Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
★ “Insightfully emotional…A poignant, purposeful depiction of a family learning to recognize, confront, and heal internal struggles with self-love and self-worth. Children in need of encouragement will find comforting revelations about the value of individuality.”—School Library Journal, starred review
Riley is inconsolable. He can’t stop crying and nothing is making him feel better. His sister, Regina, tries her best to help him figure out what’s wrong, but four-year-old Riley isn't sure. It’s not his tummy, or his head, or the monsters under the bed. Regina and their dad try everything they can to make Riley smile, but nothing works until one day Regina has an idea. Maybe it’s Riley that is making Riley upset.
Regina knows what it feels like to be uncomfortable in her body, but she also knows that she’s pretty amazing and really good at a lot of things. So how can she help Riley see that he’s pretty amazing and really good at a lot of things? A charming story about a child’s search for his true self under the compassionate eye of his older sister.
About the authors
Author and singer-songwriter Stéphanie Boulay is half of the Quebecois folk group Les soeurs Boulay. When she’s not writing music, she’s writing award-winning books for readers of all ages that encourage them to be whatever makes them most happy. Stéphanie lives in Montreal.
Born and raised in Montreal, Agathe Bray-Bourret studied cinema at Concordia University before her passion for drawing made her change floors and enrol in film animation instead, the perfect mix of her two passions. She uses watercolor and gouache to show the humor of everyday life. Currently Agathe is illustrating a graphic novel and an animated short movie. She lives in Montreal.
Charles Simard is a Québécois editor and translator from Tiohtià?ke / Montréal. He works as poetry, fiction, and nonfiction editor for Talonbooks in Vancouver on Coast Salish Territory. His published work includes the essay Littérature, analyse et forme: Herbert, Tolkien, Borges, Eco (EUE, 2010) and a number of translations for Orca Book Publishers, including Elise Gravel’s The Wrench and Myriam Daguzan Bernier’s dictionary of sexuality, Naked!. As a lexicographer, he has collaborated on the making of the popular linguistic suite Antidote in its bilingual editions. He holds a PhD in literature from Université de Montréal and was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
- Commended, OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention
- Commended, BC Books for BC Schools
“Sensitive and nuanced...A beautiful combination of text and image, exploring gender expression, fluidity, and the power of being yourself when the world prioritizes conformity. Riley Can’t Stop Crying is a worthy addition to any home, school, or public library collection! Highly Recommended.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
★“Boulay brings immense tenderness to both [Regina] and Riley’s journeys of discovery…Bray-Bourret’s quirky illustrations offer energy and lightness that balance the serious subject matter of gender identity…This picture book shows how we can give young children the freedom to be themselves.”
Quill & Quire, starred review
“A kind message.”
“This is a book that perfectly captures in both words and pictures the struggle so many young children face to be themselves.”
The Globe and Mail
★“Insightfully emotional…A poignant, purposeful depiction of a family learning to recognize, confront, and heal internal struggles with self-love and self-worth. Children in need of encouragement will find comforting revelations about the value of individuality.”
School Library Journal, starred review
“Gentle-hued watercolor and gouache illustrations by Bray-Bourret...[create] a comedic effect...Boulay and Simard accessibly interrogate identity.”