Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian Author and or Illustrator.
Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.
This is still a favourite board book around here. It has entertained my grandkids from the time they were little. It still does. Ada has it memorized and can even 'read' it by herself.
Hide-and-Seek: A First Book of Position Words by R.D Ornot & Sakshi Mangal (Illustrations) 🍁
Bear, Fox and owl play hide-and-seek together. As they search for each other readers are introduced to the language of prepositions. There is plenty of hugging when they find each other. R. D. Ornot's artwork is endearingly charming.
This is a perfect book for preschoolers, but is probably too young for school aged children. My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and I have been rereading this a lot. She loves it. We have been playing hide-and-seek lately so she really gets it. We do lots of hugging when we find each other too!
Owen at the Park by Scot Ritchie 🍁
A young boy helps his father tend the gardens of a public park. In this book he has the special responsibility of informing park patrons about an important activity. Then he gets to start it himself.
There is a lot we don't know here. His father is using crutches for an undefined reason. We have no idea if this is a permanent or temporary situation. We don't know the age of the boy or how or why he is helping out. From the illustrations it looks like he mostly enjoys what he is doing.
Detractors of this book claim it's about child slavery. Maybe they are much younger me, but I grew up with lots of responsibility and had my first part time job in my tween years. I wonder if they have never been around young children desperate to take on responsibility and help out? I live with, "Can I Do it? Let me help! I can do it by myself!" It's important to remember that for people of all ages, a large part of belonging is about being able to contribute in meaningful ways. That's what I see going on here.
Cooking with Bear: A Story and Recipes from the Forest by Deborah Hodge, Lisa Cinar (Illustrations) 🍁
Cooking with Bear is part story and part recipe book. At the beginning of spring, Bear, the chef, cooks up all kinds of delicious food for his animal friends. He teaches his friend, Fox, how to forage and prepare different meals based on the diets of the different animals they meet on their walk in the forest.
The back matter contains an index to all the recipes. I'm torn between cooking up the nut burgers or the hazelnut-chocolate chip cookies first!
If you have a young person who enjoys cooking, this book is a must purchase!
The Promise Basket by Bill Richardson & Slavka Kolesar (Illustrations) 🍁
This is reminiscent of Love You Forever by Robert Munch.
It's tells of a poor mother and her love for her baby. She can't afford to purchase gifts for significant occasions. Instead she searches for a special rock and then wraps it in paper with a poem she has written on it. It's a tradition that continues across her daughter's growing years and eventually into the next generation.
Slavka Kolesar's illustrations are gorgeous. This book pulls at my heartstrings, but I'll have to test it out with real kids to see how they like it.
Neekah's Knitting Needles by Sylvia Olsen, Odelia Smith & Sheena Lott (Illustrations) 🍁
This tells the story of a young girl learning Cowichan style knitting. Neekah is finally old enough to learn to knit, so her mother helps her make a hat for her grandmother. The book introduces readers to this important cultural activity and emphasizes how it is passed on from generation to generation. I loved seeing the knitting charts at the bottom of the page.
This is an important addition to indigenous collections for all libraries.
The only problem is that the book is very text heavy. It didn't bother me, but I am both a knitter and have background knowledge of these sweaters. I would use it as a read aloud with older readers when studying indigenous people. For younger readers, Yetsa's Sweater, by the same author is a better introduction to this art.
There has been some appropriation of the Cowichan knitting style, but none of that, or the economic background is dealt with here. The work in this book is based on the work of knitter, Odelia Smith. Neither Sylvia Olsen or Sheena Lott are indigenous, although Sylvia does live on Tsartlip land with her mixed heritage family.
Dora Wilson talks about her life as a Cowichan knitter in this short clip from New Journeys.
The following video introduces us to Mary Ellen Joe, a famous Cowichan Knitter. It's 25 minutes long, but delightful!
If readers are interested in learning more, I highly recommend watching the NFB film, The story of the Coast Salish knitters, by Christine Welsh.
Flare (Tiny Tails #2) & Splash (Tiny Tails #3) by Kallie George & Geneviève Côté (Illustrations) 🍁
I'm charmed by this early reader series by Kallie George. It highlights young mythical creatures. Geneviève Côtés whimsical illustrations are perfect for it. The books do not need to be read in order.
The young phoenix, Flare, never cries, so the sun, the wind, and the rain take it upon themselves to teach him how to do it. (This really reminded me of the story The North Wind and The Sun.) As Flare learns empathy, he also learns to cry. It turns out that his tears have magical powers.
Splash is a young sea serpent who has a hard time behaving like sea serpents should. Even his grandfather has a hard time training him. Will Splash be able to behave when it really matters? What I liked most about this book is that at the end, it focuses on learning in meaningful circumstances. Isn't this what all kids need?
I'm looking forward to reading the first in the series.
I wrote a lovely detailed review of this book on Goodreads and it didn't save it! Then I wrote another, much shorter one and it didn't save either! Grrrr.
I enjoyed this book, but it was a bit slow and I hated the ending - which wasn't really an ending at all, but more like abandoning the story midstream! Yet in spite of this, I loved being back in Philip Pullman's world with Lyra and Pan, even if the two of them are miles apart.
December (Ember) and Happiness (Ness) are best friends who live next door to one another. When Ness, dies, Ember is empty and struggles to cope. Then Betty, her nefarious uncle's dog, is killed in a car accident. He kidnaps Ember and takes her to The Afterwards where he trades her for Betty. While wandering in this parallel world, Ember finds a shadowy Ness. Then a Mrs Todd decides this trade isn't right and returns Ember to the real world. Once home Ember becomes determined to rescue Ness, no matter what. That's what friends do.
This book is primarily about grief, loss and coming to terms with it. It's got lots of creepy going on, but there are also moments of sorrow and humour. The night Ember plans to return to The Afterwards to rescue Ness, her Nan and Grandad are over to babysit her. Ember's description of them is hilarious.
“Tilda and Porkpie weren’t like most grans and grandads she knew of.
They were old people made more like teenagers.
Ember wasn’t sure what had gone wrong with them, but they failed to grow up properly.”
I appreciate this book a lot. Not only did it teach me a lot about what it means to be Muslim, I learned what it's like to be a queer Muslim, not only here in Canada, but around the world. I appreciated learning how complex and varied Islam is.
I came to appreciate Samra Habib and her family and so will other readers. Yet I never really felt deeply connected to them. I suspect that's because of the journalistic style of writing. I'm still thankful to have read it.
I'm now finished all the Canada Reads finalists. Let the debates begin!
I'm listening to A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15)
by Louise Penny. I've just started Break in Case of Emergency by Brian Francis. I'm almost done Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner.
I'm not sure what my next audiobook will be. I will continue reading from the boxes of books and see what else pops up.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 8/25
100 books by Canadian Authors: 35/100
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 88/333