Tag Archives: Canada Day

Happy Canada Day 2019!

1 Jul

It’s Canada Day!

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Here are some books I have enjoyed recently by Canadian writers.

The Girl and the Wolf,  written by Katherena Vermette and illustrated by Julie Flett is a sort of Blueberries For Sal  with a First Nations twist.

The-Girl-and-the-Wolf_theytustitlemainPublisher’s Summary: While picking berries with her mother, a little girl wanders too far into the woods leaving the safety of her mother behind. Noticing that she has wandered far enough on her own to get lost, the little girl begins to panic. Adding to her perceived fear, a large grey wolf makes a sudden appearance between some
distant trees. The wolf sniffs her and tells the little girl that he can help her find her way home, but she should eat something first. He asks the little girl if she can hunt, to which she replies “no”. The wolf replies by asking the girl to look at her surroundings and tell him what she sees. The little girl notices some edible berries on a nearby bush and states that she can eat them. It’s through these realizations that the wolf helps the little girl find her own way home. She has the knowledge and the skill to survive and navigate herself, she just needed to remember that those abilities were there.

As always with E. K. Johnston’s books, The Afterward is unlike any of her previous novels. This one tells what happens after a quest, and the story fo the quest is revealed in bits as we see how the questers are coping.

 

Love from A to Z,  by S. K. Ali is an endearing YA novel.

love-from-a-to-z-9781534442726_lgPublisher’s Summary: A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

 

Happy Canada Day 2017!

1 Jul

Today, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) recently published a list of the top 150 bestselling Canadian books of the last decade. Many children’s and teens books made the list and I thought I would share them with you.

The #1 & #3 books were by Robert Munsch. Love You Forever was #1 and my favorite Munsch book, The Paperbag Princess,  was #3.

 

Munsch books appear 27 more times on the list – and most of them are illustrated by the same person, Michael Martchenko!

The first non-Munsch book to appear is A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. It came in at #33.

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Number 37 was Sing A Song of Mother Goose  by Barbara Reid.

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Number 45 was ABC of Canada  by Kim Bellefontaine, illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth.

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One of my favorites came in at number 56: Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt.

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You might not know what a zamboni is, but Canadian kids do. It is no surprise that written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose.

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The most classic story is Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater,  illustrated by Sheldon Cohen. It was # 84.

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A new one to me was #85,  Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.

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Anne of Green Gables  made the list at #89, the only one of L. M. Montgomery’s many books to make the list.

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The team of Kim Bellefontaine and Per-Henrik Gürth make a second appearance at #101 for Canada 123.

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Did you know Gordon Korman was Canadian? He made the list at #110 for One False Note,  part of the 39 Clues series.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield made the list 3 times. His picture book, The Darkest Dark  is lucky #113.

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Number 121 is Eric Walters’  action-packed novel The Rule of Three.

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Phoebe Gilman’s Something From Nothing makes the list at # 124.

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The classic Red is Best  by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis is # 144 and the final children’s book on the list.

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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.

 

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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