsiang, S. (2015). The night children. (D. Bodet, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Vickers, R. H., & Budd, R. (2015). Orca chief. (R. H. Vickers, Illustr). Madeira Park, BC: Harhour.

Villeneuve, A. (2015). Loula and Mister the monster. (A. Villeneauve, Illustr.) Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Wahl, C. (2015). Rosario’s fig tree. (L. Melanson, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Wallace, M. (2015). An inuksuk means welcome. (M. Wallace, Illustr.) Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books.

Walters, E. (2015). Today is the day. (E. Fernandes, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Watt, M. (2015). Bug in a vacuum. (M. Watt, Illustr.) Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.  

Wilson, T. (2015). The duck says. (M. Boldt, Illustr). Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada.

Winstanley, N. (2015). The pirate’s bed. (M. James, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.

Winters, K. (2015). Bad pirate. (D. Griffiths, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.

Young, C. (2015a). Some things I’ve lost. (C. Young, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books.

Young, C. (2015b). The queen’s shadow: A story about how animals see. (C. Young, Illustr). Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.


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