Canada 150: Favourites across the Years

June 19, 2017 | Laurie

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Spotlight_temp_banner-nouvnew_1469032073311_eng Child seated in library

The celebration of Canadian children's literature continues with 10 books that range from the humorous to the thoughtful, from the classic to the new favourite. They celebrate our landscape, our history, and our talented Canadian writers and illustrators. 

  O Canada

O Canada by Ted Harrison (ages 7-12)

With a glowing heart, Ted Harrison paints Canada from Newfoundland to the Northwest Territories. His impressions of each province and territory are shared through stunning full-page art and personal summaries in English and French. The book was published prior to 1999 when Nunavut became a territory. Full lyrics to O Canada are included. 

 Mole Sisters and the Rainy Day

The Mole Sisters and the Rainy Day by Roslyn Schwartz (ages 2 and up)

Two mole sisters, out for a sunny stroll, must dive for cover when the rain comes. These clever and creative moles make the best of the situation and enjoy some splishy, splashy fun in their hole deep beneath the earth. Be sure to look for more delightful Mole stories

 Baby Beluga

Baby Beluga by Raffi (ages 2 and up)

Baby Beluga spends the day swimming and diving until it is time to curl up and say goodnight. This popular children's song by Raffi transitions well to a book. The bright illustrations capture Baby Beluga's day of fun and frolic with the other Arctic creatures. Listen to Raffi's song with your little beluga and then read the book together. 

   Waiting for the Whales

Waiting for the Whales by Sheryl McFarlane (ages 7 and up)

A lonely old man lives by the sea, tending his garden and waiting each year for the orca whales to arrive. His heart leaps when the great mammals appear and his eyes fill with tears when they depart. When his daughter returns home to raise her child, life changes and together grandfather and granddaughter wait for the whales. In time, the old man dies, but his granddaughter is comforted in knowing that his spirit has gone to leap and swim with the whales. Lightburn's crisp, yet muted illustrations accompany this gentle, moving story. 


Dippers by Barbara Nichol (ages 7 and up)

Were there really dippers flying about in Toronto during the summer of 1912? Did these creatures with leathery wings leave the Don River to inhabit young Margaret's neighbourhood? Seven-year-old Margaret describes the summer of the dippers. The dippers are there amidst her family's struggles, including her younger sister's illness. Dippers offers a look at what might have been ... or not.  

  That Scatterbrain Booky

That Scatterbrain Booky by Bernice Thurman Hunter (ages 9-12)

Beatrice Thomson is growing up in Toronto during the Great Depression. Her nickname is Booky and her feistiness and buoyant spirit sustain her through the hardships of the times. Based on Bernice Thurman Hunter's childhood, readers are carried along with Booky as she bounces through her daily scrapes and adventures. Once finished, there are more Booky novels to enjoy.  

 Wollstonecraft Detective Agency

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford (ages 9-12)

The year is 1826 and Lady Ada Byron (11 years of age) and Mary Godwin (14 years) become true friends and form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. The characters are based on two real-life individuals: Ada Lovelace, considered the world's first computer programmer, and Mary Shelley, author of the novel Frankenstein. A stolen jewel, a hot-air balloon chase, and plenty of historical and scientific references make for an intriguing read in this first of a series


Paper House

The Paper House by Lois Peterson (ages 9-12)

To go to school is Safiyah's greatest wish. If only she could attend school like her friend, Pendo. But Safiyah lives with her ill grandmother in a drafty shack in Nairobi and scavenges through the garbage dump to supplement their existence. To brighten their lives, Safiyah pastes magazine cutouts around the exterior of the shack. It is these simple cutouts that transform her life. This story will move children to consider Safiyah's struggles and to better understand the hardships that others may endure.  

When Green becomes Tomatoes

When Green becomes Tomatoes: Poems for all Seasons by Julie Fogliano (ages 8-12)

Told from a child's perspective, the year passes in poetry. Each season unfolds as the months are described in their natural wonder. Green becomes Tomatoes, the poem for mid-July, evokes images of sunshine, summer, and its bounty. The poetry flows freely, and is non-rhyming, yet rhythmical. The illustrations softly complement the gentle words and together they shape a year of significant moments in a child's life. 

Til all the Stars have Fallen

Til all the Stars have Fallen selected by David Booth (ages 8-12)

David Booth, Professor Emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, shares his joy of language and poetry in this collection of Canadian children's poems. In Booth's words: "Each poem that I have selected spoke to me, first as poetry, and then as Canadian poetry." The poems range from the humorous to the more sensitive and serious, and focus primarily on nature and the world around us. Children will gravitate to their favourites, while increasing their awareness of poetry, in its many varied forms.