This Little Light of Mine…

Bryan, Ashley. Let it Shine. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007.
Three joyous spirituals – Let It Shine and When the Saints Go Marching In and He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands – are exuberantly illustrated by Ashley Bryan in this cheerful book happily recommended for all ages. The large brightly coloured pictures are ideal for group story sessions, and the construction paper collage illustrations will inspire art students. The melody line for each song – along with all of its verses – is provided at the end of the book along with a brief history of Spiritual folk songs.

Listen to the African Children’s Choir sing He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

And learn how to make luminaries.

Musical books HERE.

Stories of faith HERE.

Mennonite Migrants

Trottier, Maxine. Migrant. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.

Anna and her family leave their home in Mexico each spring to travel north. All spring and summer they work on farms before returning to Mexico for the winter. They are part of a group of German-speaking Mennonites who left Canada in the 1920s but now return for part of each year, earning just enough money to survive.

This powerful story encourages readers – and listeners – to think about the life of migrant workers and the role they play in providing food for Canadian and American consumers. An afterword explains the history of these Mennonites who moved to Mexico.

Read a literary analysis of this story HERE.

More stories of migrants HERE.

Making life happier…

Fergus, Maureen. Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2016.

Fergus, Maureen. Buddy and Earl Go Exploring. Toronto: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2016.

Buddy, a dog, and Earl, a hedgehog, continue the adventures they started in Buddy and Earl. These joyful picture books provide unique perspectives on everyday life and will delight both the adults who read them aloud and the children who listen.

More picture books HERE.

More humorous stories HERE.

 

Moonlight

Rylant, Cynthia. Long Night Moon. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004.
Names tell stories. And in this poetic picture book, Rylant lyrically describes the name for each month’s moon. November has a Frosty Moon. February has a Snow Moon. June has a Strawberry Moon.
All these names were given to the moon long ago by Native Americans. In Canada nowadays, we would say aboriginal people or indigenous people. These names for the first people of North America tell their own stories.
What is your name? What story does it tell?
This picture book creates a wonderful opening for all sorts of discussions. And the evocative full-page charcoal, pencil and pastel illustrations by Mark Siegel will inspire all sorts of art work in readers 6 years old and up.

More stories of indigenous people of N.A. HERE.

More picture books for artists HERE.

“I never really thought about how when I look at the moon, it’s the same moon as Shakespeare and Marie Antoinette and George Washington and Cleopatra looked at.” – Susan Beth Pfeffer, Life As We Knew It.

Are you my friend?

Fergus, Maureen. Buddy and Earl. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2015.

Charlotte and Wilbur.
Frog and Toad.
George and Martha.
Snake and Lizard.
Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin.
And now there are Buddy and Earl: a dog and a hedgehog.

(Warning: the style and size of the font unfortunately do not enhance the humour of this story. But the evocative illustrations by Sookocheff and the endearing quality of the story make this a recommended picture book for children up to 8 years of age.)

More picture books HERE.

More dog stories HERE.

 

Where are we going?

Skrypuch, Marsha Forchuk with Tuan Ho. Adrift At Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival. Toronto: Pajama Press, 2016.
In 1981, six-year-old Tuan escaped with his mother and two of his sisters. In the middle of the night, they got on a boat which took them far out to sea where they were rescued by sailors on an American aircraft carrier. Illustrated by award-winning Brian Deines, this powerful picture book tells the true story of one child’s journey as a refugee from Vietnam to Canada. Accompanied by historical and biographical information, as well as numerous photographs, this informative and inspiring story is recommended for readers 8 years old and up.

More books by Canadian authors HERE

More books about refugees HERE

More picture book memoirs HERE

Thank you!

Hopkinson, Deborah. A Letter to My Teacher. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017.
A young adult writes a letter to her second-grade teacher, recounting her memories and expressing her appreciation for all she learned during that inspiring year. The story is fun: flowing smoothly with conversation to enliven the narration. The pictures by Nancy Carpenter are lively: full of expression and a sense of spontaneity. Unfortunately, the style of the font and the layout of the text do not match the mood of the story. Despite that distraction, this picture book is still recommended for readers 8 years old and up. 

Find stories for Thanksgiving HERE

Find ideas for showing gratitude HERE

Find tips on critiquing stories HERE