FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month - The FOLD

FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month

Monthly Highlights

Each month, FOLD Kids highlights one picture book and one middle grade or young adult title by a marginalized Canadian author. You can find past years’ Book-of-the-Month picks at the bottom of this page.

FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month logo

September: Young Adult

ABOUT THE SIGNS AND WONDERS OF TUNA RASHAD

Book cover of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“Let’s be clear. No matter what her older brother, Robby, says, aspiring screenwriter Tuna Rashad is not “stupidstitious.” She is, however, cool with her Caribbean heritage, which means she is always on the lookout for messages from loved ones who have passed on. But ever since Robby became a widower, all he does is hang out at the house, mock Tuna for following in their ancestors’ traditions, and meddle in her life. 

Tuna needs to break free from her brother’s loving but over-bearing ways and get him a life (or at least, get him out of hers!). Based on the signs, her ancestors are on board. They also seem to be on board with helping Tuna win over her crush, Tristan Dangerfield. The only hiccup? She has to do it before leaving for college in the fall. A ticking clock, a grief-stricken brother, and a crush who doesn’t believe in signs. What could possibly go wrong?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Natasha Deen writes for kids, teens, and adults and believes the world is changed one story at a time. As a Guyanese-Canadian and a child of immigrants, she’s seen first-hand how stories have the power to shape the world. When she’s not writing, Natasha enjoys visiting schools, libraries, and other organizations to help people to find and tell the stories that live inside of them. She also spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house.

September: Picture Books

ABOUT DEAR BLACK CHILD

Book cover of Dear Black Child by Rahma Rodaah and Lydia Mba with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“In the spirit of I Am Enough, this is a moving and lyrical tribute to and affirmation of Black children around the world—by an exciting new author and illustrator team.

Dear Black Child,

We are here to remind you of your glory…

An inspiring love letter to Black children from all cultures, this book is a celebration of their beauty, joy, and resilience.

Dear Black Child is a story of self-acceptance, love, and empowerment for Black immigrant children and families of the diaspora around the world and features joyful and vibrant illustrations.”

It’s available on September 27. Pre-order the book

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Rahma Rodaah was born and raised in Hargeisa, Somaliland. At the age of eight, her family immigrated to Canada where she still resides today. She is a mother of four children and enjoys reading and coming up with silly bedtime stories. She is also the author of two self-published picture books and firmly believes that children need to be able to identify themselves in the books they read.

Lydia Mba was born in Madrid, Spain. Her mother is Spanish and her father is from Equatorial Guinea. She attended ESDIP, earning a degree in Illustration. She enjoys creating warm, colorful illustrations that tell stories with diverse characters and strong women.

August: Middle Grade

Book cover of Let the Monster Out by Chad Lucas with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“An equal parts heart-pounding and heartfelt middle-grade mystery about facing––and accepting––your fears, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and The Parker Inheritance

Bones Malone feels like he can’t do anything right in his new small town: He almost punched the son of the woman who babysits him and his brothers, he’s one of the only Black kids in Langille, and now his baseball team (the one place where he really feels like he shines) just lost their first game. To make matters worse, things in town are getting weird. His mom isn’t acting like herself at all—she’s totally spaced out, almost like a zombie. And then he and his brothers have the same dream—one where they’re running from some of their deepest fears, like a bear and an eerie cracked mirror that Bones would rather soon forget.

Kyle Specks feels like he can never say the right thing at the right time. He thinks he might be neurodivergent, but he hasn’t gotten an official diagnosis yet. His parents worry that the world might be too hard for him and try to protect him, but Kyle knows they can’t do that forever. Even though he’s scared, he can’t just stand by and do nothing while things in this town get stranger and stranger, especially not after he and Bones find a mysterious scientist’s journal that might hold answers about what’s going on.

But when faced with seemingly impossible situations, a shady corporation, and their own worst nightmares, will Kyle and Bones be brave enough to admit they’re scared? Or will the fear totally consume and control them?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chad Lucas has been in love with words since he attempted his first novel on a typewriter in the sixth grade. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, communications advisor, freelance writer, part-time journalism instructor, and parenting columnist. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, he lives with his family near Halifax, Nova Scotia. He enjoys coaching basketball and is rarely far from a cup of tea.

August: Picture Books

ABOUT BHARATANATYAM IN BALLET SHOES

Book cover of Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes by Mahak Jain and Anu Chouhan with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“A girl explores her love of dancing and her cultural identity in a lively picture book with echoes of the real-life collaboration between Bharatanatyam icon Rukmini Devi Arundale and ballerina Anna Pavlova. 

Paro comes from a dancing family. At home, she dances Bharatanatyam with her mom, and now she’s excited to learn ballet. But what if she can’t dance like the other kids in her class? Ballerinas move like fairies, while Bharatanatyam dancers seem like queens. Paro can’t be both…can she? Anu Chouhan’s vibrant, energetic illustrations emphasize themes of creative flexibility and navigating the intersections of different cultural identities.

The book’s backmatter includes an author’s note describing the inspiration behind the story, (the real-life meeting and collaboration of Bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Devi and ballerina Anna Pavlova), a DIY ghungroo (ankle bell) activity, and a pronunciation and etymology guide.”

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Mahak Jain writes for young people and adults. Her picture book Maya (illustrated by Elly Mackay) was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a CBC Books Best Book of the Year, and winner of the 2017 South Asia Book Award. Mahak lives in Toronto, ON.

Anu Chouhan is a Punjabi-Canadian illustrator and former mobile game artist from Vancouver, BC. A trained animator and character designer, Anu often combines her love of her cultural heritage, anime, and global fashion into her art. She enjoys creating art that celebrates diversity and empowerment.

July: Young Adult

ABOUT RISING LIKE A STORM

With King Lohar dead and a usurper queen in power, Gul and Cavas face a new tyrannical government that is bent on killing them both. Their roles in King Lohar’s death have not gone unnoticed, and the new queen is out for blood. What she doesn’t know is that Gul and Cavas have a connection that runs deeper than romance, and together, they just might have the strength and magic to end her for good.

Then a grave mistake ends with Cavas taken prisoner by the government. Gul must train an army of warriors alone. With alliances shifting and the thirst for vengeance growing, the fate of Ambar seems ever more uncertain. It will take every ounce of strength, love, and sacrifice for Gul and Cavas to reach their final goal — and build a more just world than they’ve ever known.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanaz Bhathena writes books for young adults. Her latest book, Hunted by the Sky, is the first of a YA fantasy duology set in a world inspired by medieval India, with the sequel Rising like a Storm releasing on June 22, 2021. Her novel, The Beauty of the Moment, won the Nautilus Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction and has also been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award. Her acclaimed debut, A Girl Like That, was named a Best Book of the Year by numerous outlets including The Globe and MailSeventeen, and The Times of India.

July: Picture Book

ABOUT BE A GOOD ANCESTOR

Rooted in Indigenous teachings, this stunning picture book encourages readers of all ages to consider the ways in which they live in connection to the world around them and to think deeply about their behaviors.

Addressing environmental issues, animal welfare, self-esteem and self-respect, and the importance of community, the authors deliver a poignant and universal message in an accessible way: Be a good ancestor to the world around you. Thought-provoking stanzas offer a call to action for each one of us to consider how we affect future generations. Every decision we make ripples out, and we can affect the world around us by thinking deeply about those decisions.

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Leona Prince is from the Lake Babine Nation and Nak’azdli Whut’en and belongs to the Likh Tsa Mis Yu (Beaver) Clan. She is a descendant of Chief Kwah and Stiche. Leona is an award-winning educator and is currently the District Principal of Aboriginal Education for School District 91 (Nechako Lakes). She is the author of A Dance Through the Seasons, published by WaveMaker Press. Leona lives in Burns Lake, British Columbia.

Gabrielle Prince is from the Lake Babine Nation and Nak’azdli Whut’en and belongs to the Likh Tsa Mis Yu (Beaver) Clan. Gabrielle is presently a full-time student at the University of Northern British Columbia, where she is pursuing a bachelor of science degree, majoring in psychology. She is the co-owner of Fireweed Canada Education Inc.

Carla Joseph is a Cree artist originally from Prince George, British Columbia. In 2016 Carla was the Artist in Residence for the Prince George Community Arts Council, and she has done design work for several organizations, including the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia, Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority. Carla loves the way she makes people feel with her art. It inspires her to continue with her gift, and she loves to challenge herself by taking on many different types of projects, many of which can be seen around her community. Carla lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for June

June: Young Adult

ABOUT THE HANMOJI HANDBOOK: YOUR GUIDE TO THE CHINESE LANGUAGE THROUGH EMOJI

Book cover of The Hanmoji Handbook by Jason Li , An Xiao Mina and Jennifer 8. Lee with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeLearn Chinese with a new twist! This full-color illustrated handbook introduces and explains Han characters and idioms through the language of emoji.

Even though their dates of origin are millennia apart, the languages of Chinese and emoji share similarities that the average smartphone user might find surprising. These “hanmoji” parallels offer an exciting new way to learn Chinese—and a fascinating window into the evolution of Chinese Han characters. Packed with fun illustrations and engaging descriptions, The Hanmoji Handbook brings to life the ongoing dialogue between the visual elements of Chinese characters and the language of emoji. At once entertaining and educational, this unique volume holds sure appeal for readers who use emojis, anyone interested in learning Chinese, and those who love quirky, visual gift books.

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Jason Li is an independent designer, artist, and educator. His practice revolves around promulgating bottom-up narratives, exploring networked technology, and helping people live safely on the internet. His works have appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and on the BBC. He is an editor at Paradise Systems and a member of Zine Coop. He currently lives in Toronto.

An Xiao Mina is a technologist, writer, and artist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, the Atlantic, and Hyperallergic. She was a research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and she works at the technology nonprofit Meedan. The author of Memes to Movements, she splits her time between New York and California.

Jennifer 8. Lee is a vice-chair of the Unicode emoji subcommittee and cofounder of Emojination, a grassroots group that advocates for more inclusive and representative emoji. She is also a former New York Times reporter, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, and producer of the documentaries The Search for General Tso and The Emoji Story. Jennifer 8. Lee runs the Plympton literary studio and is from New York City.

June: Picture Book

ABOUT SITTING SHIVA

Book cover of Sitting Shiva by Erin Silver and Michelle Theodore with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeA little girl grieves the loss of her mother, but she can’t grieve alone.

When her friends and family arrive at her house to sit shiva, laden with cakes and stories, she refuses to come downstairs. But the laughter and memories gradually bring her into the fold, where she is comforted by her community. By the end of the book, she feels stronger and more nourished, and she understands the beautiful tradition. Then, when sees her father sitting alone, she is able to comfort him in his time of need. Sitting Shiva is a beautiful, heartfelt story about grief and loss, but also about comfort and community. It shows that no matter what religion you practice, we are all more similar than we are different.

A note from the author explains the ritual of sitting shiva, a seven-day period of mourning for the death of a family member observed in Jewish homes.

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Erin Silver has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared in everything from The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail to Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping, among many other North American magazines, newspapers and blogs. She has a postgraduate journalism degree from Ryerson University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from King’s College. She’s a member of CANSCAIP, SCBWI, IBBY, The Writers Union of Canada, and Authors Booking Service. She lives in Toronto.

Michelle Theodore was born and raised in Edmonton. She loves making intelligent and captivating illustrations that evoke a deep emotional connection. Her recent work focuses on exploring the intangible feelings of childhood memory and her strong obsession with the pull of the ocean.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for May

May: Middle Grade

ABOUT SWIM TEAM

Book cover of Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas featuring a Black little girl in swim wear and the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“A splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas!

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?”

ABOUT THE CREATOR

Johnnie Christmas is a #1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist based in Vancouver, BC. He’s the writer of the Image Comics sci-fi series TARTARUS and CREMA, a haunted romance published by Comixology. His book FIREBUG, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and it earned him a Joe Shuster Outstanding Cartoonist nomination. He’s perhaps best known for co-creating the series ANGEL CATBIRD with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood and adapting William Gibson’s lost screenplay for ALIEN 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. His credits also include co-creating the pre-apocalyptic thriller SHELTERED. He’s currently hard at work on three new middle-grade graphic novels for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins. 

May: Picture Book

ABOUT TANNA’S LEMMING

Book cover of Tanna's Lemming by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, Tamara Campeau featuring a little Inuk girl in nature looking at a lemming and the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge“Stories have hearts, just like people. And the heart of this story is true, even if the things said or done have been switched around a bit.

In this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Tanna’s Owl, Tanna finds a small, grey lemming, far too cute to turn over to the scientist who has sent the children out to gather lemmings for his research. Instead, Tanna deems Fluffi to be a family member and attempts to raise the lemming in her home. But when the lemming strays from its cozy bed behind the stove and into Tanna’s mother’s things, Tanna is forced to consider whether she has really done what is best for Fluffi. Is it possible to treat something poorly by trying to treat it well?”

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Of Inuit-Cree ancestry, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley was born in a tent on northernmost Baffin Island. She learned Inuit survival lore from her father, surviving residential school and attending university. In 2012, she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for numerous cultural writings. Of Scottish-Mohawk ancestry, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley was born in southern Ontario, learning woodcraft and stories from his father. Training as an artist, then writer, Sean’s sci-fi work won 2nd place at the California-based Writers of the Future contest, published by Galaxy Press. Rachel and Sean have worked for decades as Arctic researchers and consultants. In writing together, they have published 10 successful books and many shorter works, celebrating the history and uniqueness of Arctic shamanism, cosmology, and cosmogony. Their novel, Skraelings: Clashes in the Old Arctic, was a Governor General Awards Finalist and First Prize Burt Award winner.

Tamara Campeau works digitally to bring stories to life through her painterly illustrations. Her work has a strong sense of lighting and vibrant colour palettes, along with dynamic compositions. She loves creating endearing characters with a strong sense of personality and emotions. Her work is inspired by wildlife, children, and the environments they reside in. She uses this inspiration to add a layer of realism to her illustrations.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for April

April: Middle Grade

ABOUT LIVING WITH VIOLA

Graphic of the book cover of Living with Viola by Rosena Fung as well as the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeHonest and funny, this award-winning graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school.

Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school—and then there’s Viola. Viola is Livy’s anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola’s relentless judgement, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola’s days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola.

Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier’s Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy’s rich imaginative world—filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns—to life on the page.”

ABOUT THE CREATOR

Rosena Fung is an illustrator and comic artist from Toronto, Ontario. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, giant murals, and on TV. Her favorite things are reading, cats, and eating snacks.

April: Picture Book

ABOUT ABUELITA AND ME

“In this touching, empowering picture book debut, a girl and her beloved abuelita lean on each other as they contend with racism while running errands in the city.

Spending time at home with Abuelita means pancakes, puddle-jumping, and nail-painting. But venturing out into the city is not always as fun. On the bus and at the grocery store, people are impatient and suspicious—sometimes they even yell. Sad, angry, and scared, the story’s young narrator decides not to leave home again . . . until a moment of empowerment helps her see the strength she and Abuelita share when they face the world together. Warm, expressive illustrations by Rafael Mayani highlight the tenderness in Abuelita and the narrator’s relationship.”

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Leonarda Carranza was born in San Salvador and currently lives in Brampton, Canada, part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto. She is the winner of Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing in the Margins contest and Room’s 2018 short forms contest.

Rafael Mayani is a Mexican artist based in Vancouver, Canada. He draws inspiration from the vibrant colours and shapes of Mexico and the natural beauty of Canadian landscapes.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for March

March: Young Adult

Book cover of The Red Palace by June HurABOUT THE RED PALACE

“To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood. . .

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

June Hur was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. She began writing her debut novel after obsessing over books about Joseon Korea. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop. June is the bestselling author of The Silence of Bones, The Forest of Stolen Girls, and The Red Palace, and currently lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

March: Picture Book

Book cover of Journey of the Midnight Sun by Shazia Afzal and Aliya Ghare ABOUT JOURNEY OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN

“This is the true story of the journey of the Midnight Sun Mosque.

In 2010 a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic. A small but growing Muslim community there had been using a cramped trailer for their services, but there just wasn’t enough space. The mosque travelled over 4,000 kilometers on a journey fraught with poor weather, incomplete bridges, narrow roads, low traffic wires and a deadline to get on the last barge heading up the Mackenzie River before the first winter freeze. But it made it just in time and is now one of the most northern mosques in the world.

This beautiful picture book reminds us that the collective dream of fostering a multicultural and tolerant Canada exists and that people of all backgrounds will come together to build bridges and overcome obstacles for the greater good of their neighbors.”

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Shazia Afzal has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty years. Having immigrated to Canada in 2002, Shazia sought to live near her community mosque with every move. Because of her firsthand understanding of the challenges Muslim families face in new communities, the incredible story behind the construction and transportation of the Midnight Sun Mosque resonated with Shazia. She felt compelled to share the story with children who may not have heard of its epic adventure and to remind young readers that it is a blessing to live in a country where people are free to practice their faith. Shazia lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

Aliya Ghare graduated from OCAD University, where she majored in illustration and minored in English, with the hope of combining the two disciplines to write and illustrate children’s picture books and graphic novels. She enjoys creating visually rich and poetic imagery, and exploring social and political issues, as well as human interest subjects, in her work. In addition to illustrating picture books, her illustrative works range from editorial to advertising, surface design and more. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and Adobe, and has been awarded by and published in the Applied Arts and 3×3 magazines. Aliya lives in Toronto.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for February

February: Young Adult

ABOUT THE CHANDLER LEGACIES

“Beth Kramer is a “townie” who returns to her sophomore year after having endured a year of tension with her roommate, Sarah.

But Sarah Brunson knows there’s more to that story.

Amanda Priya “Spence” Spencer is the privileged daughter of NYC elites, who is reeling from the realization that her family name shielded her from the same fate as Sarah.

Ramin Golafshar arrives at Chandler as a transfer student to escape the dangers of being gay in Iran, only to suffer brutal hazing under the guise of tradition in the boys’ dorms.

And Freddy Bello is the senior who’s no longer sure of his future but knows he has to stand up to his friends after what happened to Ramin.

At Chandler, the elite boarding school, these five teens are brought together in the Circle, a coveted writing group where life-changing friendships are born—and secrets are revealed. Their professor tells them to write their truths. But is the truth enough to change the long-standing culture of abuse at Chandler? And can their friendship survive the fallout?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abdi Nazemian is the author of Like a Love Story, a Stonewall Honor Book, and The Authentics. His novel The Walk-In Closet won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist’s Wife, The Quiet,and Menendez: Blood Brothers and the television series The Village and Almost Family. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me by Your Name, Little Woods, and The House of Tomorrow. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, their two children, and their dog, Disco. Find him online at www.abdaddy.com.

February: Picture Book

ABOUT IDIA OF THE BENIN KINGDOM 

Idia of the Benin Kingdom is an empowering children’s picture book that takes readers on a beautifully illustrated journey to the 1500s in ancient Africa. Readers are captivated as they watch Idia transform herself from the young and curious daughter of a village warrior to becoming the Queen of the Kingdom of Benin.

Idia was a queen who helped rule the ancient kingdom of Benin with her wisdom, charisma, and prowess. Much has been written about her bravery, and artifacts in her image are treasured in museums all over the world.

This book imagines what her childhood may have been like, and shares the story of this well-loved and successful African queen in a way that is relatable to young readers.”

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Ekiuwa Aire is an award-winning author born and raised in Benin City, Edo, Nigeria. She is passionate about sharing positive stories on African history with children. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Ontario, Canada. Visit www.our-ancestories.com for ideas on how to introduce African history to kids, free printables, comprehensive lesson plans and to book Ekiuwa to speak at your event or school. You can also follow her on Instagram (@our_ancestories) and Facebook (@our.ancestoriess).

Alina Shabelnyk is a professional children’s books illustrator.

FOLD Kids' Book-of-the-Month picks for January

January: Middle Grade

Book cover of Beatrice and Croc Harry by Lawrence Hill with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month logoABOUT BEATRICE AND CROC HARRY

“Beatrice, a young girl of uncertain age, wakes up all alone in a tree house in the forest. How did she arrive in this cozy dwelling, stocked carefully with bookshelves and oatmeal accoutrements? And who has been leaving a trail of clues, composed in delicate purple handwriting?

So begins the adventure of a brave and resilient Black girl’s search for identity and healing in bestselling author Lawrence Hill’s middle-grade debut. Though Beatrice cannot recall how or why she arrived in the magical forest of Argilia—where every conceivable fish, bird, mammal and reptile coexist, and any creature with a beating heart can communicate with any other—something within tells her that beyond this forest is a family that is waiting anxiously for her return.

Just outside her tree-house door lives Beatrice’s most unlikely ally, the enormous and mercurial King Crocodile Croc Harry, who just may have a secret of his own. As they form an unusual truce and work toward their common goal, Beatrice and Croc Harry will learn more about their forest home than they ever could have imagined. And what they learn about themselves may destroy Beatrice’s chances of returning home forever.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lawrence Hill is the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Book of Negroes, which was made into a six-part TV mini-series, and The Illegal, which won CBC’s Canada Reads and was a #1 national bestseller. His previous novelsSome Great Thing and Any Known Blood also became national bestsellers. Hill’s non-fiction work includes Blood: The Stuff of Life, the subject of his 2013 Massey Lectures, and Black Berry, Sweet Juice, a memoir about growing up black and white in Canada. Lawrence Hill has volunteered with Crossroads International, the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Book Clubs for Inmates and the Ontario Black History Society. A professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph, Lawrence Hill lives with his family in Hamilton, Ontario, and Woody Point, Newfoundland. 

January: Picture Book

Book cover of Anzu the Great Kaiju by Benson Shum with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month logoABOUT ANZU THE GREAT KAIJU

“An adorable picture book about a tiny monster with a big heart trying to follow in his family’s footsteps.

All great Kaiju are born with a super power to strike fear in the heart of the city.
But Anzu is different.
Instead of mayhem, he likes May flowers.
Instead of striking fear, he prefers to be sincere.
Can Anzu find a way to make his family proud and stay true to his kind self?

From Disney animator and illustrator Benson Shum comes an adorable and heartwarming picture book about making your own way and the unexpected power of gentleness—perfect for fans of Ferdinand the Bull.”

ABOUT THE CREATOR

Benson Shum is a children’s book author and illustrator who has illustrated a number of picture books like Adam Lehrhaupt’s Sloth Went and Jennifer Sattler’s Go to Sheep. Benson is also an animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he was a part of such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen II, and Raya and the Last Dragon. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Benson now lives in sunny southern California.

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