Canada 150: Books for our Littlest Readers and the "Big People" who Read with Them

May 8, 2017 | Katherine McG

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Canada 150 Heading

Adult and small child reading together.

The bio of the official Twitter account for Canada 150 reads:

Participate. Celebrate. Explore.

Those words reminded me of Toronto Public Library's Ready for Reading program and inspired me to choose ten Canadian books that I think are perfect for our littlest readers and the "big people" (parents, guardians, family and friends) who share the love of reading with them.

Book Cover: Out Came the Sun: A Day in Nursery Rhymes

Out Came the Sun: A Day in Nursery Rhymes by Heather Collins

A collection of nursery rhymes is brilliantly woven together to tell the story of what happens on an (extra)ordinary day.

If Heather Collins had simply collected 45 familiar and lesser-known nursery rhymes and illustrated them with pictures of adorable stuffed animals, this book would still be wonderful.  What she did in creating Out Came the Sun ends up being this and so much more.  Her introduction, for example, eloquently describes "how a child 'reads' long before he or she can actually make out the words". As someone who leads library programs for kids 5 and under, you can see why I absolutely adore this book!

Book Cover: Me and You

Me and You by Geneviève Côté

Two friends wondered what would happen if they were each one more like the other and discover that friendship works best when we are being ourselves.

This book is perfect for anyone, big or little, who has ever thought: "Gee, I wish I was more like my friend!" (and I know I have!) because it reminds us to celebrate not only who they are, but who we are as well.  After all, who we are is the reason why our friends love us, just as who they are is the reason we love them back.

  Book Cover: So Many Babies

So Many Babies by Lorna Crozier

Rhyming text and cute illustrations take the reader to some of the places where baby animals live, from bogs to burrows to baby's own bedroom.

I love books that introduce children to the big, wide world around them and then bring them back to their own little world.  This board book is simply adorable.  It's no wonder that it was chosen for Toronto Public Library's First and Best List in 2015.  (And bonus Canada 150 Points to Lorna Crozier and illustrator Laura Watson for starting the story with a family of beavers!)

Book Cover: A Day in Canada

A Day in Canada by Per-Henrik Gürth

From sunrise to sunset and from coast to coast to coast, discover some of the wonderful ways that you could spend the day in our beautiful country.

Per-Henrick Gürth has created some amazing picture books that take readers on adventures across Canada while exploring concepts such as colours, numbers and the alphabet. Time is the focus of this colourful volume with stops along the way at festivals, forts and forests. Pause in Toronto at 12:15 pm and have a picnic on the Toronto Island – my favourite place in the world.

Book Cover: Where Do You Look?

Where Do You Look? by Marthe Jocelyn

Find different ways to play with words in a book that asks where you look when you read or hear a homonym (a word that sounds like another but means something different).

Colourful collages in both pictures and words help this book illustrate one of the reasons why English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. And yet co-creators Marthe and her daughter Nell Jocelyn also use it to encourage the reader to celebrate the language and use it as a way of exploring the world around us.  As for where I look for a story, why that's at the library of course.

Book Cover: The Sweetest One of All

The Sweetest One of All by Jean Little

One baby leads to another, as mother after mother longs to have her own sweet child.

Spring on the farm is the setting for this celebration of the loving bond between mothers and babies.  A lovely book that I would recommend for one-on-one story time or to be read aloud at a spring Baby Time program.

Book Cover: Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me by Danielle Marcotte

A celebration of books and reading shared with families and friends.

"Reading can make you cry. Reading can make you smile. I like it best when I laugh and cry." And this book, filled with Danielle Marcotte's wonderful words, makes me do both.

  Book Cover: Fox and Squirrel

Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi

Fox and Squirrel may be different in a lot of ways but they are exactly the same in the way that counts the most – they are both great friends.

Another celebration of friendship and individuality, this is the first in a series of book adventures for these two forest friends. Like my friend Daniel, I have had the pleasure of seeing Ruth Ohi in person and heard her speak about the creation of this book.  Fun fact: Fox and Squirrel have different heads and slightly different tails but if you look closely, you'll see that their bodies are the same!

Book Cover: My Heart Fills with Happiness

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

A description of what makes a little one happy and a depiction of indigenous life.

A selection from our latest First and Best book list, this board book reminds the reader that there is joy to be found in the simplicity of everyday life. I love how the story-ending question: "What fills YOUR heart with happiness?" is paired with a picture of a child seeing her reflection in a mirror.

Book Cover: Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!

Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose!: A Canadian Wildlife ABC by Geraldo Valério

A uniquely alphabetical who's who of Canadian animals from an Arctic Fox to fuzzy GriZZly Bears.

You "otter" know that Canada has more animals than just the beaver but if you don't, this book will introduce you to some more of our famous and lesser-known wildlife.  Simple facts accompany the book's cute illustrations making this a great STEM (science, techology, engineering and math) book for young readers.

So explore, celebrate and participate by reading these or one of the other books on our Canada 150 lists.

Canada 150 Lists(s):

Canada 150: Comic Books and Scary Stories

Canada 150: Books for Our Littlest Readers and the "Big People" Who Read With Them 

Canada 150: Sweet, Silly, Serious- We've Got It All!

Canada 150: Ten Powerful Historical Novels

Canada 150: Wonderful Picture Books That Are Perfect for Reading Aloud

Canada 150: Ten Amazing Children's Books

Canada 150: Stepping Outside a Young Reader's World

Canada 150: Ten Books to Empower Younger Readers

Canada 150: Ten Delightful Books for Younger Readers