An Aboriginal Carol by David Bouchard, with art by Moses Beaver and music by Susan Aglukark is a gorgeous, unusual picture book for all ages. This beautiful text is the story of the birth of Jesus as told for over 400 years by Canada’s aboriginal people. Based on traditional First Nations knowledge and belief, this Christmas story is retold in both English and Inuktutut by a Métis poet and gorgeously illustrated by First Nation’s artist Moses Beaver. On the accompanying CD the poem is told and sung in Inuktitut by renowned singer Susan Aglukark. Moses Beaver’s art shows angels, a babe wrapped in deer skin and animals of all shapes and sizes rejoicing at the special birth. ISBN 978-0-88995-406-9, Red Deer Press
Here is the retelling, complete with art, on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_XTwr7qnl0
Hermit Hill by Mike and Nancy Deas is an exciting graphic adventure. Sleeves lives with his bossy sister in a small village on a small island. Mysterious beings – are they aliens? – appear in the forest. They are so friendly and so cute that Sleeves wants them to be his friends forever and locks them inside an old VW van deep in the woods. But as soon as the creatures are locked up, nature starts to deteriorate… black ooze appears swallowing mushrooms and trees… When Sleeves meets the mysterious hermit, she lets him on a secret that results in a wild ride to free the creatures. A page turning adventure told in speech bubbles and wonderful illustrations for young readers. ISBN 978-1-4598-3149-0, Orca Book Publishers
Urgent Message from a Hot Planet, Navigating the Climate Crisis by Ann Eriksson is just that: an urgent message about climate change. But besides bad news, this book also gives teens tools to help combat global warming. It gives voices to children around the world and highlights the changes they are making, suggesting things kids can do to turn it around.
Set in a dystopian future, Oculum Echo by Philippa Dowding takes the reader along on a quest in a world where children are emerging from their isolated dome-worlds on a quest to avoid war, and find refuge a world-away. The way Dowding draws us into the characters’ first phenomenological experience of the natural world is quite well done. The setting is vivid and the main characters are compelling and their drive towards their goals of protecting the children of their world from an impending war. The story, written from multiple perspectives is rich and descriptive language and multiple twists help to propel the plot forward without it becoming too predictable. This is a second book after the title Oculum. ISBN 978-1770866652, Cormorant Books (Reviewed by educator Seb Evans)
Margriet Ruurs is a writer of books for children. She conducts author presentations at International Schools.