There are lots of books to celebrate the diversity of Canadian authors and illustrators.
Feb. 17 is I Read Canadian Day, a time when you are encouraged to read and share what you are reading to showcase the diversity of Canadian authors and illustrators.
Here are several books by Canadian authors/illustrators you can share with the young people in your life.
Bob’s Hungry Ghost by Genevieve Cote (Tundra Books)
What Bob really wanted for his birthday was a dog. What he got instead was a ghost that he named Fluffy. Unfortunately, Fluffy doesn’t want to fetch or sit, but he is hungry and begins to eat everything in sight – including Bob. Soon Bob and Fluffy realize they can have fun together.
The book is fun, particularly when Bob is in Fluffy’s tummy. The message is nice as well – sometimes what you get is even better than what you want if you keep an open mind.
Cote lives in Montreal.
Henry Holton Takes the Ice by Sandra Bradley (Penguin Books Canada)
Henry Holton was born into a hockey family – his parents, sister, grandfather, uncle and 23 of his cousins all play the sport. The family lives and breaths hockey. Henry Holton skates better than all of them, but put a hockey stick in his hand and he is in a muddle. Then one day, Henry Holton sees figure skaters and he realizes that it is sport for him. But will his hockey-loving family accept him for who he is?
You can’t get more Canadian than this – driving a Zamboni, a dog named Gretzky and family of hockey-crazed members. I like this picture book, which shows the importance of finding what you love and not letting anyone stop you.
Bradley lives near Kingston.
If Kids Ruled the World by Linda Bailey (Kids Can Press)
If Kids Ruled the World, the sidewalks would be covered in trampolines and everyone could be a prince or a princess. This book is full of imagination and adorable illustrations. Every yard would have a tree fort with a place to keep your secret diary. My son and I loved this book. Everything sounds perfect. Perhaps kids should rule the world. My son and I are huge fans of Linda Baily, who also created the Hot on the Trail books, following three siblings as they go back in time and experience various locations – from ancient Egypt to China. These books are a mix of graphic novel and story with the main characters getting into all sorts of trouble as they try to time travel back to the present. These books are also from Kids Can Press.about:blank
Bailey lives in Vancouver.
Jasper John Dooley Star of the Week by Caroline Adderson (Kids Can Press)
This series of books features Jasper John Dooley, a young boy who is excited to be the Star of the Week at school. Each day, The Star has special privileges and has to complete a variety of tasks including Show and Tell. Unfortunately, his best Ori announces the birth of his little sister and suddenly no one is interested in Jasper John’s collection. And the week only gets worse. This is the first book in a series featuring Jasper John. When my son was younger, we read through this series quite quickly. We particularly liked Jasper John Dooley, You’re in Trouble, which made us laugh out loud. Jasper John is relatable as is the situations he gets himself involved in.
Adderson lives in Vancouver.
Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc (Kids Can Press)
Mr. Postmouse is delivering parcels to various creatures in his town, climbing ladders, tiptoeing quietly around the Bat sister’s house and to the penguins’ place, which is winter all year long.
What I like about this book is Dubuc’s illustrations. There is so much detail in the houses and so much to look at. She thinks of everything including how eggs get from the laying chickens to the nest below and the long snake house were we see the snake has swallowed a car. Ha.
Dubuc lives in Montreal.
The Rat by Elise Gravel (Tundra Books)
The Rat was the first book that we read in Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series. While we like them all, The Rat may be our favourite.
In it, we learn more about black rat, which is Rattus in Latin. The black rat is bigger and meaner than the mouse and its long, agile tall is used almost like a fifth paw. We then learn the rat is intelligent (great!), clever and its behaviours mimic some of our most disgusting human traits. While you may still not love the rat by the end, you may appreciate its. The book is funny and interesting and Gravel’s illustrations are quite distinct. There are a number of other books in this series including Head Lice (shudder) and The Spider.
Gravel lives in Montreal.
Regenesis by Eric Walters (Penguin Random House)
This book is for young adults and shares the story of 16-year-old Billy Phillips who leads 100 young people who flee Earth after an asteroid collides with the planet destroying life as we know it. Billy has been “equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need to withstand years in outer space” with the goal of one day returning to Earth.
“Billy and his crew will soon find out that survival above is every bit as difficult as survival below.”
I loved this book and read through it quickly. I am looking forward to reading it with my son after finishing another Canadian author series: The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim by Shane Peacock. We are in the middle of Book 2 of three.
Walters lives in southern Ontario . Walters writes a variety of books for a variety of ages – from picture books to young adults. I don’t think there is a book of his I have read, that I didn’t like.
The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear (Raincoast Books)
The Wish Tree is a beautiful story both in words and illustrations. Charles wants to find the Wish Tree, despite his siblings telling him it doesn’t exist. The next day Charles and his trusty toboggan head out looking for the tree. Along the way he helps various animals with their tasks until he is so tired, he can’t go any further. And that is when his new friends help him reach his goal.
Maclear lives in Toronto.
Other Canadian authors:
Kathy Kacer – Much like Walters, there hasn’t been a book written by Kathy Kacer I haven’t liked (and there are a couple the pair of written together). Kacer writes fiction and non-fiction books about the Holocaust.
Karen Bass – the hill (Pajama Press) is a “gripping story of survival and mystery” weaving together Cree mythology. I loved this book and am looking forward to reading it to my son.
Sylvia McNicoll – Body Swap (Dundurn) was fabulous. I absolutely loved it. Hallie, 15, gets hit by a car without every having kissed a boy. In the otherworldly carnival, she meets the driver, 82-year-old Susan. They both return to life but in each other’s bodies. It’s a great book and McNicoll does a great job of showing what it would be like to be a teen caught in a senior’s body and vice versa.
I have been honoured to read so many great books – and interview so many great Canadian authors – here. Click search “Canadian author”.
Learn more about #IReadCanadian Day by clicking here.
This blog post was first published on NewmarketToday.ca.