All posts by Margriet Ruurs

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Special places, special times, special people… Books can show you these and help you to understand things better than anything else. These wonderful books do just that. Use them for quiet reading or for classroom discussions.

The Little Green Envelope

The Little Green Envelope, written by Gillian Sze and illustrated by Claudine Crangle, is a wonderful story about a friend who moves far away. But if Olive can’t visit her friend, she can at least write a letter. Lost in a drawer, is a little green envelope which has also been dreaming of traveling. It feels very special indeed when Olive selects it to send her card to her friend. The journey of the little green envelope is full of excitement. It’s even fun to read all of the other envelopes shown in the art. This book is perfect to use in an international school with its theme of friendship, moving and travel. It can easily be paired with teaching activities using maps and writing to family and friends far away, or by corresponding with pen pals. The book includes instructions on how to make your own envelope. ISBN 978-1-77306-681-3, Groundwood Books

Chinese New Year by Jen Sookfong Lee is a useful, uncluttered information book about all things Chinese New Year. How did the holiday evolve? Why is Chinese New Year based on the lunar calendar and what do the Zodiac animals mean? The author, who grew up with the traditions, explores customs, food, decorations and much more. This book is part of Orca Origins series, together with similar volumes covering Diwali, Christmas, Ramadan and more. ISBN 978-1-4598-1126-3, Orca Book Publishers

Nutshimit: In the Woods

Nutshimit, In The Woods by Melissa Mollen Dupuis, illustrated by Elise Gravel is an intimate talk about nature by an Innu member, the First Nations people of northern Quebec and Labrador. Melissa explains how she learned from her ancestors about nature and invites the reader along as she relates creation stories and introduces trees and animals. She talks about the medicinal values of plants and how to use bark. Throughout the story shines a respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all living creatures. The story flows naturally from trees to animals, through the seasons, to natural uses of plants and berries, to recipes for maple syrup and much more. Throughout the text Innu words are used and a glossary in the back helps explain the words.  ISBN 978-1-0397-0180-9, North Winds Press, Scholastic

Peaceful Me

Peaceful Me, by Sandra V. Feder and Rahele Jomepour Bell is a close look at moods and feelings and what might influence them. A book for the very young, this can help children to identify how they feel and what might help a person to feel peaceful. Finding a seashell, collecting favourite things, having fun with a friend or finding a spot to be quiet – all these things can help to feel peaceful. ISBN 978-1-77306-341-6, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs writes books for children on Canada’s West Coast. She conducts author presentations in schools around the world.

www.margrietruurs.com

www.globetrottingbooklovers.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Do you live in a city? Have you ever moved to a different city? Books can shed light on the places we live but also on the reasons why we live there and how our surroundings influence our lives. The following books can serve as starting point for classroom discussions as well as inspiration in students’ writing about their own places.

Why Humans Build Up: The Rise of Towers, Temples and Skyscrapers

Why Humans Build Up, The Rise of Towers, Temples and Skyscrapers. This book is written by Gregor Craigie and illustrated by Kathleen Fu, and it starts with a question most kids ask: ‘Why?’ Why did people start building higher and higher? The answers are interesting and sometimes surprising. Starting with the Tower of Babylon and going throughout history to the Burj Khalifa, the book takes a look at many diverse towers and highrises, including totem poles, temples and commercial buildings. Budding architects and any kid fascinated by towers, will enjoy the details. ISBN 978-1-4598-2188-0, Orca Books

City of Neighbors

City of Neighbors by Andrea Curtis snd Katy Dockrill. Cities don’t need to just be concrete buildings and roads. Cities are places where people live. In this book, we learn about making cities more livable and enjoyable for all. Cheerful murals, wheel chair accessible buildings, parks where people can meet are all vital parts of a city. Find out how people make their cities more attractive, from Portland, Oregon to Tokyo, Japan. The back pages have suggestions for how you can make a difference in your city. ISBN 978-1-77306-816-9, Groundwood Books

Do You Remember?

Do You Remember by Sydney Smith. What if you had to move to a new city? This picture book shows strong emotions, both in text and in art. Written in two voices, the art shows ‘now’ in dark pages and ‘past’ in light memories as a mother and young son cuddle in bed and recall different times: a picnic, a bike ride, a car ride; the lovely picnic on a blue blanket; the red bicycle that flew into a hay stack; the teddy bear who showed the way in the car.  There used to be a father. Is he dead? Are they divorced? Why did they have to leave their home and move to a new city? Will ‘now’ become a memory, too? 

The present time, in a new place, shows us that it’s all still there – the blanket, the teddy, the bike. And yes, this, too, will become a memory to treasure no matter the reason. This picture book truly allows the reader to bring his or her own experiences to the story and to recognize their own memories in this universal story full of memories of love and a promise of endurance. ISBN 978-1-77306-986-9, Groundwood Books

Alone: The Journeys of Three Young Refugees

Alone, The Journeys of Three Young Refugees by Paul Tom and Mélanie Baillairgé is also a story of new beginnings in new places. This novel for slightly older readers is told in three voices. These are the stories of two boys and a girl, from Iran, Burundi and Uganda. For different reasons these children have to flee their country, alone. Facing hardships they never imagined, each finds their way and their voice en route to a new country. They also finally find freedom but at a high cost – leaving their homes and families they have to learn to live without a parent, learn a new language, make decisions no child should have to make. At first it might sound like fun not to have to go to school, but they soon discover that work, no food, and too much time is even harder than school. And what about once you arrive in a new, cold country where everything is strange? Told in a different format with lots of art, Alone is based on the true experiences of three refugee children. A touching, important account of both refugees and those willing to support them.  ISBN 978-1-77306-927-2, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs writes books for children in Canada. She conducts author talks in schools around the world and has a book/travel blog: www.globetrottingbooklovers.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Memories – stories are often made of memories. Memories can enhance childhood and help form important family bonds. Here are some new books for children all focused on memories.

Malaika, Carnival Queen

Malaika, Carnival Queen by Nadia L. Hohn, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, is a lovely story of a dream and shards of memory. Told in the lilting Jamaican voice of Malaika, she tells her Mummy of her dream. Together they look at pictures and talk about the daddy who passed away. He was a migrant fruit picker. Mummy helps Malaika to meet his old friends and, together, they hold a parade to honor his memory – a carnival of which Malaika gets to be the radiant Queen, just like her daddy dreamt about. ISBN 978-1-77306-850-3, Groundwood Books

In Hopscotch by Marie-Louise Gay, Ophelia watches the small dog at her neighbor’s house and loves how he runs and looks. She wished she could play with him. But one day the dog has vanished. Then Ophelia and her parents have to leave their house, too, in search of new work. Ophelia hates moving and living in a different place. She dreams of her dog friend and is scared of sounds and sights in her new place at night. Her imagination runs wild. Soon she has to attend a new school and she doesn’t speak the language. But thanks to her kind teacher, her own imagination and the hopscotch game she can draw, she soon makes new friends and feels at home. This lovely picture book is based on Marie-Louise Gay’s own childhood memories.

Moments in Time - Memories of East Vancouver

ISBN 978-1-77306-843-5, Groundwood Books

Moments in Time – Memories of East Vancouver by Sandip Sodhi, illustrated by Waheeda Tejani-Byron. This picture book is a tool to use while reading and having family discussions with children. Sandip Sodhi recalls the smells of cardamom and clove chai simmering on the stove. She remembers clothes billowing on the clothesline and asks ‘what do you remember of windy days and coming home from school? As she recalls sounds, music, chores and much more she draws the reader into the text and offers opportunities to discuss what makes you remember and what is important? ISBN 978-1-7770218-4-9 This book is available through Amazon or through www.sandipsodhi.com 

Meet Buffy Sainte-Marie (Scholastic Canada Biography)

Remember this indigenous performer?An important new title in Scholastic Canada’s Biography series by Elizabeth MacLeod, illustrated by Mike Deas, just came out. Meet Buffy Sainte-Marie is the story of her life. Readers will learn that the famous indigenous singer was adopted. Through much dedication and hard work, she used her song writing to share her message of peace and acceptance with the world. Along the way Buffy was awarded an Oscar, shared songs and stories with Sesame Street characters, performed all over the world and explored groundbreaking technologies in art and teaching.

Others featured in this Biography series include Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Terry Fox, David Suzuki and many others..

ISBN 978-1-4431-9612-3, Scholastic Canada

Margriet Ruurs is the author of many books for children and conducts author visits to international schools.

www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

A stormy sea can lead to many different adventures, real, fictional or figurative. The following nautical novels, and a picturebook, have a shared focus, yet the authors present us with vastly different tales of the sea, adventure and exploration in different eras. 

Stowaway by Karen Hesse

Newbery award winning author Karen Hesse (Out of the Dust) has outdone herself in this novel. It’s been around for years but I had never read it before. Now love it! Based entirely in nonfiction, but written as a fictional diary, this book uses factual information such as the crew’s names and existing diaries including the one by Captain Cook himself. The author recreated the journey of the Endeavour. In 1767, 11-year-old Nicholas Young stowed away on the now famous ship, not knowing what would unfold. Cook’s three-year mission was secret: he was charged by the British Navy to search for a lost continent, believed to be located between the southern tip of South America and New Zealand. Young’s journal charts the voyage, with adventure unfolding in every port of call. This is the story of a true, great voyage of discovery seen through the eyes of a boy who was actually there. He learns about native populations, customs, foods, and sickness like scurvy and dysentery. The endpages show a global map of the entire journey. As you read, you realize what the world was like before global communications, even before having an actual map of a place. ISBN 0-689-83989-8, Aladdin Paperbacks

The Last Mapmaker by Newbery Honor author Christina Soontornvat is a wonderful read for young adventurers. The map on the first page of this book shows the fictional land and the seas where Sai lives. She is apprentice to a mapmaker and hopes to climb the ladder in her society to escape the slums where her pick-pocketing father and she live. Unexpected adventure whisks her away aboard a sail ship to the fabled Sunderlands. Do dragons truly live there? And what is the impact explorers have on “new found” lands and their environment? A fascinating blend of fantasy with a sprinkle of historic fiction, adventure and the following of passion. A great page turner that shows girls that they can be anything they wish. ISBN 978-1-5362-0495-7, Candlewick Press

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr is another fabulous journey into a magical land that will make you want to explore. Nim has lost her mother but she and her scientist father settle on a tropical island where she has all the freedom to explore. 

This adventure is a modern Robinson Crusoe tale in the era of e-mail. Nim can chop down bananas with a machete, climb palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not worried when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for a few days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, Nim has a sea lion to watch out for her and an iguana to keep her company. She is also inspired by a real life hero, an author/book character with whom she has an interesting e-mail connection. When her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before. With the help of the author they both overcome fears and discover their own strengths. This book is a wonderful classroom read-aloud choice or a book to inspire (girl) adventurers. 

• Nim’s Island, 978-0440418689, Yearling • Rescue At Sea and • Return to Nim’s Island were followed the movie Nim’s Island, featuring Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler.

Story Boat by Kyo Maclear, with art by Rashin Kheiriyeh is a different boat story.

When you have no home, when you are walking or sailing towards a new place, ‘here’ is a different concept. This is an imaginative, lyrical picture book about the migrant experience through a child’s eyes. ‘Here’ is home and ‘here’ changes all the time. When a little girl and her younger brother are forced along with their family to flee the home they’ve always known, they learn to make a new home for themselves — wherever they are. And sometimes the smallest things – a cup, a blanket, a story – become a port of hope in a terrible storm. As the refugees travel onward toward an uncertain future, they are buoyed up by their hopes, dreams and the stories they tell — a story that will carry them forward. ISBN 978-0-7352-6359-8, Tundra

Margriet Ruurs likes sailing the seas with good adventure stories. She is available for author visits to international schools.

www.margrietruurs.com

SUMMER READING

Are you an educator looking for a good summer read?

Throughout the school year I post recommendations for children’s books that I love and that will fit the curriculum or get kids excited about reading.

But with summer upon us, it’s time to share some of my very favourite reads for grown-ups! (although these books are also great for highschool readers). Is there anything better than to curl up with a good book? And the best books will have you so enthralled that you don’t even notice how much you learn while you read!

Bibliophile, An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount is for booklovers of all ages. A lusciously illustrated book of 224 pages, this book celebrates all things biblio. Filled with fascinating facts and interesting information. You will recognize favourite authors and titles, find out about ones you never read yet, read about unique libraries and bookstores and find many great facts. The illustrations alone will make you fall in love with books all over again.

ISBN 978-1-4521-6723-7, Chronicle Books

The best read I can recommend to you for summer is The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley. Amazingly, these books are not yet very well known in North America but all the rage in Europe. “50 million copies sold world-wide” states the final title in the 8 part series. Each book highlights one of seven adopted sisters as they trace their origins. Each reaches a different continent while meeting their ancestors through back flashes. 

These fascinating stories seamlessly combine fiction with historical fiction and nonfiction. Many of the characters are actually real – sometimes well known, historical figures. The books take place in different era’s and in different cultures. I loved learning about Aboriginal artists in Australia, about life in Ireland, in Brazil and many other places. 

The stories are well researched and skillfully written. The 8th and final book ties all stories together, explaining the family’s background and ties to mythology. 

Lucinda Riley’s website complements the books with videos and information: https://lucindariley.co.uk/seven-sisters-series/

Happy summer reading!

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author who conducts school visits at International Schools around the world. Book now for the new school year: www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Books in all shapes and sizes allows the reader a close look at animals in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes these books don’t need to be nonfiction. Fictional animal stories are as old as the ages. Animal stories can help people to take a closer look at our own thoughts and feelings.

I’ll Be a Chicken Too

I’ll Be A Chicken Too by Lana Vanderlee, illustrated by Mike Deas, is a delightful romp through a world of fantasy. This board book for the youngest readers as a lovely lyrical text with perfect rhyming, a great story to read out loud at bedtime. The humorous illustrations show a parent and children having fun as they pretend to be anything from elephants to skunks to otters. The story starts in bed with chickens and comes full circle after visiting many places and animals in between. ISBN 978-1-4598-3555-9, Orca Book Publishers

Serge, the Snail Without a Shell (pb)

Serge the Snail Without a Shell, Harriet Lye and Rosa Rankin, art by Andrea Blinick This, too, is a rhyming story to share aloud with young readers.

Serge the Slug want to fit in at school where the snails tease him for not having a shell. He finds many wonderful shells on the beach but none of them seem quite right. Once Serge realizes that he is perfect the way he is, is accepts being a slug and finds joy in having the whole world as his home. A fun story with an underlying message about being who you are. ISBN 978-1-77471-150-7, Nimbus Publishing

Grasshopper

Grasshopper by Titiana Ukhova is a quiet story about backyard nature. A girl spends a lazy afternoon in her wonderful, green garden. She notices how ants eat her apple core. She observes beetles and all sorts of insects around her on the flowers and in the grass. When she catches a grasshopper, there are different consequences. She keeps him in a jar but soon learns that all animals, even insects, should go free. A lovely, wordless picturebook about nature.

ISBN 978-1-77164-692-5, Greystone Kids

The Animals Come Out, by Susan Vande Griek, with art by Josée Bisaillon, was inbspired by the Covid pandemic. When people stayed indoors, they noticed animals who now ventured into the quiet cities. ‘Out from the woods trail the timid deer.’ The ducks come out of the ponds and the parks, while rabbits and coyotes explore the urban streets. A lovely look at animals with whom we share this earth, all venturing among houses and roads and observed by people from their windows. ISBN 978-1-77306-675-2, Groundwood Books

Calabash Cat and his amazing journey, James Rumford.

A bilingual story in English and Persian, this story is based in Chad, Central Africa. The amazing illustrations are based on traditional wood-burning designs by the Kotoko peope of Chad. Reminiscent of traditional legends, Calabash Cat is curious to see where the world ends. So he set off on a journey. When the road stops at the beginning of the desert, he figures this is the end of the world. But Camel corrects him and shows him more of the world. Each time the environment changes, he learns from different animals that there is more to the world than he ever imagined. He sees grasslands and jungle, even oceans and sky, and learns along the way that there is no end to the world and its wonders.  ISBN 978-0618224234, HMH Books for Young Readers

Two Green Birds

Two Green Birds by Geraldo Valério is a chapter book that will appeal to young wildlife lovers. Francisco’s grandmother was given two wild parakeets. They sit in a cage hanging in her guava tree. They are the most beautiful birds he has ever seen. But no matter how well they care for them, how hard they try different foods, the two birds only shiver together on their perch and will not eat. When a wild flock of parakeets visits the garden and talks to them, Francisco and his grandmother know what to do. Perhaps wild birds were never meant to live in a cage. A gentle story about the need for freedom. ISBN 978-1-77306-795-7, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author whose books about animals include Emma’s Eggs and Amazing Animals. www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Newly released alphabet books and a novel to curl up with this summer – life is good with books.

The Imaginary Alphabet

It’s been a long time since I saw a newly published alphabet book. Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault brings back memories of Wallace Edwards’ Alphabeasts. From a clumsy camel to velvety vampire bats and many in between, the book is full of fanciful animals in tutus and twirling on ice. The large picture book is beautifully executed with heavy pages and gorgeous art. Playful words invite readers to find more objects starting with each letter of the alphabet in the luscious illustrations. A list in the back helps to identify over 300 items. A fun new alphabet book for readers of all ages. ISBN 978-1-77278-299-8, Pajama Press

A is for Aboriginal

A is For Aboriginal by Joseph Maclean and Brendan Heard is a unique book. With a portion of the proceeds going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, this book is a celebration of all things aboriginal. From American Indians to West Coast First nations, the book is chockfull of information about many tribes, their art, customs and traditions. Haida totems, pueblos in New Mexico, Tuareg in the Sahara, Yanomami people in the Amazon are all represented in this book. Beautiful illustrations and informative text make this a a treasure trove of information on all things aboriginal. ISBN 978-0991-858-927, www.aisforaboriginal.com

The Umbrella House

The Umbrella House by Colleen Nelson is a wonderful new novel for middle graders to sink their teeth into. I really enjoyed reading this engaging story. This is the realistic story of Roxi and Scout who live in a New York apartment building called a ‘squat’. Through the story, you get to know the lovely, diverse mix of eclectic residents. Roxi and Scout combine their talents to fight to preserve their building from being sold to a real estate developer. They even battle City Council and help bring awareness of the need to preserve buildings and art. Umbrella House is based on a real place in New York. An enjoyable read that is well written. ISBN 978-1772782790, Pajama Press

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author. She conducts school workshops and talks at international schools. www.margrietruurs.com

From Far Away…

Or perhaps from not so far away… These books showcase stories from a variety of cultures and countries that all show how similar we really are. Whether you need courage in Pakistan or a friend in Afghanistan, we all share similar feelings and needs. Through books, we can learn from each other.

Ang Mahiyaing Manok by Rebecca T. Anonuevo and Ruben de Jesus, is a lovely illustrated picture book told in two languages: Filipino (Tagalog) and English.

Onyok is a young rooster who just can’t crow like the others. They are experienced and know just what to do. The old roosters crow day and night. But no matter how hard Onyok tried, he can’t do it and gives up, feeling quite worthless.

His mother and the old roosters support him. They show him just what to do and encourage him to keep trying. And when Onyok finally manages his crow, he vouches to help other young roosters when he grows older. ISBN 971-508-074-X, Adarna House

Crescent Moon Friends

Crescent Moon Friends by Wadia Samadi, Mo Duffy Cobb and art by Lisa Lypowy is a gentle story about Aisha who has to leave her home in Afghanistan, and Amelia who likes to look at the moon. When Aisha joins her class, Amelia becomes her friend. They discover how much they share in values and interests. The girls as well as their families learn much from each other and are enriched by their new friendships. ISBN 978-177-3660967, Acorn Press

Silent Music, A Story of Baghdad by James Rumford is a skillfully produced picture book for all ages. Ali lives in Baghdad. He loves playing soccer on the dusty streets. But most of all he loves practising calligraphy, just like the legendary calligrapher Yakut. When bombs fall on Ali’s city he, too, fills his mind with peace by practising the flowing words. A beautiful story of peace amid a city in turmoil. ISBN 978-1-59643-276-5, Roaring Brook Press

YouTube Read Aloud:

Malala Speaks Out is the acceptance speech given by Malala Yousafzai upon receiving the Nobel Peace Price. This book should be read by any student and educator. “Instead of painting our hands with hanna flowers,” Malala says, “my friends and I used to paint them with mathematical equations.” When ‘education went from being a right to being a crime’, Malala decided to speak out. Her strong voice recounts situations for more than 60 million girls across the world. This powerful speech can inspire many and help them to realize the importance of education. Commentary in the back of the book, by Clara Fons Duocastella help to put events into context. ISBN 978-1- 77306-916-6, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of many multi-cultural books for children. She is currently taking bookings at International Schools for the 2023-24 school year.

www.margrietruurs.com

Novels – about Life and Death

Books – what better way to learn about life and death situations? Whether real or fictional, historic or futuristic, these books can help readers reflect on feelings, emotions and learn about life situations.

Cleaning Up, Leanne Lieberman. This was a YA novel I really enjoyed. The writing is great and brought the characters and settings to life. Jess is coming of age despite her druggie mother and alcohol addicted father. She has common sense and a plan for the future. 

What she had not planned on is spending the summer in a tent away from the jobs she had lined up. But Jess stays grounded, finds a new job that helps her save money for college but also has her meet new friends and a lost diary. Who wrote this diary? Based on what she knows, Jess starts to create a much needed friend in her head. When reality turns out to be quite different, Jess can reply on those around her. A great read for teens who can recognize themselves in the character. ISBN 978-1-77306-806-0, Groundwood Books

Jacob’s Dilemma by Daphne Greer is a story that draws you right in. Jacob struggles with the death of his father but has recently been reunited with the grandparents he didn’t know he had. And he has Maggie who plans on adopting him. Until his birthmother unexpectedly shows up, complete with all the struggles that made her give him up. Starting at a new school, in his new home town, is hard enough but Jacob soon makes new friends and, eventually, finds out where he belongs and how strong he really is. A well written story that will speak to young teens struggling to find their own way in life. ISBN 978-1-77471-152-1, Nimbus

When The Dikes Breached by Martha Attema is an admirable, realistic historical fiction novel for teens. This book focuses on real events that had a major impact in Europe for years to come. Placed in 1953, the southern provinces of The Netherlands are under storm watch. Klara is the oldest daughter in a large Christian family. When the unthinkable happens and the dikes break, Klara and her family find refuge on the second floor of their farmhouse while the water continues to rise. Will the family suffer the same fate as the nearly 2,000 others who drowned during this flood? Tied to a strict religion, the family copes with the hardships that follow and Klara discovers a dark family secret that will change her life forever.

In the book’s back pages, the author gives websites to see real, historic footage of this devastating flood. In the Netherlands a museum is dedicated to the catastrophe. ISBN 978-1-55380-674-5, Ronsdale Press

Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg is reminiscent of Tomorrow When The War Began, which is aimed at older readers. This dystopian novel is set in Australia after it has been ravaged by climate change’s wild fires and storms, leaving the population distinctly split between poor and rich. Sheltered by their parents’ wealth, twins Ashley and Aiden are turning 13 as they become aware of problems facing others. A series of unsettling events lead to a shocking discovery that will change their lives forever. Readers who like dystopian tales combined with futuristic settings and a sprinkle of AI will enjoy this riveting story.ISBN 978-1-77306-891-6, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of over 40 books for children. She conducts author visits to International Schools.

www.margrietruurs.com

Earth Day Books

Earth Day was celebrated recently around the globe. What better way to celebrate than with books that create a lasting impression and support readers of all ages.

Garden Wonders: A Guidebook for Little Green Thumbs

For young students and budding gardeners, here’s a perfect picture book to celebrate the abundance of gardens. Garden Wonders, A Guidebook for Little Green Thumbs by Sarah Grindler shows how plants grow, what is needed to help plants to flourish, how you can feed the soil with compost, what plants do for nature and much more. The book has activities and is perfect to use if you have a school garden. It even comes with a package of wildflower seeds! This title complements the Little Explorers series which includes Seaside Treasures and Forest Magic. ISBN 978-1-77471-143-9, Nimbus Publishing

A Tree Is a Home
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

Books I reviewed previously but perfect to use for Earth Day, include A Tree is a Home by Pamela Hickman and Zafouko Yamamoto is a beautiful picturebook to share with young readers when looking at the importance of all things tree-related (Kids Can Press). One Well, the Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss focuses on the water on earth in all of its forms and how it effects all life (ISBN 1525302361, Kids Can Press).

In My Backyard

I wrote a book called In My Backyard (Tundra Books) which shows common critters that live in urban backyards. The art includes hidden animals and a ladybug to spot on each page.  ISBN 978-0887767753, Tundra Books

Tying into Earth Day and climate change are these two nonfiction picture books:

50 Climate Questions: A Blizzard of Blistering Facts

50 Climate Questions by Peter Christie and Ross Kinnard is an appealing book chock ful of fun illustrations and jokes but also dead-serious facts about the environment and the effect humans are having on it, as well as what we can change to improve. This is not a new title but, unfortunately, every bit as relevant today. ISBN 978-1-55451-374-1, Annick Press

Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World

Trash Talk by Michelle Mulder is a great title in Orca’s Footprint series. The subtitle is Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World. This book, too, hones in on the amount of packaging we use and how we can change that, thereby reducing our waste. Besides facts and suggestions the book offers many real examples of kids and groups working towards a better world. ISBN 978-1-4598-0692-4, Orca Book Publishers

Two Degrees

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz. I was already a fan of Alan Gratz’ s powerful writing, especially in Ban That Book, a realistic fiction story about a school library and censorship. 

Two Degrees is a riveting read for both kids and adults. It brings home the message about climate change and global warming in an even more urgent way than any nonfiction book I have read.  

In his book Refugees, Gratz used tales of seemingly unconnected people, bringing them together in a skillful way at the end. He does the same admirable job in Two Degrees, showing that all places and people are ultimately connected. 

Using three different settings across North America, Gratz spins a realistic tale of what is happening to our planet right now, right here. Two boys in the Arctic face danger as polar bears are effected by think ice. A girl in Miami is caught up in the hurricane of the century while Akira in California needs to outrun a wildfire that is set on destroying her home and her life.

A fantastic read for anyone which brings home the urgent need for all of us to change our ways now. As Alan Gratz states in the very end of this book: “If the bad news is that humans are causing the climate crisis we face now, the good news is, we have the power to fix it. It’s your world, your future. It’s up to you to decide what you want that future to look like, and what you can do to make it happen.”  ISBN 978-1338735673, Scholastic

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of over 40 books for children. She conducts author visits to International Schools anywhere.

http://www.margrietruurs.com