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Holiday Reads: Best Books for Kids 2017


My first book post of the year is a new one – books for kids! I absolutely love gifting little ones with books to help foster a lifelong love of reading – and capture their imaginations while they’re still little. Here are a few of the top books I scoped out this season that would make perfect presents for any children and tots you’re shopping for this holiday season.

When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Genevieve Godbout – $13.99 (board book format)
Board books are ideal for the little little ones, and this holiday-themed gem is a perfectly festive pick that’ll keep the kiddies entertained and invoke the magic of Christmas. While we all know Santa as a wizened, white-bearded old man, at some point he was a child. This sweet story posits how becoming Santa Claus was basically his destiny – after all, young Santa loved exploring chimneys, wearing red, hanging out by the fridge’s cool air, and laughing merrily. While Santa may have been an odd duck growing up, he finally finds his home sweet home in the North Pole – and the rest as they say, is history!

Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson – $21.99
The bright colours and whimsical drawings are what will bring the kids to the table – but stay tuned for the extra sweet message. This lovely picture book centers on a puzzle piece named Oliver that longs to fit in, even going so far as to disguise himself. But Oliver must learn a lesson that’s very fitting for little ones (and adults too): That it’s no use forcing where you fit in the world, eventually it will just come naturally to you. With bright, bold designs and a message of being proud of what makes you different, this is an extra special read this season.

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater and The Fan Brothers – $23.99
This dreamy book has the feeling of a classic picture book while asking big and bold questions. Marco the Fox lives on an island, but dreams of much more. When a ship arrives onshore piloted by other (wayward) animals, he decides to join the crew in hopes of finding other foxes that can answer Marco’s deep questions, like ‘How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?’ With striking full-colour images and rip-roaring adventures on the high seas, this charming book celebrates curiosity and a thirst for discovery, inspiring young minds too!

Counting on Snow by Maxwell Newhouse – $11.38
Now available in toddler-friendly board book, this simple book is all about the striking visuals. Each page is illustrated with a wintery snowscape featuring a herd of arctic critters – from wolves to seals to polar bears. The ‘story’ itself is more for education purposes as each page outlines a number and an action the animals are taking. I love this as a book that feels just right for gifting during the holiday season, even if it’s not directly festive. Just cuddle up and tuck in for a pre-bedtime story!

Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro – $22.99
If you’re all about the artwork, then this gorgeous picture book will easily win your heart. I sort of liken it to a modern, more richly coloured Maurice Sendak vibe, with crazy critters and lovely nature scenes punctuated by whimsical vignettes. In one, Yak is looking for a new best friend – his buddy Marmot decides to hold a competition to essentially recruit someone. A little Dove catches his eye, and they compare notes on why they could make great friends. For the record, that is just one story in this little collection – you can easily read them all at once or split them up for multiple story sessions of fun adventures between this unlikely twosome.

When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge and Matt James – $21
Could there be a more Canadian children’s book? This atmospheric book is beautifully illustrated with winter scenes and a hockey-themed storyline. First, winter rolls in, sending the birds flying and the snow falling. Next, the river freezes over, and the kids bundle up to tumble down the hill toward their beloved ice rink. Finally, with a full moon to play under, the puck drops and their wishes are fulfilled until they trundle on home, tired and frozen and happy. Geared toward a slightly older reader, this book has really beautiful prose to go alongside its oil painting-esque visuals – perfect for any budding Crosbys or McDavids in the house!

Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi – $23.99
Sometimes the simplest ideas make the biggest and brightest tales, as is this case in this delightful book that teaches children about collaboration and teamwork. Sam and Eva are both budding artists, but neither one wants to team up, leading to an all out creative war that eventually overwhelms the twosome. What’s particularly cool is how the book is designed; Sam & Eva remain black and white figures throughout, with a stark white canvas at the beginning of the book that gets increasingly chaotic as the story continues. Pick it up to discover how these young ‘uns resolve their differences once and for all!

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus and Cale Atkinson – $21.99 
Thanks to the internet, kids these days are more suspect than ever of the big man himself, Santa Claus. This fun book (illustrated by the same person as Where Oliver Fits) posits a world where Santa questions the existence of Harold, one of the little boys of the world he’s otherwise meant to deliver gifts to. Turning the whole ‘is Santa a myth?’ thing on its head, this tongue-in-cheek story is a super festive, lighthearted pick for any kid that needs to reinvigorate their belief in the spirit of Christmas.

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima – $23.99
Given narwhals are nicknamed the unicorns of the sea, it was only a matter of time before a book author picked up on the similarity. This seriously adorable picture book follows Kelp, born deep in the sea and raised by narwhals, only Kelp knows he’s not quite the same – after all, his horn is much shorter and he’s a terrible swimmer. Things change however, when Kelp stumbles across a unicorn and begins to realize just what he is. The only catch is figuring out where Kelp belongs from here. This crazy cute book is basically like Elf but in the sea!

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Jake Parker – $23.99
I had to squeeze in one more holiday book for the season! In the 12 Sleighs of Christmas, Santa’s elves (lead by Tim, their crew chief) discover that the magical sleigh is completely trashed. Instead of simply repairing the sleigh to get it on its way, however, the industrious elves decide to have a build-off and let Santa choose what sleigh to use. As you can imagine, however, the elves’ new designs, while ambitious and fun, all tend to have their drawbacks. A crazy fun and festive pick, particularly for fans of cars, racing, and the spirit of Christmas.

If you’re raising a reader, then you’ll definitely want to enter to win today’s prize package – featuring all 10 books highlighted in this post and valued at $210! If you want a chance to win, here’s how to enter:

1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then leave me a comment below by November 26, 2017 telling me your top two (or more) reads from this list!

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around November 27, 2017 to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entries: If you’re interested in staying in the loop on the publishers that worked with me on this post, all you have to do is sign up for their social media, and while you’re at it, earn bonus entries into this fun giveaway! Just be sure to leave separate comments with links back to earn your bonus entries.

Penguin Random House of Canada – Is the publisher of The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold, Yak and Dove, When The Moon Comes, Counting on Snow, When Santa Was a Baby, and Where Oliver FitsFollow Penguin Random House on Instagram and like one of their posts. Then leave a separate comment below that tells me you’ve done so and includes your IG username. You can earn an *extra* entry as well by following PRHC’s imprint Tundra Books, focused on amazing children’s books like the ones you see in this post! Simply like one of their posts and do the same as above 🙂 

Simon & Schuster – Is the publisher of Not Quite Narwhal, Sam & Eva, and The Antlered Ship. Follow Simon Teen Canada on Twitter, then send out a Tweet that tags them and me (@cdngiftguide) and includes a link back to this post, highlighting this awesome giveaway. Link back to your Tweet in a separate comment below.

Raincoast  – Is the publisher of The 12 Sleighs of ChristmasFollow Raincoast Books on Instagram and regram your favourite post from their feed onto your own, then share a link to your post in a separate comment below to nab an extra entry into this draw.

 

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Comments
150 Responses to “Holiday Reads: Best Books for Kids 2017”
  1. aketch says:

    I would like Yak and Dove and Counting on Snow!

  2. AnnieP says:

    My top two are When the Moon Comes and Yak and Dove

  3. Steven Y says:

    My top two would by Not Quite Narwhal and Counting on Snow

  4. Audrey Skinner says:

    We would love to read When The Moon Comes and The 12 Sleighs Of Christmas.

  5. Nathalie Lebeau says:

    Where Oliver Fits
    Yak and dove
    The antlered ship
    Love them all!! I just started a book shelf in my sons room! Would love to add these to his collection!

  6. Joan G. says:

    Both my grandkids are avid readers – I think they would enjoy The 12 Sleighs of Christmas and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

  7. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    My top 2 are;
    – When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Genevieve Godbout
    – The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Jake Parker

  8. Heather Swanson says:

    The Antlered Ship & The Day Santa stopped believing in Harold.

  9. CLC says:

    These are all great. My top two would be Where Oliver Fits and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

  10. Amy M says:

    My top two reads from the list above for my daughter would be Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima and When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Genevieve Godbout. I love the illustrations of both of these books, and we enjoy collecting new stories to read for Christmas!

  11. Amy M says:

    I liked Penguin Random House of Canada on Instagram and liked one of their posts. IG username amymoyburn.

  12. Amy M says:

    I follow Simon Teen Canada on Twitter and tweeted them here https://twitter.com/AmyMTorontoMom/status/931158339857379328 for a bonus entry

  13. Marlene V says:

    I would love the The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and Not Quite Narwhal books.

  14. Giselle says:

    It is tradition to read Christmas stories on Christmas Eve in our house so I would love The Day Santa Stopped Believing In Harold and When Santa Was A Baby. They sound so cute!

  15. Oh I love LOVE your book giveaways! My favourites are Yak and Dove and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

  16. I follow @penguinrandomca on Instagram and liked one of their posts. I’m @trysmallthings.

  17. Nancy Pollack says:

    Love book giveaways. I would love the Antlered Ship and Not Quite Narwahl.

  18. Erin Foster says:

    The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and Not Quite Narwhal

  19. Cara says:

    Great books….I like When the Moon Comes and Not Quite Narwal

  20. Catherine Burke says:

    Love giving and receiving books. We read and gift all the time. When Santa was a baby and When the Moon comes sound perfect for gifts.

  21. corkrose says:

    I follow @penguinrandomhouse under @corkrosy

  22. Leah A says:

    not quite narwhal and the antlered ship are on the christmas book list already!

  23. doreen lamoureux says:

    I subscribe by email…I love the The 12 Slieghs of Christmas and Sam and Eva. They are all fantiastic reads, I am sure.

  24. Joyce Curtis-Bonardi says:

    When Santa Was A Baby and When The Moon Comes

  25. tammy ta says:

    Yak and Dove & When the Moon Comes would be my top two picks from this list.

  26. Leah says:

    This list is amazing! I would love to read my daughter Not Quite Narwhal and Where Oliver Fits, but I couldn’t just pick two – Sam and Eva looks lovely as well!

  27. Carole D. says:

    Amazing list my top two read are The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Jake Parker and Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Thank you! Already a subscriber.

  28. Carole D. says:

    I follow Penguin Random House of Canada and like this post. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbR-4Q6lhbM/?taken-by=penguinrandomca

  29. Carole D. says:

    I follow Simon & Schuster on twitter

  30. Carole D. says:

  31. Susanne C says:

    ‘When Santa Was a Baby’ would be great for grandson; ‘Not Quite Narwhal’ – my granddaughter, who loves unicorns would enjoy.

  32. Alyssa says:

    Where Oliver fits, not quite narwhal, and counting on snow!

  33. Alyssa says:

    Followed and liked penguin random house of canada! @borntobewildroar on Instagram

  34. kandi H says:

    The Top two from my list would be “When the Moon Comes” and “Counting on Snow”

  35. janinevan09 says:

    i would love to read ‘when santa was a baby’ and ‘where oliver fits’ 🙂

  36. kandi H says:

    I followed penguin random house of canada (holkan123)

  37. kandi H says:

    I followed tundra books on instagram (holkan123)

  38. Calvin F. says:

    I like when santa was a baby and Counting on Snow

  39. Calvin F. says:

    Link to tweet

  40. I’m a subscriber. I think Counting on Snow looks fab (because of the cool graphics) and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold (because it looks super cute and funny).

  41. Alanna Watt says:

    My top two picks are The Not Quite Narwhal and Yak and Dove! Thanks for the chance!

  42. Alanna Watt says:

    I followed and liked posts on Peguin Random House and Imprint Tundra Books on IG from @miss.marley.anne!

  43. Sara Wappler says:

    When Santa Was A Baby and When The Moon Comes

  44. Wayne Couzens says:

    I liked and followed Peguin Random House @cou0068

  45. Wayne Couzens says:

    I have followed and liked PRHC’s imprint Tundra Books, @cou0068

  46. Rebecca G says:

    I love not quite narwhal and the 12 sleighs of christmas

  47. George Meek says:

    I would love to win Yak & Dove so I could gift it to the sweet little girl living next door to me.

  48. Linda says:

    My 2 favorites are Not Quite Narwhal and Yak and Dove.

  49. cookie3 says:

    All of these would be great reading but my top 2 are:
    1-The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold &
    2-The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

  50. Lois Tobias says:

    All the books tease by their titles. I would love to read “When Santa was a Baby” myself. I have fourteen greatgrandkids and several would benefit from reading these books. Thanks for the chance.

  51. Kathleen L says:

    My top two would be Not Quite Narwhal and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold. Where Oliver Fits also looks really good

  52. Jessica Lord says:

    Beautiful prize! Would love to win his for our kids book collection. I would choose “Where Oliver Fits”

  53. When the moon comes and Yak and Dove

  54. Myra says:

    Having lots of children’s books in the home makes a child’s future more attainable and 10 more will be gratefully accetped.

  55. Shirley says:

    Yak and Dove and When Santa was a baby are my 2 favourites.

  56. Kelly H says:

    Not Quite Narwhal and Counting on snow are my top 2 picks!

  57. Theresa Jones says:

    When Santa was a Baby, Not Quite Narwhal, The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

  58. Colette says:

    Sam and Eva, and Not quite Norwal

  59. Rosa Cross says:

    Where Oliver Fits and Sam & Eva

  60. Margaret Huitema says:

    I think a great book would be The 12 Sleighs Of Christmas

  61. Gemma says:

    The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater and The Fan Brothers

  62. Sunshine G says:

    I like the looks of Sam and Eva.

  63. Nicole B says:

    They all sound so fun but I have had my eye on The Antlered Ship for a while and I also think The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold sounds hilarious!

  64. janicour says:

    Where Oliver Fits , ,Yak and Dove. look intriguing, but all the books look really good.

  65. Cathy Plesz says:

    My top two would be “The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold” and “When Santa was a baby”. Santa, Santa, Santa HoHoho!

  66. Kirsten N says:

    My top 2 would be When Santa was a Baby and Yak and Dove

  67. janicour says:

  68. Debbie Fedorak says:

    Great collection of books, I hope I am the winner my grandchildren would really enjoy me reading these books to them.

  69. Rosanne says:

    The theme of “Where Oliver Fits” is so important. Every child is looking to see where they fit into the world and yet keep their own individuality. In addition, The 12 Sleighs of Christmas is a great for the upcoming Christmas season. Hopefully, my two nieces will enjoy all them! 8)

  70. Linda says:

    My top 2 are When Santa was a baby and Yak and Dove

  71. Cate says:

    I’m all about narwhals, so definitely Not Quite Narwhal and Yak and Dove!

  72. Graham Lindfield says:

    We really enjoyed “Sam + Eva” and “Not Quite Narwhal”

  73. kj says:

    I gotta say … they all look and sound wonderful, but my heart goes out to Yak and Dove and my curiosity goes out to The Antlered Ship. I mean really … how deep into the ocean DOES the sun sink?

  74. Holly says:

    I like Yak and Dove and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

  75. Lisa Marshall says:

    I like “Where Oliver Fits” and “Not Quite Narwhal”.

  76. bkick1 says:

    My 2 favorite reads would be – Yak and Dove & Not Quite Narwhal.

  77. When the Moon Comes, Yak and Dove

  78. macfsh says:

    I subscribe. My two favourites are Not Quite Narwhal and Where Oliver Fits. Nice list of books for children!

  79. macfsh says:

    I followed PenguinCanada on Instagram. I am @macfsh. I liked the post with the gift that there is a book for everyone – which led me to another contest!

  80. sarah says:

    The 12 sleighs of Christma, Not Quite Narwhal and where Oliver Fits all look fantastic. Thanks

  81. sarah says:

    Followed PRHC on instagram and liked one of their photos, oddlyoddindeed

  82. sarah says:

    Followed and liked a photo on tundra Books instagram, oddlyoddindeed

  83. Aimee says:

    I am a subscriber
    I would like Yak and Dove and Counting on Snow!

  84. Where Oliver Fits and Not Quite Narwhal sound super cute!

  85. crystal porter says:

    I subscribe!

    The 12 sleighs of Christmas and the Day Santa stopped believing in Harold

  86. Aarone Mawdsley says:

    i like the counting on snow book

  87. Burcu says:

    I love Not Quite Narwhal and Counting on Snow

  88. katydidit21 says:

    My top two picks would be When the Moon Comes and Not Quite Narwhal.

  89. katydidit21 says:

    Liked Penguin Random House Canada on Instagram and like a post. IG username: m.kimberley

  90. Amy L Doyle says:

    My picks would be the 12 sleighs of Christmas and the Day Santa stopped believing in Harold

  91. Ellen says:

    When the Moon Comes and Yak and Dove 🙂

  92. Maryanne says:

    Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson! We love this author!

  93. AliKira says:

    When the Moon Comes and Where Oliver Fits are both of interest to me!

  94. Rosa Cross says:

    Where Oliver Fits and Yak and Dove are two that would be on top of my list.

  95. aliyadaya says:

    I am a subscriber. I helped raise two readers now in their teen years, but my little godson who is soon to be three, loved books and reading. His face lights up whenever he is presented with a new book. All of these look like amazing books, but I would love to present The 12 Sleighs of Christmas, The Antlered Ship and When Santa Was A Baby to my favourite little guy!

  96. aliyadaya says:

    I follow Penguin Random House Canada on Instagram as @rogue_femme and I liked and commented on this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba7Q27PjZ_z/?taken-by=penguinrandomca

  97. aliyadaya says:

    I follow PRHC Imprint Tundra on Instagram as @rogue_femme and liked and commented on this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbkwNseg035/?taken-by=tundrabooks

  98. Ira says:

    I’d love to read The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and The Antlered Ship with my kids.

  99. kampar77 says:

    I think my daughter would enjoy The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and Not Quite Narwhal.

  100. kampar77 says:

    Followed Penguin Random House Canada on IG + commented on a post – @kampar77

  101. kampar77 says:

    Followed PRHC’s imprint Tundra Books on IG + commented on a post – @kampar77

  102. KellyPC says:

    Not Quite Narwhal & Yak and Dove look awesome!

  103. Eleanor says:

    The 12 Sleighs of Christmas & When the moon comes

  104. mousecat says:

    I think my top two picks from this list would be; 1. The Day Santa Stops Believing in Harold and 2. Not Quite Narwhal

  105. SarahM says:

    As an elementary school librarian I’m always looking for books for boys. 12 Sleighs, When the Moon Comes and When Santa Stopped Believing all look great for that tough to please bunch!

  106. Stacey M says:

    My niece and nephew would love these books! My nephew’s name is Oliver, and my niece loves unicorns, so my top two picks would be Where Oliver Fits and Not Quite Narwhal

  107. ginette4 says:

    My top 2 books from this list is Sam & Eva and When Santa Was A Baby
    thank you so much for this giveaway..our grand-daughter is very young but she does love her books..fingers crossed for her 🙂

  108. AshC says:

    I think Not Quite Narwhal and Sam & Eva sound nice!

  109. misselles80 says:

    Sam & Eva, Not Quite Narwhal and When Santa Was a Baby are a few titles that I’d love to read to my kids! Thanks so much for the chance to win, they love story time!

  110. carrie l says:

    where oliver fits – number one-hands down- then probably yak and dove

  111. Yak and Dove and The Day Santa stopped Believing in Harold both look really entertaining

  112. Danielle says:

    Not Quite Narwhal sounds like the cutest book! My next pick would be When The Moon Comes!

  113. Susan J. says:

    The Antlered Ship and the 12 Sleighs of Christmas

  114. Christina D says:

    Already a subscriber! Not quite Narwhal and the 12 Sleighs Of Christmas look like really cute fun reads my kiddos would enjoy!

  115. Christina D says:

    Following Penguin random House on IG! Liked their post! (@benchmark.faria)

  116. Christina D says:

    Also liked Tundra Books on IG (@benchmark.faria)

  117. Lynn Hawton says:

    I like Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear & The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus. Thanks for the chance!

  118. Rachel C. says:

    “Yak and Dove” and “Where Oliver Fits” both look super cute!

  119. Olivia T says:

    Sam and Eva

  120. Anne Derkat says:

    I’m picking three. Not Quite Narshal, Sam & Eva and The Antlered Ship.

  121. LisaM says:

    The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and Not Quite Narwhal are probably my favourite

  122. Laura says:

    When Santa was a Baby and Where Oliver Fits

  123. Nancy says:

    When The Moon Comes & YAK and DOVE

  124. KATHLEEN CRIPPS says:

    Sam and Eva

  125. Alayne Langford says:

    I am a subscriber and I would love to read When the Moon Comes and Sam and Eva to my grand daughter named Ava 🙂

  126. dawn walsh says:

    The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and the when santa was a baby

  127. Aimee says:

    I followed Simon on twitter and tweeted

  128. Alison K says:

    I’m a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide. My top two reads from this list would be:
    Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson – $21.99
    Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima – $23.99

  129. Alison K says:

    Bonus @penguinrandomca Entry : Followed Penguin Random House on Instagram and liked one of their posts https://www.instagram.com/p/BK1auSHhwhx/?taken-by=penguinrandomca (@soulseeker00)

  130. Alison K says:

    Bonus @tundrabooks Entry : Followed Tundra Books on Instagram and liked one of their posts https://www.instagram.com/p/BbkwNseg035/?taken-by=tundrabooks (@soulseeker00)

  131. Alison K says:

    Bonus @SimonTeenCA Entry: Followed Simon Teen Canada on Twitter and tweeted https://twitter.com/SoulSeeker0/status/934656368031731712

  132. Alison K says:

    Bonus @raincoastbooks Entry : Follow Raincoast Books on Instagram and regrammed https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb8n8x9gyrw/?taken-by=soulseeker00

  133. Allison Matz says:

    Counting on Snow and Yak and Dove, I think my grandsons would like them all.

  134. I think my girls would most enjoy The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold and Where Oliver Fits!

  135. Cindy Martin says:

    My top two would be Sam & Eva and The Twelve Sleighs of Christmas. Thanks so much for the great giveaway…good luck to everyone!

  136. Lorna Braun says:

    Where Oliver Fits and Not Quite Narwhal

  137. Mary Danieli says:

    My top 2 faves are: Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro and Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. I know a pair of little ones who would love these.

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