Young boy smiling at the camera while reading book

Photo courtesy of Marie Noreau

What better way to relax and enjoy the holidays than to curl up with your kiddos and read a good book. Holiday reading with kids is also a delightful way for parents and kids to explore books with advanced content together, particularly if your child is struggling to learn to read. Many children, especially dyslexic children, benefit from this approach because they may fully understand a story but may not have the decoding skills to read a story smoothly by themselves. This method inspires discussions afterwards and gives kids the chance to ask about anything they didn’t understand.

For this holiday season, we’re suggesting parents and Santa choose Canadian-authored children’s books. But with so many terrific Canadian writers out there, where do you begin? We consulted our Open Door book elves—AKA kids, parents, librarians, and prize-lists—and assembled a few suggestions to help get you started.


Unplugged by Gordon Korman (ages 9 and up)

The story takes place in a fictional wellness camp called Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness in the backwoods of Arkansas and is told through the voices of the four main characters. Some found it “chilling” but why not find out for yourself?

Gordon Korman’s name came up frequently among kids, parents, and librarians.

“Korman is definitely a favourite author in our house—lots of laugh-out-loud moments,” says parent, Nancy Carlson.  “His books are perfect for parents to read with their children. Our Man Weston and I Want to Go Home were favourites for my husband and I.”

Their son Erik, says Korman’s books are “great and humourous” and he especially liked the MacDonald Hall series, namely The Zucchini Warriors and The Jokes on Us.”


Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel (ages 9-and up)

In this fast-paced, cliff-hanger, Shade, the littlest bat in his Silverwing bat colony gets blown far off-track, while migrating south. He must find his own way to the winter colony in order to survive. A nail biter, or should we say a claw-biter? Kenneth Oppel is a very popular author who is on high rotation at Ontario’s local libraries.


Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson (ages 10 and up)

Theo, a young girl living with her undependable mother, are trapped in a cycle of poverty. She longs to belong to a real family and her dream seems to come true when she is strangely adopted by the perfect Kaldor family. As her life goes and reality sets in, she asks herself, Am I awake or dreaming? Kit Pearson has written numerous chapter books for young teen readers and her books are routinely checked out at public libraries across Canada.

“As I kid, I loved Kit Pearson, especially her novel Awake and Dreaming but I think I read of Kit Pearson’s books,” says Children’s Librarian, Sarah Bradt.


 The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson (ages 9 and up)

In this Narnia-inspired story, two Indigenous children, Morgan and Eli, feel disconnected from their culture at school and in their new foster home. When they discover a secret portal in their bedroom, it leads them to the barren grounds where they learn about their Cree lineage. Robertson is an Indigenous author who has published several popular children and teen chapter books.

Teen boy with ball cap engrossed in reading book

Photo courtesy of Marie Noreau

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson (ages 6 and up)

This is a picture book that gently teaches about life in residential schools. Watch this interview with author, David A. Robertson and grade one teacher, Pamela Dirksen who teaches the book in her classroom.


We Share Everything by Robert Munsch (ages 4 and up)

On their first day at Kindergarten, Amanda and Jeremiah throw fits when they can’t play with the same paint box. The teacher tells them, over and over, “We share everything”.  In true Robert Munsch form, they take this to an extreme and sharing everything, including their clothes. More Robert Munsch favourites include: Love You Forever, More Pies, Mortimer and A Promise is A Promise—co-written with Michael Kusugak.


Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories By Elise Gravel (age 7 and up)

Elise Gravel uses her wit, humour and unique illustration style to demonstrate what fake news is, why people spread it, and how to tell what is real and what isn’t. Elise Gravel books writes in French and English and her books are highly popular among young teen readers.


We All Play by Julie Flett (ages 1 year and up)

Indigenous author and artist celebrates joyful play among all animals, reminding young readers how all creatures play with each other. The book includes beautiful images and simple text, including several Cree phrases.  Julie Flett’s picture books are engaging and highly popular among parents of babies and toddlers. Check out your local library for its complete Julie Flett collection.


Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid (for babies and up)

This is a picture book and a favourite of Children’s Librarian Sarah Bradt. Reid illustrates her books by creating the pictures from clay and then photographing the sculpture-like images. Her colourful picture books are favourites among young children and on high-rotation at the libraries.


Suggestions from Book Awards and Publishers:


Other Open Door Blog Posts you may find helpful:

Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is written for parents of children with dyslexia. Comments? If you have comments about this blog or would like to contribute, please contact us at We welcome your blog topic suggestions!
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