News: Riley Can’t Stop Crying explores gender non-conforming themes for young readers

News: Riley Can’t Stop Crying explores gender non-conforming themes for young readers

The winner of the French 2019 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, a picture book exploring gender non-conforming themes for young readers, is now available in English from Orca Book Publishers.

Written by Stéphanie Boulay and illustrated by Agathe Bray-Bourret, Riley Can’t Stop Crying explores one child’s search for his true self, trying new clothes, hairstyles and toys that eschew gender stereotypes with the help of his older sister and his father. It has received two starred reviews from Quill & Quire and School Library Journal.

Aimed at readers ages 6 to 8, this picture book is told from the perspective of Riley’s older sister, Regina, who tries her best to figure out what’s wrong when four-year-old Riley can’t stop crying and isn’t sure why. 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 she sets out to help Riley find ways to become more comfortable in his body and see that he’s pretty amazing and really good at a lot of things too.

Riley Can’t Stop Crying was originally published in French by Fonfon under the title Anatole qui ne séchait jamais. Along with the 2019 French language TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, it also won the 2019 French language Fan Choice Award, chosen by young readers out of the nominated titles. It was nominated for the 2019 Espiègle Award and the 2020 Quebec Booksellers Award in the category for ages 6-11.

Riley Can’t Stop Crying was translated into English by Charles Simard.

Praise for Riley Can’t Stop Crying:

★ “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

★ “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

“Gentle-hued watercolor and gouache illustrations by Bray-Bourret…[create] a comedic effect…Boulay and Simard accessibly interrogate identity.”—Publishers Weekly

“A kind message.”—Kirkus Reviews

About Orca Book Publishers (

Founded in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher of award-winning, best-selling books in a number of genres. With 1200 active titles in print and digital formats and 95 new titles each year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors and bringing them to a wider market.

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