Tag Archives: picture books

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

Spring Into Books

These books not only are appropriate to the season, they shine a light on different aspects of Spring.

A Flower Is A Friend by Frieda Wishinsky, art by Karen Patkau is a lovely celebration of flowers. Flowers help many friends, like bees and butterflies. They dance in the wind and can shelter insects. The lyrical text lends itself to be read aloud with young readers. The art invites the reader to study the images closely to discover more animals. The back pages give nonfiction details about each animal mentioned like bats and spiders. A perfect book for nature lovers. ISBN 978-1-77278-280-6, Pajama Press

Afikomen by Tziporah Cohen and Yaara Eshet tells the story of the origin of a Jewish tradition: the breaking of matzah at Passover. This wordless picture book shows a family celebrating together while the children sneak under the tablecloth. When they emerge they have time traveled to Egypt where they meet Moses in his wicker basket and help him to safety in the Pharaoh’s daughter’s arms. The back page gives details in this biblical tale.  ISBN 978-1-77306-606-6, Groundwood Books

The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobson. This picture book explains the biggest holiday in the Muslim year when Aneesa gets to wear new clothes, helps cook lamb stew and goes to the mosque. A lovely story to share for those kids who will recognize themselves and for those who will learn something new about a major traditional celebration. ISBN 978-1-59078-431-0, Boyds Mills Press

Ramadan, The Holy Month of Fasting by Ausma Zehanat Khan. Many of us are familiar with Ramadan. But what does it mean, why do Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan and how is it celebrated in countries around the world? This beautiful nonfiction book answers those questions and much more. There are information boxes, recipes of traditional dishes, photos and lots of information to learn about Ramadan. ISBN 978-1-4598-1181-2, Orca Book Publishers

Passover, Festival of Freedom by Monique Polak. This nonfiction book explains the origins and traditions of Passover. Through text, facts, photos and personal accounts, the book shares stories and information from the Jewish community. Recipes for traditional Passover dishes are also included in this beautiful information book. Informative for those familiar with Passover and also for those who are not. ISBN 978-1-4598-0990-1, Orca Book Publishers

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of many books for children. She is available for author presentations at International Schools: http://www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK REVIEWS

When teaching writing to children, we often talk about the importance of voice. Who is telling the story? Is it a narrator or a character? The following picture books and novels all use a unique voice to tell their story.

If Only...

If Only… by Mies van Hout is a colourful picture book for the youngest readers, in which the voice of a child wishes he/she was a butterfly. But the butterfly wishes it was a different insect. From ladybugs to spiders, all critters voice their wishes until the story comes full circle. In addition to the story there is information about each creature as well as instructions for making your own colourful art.

ISBN 978-1-77278-196-0, Pajama Press


Hello, Dark

Hello, Dark by Wai Mei Wong gives voice to a child who is afraid of the dark. “I hear you creak, and cast shadows all around,” he whispers, alone in bed. But soon he realizes that the dark helps animals at night, even helps the moon shine bright. Soon he is no longer scared but plays games with his new found friend. 

ISBN 978-1-77278-221-9, Pajama Press


Wolves

Wolves by Emily Gravett is an older picture book with a quirky voice that slightly older students love. Rabbit goes to the library and find a book about wolves. The information becomes more and more vivid. Rabbit has a close encounter but, luckily, this story has a happy ending. The art adds to the text and is fun to explore and discuss. The pages include mail with real envelops and letters to Rabbit.

ISBN 978-1-4050-5362-4, MacMillan


Time for Bed's Story

Time For Bed’s Story by Monica Arnaldo is written in an unusual voice – that of the bed! Bed knóws that you don’t want to go to bed, and toss and turn. But have you ever considered Bed’s feelings? A fun bedtime read for parents to share with their young readers! 

ISBN 978-1-5253-0239-8, Kids Can Press


The Coconut Crab by Peter W. Fong

The Coconut Crab

This 200 page middle grade novel is a fun and beautiful read. With facts about the main characters – a coconut crab, a goat, a bird and a gecko – based on nonfiction, the story is a well written fictional tale reminiscent of folk tales. Based on a tropical island, Coconut Crab faces dangers and makes new friends, learning about the natural world while exploring the world of man. The voice that tell this story, with faint echoes of The Life of Pi, is beautiful and made me imagine vivid images. The humour and emotions conjured up by the characters was similar to watching the Madagascar or Finding Nemo movies in which quirky animals banter with each other. A fascinating read that may be labeled for kids but can be equally entertaining for adults who love a good tale.

ISBN 978-1-9505845-7-4, Green Writers Press


Margriet Ruurs, MEd, conducts author presentations at schools around the world. Her latest title is Come, Read With Me, ISBN 978-1459817876

GLOBAL BOOK REVIEWS

Making Math Fun with Picture Books

Picture Books are more than entertainment. They can be great tools to teach concepts such as math. This works for children of all ages and also for second language learners. Here are some of my favourite math picture books:

A fun counting book for the very youngest readers, is Going for a Sea Bath by Andrée Poulin, illustrated by Anne-Marie Delisle. Leanne’s father has a great idea. He brings more and more sea creatures for her bath. Until the tub is overflowing. Then Leanne is the one with the best idea. ISBN 978-1-927485-92-7

Growing Patterns, Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell is a beautiful nonfiction picture book with photos that will fascinate young readers of all ages. From pineapples to pinecones, from snails to shells – this is a close look at numbers in nature. ISBN 978-1590787526

Mysterious Patterns, Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell is an equally interesting picture book with photos. It looks at spheres, cones, cylinders – manmade and in nature and finds patterns from tree branches to broccoli. ISBN 978-1-62091-627-8

Fibonacci’s Cows by Ray Galvin is a fun short, chapter book. Ryan has to do his homework assignment before he can play soccer. But he needs to research Fibonacci cows and doesn’t know where to start. With a little bit of help from Leonardo, Ryan discovers amazing patterns in flowers and animals and ends up with a great classroom presentation. ISBN 978-0769913568

Fractions, Decimals and Percents, David A. Adler, takes young readers to the County Fair. Each booth offers tickets, cotton candy, or games that deal with decimals, percentages and more. ISBN 978-0823423545

Perimeter, Area and Volume by David A. Adler is a ‘monster book of dimensions’. The monsters are making a movie and need to know all about area, radius and other measurements. ISBN 978-0823427635

Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll is a fun picturebook about how to decide is both sides of a game of tug-of-war are equal. Is bear stronger than mouse? How should the animals make teams of equal strength?ISBN 978-1570918926

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, Cindy Neuschwander. Radius has a problem. He has given his father the wrong potion and turned him into a dragon. How can he solve the circle’s riddle and save his father from dragon slayers? ISBN 1-57091-164-9

How Much Is A Million? asks David M. Schwartz in this picture book illustrated by Steven Kellogg. How high a stack would a million kids form? How long will it take to count from one to a million? This is a fun text to read out loud and keep the attention of kids fascinated by ‘a million’. ISBN 978-0-688-04050-5

As with all books, it is always best to support a local bookstore. If you order online, check out: www.betterworldbooks.com There is no shipping fee to most countries.