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.

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Previous years’ FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month picks


July: Young Adult


Book cover of Road of the Lost by Nafiza Azad which features an illustration of a girl's face surrounded by foliage with just her eyes peaking out.Perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince, this gorgeous young adult fantasy follows a girl who discovers she’s spent her life under an enchantment hiding her true identity on her quest into the magical Otherworld to unlock her powers and discover her destiny.

Even the most powerful magic can’t hide a secret forever.

Croi is a brownie, glamoured to be invisible to humans. Her life in the Wilde Forest is ordinary and her magic is weak—until the day that her guardian gives Croi a book about magick from the Otherworld, the world of the Higher Fae. Croi wakes the next morning with something pulling at her core, summoning her to the Otherworld. It’s a spell she cannot control or break.

Forced to leave her home, Croi begins a journey full of surprises…and dangers. For Croi is not a brownie at all but another creature entirely, enchanted to forget her true heritage. As Croi ventures beyond the forest, her brownie glamour begins to shift and change. Who is she really, who is summoning her, and what do they want? Croi will need every ounce of her newfound magic and her courage as she travels a treacherous path to find her true self and the place in the Otherworld where she belongs.



Nafiza Azad is a self-identified island girl. She has hurricanes in her blood and dreams of a time she can exist solely on mangoes and pineapple. Born in Lautoka, Fiji, she currently resides in British Columbia, Canada, where she reads too many books, watches too many K-dramas, and writes stories about girls taking over the world. Nafiza is the coeditor of the young adult anthology Writing in Color and author of The Candle and the Flame, which was nominated for the William C. Morris Award, The Wild Ones, and Road of the Lost. Learn more at

July: Picture Book


Book cover of My Mom is NOT a Superhero by Darcie Naslund and Dania El Khatib which features an illustration of a child running around their mom in a cape and their mom has a cane.A little girl whose mother has Multiple Sclerosis discovers that some superheroes are fighting invisible battles. With the help of her cat and some X-ray glasses, she learns just how strong her mom is and how she can help her.

Darcie Naslund has been fighting a rollercoaster of a battle for many years. Finally, she decided to write this story to explain her invisible owies to her children. She fights for herself, but also for her family. This touching picture book explores the love of a mother and daughter who, together, can do (almost) anything.



Darcie Naslund holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education After-Degree from Concordia University of Edmonton. She is a certified Early Childhood Supervisor and a trustee for her local public library. She has worked as an elementary teacher and preschool teacher for several years and is currently a substitute teacher, which has given her the opportunity to continue working with kids, write, and be home with her own three young children. Darcie is a member of the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. When she is not teaching, writing, or reading loads of books to her kids and herself, she can be found outside with her growing collection of farm animals.

Dania El Khatib is a graphic designer and illustrator born in Beirut and now based in Ottawa. Her illustration journey started with a summer job as a comic illustrator while she was majoring in Arts and Archaeology. From there, a beloved childhood hobby swiftly and unexpectedly developed into an exciting career!

She has since worked as a graphic designer with Lebanese and international NGOs and institutions and designed diversified print and digital material for numerous educational projects, awareness campaigns, and events. She has even been the art director of a Lebanese children magazine, collaborated with Lebanese and Arab publishers and authors, and illustrated and designed more than 35 children’s books.

June: Young Adult


Book cover of Lockjaw by Matteo L. Cerilli which features an illustration of four kids on bikes with houses behind them.Death is neither the beginning nor the end for the children of Bridlington in this debut trans YA horror book for fans of Rory Power and Danielle Vega.

Chuck Warren died tragically at the old abandoned mill, but Paz Espino knows it was no accident — there’s a monster under the town, and she’s determined to kill it before anyone else gets hurt. She’ll need the help of her crew — inseparable friends, bound by a childhood pact stronger than diamonds, distance or death — to hunt it down. But she’s up against a greater force of evil than she ever could have imagined.

With shifting timeframes and multiple perspectives, Lockjaw is a small-town ghost story, where monsters living and dead haunt the streets, the homes and the minds of the inhabitants. For readers of Wilder Girls and The Haunted, this trans YA horror book by an incredible debut author will grab you and never let you go.



Matteo L. Cerilli is a transmasc author and activist who helped found Students for Queer Liberation (Toronto) and works with the No Pride in Policing Coalition. He writes widely across genres and age categories. Lockjaw is his debut book.

June: Picture Book


Book cover of I Am A Rock by Ashley Qilavaq-Savard and Pelin Turgut which features an illustration of a child holding a rock with a face drawn on and sitting in the grass surrounded by flowers and mountains.Pauloosie loves his pet rock, Miki Rock. Pauloosie’s Anaana, his mother, tells him a bedtime story about what Miki Rock sees, hears, and feels in his Arctic home. As part of the land, Miki Rock sees char and beluga, listens to chirps and howls, and feels the snow and sun.

Through lyrical text and ethereal landscape illustrations by Pelin Turgut, readers are taken on an Arctic journey from the point of view of a most unlikely object—a child’s pet rock.



Ashley Qilavaq-Savard is an Inuk writer, artist, and emerging filmmaker born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is the author of Where the Sea Kuniks the Land, which is about decolonizing narratives, healing from intergenerational trauma, and love of the land and culture. She has published two short stories relating to her Inuit culture, “My Very First Ulu” with Nipiit magazine and “Miki and the Aqsarniit” with Chirp magazine. Since attending the Vancouver Film School, Ashley has led acting and storytelling workshops for children and youth with the Qaggiavuut Performing Arts Society and the Labrador Creative Arts Festival. Ashley also creates sealskin and beaded jewellery, and is a dedicated student of Inuktitut.

Pelin Turgut is an illustrator, born and raised in Turkey. She completed her undergraduate studies at Yeditepe University of Fine Arts, Faculty of Graphic Design. Since 2018, she has illustrated many children’s books. In fact, she wants to be a children’s book one day, when she grows up. Pelin loves what she does and she continues to work in her studio in Bodrum to make her dreams come true.

May: Middle Grade


Book cover of Mortified by Kristy Jackson and Rhael McGregor which features a tween girl in a hoodie with an embarrassed expression on her face as kids her age laugh in the background.For fans of Remarkably Ruby and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, comedy and cringe come together in this sweet novel about facing your fears.

It’s nothing short of a catastrophe when someone secretly signs up Belinda Houle, the school’s shyest kid, to audition for a play.

Belinda turns to Sally—her unflappable best friend and resident witch—for help. Belinda doesn’t believe in magic, but if Sally says she has a spell for confidence…well, it couldn’t hurt to try it. Could it?

What follows the spell is a series of disasters so disastrous they would have been funny—if only they weren’t happening to Belinda! From eating dog food, to losing her hair in a straightening mishap, to wrecking a mural and ending up with globs of paint on her head, things get worse and worse for Belinda until she must face the facts: One piece of bad luck can be explained away, but this? This is a straight-up curse!

Can she break the curse before the dreamy Ricky Daniels takes notice of her crooked wig?

More importantly, can Belinda battle the very thing she hoped the spell would take away: her embarrassment?



Kristy Jackson is a communications professional and the mother of two boys. Her work draws inspiration from her Cree and German background and a long list of embarrassing moments of her own. Her short fiction has been published by CommuterLit, Kids Short Stories and Quick Brown Fox. Kristy Jackson runs a program that delivers books to children in seven remote Indigenous communities in Canada. She also volunteers for a non-profit dedicated to improving literacy in her community. Mortified is her debut novel.

Rhael McGregor is a Métis and two-spirit/queer comic artist based in Winnipeg. Since 2018, Rhael has been passionately telling stories in which they hope all readers can see themselves. Their work includes illustrations and stories published by Iron Circus Comics, Quindrie Press and Highwater Press, along with several self-published works. Rhael McGregor loves winter, sweet treats and doing beadwork for family and friends. 

May: Picture Book


Book cover of Soccer Scaries by Sunshine Punzalan and illo. by Mike Deas which features a Black boy as a soccer goalkeeper trying to save a goal.Brandon pulled on his Blue Strikers soccer uniform. The smell of his grandma’s cooking floated up the stairs. Usually, his mouth would be watering by now, but not today. His tummy feels queasy. Today is the big game against the Warriors. And he’s the goalie …

Soccer Scaries explores the anxieties children face in sports, and reminds them of the importance of talking about their fears and learning to accept both setbacks and victories.



Sunshine Punzalan is based in Oakville, Ontario. She wears many hats! She is a mom to twin boys, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advocate, a Digital Content Creator and a Human Resources Leader. She is always on the go and loves sharing family adventures with her community. Sunshine is also using her voice to educate on DE&I to not only help raise her kids but to equip others to do the same.

Mike Deas’ love for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Capilano College’s Commercial Animation Program in Vancouver helped Mike fine tune his drawing skills and imagination. Work as a concept artist, texture artist and art lead in the video game industry took Mike to England and California. Mike lives with his family on sunny Salt Spring Island.

April: Young Adult


Book cover of And Then There Was Us by Kern Carter which features an illustration of a Black girl with bantu knots.A mother’s death forces a teen girl to reevaluate their tumultuous relationship in this powerful coming-of-age novel for teens. For fans of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

After years of physical and verbal abuse from her mother, fourteen-year-old Coi moved in with her father, and together they created a peaceful life. But now, four years later, that peace is shattered when her mother dies.

While Coi struggles to find kindness in her heart for the woman who did nothing but hurt her, her mother’s passing does help reopen the door to her mother’s side of the family. It’s only through reconnecting with her estranged family members, especially her younger half-sister Kayla, that Coi’s long-held views about her mother are challenged.

And when Coi begins to see visions of her mother in her dreams, she is forced to ask herself what it means to forgive and be forgiven, and, most importantly, what it means to be family.



Kern Carter is the author of Boys and Girls Screaming, along with two self-published novels, Thoughts of a Fractured Soul (novella) and Beauty Scars. In addition to his writing, Kern is a filmmaker and also teaches professional writing at a local college, committed to supporting emerging writers and helping them find their voice. He lives in Toronto.

April: Picture Book


Book cover of We Need Everyone by Michael Redhead Champagne and Tiff Bartel which features different kinds of kids in terms of ability, race and gender with a cartoon version of the author with long dark hair and glasses. Everyone has a gift. Every gift is different, and every gift is special. Our world needs you to share your gift.

What is your gift? How can you use your gift to help others?

We Need Everyone empowers children to identify their gifts and use them to overcome challenges, achieve goals, and strengthen communities. Inspiring and uplifting, this interactive picture book celebrates diverse cultures, perspectives, and abilities through playful illustrations. Perfect for reading aloud.



Michael Redhead Champagne, born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End, is an award-winning community organizer, public speaker, and a proud member of Shamattawa First Nation. Michael believes we all have a gift and shows youth the path to discover their own. He is solution oriented and passionate about building system literacy, encouraging volunteerism, and engaging communities to be involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of any initiative that affects them.

Michael leads by example and travels across Canada sharing his gift with others. Whether he is speaking to educators, youth, the business community or the not-for-profit sector his goal is the same, to help heal, shape and create a call to action for everyone.

Tiff Bartel is an award-winning Viet-Canadian multimedia artist based in Winnipeg. Her body of work includes illustration, filmmaking, design, animation, music, sculpture, and more.

March: Young Adult


Book cover of Catfish Rolling by Clara Kumagai which features a catfish swirling the multicoloured cover.A debut young adult coming-of-age book with magic realism elements, Catfish Rolling is perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli films and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap.

There’s a catfish under Japan, and when it rolls, the land rises and falls. At least, that’s what Sora was told after she lost her mother to an earthquake so powerful that it cracked time itself. Sora and her father are some of the few who still live near the most powerful of these “zones” — the places where time has been irrevocably sped up, or slowed down.

When high school ends, and her best friend leaves for university, Sora finds herself stuck and increasingly alone. She begins secretly conducting her own research, tracking down a time expert in Tokyo. She also feels increasingly conflicted in her quasi-romantic feelings for her best friend — and for the time expert’s assistant, a striking and confident girl named Maya, another hafu (half-Japanese, half-non) girl with whom Sora forms an instant bond.

But when Sora’s father disappears, she has no choice but to return home and venture deep into the abandoned time zones to find him, and perhaps the catfish itself . . .



Clara Kumagai is from Canada, Japan and Ireland. Her fiction and non-fiction for children and adults has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Banshee, Room, The Kyoto Journal and Cicada, among others. She is a recipient of a We Need Diverse Books Mentorship, and was a finalist for the 2020 Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award. Catfish Rolling is her debut novel.

March: Picture Book


Book cover of Butterfly on the Wind by Adam Pottle and Ziyue Chen featuring a white little girl with long brown hair surrounded by butterflies and whose hands are in the shape of butterfly wings flappingA magical picture book about a Deaf girl who creates a butterfly with Sign Language and sends it on a journey around the world.

On the day of the talent show, Aurora’s hands tremble. No matter how hard she tries to sign, her fingers stumble over one another and the words just won’t come. But as she’s about to give up, she spots a butterfly.

Using her hands to sign the ASL word for “butterfly,” Aurora sends a magical butterfly of her own into the world, inspiring Deaf people across the globe to add their own. The butterflies grow in numbers and strength as they circle back to Aurora, bolstering her with the love and support of her worldwide Deaf community.

Deaf picture book creators author Adam Pottle and artist Ziyue Chen combine powerful text and sweeping art into a moving story of resilience and self-belief.



Born Deaf and raised in a hearing family, Adam Pottle spent much of his childhood searching for magical portals and pretending to be Godzilla. He is an award-winning Canadian writer, with books in multiple genres, including the acclaimed memoir Voice and the adult novel The Bus. His groundbreaking fantasy play The Black Drum was performed to rave reviews in Canada and France and is the world’s first all-Deaf musical. He has a PhD in English Literature and has taught English and Creative Writing for nearly twenty years. When not writing, he is usually found at the boxing gym, the library, or the park with his goldendoodle Valkyrie.

Born deaf and raised in sunny island, Singapore, Ziyue Chen pronounced as Zzz yuair, lives with her husband and her two darling children. Her life goal has been to have an emotional connection with those who view her work. She loves visualizing stories through illustrations, working on mostly children’s books that resonate with her personal life experience.


February: Middle Grade


A graphic of The Probability of Everything book cover by Sarah Everett with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeA heart-wrenching middle grade debut about Kemi, an aspiring scientist who loves statistics and facts, as she navigates grief and loss at a moment when life as she knows it changes forever.

Eleven-year-old Kemi Carter loves scientific facts, specifically probability. It’s how she understands the world and her place in it. Kemi knows her odds of being born were 1 in 5.5 trillion and that the odds of her having the best family ever were even lower. Yet somehow, Kemi lucked out.

But everything Kemi thought she knew changes when she sees an asteroid hover in the sky, casting a purple haze over her world. Amplus-68 has an 84.7% chance of colliding with earth in four days, and with that collision, Kemi’s life as she knows it will end.

But over the course of the four days, even facts don’t feel true to Kemi anymore. The new town she moved to that was supposed to be “better for her family” isn’t very welcoming. And Amplus-68 is taking over her life, but others are still going to school and eating at their favorite diner like nothing has changed. Is Kemi the only one who feels like the world is ending?

With the days numbered, Kemi decides to put together a time capsule that will capture her family’s truth: how creative her mother is, how inquisitive her little sister can be, and how much Kemi’s whole world revolves around her father. But no time capsule can change the truth behind all of it, that Kemi must face the most inevitable and hardest part of life: saying goodbye.



Sarah Everett is the author of The Probability of Everything as well as several books for teens. Charlotte’s Web was the first book that ever made her cry, and while she despises spiders, she still has an abiding love of stories that move her. When she is not reading or writing, she is dreaming about summer, gearing up for her next travel adventure, perfecting her tree pose, or yodeling with her dog. She lives in western Canada.

February: Picture Book


A graphic of Khadija and the Elephant Toothpaste Experiment book cover by Farah Qaiser, Hajer Nakua and Natalya Tariq with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeEveryone can see themselves in science!

Khadija is inspired by her visit to the science fair. There are so many different scientists all wearing safety goggles and lab coats! But how come none of them are wearing a hijab?

After watching a scientist carry out the elephant toothpaste experiment, Khadija attempts to recreate it at home with mixed (and messy!) results. Surrounded by her family as they celebrate Eid, Khadija tries again….

“Salaam everyone, and Eid Mubarak!” she cries. “When I grow up, I’m going to be a scientist!”



Farah Qaiser is passionate about making science engaging and accessible for everyone, from youth to adults, through writing, outreach, and policy. Farah is a genomics researcher by training and holds a Master of Science from the University of Toronto. She lives in Mississauga, Canada.

Hajer Nakua is a neuroscience researcher currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about using social media platforms to share research with a diverse audience and working with committees to improve the career trajectories of PhD students. Hajer lives in Mississauga, Canada.

Natalya Tariq is an illustrator based in Ottawa, who grew up in Russia and lived in Saudi Arabia. With a professional background in translation, Natalya has a keen interest in different countries, languages, and cultures. She started illustration in 2021 as a hobby and developed her art into a second career.

January: Middle Grade


A graphic of Atana and the Firebird book cover by Vivian Zhou with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badge

A mermaid, a firebird, and a witch become entangled with the mysterious and powerful Witch Queen, who may hold the key to each of their past in this epic middle grade fantasy by debut author Vivian Zhou.

Atana’s island may be quiet and peaceful, but mostly, it’s lonely. With the outside world full of magic hunters who would stop at nothing to capture a mermaid like her, Atana has never been brave enough to swim far from her island’s shores and seek the answers to her mysterious past—until a firebird named Ren unexpectedly crashes into her life.

Ren’s arrival does not go unnoticed, as it has been hundreds of years since a firebird last landed on Earth. Determined to both protect Ren and finally chase the answers she’s longed for, Atana embarks on an adventure that takes her and the firebird to strange new islands and entangles them with the powerful yet secretive Witch Queen.

Generous though the Witch Queen’s offer of protection may be, an invitation to the Blue Palace can’t come without a price. And while the Palace’s splendid halls and library might hold the key to Atana’s past, will she be willing to pay the cost when it risks her chance of a bright new future?



Vivian Zhou is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Animation program. After working on a multitude of animated shows and award winning short films as storyboard artist and occasionally director, she is now following her dream of creating her own comic. Her short comics can be found printed in anthologies and zines. She currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she can be found trying to draw with squid ink. Visit her online at

January: Picture Book


A graphic of When I Wrap My Hair book cover by Shauntay Grant and Jenin Mohammed with the FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month badgeIn the vein of I Am Enough and Hold Them Close, this inspiring and beautiful picture book celebrates how hair wrapping ties together past and present.

When I wrap,

my roots run deep.

As deep as an African marketplace

or a city sidewalk

or the stories between them.

With lyrical text by acclaimed author Shauntay Grant and vibrant illustrations by Jenin Mohammed, When I Wrap My Hair is both an act of joyful recognition and a demonstration of how knowledge is passed through generations.



Shauntay Grant is an author, poet, playwright, and multidisciplinary artist. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and is an associate professor of creative writing at Dalhousie University. A former poet laureate for the city of Halifax, her honors include a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize, and a Poet of Honour prize from the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Learn more about her at

Jenin Mohammed, winner of the 2020 Summer Spectacular Illustration Grand Prize, is the illustrator of the picture books Naming Ceremony, Song in the City, Super Mom, and All the Places We Call Home. She also draws the slice-of-life comic Knot Write Now. She lives in Florida. You can find her online at

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