Books that Make Great Gifts for Kids of All Ages

Posted on December 9th, 2020 by pajamapress

These books boast beautiful artwork, making them great gifts for any occasion.

Gift Books for Ages 1–3

This is My Daddy!

by Mies van Hout

A lively series of spreads invites young readers to guess the fathers of various baby animals by choosing among several candidates. The fathers are revealed following each multiple-choice page. The final puzzle, involving a human boy, resolves in a humorous surprise.

Shape Up, Construction Trucks!

by Victoria Allenby

Little fans of big trucks will bounce to the rollicking rhyme as they find triangles on dump trucks, squares on cranes, and semi-circles on excavators. Bright photographs, chant-along text, and a closing list of enrichment activities make this a shape book to remember.

Snow Days

by Deborah Kerbel, illus. Miki Sato

For small children, snow is a wonder. Snow Days captures the magic of winter with nimble couplets that celebrate every kind of winter pleasure. Each illustration is a masterpiece made from paper, felt, and embroidery silk, inviting readers to look again and again.

Baby Cakes

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

This sweet and simple introduction to instructional texts will have youngsters eager to try making something in the kitchen for the first time.

From 1 to 10

by Mies van Hout

Rendered in bold colours and hues that appeal to toddlers, this book encourages little ones to count the stripes on a fish and the fingers on a monkey, or learn the letters in new words.

Giraffe Meets Bird

by Rebecca Bender

Learn how two unlikely friends met in this prequel to the highly-praised Giraffe and Bird, boasting scrumptious synonyms and bright acrylics.

Good Morning Grumple

by Victoria Allenby, illus. Manon Gauthier

Not every child greets the new day with enthusiasm. Those who don’t are called Grumples, and must be dealt with carefully. This unique celebration of morning captures the love between a parent and their child, even in the crankiest of moments.

Hat On, Hat Off

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

It’s time for this little fellow to go outside, but it’s cold out—what will he wear to keep warm? So many hats to choose from! The simple, rhythmic text of Hat On, Hat Off reflects the everyday challenge of getting a toddler ready to go out.

How Do You Feel?

by Rebecca Bender

The toad feels bumpy, like a gnarly tree. The snake feels smooth, like a stone polished by the sea. The hedgehog is discovering the textures of his animal friends, but how does the hedgehog feel himself? Lyrical text and endearing illustrations make this a perfect book for little ones, who may even be inspired to find new ways to express how they feel.

The Haircut

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

The Haircut captures the toddler experience of getting a haircut with simplicity and charm. In the Toddler-Tough format with padded cover and extra-heavy pages that are easy to turn and hard to tear, The Haircut is perfect for little ones who are just beginning to feel big.

Gift Books for Ages 3–7

Raven, Rabbit, Deer

by Sue Farrell Holler, illus. Jennifer Faria

A little boy spends the day with his grandfather, endearingly imagining himself to be the caregiver. On a walk through the forest, the grandfather teaches him to identify a number of animals and their tracks: raven, rabbit, deer, sparrow. Back at the house, their special time ends with milk, cookies, and story time that turns into a nap.

Teaching Mrs. Muddle

by Colleen Nelson, illus. Alice Carter

Kayla is worried about missing home or getting lost on the first day of kindergarten but is quickly distracted by the need to help her teacher get through the day. Humorously, the reader sees what Kayla does not: that Mrs. Muddle’s frequent mistakes as she shows them around the school and introduces routines are deliberate ploys to encourage her students’ leadership potential. With Kayla’s help, the class experiences the library, music room, office, gym, and playground as well as centers in the kindergarten classroom.

Nutcracker Night

by Mireille Messier, illus. Gabrielle Grimard

The Nutcracker ballet an New York City’s David H. Koch Theater come to life in this onomatopoeic representation of a little girl’s experience at the ballet. Beautiful illustration infuses each scene with warm holiday colours and a richness that will make young readers feel they are really there.

Pencil: A Story with a Point

by Ann Ingalls, illus. Dean Griffiths

Pencil and his boy Jackson are a great pair, that is until Jackson meets Tablet. Now finding himself dumped in the junk drawer, Pencil must sketch up a plan to draw Jackson back into their friendship. Kid-friendly puns and an upbeat tone make this a wonderful celebration of friendship, collaboration, and unplugged fun.

Benjamin’s Blue Feet

by Sue Macartney

A young blue-footed booby named Benjamin has a knack for finding “treasure” (human discards). When his discovery of a mirror causes him to become insecure about his body, Benjamin uses his collection to change his features. But his changes make it impossible to swim and fish and fly, and Benjamin realizes he’s exactly the way he’s meant to be.

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez

by Christiane Duchesne, illus. François Thisdale

Every day, the children in the village wait to watch the mysterious Mr. Rodriguez go by. His odd but charming ways are eventually revealed to be part of his preparation for the afterlife in this moving intergenerational tale.

Finding Lucy

by Eugenie Fernandes

Lucy is happy painting the colour of laughter in her garden, but loses her way when she follows feedback from a series of animal critics. With wise encouragement from her cat, Lucy finds her authentic self in her work again and painting is rewarding once more.

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

by Rebecca Bender

Giraffe and Bird spat, squabble, and get on each other’s nerves. There’s nothing the irrepressible Bird likes more than to have a laugh at the expense of his dignified friend, and one thirsty day at the water hole, he gets his chance. Giraffe’s awkward attempt to reach the water without getting his hooves wet raises a laugh from all his friends, even bird. With Giraffe’s feelings hurt, Bird learns a lesson about empathy and friendship.

Giraffe and Bird

by Rebecca Bender

Giraffe and Bird are not friends. After all, they fight all the time. But when they go their separate ways and a scary storm strikes, they both realize they might be better off together—even if they are still not friends.

Giraffe and Bird Together Again

by Rebecca Bender

Adventurous Bird loves to try new things and visit new places. His friend Giraffe prefers his safe routine. But when Bird disappears, Giraffe braves a long and difficult journey to save his friend.

Little Fox, Lost

by Nicole Snitselaar, illus. Alicia Padrón

Little Fox is lost in the snowy forest. When an old owl offers to help him find his way home, Little Fox remembers his mother’s rhyming warning to stay still if he is lost. Instead of following a stranger, Little Fox finds a better solution: He lets the other animals help him sing his mother’s rhyme until she follows their voices to him.

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up

by Jane Whittingham, illus. Emma Pedersen

Busy observing the world, Queenie Quail is often admonished to keep up with her parents and nine siblings. When Queenie’s watchful eye spots a cat in the grass, she rescues her family from danger and teaches them the value of slowing down.

Gift Books for Ages 8–12

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night

by Rob Laidlaw

An informational book about bats’ biology, history, habitats, and the environmental challenges they face. “Bat Citizen” profiles highlight the work of young conservationists. Includes full-color photographs throughout, along with a table of contents, index, glossary, sidebars, and center gatefold bat painting.

Once Upon a Line

by Wallace Edwards

A family discovers a trunk of old paintings by Uncle George, each drawn from a single line using an enchanted pen. Wallace Edwards explores storytelling through a single line that grows into a new image and story on each page, inspiring readers to finish the simple stories or come up with their own. An absorbing book rich in detail and color.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women

by Ailsa Ross, illus. Amy Blackwell

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent and to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.

Small Things

by Mel Tregonning

In a wordless graphic picture book, a young boy’s struggle with anxiety is represented by swarms of tiny creatures that follow and gnaw away at him. As his schoolwork and social interactions suffer, he feels more alone and out of control. The boy’s isolation is ultimately overcome when he opens up to his sister and learns that he is not the only one beset with worries.

Books Featuring Characters Coping with Bullying

Posted on November 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

These books feature healthy child-led strategies for dealing with bullying and teasing:

Lili Macaroni

by Nicole Testa, illus. Annie Boulanger

After careless teasing makes Lili wish to be someone else, she symbolically places her hurt feelings on the wings of a paper butterfly. When she wears the butterfly to school, it begins a powerful conversation about the hurt feelings everybody carries.

Tickled Pink: How Friendship Washes the World with Color

by Andrée Poulin, illus. Lucile Danis Drouot

Filippo’s self-esteem plummets when he is excluded by two peers, but a new friend helps him realize that their opinion doesn’t determine his worth.

French Toast

by Kari-Lynn Winters, illus. François Thisdale

Phoebe reclaims the school nickname she hates by connecting it with positive associations of her family’s cross-cultural cooking.

Duck Days

by Sarah Leach, illus. Rebecca Bender

Third-grader Lauren learns to let unkind words roll off her—like water off a duck’s back.

Music for Tigers

by Michelle Kadarusman

Middle school can be tough, but Colin helps Louisa cope with her anxiety while she shows him how to tell the difference between condescension and kindness.

Lili Macaroni is the Winner of the 2020 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Picture Book Award!

Posted on July 9th, 2020 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that Lili Macaroni (978-1-77278-093-2) by author Nicole Testa and illustrator Annie Boulanger is the winner of the 2020 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award in the Children’s Picture Book category.

Lili Macaroni by Nicole Testa and illustrator Annie Boulanger

Lili Macaroni was translated into English from the French original Lili Macaroni: je suis comme je suis!, published by Dominique et compagnie, which was nominated for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award. The English edition has also been selected as a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, and for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens.

The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award program aims to recognize “artistic excellence in Canadian children’s literature” and presents two awards annually, one for picture books and the other for middle-grade and young adult books. Other Pajama Press titles that have been nominated for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award in previous years include Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo, and A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Katherine Gibson and Margriet Ruurs. Learn more about the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards here:

Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Nicole Testa and Annie Boulanger. Our sincerest thanks go to the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ruth Schwartz Foundation for their support of Canadian children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers.

Pajama Press Celebrates Two Books on the 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List

Posted on February 7th, 2020 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that two of our books have been selected by the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) for their 2020 Outstanding International Books List, including: Girl of the Southern Sea, written by Michelle Kadarusman, and The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women, written by Ailsa Ross and illustrated by Amy Blackwell.

Cover: Girl of the Southern Sea Author: Michelle Kadarusman Publisher: Pajama Press
Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman
Cover: The Girl Who Rode A Shark: And Other True Stories of Daring Women Author: Ailsa Ross Illustrator: Amy Blackwell Publisher: Pajama Press
The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women by Ailsa Ross and illustrator Amy Blackwell

Michelle Kadarusman was in attendance at the 2020 presentation, held at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia. Committee member Amy McClure spoke about how the protagonist Nia from Girl of the Southern Sea embodied resilience during challenging times.

Michelle Kadarusman with USBBY committee members. From left to right: Amy McClure, Michelle Kadarusman, Anamaría Anderson, and Patrick Gall. Absent from the photograph is committee member Doris Gebe.

The USBBY is “a nonprofit organization devoted to building bridges of international understanding through children’s and young adult books.” The Outstanding International Books List began in 2006 and aims to honor international books that are published and distributed in the United States and deemed the most outstanding of those published during the calendar year. Learn more at

Pajama Press extends our congratulations to our talented creators. Our sincerest thanks go to the USBBY for their support of international books through this incredible program for young readers.

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is included in The New York Times Book Review article "Helping Children Understand Death"

Posted on December 29th, 2019 by pajamapress

“At the end of a long day when I was nine months pregnant, my 4-year-old, Winter, asked, ‘Is Daddy going to die?’…

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez cover by Christiane Duchesne and illustrator François Thisdale

Death is one of the most difficult subjects to talk about with a child. It’s so vast, so many things to so many people that, like wandering Macy’s the week before Christmas, it’s hard to know where to start and you’re tempted to avoid it altogether. There is the obvious fear of traumatizing your child, giving her too long a look into the abyss. There is also the self-conscious suspicion that whatever you end up saying will ultimately reveal more about who you are than it will about the subject itself. Thankfully, a host of new picture books tackle ‘taking the ferry,’ staring down that overtly thwarting subject, and making it personal, peaceful and approachable.

In Christiane Duchesne and Francois Thisdale’s bewitching Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez, set in a small seaside town, a group of kids watch the mysterious comings and goings of a man who wears a bright red scarf and looks as if he has ‘clouds under his coat.’ His solitary meanderings through the cobblestone streets and his eccentric love of animals — he attaches wings to a cat’s back, strolls with a goldfish bowl on his head — go unnoticed by the adults. But to the children he is a fascination and delight.

When he abruptly disappears…his absence prompts a strong sense of community as [the children] band together to say their goodbyes…Thisdale’s realistic yet dreamlike illustrations, windswept with mist and surreal painted skies, add to the sense of wonder….

As these four books illustrate and I have come to realize, the conversation about death is alive, shifting and fading, bobbing to the surface and just as swiftly sinking below. It is not one thing for us or for children. When I asked Winter again what she thought about death, there was no memory of my parental wipeout. She simply announced with great confidence: ‘You don’t need a phone.’ She had worked it out just fine.”
—Marisha Pessl

Click here to read the full review

Also featured in the December 29, 2019 Sunday New York Times paper.

An Ottawa Book Launch for Our New Kittens and My Puppy Patch

Posted on November 18th, 2019 by pajamapress

Information poster about the book launch for My Puppy Patch and Our New Kittens by Theo Heras and Alice Carter. These picture books for children ages 3–7 are being celebrated in Ottawa at the Dovercourt Recreation Centre on Saturday, December 14th at 2pm. All ages are welcome. The afternoon will include storytime, book signings, crafts, and treats.

Join author Theo Heras and illustrator Alice Carter on Saturday, December 14th at Dovercourt Recreation Centre to celebrate the publication of their picture books My Puppy Patch and Our New Kittens!

Facebook Event Page:

Giraffe and Bird Together Again and Too Young to Escape are nominees for the 2020 Forest of Reading Awards!

Posted on October 15th, 2019 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is excited to announce that two of our titles have been nominated for the 2020 Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading® Awards.

Cover: Giraffe and Bird Together Again Author: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

Giraffe and Bird Together Again, written and illustrated by Rebecca Bender, is a nominee for the Blue Spruce Award.

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Van Ho Publisher: Pajama Press

And Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family, written by Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, is a nominee for the Yellow Cedar Award.

Click here to see the full list of award nominees.

The Forest of Reading® is an initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) that helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators and promotes a love of reading among Ontario students. Every year, over 270,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites. Learn more at:

Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Rebecca Bender, Van Ho, and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, as well as their fellow nominees. Our sincerest thanks go to the Ontario Library Association for promoting reading and Canadian books through this outstanding program. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Book Fund for our publishing program.

For further information, or to request an interview with any of our authors or illustrators, please contact:
Laura Bowman, Publicity

Girl of the Southern Sea is a 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards finalist!

Posted on October 2nd, 2019 by pajamapress

Book Cover: Girl of the Southern Sea Author: Michelle Kadarusman Publisher: Pajama PressPajama Press is thrilled to announce that Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman is a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards in the category of Young People’s Literature – Text.

Michelle has been crafting her novels under the expertise of our cherished Senior Editor, Ann Featherstone, at Pajama Press since 2017. Michelle’s debut novel, The Theory of Hummingbirds, received high literary acclaim and was nominated for the 2019 Silver Birch Award, the 2019 MYRCA Sundogs Award, and the 2018 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award. Girl of the Southern Sea was published in May of this year and has received unanimously positive reviews from literary journals. The Booklist review cites, “In spare and elegant prose, Kadarusman weaves a quiet tale of survival, grit, and integrity.” Pajama Press is delighted to see Michelle’s writing earn such a high distinction with this new nomination for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award.

Michelle will be donating a portion of her royalties from Girl of the Southern Sea in support of Plan International Canada’s Because I Am A Girl campaign, and Pajama Press will match her donation. Learn more about Plan International Canada at:

The Governor General’s Literary Awards are the oldest and most prestigious national literary awards in Canada. Founded in 1936, the awards span over seven categories in both English and French and acknowledge the best 70 books to be published in Canada in 2019. More information and the full list of finalists can be found here:

Pajama Press extends our heartfelt congratulations to Michelle Kadarusman, her fellow nominees, and their publishers. Our sincerest thanks go to the Canada Council for the Arts for their dedication to high-quality Canadian literature for people of all ages and for their continued support of Canadian authors and illustrators. We also acknowledge the support of the Canada Book Fund, the Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Creates for our publishing program.

For further information, or to request an interview with Michelle Kadarusman, please contact:

Laura Bowman, Publicity

Pajama Press is seeking an Administrative Intern

Posted on August 12th, 2019 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is seeking an administrative intern for a placement of 4–5 months. An honorarium will be provided.

Pajama Press is an independent Canadian publisher of award-winning literary children’s books. Our interns receive one-on-one, personalized training throughout their placement and have an extremely high rate of post-internship employment, either at Pajama Press or at other companies in the industry. We are always happy to support and encourage our interns’ development in their areas of strength beyond the initial job description.


  • Post-secondary certification in administration OR comparable job experience
  • Facility with Microsoft Office programs, particularly Excel
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Strong written English
  • Ability to work effectively as a team member in an open-concept office
  • Experience with bookkeeping software is an asset
  • Interest in children’s publishing is an asset


  • Manage data in spreadsheets
  • Learn and update industry-specific user interfaces for metadata management
  • Manage organization of physical and digital files
  • Assist with packaging and recording shipments via post and courier
  • Compile e-newsletters
  • Assist with the execution of social media posts
  • Other duties as made possible by the applicant’s skills and interests

Pajama Press welcomes applications from individuals of all backgrounds and with various physical abilities. Physical requirements of the job include navigating a single step at the building entrance, stooping to access filing cabinets, and handling packages containing multiple books.

Applicants should email with a cover letter and résumé saved as attachments. Please include your full name in the attachment’s file name.

Applications will be accepted until September 10, 2019. Applicants for whom we wish to schedule an interview will be contacted by September 16, 2019.

A Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews for The Girl Who Rode a Shark

Posted on August 12th, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: The Girl Who Rode A Shark: And Other True Stories of Daring Women Author: Ailsa Ross Illustrator: Amy Blackwell Publisher: Pajama Press“Brief biographies of 52 intrepid women, spanning the globe and all centuries, are flanked by large, full-color illustrations and by maps that show the women’s adventuring sites….The artwork, reminiscent of art deco travel posters, is a gorgeous complement to the eclectic curation. The biographies are written in a conversational style, often including a short quote from the subject….An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities. (Collective biography. 8-12)” ★

Click here to read the full review