Canadian Children’s Book Week

by DaniGirl on November 18, 2007 · 14 comments

in Books

Did you know it’s Canadian Children’s Book Week?

I was looking for information about kids books for something meme-ish, and came across this list of 100 Best Canadian Books for Children, courtesy of the Toronto Public Library, but I have to admit that I’ve only read about ten or so of the books. Some of our favourites made the list, including Paulette Bourgeouis’ Franklin stories, Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie, and Mordechai Richler’s Jacob Two-two Meets the Hooded Fang. (I read this when I was a kid, but haven’t thought of reading it to the boys yet. Hmmm. Note to self: would make a good Christmas gift!) And of course, we are Robert Munsch fans around here, particularly Mortimer, The Mud Puddle, I Have to Go, and Thomas’ Snowsuit — anything but Love You Forever, perhaps the most morbid and disturbing kids’ book ever written.

But in one hundred books, they didn’t find room for some of our very favourites. The boys adore Allen Morgan’s Matthew’s Midnight Adventures series, and they’re the kind of clever and funny books that I don’t mind reading over and over again. We got a copy of Barbara Reid’s Read Me A Book from First Words program when Simon was born, and we were instant fans, and Kerry gave the boys a copy of Reid’s The Subway Mouse. Also thanks to Kerry, we love Linda Bailey’s Stanley’s Party, a charming and funny story about a dog’s adventures when his people leave the house.

But truly, how could any list of Canadian kids’ lit overlook Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater? It’s a national treasure! (Edited to add: a bit of a tangent, but if you haven’t seen it, you must click through and watch the short film based on The Sweater, courtesy of the NFB.)

So, it’s the gift-giving season, and what makes a better gift than books? Fill up our reading list – what are your favourite kids’ books? Bonus points if they’re Canadian!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Suz November 18, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Ooohhh, books! I really need to get some new ones for the boys. Thanks!

2 Karen November 18, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Emily and I have just discovered a “new” Canadian kids’ books series (new to us, that is)… it is the Elliot Moose series. It is written by Andrea Beck, a woman from Unionville, Ontario and it is about a stuffed moose and his stuffed animal friends and their antics in the house they live it. I also noted that I saw a commercial recently for a t.v. series based on the books. I’ll stick to the books though. They’re great. I highly recommend them for the 3-year-old set.

We have lots of other favourites including Robert Munsch (my husband totally agrees with you re: Love you Forever… he absolutely HATES it) and Franklin. Emily is also into Madeleine and Dr. Seuss and anything by Eric Carle.

3 Renee November 18, 2007 at 9:38 pm

I agree on the dislike of “Love You Forever”. We had a copy that my MIL gave my husband one Xmas {don’t ask!!} and I gave it away!!! Creepy story!!
My daughter, who’s 3, has always loved all the Barbara Reid stories from day one. Currently she’s into the Stella and Sam books by Marie-Louise Gay, a Canadian author.

4 suze November 18, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Oohh! Kids books. How I love kids’ books! These are some of my favourites from my childhood:

– Where the Wild Things Are (but of course…)
– The Shrinking of Treehorn. (Loved, loved, loved this book)
– The Amelia Bedelia series.
– The Giving Tree.
– There’s a monster at the end of this book…

and many, many, many, many more. I loved books then as I do now…

5 Shan November 19, 2007 at 12:04 am

Since school started Abby has been bringing home either Franklin or The Bearstein Bears books from the library. Although this week it was Winnie the Pooh. At home we have lots of Dora, Mr. Men and Little Miss books. Amongst many many others. For Christmas I got her some Amelia Bedelia books, which I loved when I was a girl.

6 Susan November 19, 2007 at 6:09 am

Brady Brady books rule!

7 Meghan November 19, 2007 at 1:14 pm

My eight year old just finished “Tales From a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Bloom in one and a half days!

Can’t wait till she’s ready for other Judy Bloom books.

I love Judy Bloom!


8 Mad Hatter November 19, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Wow. I’ve read about half the books and there are some truly great choices on that list. There’s also serious gaps: Beth Goobie’s Before Wings, Martha Brooks’ True Confessions of a Heartless Girl and Arthur Slade’s Dust to name some recent ones.

If you haven’t read Bud Not Buddy, do. It’s one of the best kids books ever written. Your boys are still too young for it, but you will love it in the meantime.

9 Loukia November 19, 2007 at 3:06 pm

I actually love “Love You Forever”… it was something I bought for my son for his first Christmas, and I wrote in it for him. It is certainly not a book we read to him, but it is a book I thought was important to have in his collection. It’s a great book for him to have as he gets older… perhaps even pass it down… it’s a nice book. Warms my heart, to be honest. It’s very touching…

As for Christos’s library – I stopped counting his books at 156… he has a huge love of reading, from a very young age. Is there a book we don’t own?! I am a bookworm myself, and am glad to see my son taking after me. (Hubby is a reader, too).

A great Canadian book we recently got – ABC of Canada… teaching him the alphabet which he knows now (well, at least most of the letters!) “A is for Arctic…” “B is for beaver, busy buiding a dam…” “C is for Calgary Stampede”, “O is for Ottawa, capital city of Canada”, “P is for Peggy’s Cove….” “S is for salmon, swimming upstream….” etc… nice ‘Canadian book’! 🙂

Karen Katz books are great, too: Counting Christmas, Where is Baby’s Mommy, Daddy and Me, Toes, Ears and Nose, etc.

Judy Bloom – great, great! Tales of a Fourth Grade nothing was the first ‘book’ I remember reading! I believe I was also 8 years old.

10 Cait November 19, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Well now all my good ideas are already taken!
Judy Blume! “Tales of fourth grade nothing” may be a tad grown-up, but Superfudge could be a good one.
At the risk of sounding over traditional (my granmother was my reading companion), the Paddington books and The Wind in the Willows are books I still reread, and they’re good if your boys are into talking animals.
Otherwise, “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak is a fantastic story, with great illustrations, and “Red Ranger Came Calling” (Berkely Breather) is a really great story , with a Xmas slant, so it makes a good present!

11 Mad Hatter November 20, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Two things I meant to mention when I was here yesterday. Did you ever see the post where I tore a strip off Love You Forever?

Have you read Brian Doyle’s Angel Square? It’s on that TPL list. It’s set in Ottawa at the time of the 2 World War. It’s also considered one of THE classics of children’s lit. The international Children’s Literature Association awarded it the Phoenix Prize a couple of years ago–that’s a prize for a book that was published 25 years ago, didn’t win awards when it was published, but is now considered essential to the children’s lit canon.

12 Loukia November 20, 2007 at 2:32 pm

LOL! How can people not like Love You Forever!?!?!?!?

13 Sheila November 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Glad you asked! Here are some of our favourite Canadian children’s books. (I searched my LibraryThing catalogue for books tagged “childrens” and “canadian”. I love LibraryThing for tagging our children’s books by theme too, and for recommendations and compiling a wishlist. You can see my catalogue at LT, the name is tripleblessings.)
– The Scholastic Children’s Atlas of Canada, good reference for school-age kids.
– Diana Bonder’s “Accidental Alphabet”. Strange and fascinating artwork.
– Franklin series by Paulette Bourgeois
– “That’s Very Canadian” by Vivien Bowers, a fun book about Canadian geography and history, good for elementary school age.
– “I am a ballerina” by Valerie Coulman. Nice story and artwork for girls who are starting ballet.
– “A Child’s Treasury of Nursery Rhymes” by Kady MacDonald Denton, a good Canadian illustrator. Interesting collection here of old and new rhymes, with lovely playful pictures.
– The “Canada Close Up” series by Chelsea Donaldson, including Canada’s Prairie Animals, Canada’s Woodland Animals, and I think there’s one for arctic animals and sea animals.
– The Kids Campfire Book and the Jumbo book of Games by Jane Drake and Ann Love, published by Kids Can Press. There’s also a book of Cottage Games that is great.
– books for young children by Eugenie Fernandes, including Baby Dreams, and Big Week for Little Mouse (illustrated by her daughter Kim Fernandes). Eugenie is also a good illustrator.
– poetry by Sheree Fitch, including Mable Murple, and No Two Snowflakes.
– the Stella and Sam books by Marie-Louise Gay, who has won several GG awards for children’s book illustration.
– Yuck, a Love Story, by Don Gillmor illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay – this one won a Governor General’s award too.
– I wished for a Unicorn, by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Also his Drumheller Dinosaur Dance.
– Canadian Dinosaurs by Elin Kelsey, a good reference.
– Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, and his other poetry books for kids: Garbage Delight, Jelly Belly, and Bubblegum Delicious. These are so much fun to read aloud, and for kids to chant while skipping, bouncing a ball, playing hopscotch etc.
– Birdfeeder Banquet by Michael Martchenko.
– Allan Morgan’s Matthew and the Midnight… series, with illustrations by Martchenko
– Owls in the Family, by Farley Mowat, a delightful read-aloud for grade one and older.
– pretty much every picture book by Robert Munsch!
– novels for older readers: the bat series by Kenneth Oppel called “Silverwing”, and Sunwing and Firewing. They are a sort of realistic fantasy, for grade 3 and older.
– Have you seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Barbara Reid. And anything else by Barbara Reid!
– Raffi Songs to Read, picture books to accompany favourite songs: Baby Beluga, Five Little Ducks and Wheels on the Bus, and more. There’s a big hardcover one of his Christmas Album that we borrow from the public library every December, while we listen to the music. Perfect!
– The Party, by Barbara Reid, and also Two by Two which is an illustrated story of Noah’s Ark.
– Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, by Mordecai Richler, a good read-aloud for Grade One to Three. There are a couple of sequels, not as good.
– Counting Feathers by Al Simmons, a picture book version of his awesome song for kids.
– Red is Best by Kathy Stinson
– Sasha and the Wiggly Tooth by Rhea Tregebov
Whew! I’ll stop now, but there are so many more at the public library…

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