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Staff Picks 2023

Staff Picks 2023

By Annick Press Date: December 06, 2023

Annick Staff are so excited to share some of our favorite books from 2023!


staff picks 2023

Angus is Here by Hadley Dyer, illustrated by Paul Covello

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"The foundation of this moving story is built around a poignant message. A child loses a beloved pet and in the process comes to understand that the richness and love he felt has a lasting presence. We see how staying connected to gratitude and happy memories reminds us how much we have to cherish and how a deeply felt connection can contribute to the richness of our lives, even if it's no longer present. It's a well-crafted book, story and art." —Rick W., Co-Publisher

staff picks 2023 (1)

Space on Earth by Dr. Dave Williams and Linda Pruessen, illustrated by Sho Uehara

"I have always been fascinated by space, as well as all that's been happening on the International Space Station since it was first launched, and I know there are many kids out there who have the same fascination. Space on Earth is chock-full of information about how astronauts on the ISS do their utmost to conserve and reuse energy, water, waste, air, and food while up in space, and how these innovations, practices, and strategies can help us here on Earth to live sustainably. The book also has experiments that kids can do at home or in class, and there are numerous quotes about what life in space was like from the author, Dave Williams, a former Canadian astronaut who has walked in space twice!" —Rivka C. Educational Consultant

staff picks 2023 (2)

Walking Together by Elder Albert D. Marshall & Louise Zimanyi, illustrated by Emily Kewageshig

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"Gorgeous! I love how the beautiful illustrations flow seamlessly with the text. They perfectly portray the beauty of the natural world around us, amplifying the book's message of love for the land and learning from the land." —Yousra M., Rights & Permissions Coordinator, Marketing Associate

staff picks 2023 (3)

The Journey of the Ancestors' Gifts (The Nguyen Kids #5) by Linda Trinh, illustrated by Clayton Nguyen

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"I absolutely love The Nguyen Kids, and in this fourth book, I resonated deeply with the siblings' initial struggle of not feeling like they belong despite having roots in the country they visit—a unique feeling of nostalgia and feeling out of place at the same time. But even for readers whose roots and physical homes may be the same, they will love seeing their beloved characters grow and thrive in this new setting, and find new meanings in Grandma Nội’s mysterious and wonderful gifts." —Jieun L., Editor and Project Manager

staff picks 2023 (4)

Salma Makes a Home (The Salma Series #1) by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron

"The creative team behind the picture book Salma the Syrian Chef has joined forces again to create a new chapter book series featuring the delightful protagonist. In Salma Makes a Home, Salma’s dad is finally joining the rest of the family in Vancouver after almost two years apart. But Baba misses Syria, which causes Salma to worry he’ll leave and return to Damascus. Danny is a master at depicting the emotions of young people—the anxiety Salma feels and her initial reluctance to share her fears with the adults in her life feels very real. And the ways the family finds to honor their former home in their new one provide a heartwarming resolution to the story. " —Sarah D., Publicity Manager


staff picks 2023 (5)

Sam Francisco, King of the Disco by Sarah Tagholm, illustrated by Binny Talib

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"Sam Francisco, King of the Disco, how do I love thee?
First, you’ve got cats, including kitties styled after David Bowie and Queen B!
You rhyme! Your illustrations are delightful, bright, and hilarious.
Your resilient characters overcome Buzzkill Bill (he’s nefarious!).
Music? Check! Optimism? Check! Infectious joy? Check too.
Best of all, I’ve never seen a tot who didn’t absolutely LOVE you!" —Amanda O., Marketing & Sales Director

staff picks 2023 (6)

Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

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"Curtis Campbell’s YA debut is bursting with everything you would want from a comedy: laugh-out-loud lines, a vibrant cast of characters, a questionable love triangle, llamas, and, of course, drag queens. Following Peter Thompkin as he attempts to throw Mason County’s first-ever drag show with his friend Alan (drag queen Aggie Culture), Dragging Mason County paints a deft portrait of small-town queer life. In Peter, Curtis has created a complex character who is relatable and funny but also has a lot of growing to do to accept himself and to connect with other people. Just as with its lead character, beneath Dragging Mason County’s biting humor is a lot of heart." —Khary M., Acquisitions Editor

staff picks 2023 (7)

Evolution Under Pressure by Yolanda Ridge, illustrated by Dane Thibeault

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"It's not easy to explain the science behind evolution, even to adults, so it's especially impressive that Yolanda Ridge is able to lay things out so clearly for readers ages 10 to 14. By contrast, it is easy for books that touch on extinction and climate change to come across as bleak, and yet Evolution Under Pressure is anything but—especially given the brilliant illustrations by Dane Thibeault. I love the book's focus on environmental stewardship and on enpowering readers. And it's impossible not to feel optimistic when you read the profiles of the young activists and innovators featured in every chapter. I can't wait to follow their work into the future." —Kaela C, Managing and Acquiring Editor

staff picks 2023 (8)

Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion) by SJ Okemow

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"SJ Okemow’s gorgeous illustrations bring Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion) to life in the most special ways. This joyful story of a young girl is beautifully mirrored through the growth and changes of the osâwâpikones through the seasons. I love the messages of resilience, self-love, confidence, and perseverance. In her picture book debut, SJ seamlessly integrates nêhiyawêwin and English, teachings and play, and caring for our communities and the natural world. The endpapers are an extra special treat too. This was also our Production Manager Heather’s staff pick!" —Stephanie S., Trade Marketing Manager and Acquisitions Editor

staff picks 2023 (9)

Salma Writes a Book (The Salma Series #2) by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron

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"Salma has the best kind of main character energy. It's been such a pleasure watching her grow from intrepid picture book chef to a tour guide and now a writer in this chapter book series. This is a heartfelt story about how families can change—growing stronger and loving each other more fiercely in the process—even if they make mistakes along the way. It also offers a beautiful representation of queer love. Salma navigates her relationships, cultures, and big life questions with sensitivity, openness, and humor. I'm so happy to enter her world every time I crack the spine." —Claire C., Senior Editor

staff picks 2023 (10)

Mehndi Boy by Zain Bandali, illustrated by Jani Balakumar

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"Mehndi Boy is a heartwarming chapter book that champions creativity and self-expression. Tehzeeb's journey to embrace his passion for mehndi, despite societal expectations, is beautifully told. The vibrant illustrations by Jani Balakumar bring Tehzeeb's designs and community to life, making the book visually engaging. Zain Bandali's debut is a charming, affirming story that celebrates individuality. I love it for its empowering message and the joy it brings to readers of all ages. It is is a must-read that encourages embracing one's true creative self." —Bailey H., Digital Marketing Associate

staff picks 2023

stay up racism, resistance, and reclaiming Black freedom by Khodi Dill, illustrated by stylo starr

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"With stay up, Khodi Dill went really deeply into his lived experience, so it came as a relief that he said yes when I asked if he would narrate the audiobook version. It had always been his intention to do so, in fact. What you hear in the end result is a very powerful side of his artistry. Where his spoken word poetry shines in Welcome to the Cypher, you hear the experienced anti-racism educator in stay up. I feel lucky to get to work with someone so talented." —Brendan O., Digital Project Manager

staff picks 2023 (1)

Mira and Baku by Sara Truuvert, illustrated by Michelle Theodore

"Mira’s bravery shines through as she searches for her dad with the help of her friend Baku. This story of family resilience, love, and acceptance mirrors the challenges many still face today. Mira and Baku helps us to open our hearts to the experiences of others so we can act with compassion and learn how to better understand one another." —Michela P., Office Manager

staff picks 2023

The Words We Share by Jack Wong

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"I love languages. I greatly admire those who speak and write more than one or two languages, like Angie and her dad in The Words We Share. Also being a dad, I love how dads can connect with their daughters with this book, and also talk about the characters (both the people and the language scripts!). I also greatly admire 'double-threats' like Jack Wong, who can both write and illustrate so beautifully. And one last piece: the story of Jack’s mom and the Cantonese title in the author’s note is the perfect way to finish off the book!" —David C., Co-Publisher