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.
January: Young Adult
ABOUT HOW TO BE THE BEST THIRD WHEEL
It’s the last year of highschool, and everything has changed . . .
After a summer spent in the Philippines with her family, Lara Dela Cruz is eager to start her senior year and, most importantly, reunite with her three besties, Carol, Jasmine, and Kiera. Of course summer is the season of change, and Lara knew she’d have to get caught up on the major updates, hot gossip, and other shenanigans she may have missed. But what she did not expect was to show up on the first day of school to all three of her friends now in relationships.
The mushy public displays of affection and lunches spent gushing about their new “boyfries” has Lara quickly realizing her last year of high school is nothing like she imagined.
Since she’s been back, Lara’s long time frenemy, James, has become impossibly annoying. Sure, they are now both third wheels, but why is he asking her to tutor him in classes? And why, after they start spending more time together, does she begin to notice how cute he looks when he smiles . . . uh oh.
Fighting for the attention of her best friends, catching some pretty new and confusing feelings for James, and wading through the pressures post-high-school plans all have Lara reeling. And to make matters worse, Lara’s beautiful and untrustworthy cousin conveniently appears and wiggles her way right between her and James’ budding relationship. Feeling like a third wheel in more ways than one, Lara must learn to accept that change is inevitable, love is complicated, and being the odd one out is sometimes where inner power is found.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Loridee De Villa is the author of the Watty Award-winning How to Be the Best Third Wheel, her debut novel that has accumulated 1.6 million reads on Wattpad. She also wrote The Infinite Worlds of Ella Jane, which won the Shaw Rocket Fund Contest in 2020 and is being turned into a theatrical podcast by the film company Shaftesbury. When she’s not typing up a new chapter, Loridee spends her days drawing, sewing, and watching cartoons, all while balancing courses at the University of Toronto. Loridee currently resides in Ontario, Canada and is pursuing a career in health sciences.
January: Picture Book
ABOUT BEAUTIFUL YOU, BEAUTIFUL ME
A child who looks different from her mother finds beauty and belonging in this new book from the creator of the New York Times bestseller I Sang You Down from the Stars
Izzy’s favorite place to be is in Mama’s arms–skin to skin, safe and warm. One night, cuddled up on Mama’s lap, Izzy notices something she’s never noticed before: her skin is the color of chocolate, but Mama’s skin is the color of sand.
When Izzy realizes she’s different from Mama in other ways, too, she feels sad and confused. She wants to be beautiful like Mama! But Mama addresses Izzy’s disappointment with a gentle, loving refrain: You’re part of me, and I’m part of you. I’m beautiful like me, and you’re beautiful like you. Finding lessons from nature and repeating her affirming message, Mama encourages Izzy to see her own unique beauty.
This story about a multiracial child navigating identity and belonging draws from author Tasha Spillett-Sumner’s own experience growing up as an Afro-Indigenous girl. Lyrical text and warm, lively illustrations show Izzy’s journey as she learns to celebrate the differences that make her uniquely beautiful, and the connection to her mother that transcends physical traits.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Tasha Spillett-Sumner is an Inninewak (Cree) and Trinidadian award-winning poet and author who is also working on her doctoral degree in Indigenous land–based education. She makes her home in Treaty 1 territory, Manitoba, where she raises her daughter, Isabella, with her husband. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling picture book I Sang You Down from the Stars and the award-winning Surviving the City graphic novel series.
Salini Perera has been making art for as long as she can remember — and making art for picture books is a lifelong dream come true. She was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and their three cats, Victoria, Albert, and Alice.