World Rivers Day

World Rivers Day

is celebrated every year

on the last Saturday of September! 

The founder is Mark Angelo, a river conservationist from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Where on Earth are Rivers?

“I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water . . . has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river.” – Roderick Haig-Brown, Canadian naturalist

The St. Lawrence


‘The River,’ corrected the Rat.

‘And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!’

‘By it and with it and on it and in it,’ said the Rat. ‘It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we’ve had together!'” – Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

The Rhine

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” Jacques Cousteau, French oceanographer

The Nile

“The river itself has no beginning or end. In its beginning, it is not yet the river; in the end it is no longer the river. What we call the headwaters is only a selection from among the innumerable sources which flow together to compose it. At what point in its course does the Mississippi become what the Mississippi means?” – T.S. Eliot, Introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Mississippi

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The Amazon

“Who hears the rippling of rivers will not utterly despair of anything.” – Henry David Thoreau, American naturalist

The Tigris and Euphrates

“Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.” –  A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The Yangtze

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: What is soft is strong.” – Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher 

The Ganges

“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” – Leonardo da Vinci 

Rivers in Danger

Goodman, Polly. Rivers in Danger. New York: Gareth Stevens Pub., 2012.

Mighty Rivers

Green, Jen. Mighty Rivers. Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 2010.

Make a Splash

Kaye, Cathryn Berger.  Make a Splash! : a Kid’s Guide to Protecting our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers & Wetlands. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Pub. Inc., 2013.

10 Rivers that Shaped the World

Peters, Marilee. Ten Rivers that Shaped the World. Toronto: Annick Press, 2015.

Renewing Earth's Waters

Peterson, Christine. Renewing Earth’s Waters. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2011. 

Click HERE for picture books and novels about rivers!

“How lovely the little river is, with its dark changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank, and listen to its low, placid voice…” – George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

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Let’s Get Going!

Start Travelling!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Wheels on the Tuk Tuk

Sengal, Kabir & Surishtha Sengal. The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2015.

Written to the rhythm of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, this cheerful picture book will appeal to young children and nostalgic middle school readers.  

Click HERE for more picture books and novels set in India and Pakistan. 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness


de Paola, Tomie. Jack. New York:  Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014.

On the way to request a house from the king, Jack meets many animals. A brightly illustrated journey story for readers – and listeners – of all ages.

Click HERE for more picture books with a repetitive pattern. 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Skies Like These

Hilmo, Tess. Skies Like These. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

“While visiting her eccentric aunt who lives in Wyoming, twelve-year-old Jade befriends a boy who believes his is a descendant of Butch Cassidy.” – CIP. This lively story, with the rhythm of a rollicking square dance, is highly recommended for readers who love language and laughter.

Click HERE for more novels about moving.

“To travel is to live.”  – Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

Diamond Boy

Williams, Michael. Diamond Boy. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2014.

“When Patson’s family moved to the Marange region of Zimbabwe he begins working in the mines, searching for blood diamonds, until government soldiers arrive and Patson is forced to journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister and a better life.” – CIP.  For competent readers 12-years-old and up.

Click HERE for more novels set in countries all around the world. 

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”  – Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

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A Heart Filled with Happiness

My Heart Fills with Happiness

Gray Smith, Monique. My Heart Fills with Happiness. Victoria, B.C.: Orca, 2016.

A charming boardbook portraying indigenous children telling of small everyday activities that bring joy to life. Illustrated by Julie Flett.

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What a Wonderful World!

Weiss, George. What a Wonderful World. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995.

Illustrated by Ashley Bryan, a vivid pictures accompany the words from the famous song.

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Bible, Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

What a Wonderful World

Weiss, George. What a Wonderful World. New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2014.

Another picture book version illustrated by Tim Hopgood.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus


Carlstrom, Nancy White. Glory. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2001.

Stunning illustrations by Debra Reid Jenkins accompany Carlstrom’s version of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem Pied Beauty.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” – Carlos Santana

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Bryan, Ashley. All Things Bright and Beautiful. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Brightly coloured full-page pictures accompany the words of the classic hymn by Cecil F. Alexander.

“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

Thank You and Good Night

McDonnell, Patrick. Thank You and Good Night. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2015.

Three friends enjoy a sleep over party and end the evening by listing everything for which they are thankful. A gentle picture book to share with three to seven-year-olds.

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde


The Stars Will Still Shine

Rylant, Cynthia. The Stars Will Still Shine. New York : HarperCollins, 2005.

A comforting picture book to read before bedtime. 

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Bible, Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

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A Mysterious Adventure: Word to Caesar

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

Word to Caesar

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marucus Aurelius

          Throughout the novel Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Trease (Hillside Education, 2005) the main character, Paul, changes in many ways. He becomes a young man who is independent, selfless, and caring.

            Paul started out as a reckless, self centred, and miserable adolescent who complained about his father who “granted no favours, least of all to him” (2) and of his home, “a godforsaken spot” (2) where it was “nearly always raining” (2). As well, he was the reason his home, Hardknot, was demolished. He was ignorant enough to divulge the important information of Hardknot – “what life was like in the fort, how many soldiers had to stay up at night as sentries, what the different trumpet calls meant” (4) – to Barbara, a Caledonian spy.

            After the attack, Paul escaped and during this time met a poet by the name of Lucius Fabius Severus, who became a good friend of his. Once he had learned that Severus had been wrongly banished from his home near Rome, Paul proposed to help him and was embarked on a quest to free his friend from the unfortunate mistake. Paul risked his life on this expedition. The man behind Severus’ exile, Calvus, pursued Paul, stole the letters – which were a crucial part of Paul’s journey – and tried to bribe him to switch sides, but Paul defeated his “ignoble temptation” (116) and thought of “something more he could do” (170) to help his friend, showing how deeply he cared about Severus. Paul also prevented an “immense, black-maned lion” (143) “from mauling the spread eagle man beneath his nose” (147) – his friend, Manlius. These occurrences marked the very beginning of the change in Paul’s character.

            By the end of Word to Caesar, Paul is a mature young man who dreams of travelling around Europe and “deciding himself how best the northern frontier could be held against the barbarians who had wiped out his Legion” (257). (by Megan in grade eight)  

Read more about this novel HERE.

Find more stories set in ancient times HERE.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius 


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Jacques Cartier

       Cartier by Lackey

          It was December 1491 when a boy was born in the seaport town of Saint-Malo, France. Little did his parents know he would one day become a famous captain who would explore the New World and establish the first French settlements in Canada. His name was Jacques Cartier.

            From a young age, Cartier adored sailing and would often accompany his father – a sailor – on his voyages. Through this and his navigational studies, he soon became an experienced and eminent captain. He was eventually recommended to King Francois I as the captain of La Grande Herminie, and was sent on three voyages to the New World.

           Cartier’s goal on his first expedition in 1534 was to find the Northwest Passage to Asia. After a relatively short journey of twenty days, they reached the shore of Canada. They explored the islands of Newfoundland, Magdalen and Prince Edward, as well as Quebec and the Gaspe Peninsula. During this time, Cartier and his crew encountered the Iroquois, with whom they traded native furs and European tools, marking the first trade between Europe and Canada. Another significant discovery Cartier made was of the Gulf of St. Lawrence River, which he accurately charted. On the way home, Cartier and his men kidnapped two natives, whom they taught to become interpreters.

            One year later Cartier was sent on another journey to ‘Kanata’ the name which the natives had given their land, meaning ‘village.’ The trip was fifty long days of horrific storms and scurvy, which they spread to the Iroquoians once they reached shore, killing fifty locals. The French requested the Iroquoians cure them of the dreadful disease. The medicine, a brew made of the bark and needles of the white cedar tree, healed Cartier’s men as well as the natives. Little was discovered on this voyage, other than a remedy for scurvy. In 1536, when the Frenchmen were ready to return to their homeland, they forcibly kidnapped the Iroquoian Chief Donnacona, his two sons, and three other aboriginal people, outraging those left on shore.

            It was not until 1541 when Cartier was assigned to his third – and final – mission. This time with five ships and 1500 men, who would settle in the New World in the modern cities of Quebec and Montreal. During their five years in France, all but one of the aboriginal people died of foreign illnesses. When the other aboriginals learned this, they were furious – so furious that they murdered thirty-five Frenchmen. This caused Cartier and his men to abandon the natives’ home of Stadacona and build a new settlement elsewhere, in Charlesbourg-Royal. Two years later, Charlesbourg-Royal was abandoned because of a series of attacks made by the Iroquoians.

            After this unfortunate incident, Cartier abandoned his life as a sea captain and instead turned to a life of business, in which he became very successful. He died years later in his birthplace of Saint-Malo at the age of 66. Jacques Cartier had an immense influence on France as well as Canada, creating the first French settlement, which would later spread throughout what is now Quebec. (by Megan and Jasmine in grade eight)

  •  Cranny, Michael. Pathways: Civilizations Through Time. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 1947.
  • Lackey, Jennifer. Jacques Cartier. St. Catherine’s: Crabtree Publishing, 2007.
  • Trottier, Maxine. Canadian Explorers. Toronto: Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2005.

Explore with Jacques Cartier

“…this beginning motion, this first time when a sail truly filled and the boat took life and knifed across the lake under perfect control, this was so beautiful it stopped my breath…” – Gary Paulsen

Cartier by Trottier

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” – James Cook

Cartier and the Exploration of Canada

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