On Stan Rogers and Matt James

1 Jul

Happy Canada Day!

 

One of my favorite Canadian folk singers is Stan Rogers. He had a very distinctive voice and a real talent for writing songs that  had a Celtic feel but captured everyday life. One of his most famous songs is  Northwest Passage.

Matt James has taken Stan Rogers’ song,  illustrated it and placed it in the context of the search for the Northwest Passage.

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The book won the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration and combines art, history and music. It is not a book you would read aloud to kids. Rather, it is more valuable as a classroom resource for an historical  study of Arctic exploration, or when studying issues related to current Arctic issues of oil exploration and global warming.

I often use picture books to get students’ attention, but this combo of song and picture book gives two ways to hook kids’ interest in the Arctic.

Matt James also illustrated I Know Here  and From There to Here by Laurel Croza, which chronicle a young girl’s move from rural Saskatchewan to Toronto. her dad was building a dam and the work was done. It reminds me a little of my youth when we first moved to Northern Ontario, where my dad worked at a hydroelectric dam, then moved back down South. My sister and I noticed when we first moved North, that everyone said “Eh”, in that stereotypical Canadian way. Over time, they got better. When we moved South again, everyone said we said “Eh” all the time.

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 These are both lovely books that anyone who has ever moved can relate to. They would also be great inspirations for kids writing about a before and after part of their life.

So, celebrate Canada Day with some lovely Canadian lit, a lilting tune, or with a cold beverage. I’ll probably do all three.

 

 

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