Tag Archives: reading

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Wildlife in the city… From trees turning colour, to growing gardens and zoos, there is much of nature to be found in cities. These books celebrate the magic of growing your own vegetables, watching nature in an urban environment and, as a bonus, the magic of reading!

Bunny Loves Beans by Jane Whittingham is a picture book for the very young that works on many different levels. Not only do the text and the lovely photos introduce a wide variety of animals, it also focuses on healthy, natural foods as well as colours. A fun book to read aloud and share many times over. Follow it up with healthy snacks mentioned in the book: blackberries, carrots, bananas and more. ISBN 978-1-77278-301-8, Pajama Press

City Beet by Tziporah Cohen, illustrated by Udayana Lugo, is a fun, repetitive picture book to read aloud. Using the same rhythm as books like The House That Jack Built and the fun of The Gigantic Turnip, this is sure to become a favourite. Victoria lives in the city. While out for a walk with Mrs. Kosta, they spot a poster for an upcoming city block potluck. “Raw beet salad!” exclaims Victoria and, together, they buy seeds at the corner store. Together they dig, they water and fertilize. And the beet grows. It grows and grows, right until the day of the potluck. But when they want to harvest it, the beet won’t budge, no matter how hard they pull.  Soon help arrives. First a taxi driver, then policemen, a street sweeper. More and more people arrive. They all tell Victoria that she doesn’t need to help so she prepares her recipe. But even with an endless row of people pulling, that beet won’t budge. Until, finally, Victoria comes to the rescue.  And her raw beet salad is ready just in time for the block party. This fun, colourful story comes complete with the recipe. ISBN 9781534112711, Sleeping Bear Press

The Yellow Leaves Are Coming by James Gladstone, with art by François Thisdale, is a reaffirmation of the turning of seasons. Two children watch the last yellow leaf flutter to the ground. Then they know that the snow will come, followed by slush. After the hot days of summer, the school year starts again and leaves turn colour. They find solace in the cycle of seasons and knowing that yellow leaves are here once again.  ISBN 978-0889956834, Red Deer Press

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown is not a new book. But what a wonderful title to use if you are discussing libraries, and especially mobile libraries. Miss Molly McGrew drives her bookmobile into the zoo by mistake. Through great rhythm and rhyme, this is a wild romp of animals discovering the joy of reading. Both the text and the art are full of subtle nuances that make this picture book fun for readers of all ages. From ‘raccoons who read in bunches to llamas who eat while eating their llunches’, ‘hyenas howling over joke books to porcupines writing with their very own quills’ this book is a fabulous read aloud for Poetry Week or parent nights at school.  ISBN 978-0-375-82538-5, Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House

Wildful by Kengo Kurimoto is a 212 page graphic novel. At first, when Poppy walks her dog Pepper along the city streets, she notices nothing of the world around her because her eyes are glued to her cell phone. But then Pepper chase an animal. He jumps through an opening in a fence and disappears into a dark clump of trees. Cautiously Poppy follows. She calls and searches but Pepper does not come back. Around her, Poppy hears unusual sounds. The woods frighten her. But then she meets Rob who explores the forest. He points out birds and tracks. Slowly, she starts to notice all that goes on the wild woods. Leaving first her phone, and then her headset, she becomes more aware and intrigued by nature. Eventually she even convinces her mom to come along and they spend time reconnecting. With nature but also with themselves. A great book, for readers of all ages, that can lead to endless classroom activities. ISBN 978-1-77306-862-6, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is now taking bookings for author presentations in 2025. “Best author visit in 30 years!” – quote from Kelowna BC teacher.

www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Walking… it might be as beneficial as reading! So here are some wonderful reads about walking: walking people, walking animals, even walking trees. They include brand-new as well as long-loved titles. There are other wonderful books about the importance of walking, some of which I reviewed for this TIE column before, including A Long Walk for Water by Linda Sue Parks and Walking Home by Eric Walters.

Follow up reading one of these books by going for a classroom walk!

The Cat Who Walked The Camino, written and illustrated by Kate Spencer is a wonderful story for anyone who has walked, or hopes to walk, the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It’s a great book to help children understand the history and significance of this popular long distance trail but also a fun story based on a true event. A hiker sets off for Santiago and encounters a kitten who ends up traveling the length of the world’s most famous hiking trail with her. Told in the voice of the kitten, we meet a variety of people walking the trail. We also learn about of the most interesting points along the trail: the church of Santo Domingo and its chicken legend, the Cruz de Hierro where pilgrims leave a stone behind, and of course the Cathedral at the end of the walk. With lovely illustrations as well as a map of the entire trail, this is a perfect story to share with children, whether you plan this epic hike or not.

ISBN 97982-1811-9119. Order from Amazon, wholesale from Ingram Spark, or inquire through the author via Facebook Message: https://www.facebook.com/kate.spencer.1293

Walking Trees by Marie-Louise Gay was inspired by a true event in The Netherlands were an art project used movable trees to bring green space to different parts of a city. When it’s Lily’s birthday she asks for a small tree to put on her balcony. Then she decides to take it for a walk around the neighborhood, with the potted tree in her wagon. Soon, people love the shade her tree brings. They talk about global warming and how much we need trees and shade and green. Soon, others follow her example and create green spaces all over the city.

Not only is this a fun story to share and to find information online about the original project (called Bosk) but also to follow it up by planting school trees, in the ground or in movable pots.

ISBN 978-1-77306-976-0, Groundwood Books

The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry is the intricately illustrated story of an armadillo who sets off on foot to explore the state of Texas. Along the way he learns many things and makes new friends. He sees cities and deserts and forests. He meets many different kinds of animals and, thanks to a Golden Eagle, even sees the earth from a different perspective. And all along, he mails postcards back to his armadillo friend in the zoo. The rich illustrations are full of facts and information. A great book to share and to follow up by sending postcards around the country or around the world.

ISBN 0-15-200359-2, Harcourt Brace

The Boy Who Walked Backward by Ben Sures, illustrated by Nicole Marie Burton, is a beautifully told, yet heartbreaking, story of residential school. Leo and his family live in the traditional Ojibway manner. Their language, food and way of life are steeped in tradition. But one day a truck comes to collect the children who now have to leave their families to go to school. No longer are they allowed to speak their own language. They even have to cut their hair. When Christmas finally comes, the children are able to see their families and to spend time in their own homes again. And when the holidays are over, Leo invents a clever way to avoid going back to school. Using skills he has long learned, he uses his beloved forest to hide and wait until the truck has left.

ISBN 978-1-927849-49-1, Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre.

The Camino Club by Kevin Craig. I read this teen novel as an e-book. It is a very realistic account of a group of juvenile delinquents – reminiscent of Ben Mikaelson’s Spirit Bear but for older students –  whose punishment for a variety of crimes, is to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain with counsellors. Since the real experience is transforming, the fictional teens, too, are transformed by confronting each other, by confessing sins, by meeting new people and by the very act of walking a long distance trail. The teens’ foul language may be realistic in this setting but it almost turned me off of reading on. I’m glad I did, though, as the story gets gripping and you do want to know what happens to each teen in the end.  

ISBN 978-1945053979, Duet Books

Walking For Water, How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Nicole Miles is a wonderful story inspired by true events in Malawi. Victor and Linesi are twins. They love going to school but at some point Lenesi is the one who can’t go anymore because she has to fetch water for the family. In school, the new teacher tells the children about gender equality. Soon Victor sees the unfairness of this and has a plan: he and his sister take turns going to class and fetching water. The changes have a ripple effect so that, soon, equality becomes not just something that is only talked about but practised as well.  ISBN 978-1-5253-0249-7, Kids Can Press

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of over 40 books. She has walked part of the Camino de Santiago and will travel anywhere in the world for author presentations at International Schools. www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

If you manage to put the right book into the hands of a young reader, fiction can get them hooked on reading. Below are some wonderful new novels that really draw the reader into a new world. Whether it is fantasy or realistic fiction, these books will be valuable additions to any (classroom) library.

Out of the Valley of Horses by Wendy Orr is a magical story. Young readers who like magic, adventure and horses will love it! Orr is a skilled storyteller and has expertly woven real elements into a mystical tale. The author has created a fascinating new world that will captivate readers’ imagination. A family, a camping trip in a van, a pandemic which changes the world, and a valley from which there is no escape. The book’s main characters are children who are strong and smart and solve the main problem – all the ingredients needed for a spellbinding tale. Honey and her brother Rumi are the heroes, assisted by horses with superpowers that seem as real as the valley in which they live. A touch of Pippi Longstocking combined with a setting as magical as that of Orr’ popular book Nim’s Island, with a sprinkling of ancient fairy tale dust and plenty of magical horses, make this a must-read.  ISBN 978-1-77278-311-7, Pajama Press

Nish by Isabelle Picard is told in an authentic voice that places this novel in a refreshingly real setting that has been missing in children’s books. ‘Nish’ means ‘two’ in the language of the Innu, the people of northern Quebec. Eloise and Leon are 14 year old twins. People in their aboriginal village speak French and Innu and some English. Each of them tells their own story in alternating chapters. The teens have adventures that are realistic and interesting to read, both for children who will finally recognize their own setting in a book, as well as for young readers who can learn what life is like in a different place in North America. 

Leon loves hockey. He and his friends take part in regional competitions and have to fly to the big city for a tournament. Eloise films around her village as she and her teenage friends make a video for a school project. An interesting read based in a place that is rich in stories but not often used in contemporary books. ISBN 978-1-4431-9723-6, Scholastic

The Party Diaries’ Top Secret Anniversary, written by Mitali Banerjee Ruths and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, is fun chapter book for early readers with lots of illustrations. Priya, the returning main character from other books in the series, has started her own Party business. While planning a secret anniversary party, she has to do research, make invitations, plan decorations and much more. All the while, Priya keeps notes and shares her crafts with readers so that they, too, can plan special parties. In addition to just having fun, she also raises awareness and support for manatees, an endangered species. ISBN 978-1-338-79990-3, Scholastic

A Bucket of Stars by Suri Rosen is a wonderful novel for young teens to sink their teeth in. Written in a powerful voice reminiscent of Susin Nielsen or Kate Di Camillo, this is the story of Noah and his older brother. They move to their father’s home town not long after losing their mother. Their father has lost all interest and has given up on his passion: the stars in the night sky. Noah misses how his father used to teach him about constellations and galaxies. While his brother hooks up with new skateboarding friends, Noah meets Tara who loves to make films. Unwittingly, the two encounter a crew of unscrupulous characters, get blamed for the destruction of a heritage home and find evidence of much wrong doing in their new home town.

This is a wholesome page turner sprinkled with amazing true facts about our solar system. A great book to put in the hands of students or to use as a classroom read aloud in grade 5 and up. ISBN978-1-4431-9279-8, Scholastic Canada

Margriet Ruurs writes books for children and conducts author presentations at International Schools. She is now taking bookings for the 24/25 school year.

www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

A new year! Time for new books! And maybe some wonderful older ones… Wishing you a good year and hope every teacher’s resolution is to read more books in the classroom!

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind, Judy Finchler and Kevin O’Malley. This picture book is the story of a kid who does not like reading. He loves video games but not books. But when his school sets out to to read 1,000 books this year, his librarian tries her best to make readers of all students. Slowly, most kids end up with their nose in a book, because who can resist these great books. No matter how much he does not like reading, Miss Malarkey eventually manages to put the perfect book in his hands and the school principal has to dye his hair purple! ISBN 0-8027-8084-9, Walker & Company

Class Trip is a new title by the indefatigable Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko. Stephanie and Sean and their entire class embark on a trip to the museum. The guide shows them chicken eggs that are about to hatch and, indeed, they watch a little chick come out of its shell. “Fantastic,” say the kids, “do you have any bigger eggs?” As the size of the eggs increases, so do the things that hatch. Until they are shown an enormous shell in the museum’s basement. Will a teacher fit in a shell? And how can eggs do math? A fun, new read-aloud in typical Munsch style with lots of repetition and an unexpected ending. ISBN 978-1-0397-0224-0, Scholastic Canada

What I Like! by Gervase Phinn British author Gervase Phinn has written fun picturebooks for kids, including What I Like!, a collection of poems for the very young. Ranging from food to pets to runaway trains these poems are great for sharing out loud in Kindergarten. They include rhymes as well as tongue twisters and guessing games. ISBN 978-1904-5501-29, Child’s Play

Raina Telgemeier wrote successful graphic novels that kids love, like Ghosts, Smile and Drama. How do writers and illustrators use their own life to come up with great stories? In Share Your Smile, she shows readers, and kids who like to doodle, how to create the best stories from real experiences. Losing a tooth as a kid, may not be fun. But writing and drawing about it, turning it into a universal story, can help yourself as well as others. Telgemeier takes the reader through all steps of remembering, recording, and sketching stories. A great book to encourage others to write your own story. ISBN 978-1-338-35384-6, Scholastic Graphix

Margriet Ruurs loves reading. She also writes books for children and conducts author visits at schools around the world.

www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

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Usually I post new book recommendations here every two weeks. This time, I’m traveling and unable to share reviews of new books. So I’d like to share a list of my favourite books about many countries around the world.

This list includes books for young people, and anyone else. Most are paired with travels to countries which I read about. Often, I found these gems in the country itself. They enriched my travels and my understanding of country and culture.

It is an evergrowing list, so you can check back at other times to find more titles.

Happy reading!

https://www.globetrottingbooklovers.com/books

Margriet Ruurs is an author of many books for children. Her travel are often combined with visits to international schools to inspire children to read and write their own stories.

www.margrietruurs.com

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

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

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

A brand new picture book is always a joy to discover. Share these titles out loud with your class or use them to encourage readers to discover new favourites about interesting topics.

Sun in My Tummy, Laura Alary, illustrated by Andrea Blinick. This is a picture book that looks at the magic of an ordinary breakfast. Did you know that the sun made the seeds grow that become your oatmeal? That blueberries grew because of sunlight, which turned them into sweet berries? Follow the magic of sunshine through familiar food to marvel at a miracle we take for granted.  ISBN 978-1-77278-241-7, Pajama Press

The Sinking of Captain Otter by Troy Wilson, illustrated by Maira Chiodi is picture book about many things. It’s a story of an otter who wants to be captain of his own ship. But it’s also the story of persistence, of believing in yourself, a story about bullying and about making friends. Most of all it’s a lovely story to share in the classroom and to discuss all of these different layers. ISBN 978-1-77147-311-8, Owl Kids Books

Cocoa Magic by Sandra Bradley, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, is an old fashioned story of kindness and empathy. Daniel loves learning how to pour chocolate in his great-uncle’s chocolate shop. When a new girl comes to his class, in the old brick school building, he can see that she needs some cheering up. So the next morning he hides a beautiful chocolate in her desk. And, like magic, it makes her smiles. But more children need a special treat or encouragement so soon Daniel is hiding chocolates throughout the class. When it is Daniel’s turn to need some special care, he is surprised to find his kindness returned by many friends. A story about doing little things for others to build empathy and compassion, with the most delicious looking end pages I’ve ever seen! ISBN 978-1-77276-264-6, Pajama Press

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

Night Runners by Geraldo Valério is a surprising book. At first glance this wordless picture book looks like a Christmas story with its sparkly stars on the cover, and a leaping reindeer. Then it seems like a scary story when the rushing reindeer stumbles in the dark woods and is surrounded by wolves. But then the images surprise again by showing how kind and caring those scary wolves are! Once they have brought food and water to the injured reindeer, they all continue their pursuit of the sparkling star cicle in the sky and find more friends. Together they sing and dance and celebrate. Worldless picture books can lead to many oral stories and boost imagination. This one will do so on many different levels. ISBN 978-1-77306-569-4, Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is the Canadian author of 40 books for children. Her newest title is Where We Live, a nonfiction map book about children in their own unique neighborhoods around the globe.

www.margrietruurs.com

GLOBAL BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Travel, memories, family visits, nature… These books are great for summer reading.

Mommy's Hometown

Mommy’s Hometown by Hope Lim, with illustrations by Jaime Kim, is a warm story about a little boy who loves listening to his mother’s stories of her childhood. He can just imagine the village where she grew up, the river where she splashed as a little girl. But when he and his mom finally visit her old hometown, they realize how it has changed. An old house is now surrounded by skyscrapers. No one splashes in the river anymore. The city even changes from day to night time. But, as he hears his grandmother calling, some things never change. A good story to discuss cultures, where you came from and how memories keep things unchanged while the world evolves. ISBN 978-1-5362-1332-4, Candlewick

Window

Another, older, book that shows how things change over time is my all-time favorite by Jeannie Baker: Window is a wordless picturebook which focuses on one window and shows how the view changes over the years. As a baby grows older, birthday cards in the window sill give us clues about the years passing. The backyard changes from diapers on the line, to tricycles and eventually his first car. Trees are cut, new homes are built. The world changes through this window until the boy has grown up and his home is old. Then it’s time for a new home, a new life, and a new view from the different window. This book is perfect to discuss change, evolution, the environment, urban development and much more. ISBN 0-14-054830-0

A Day for Sandcastles

A brand new wordless picturebook is A Day For Sandcastles, by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng. Perfect for international schools, this story can be told or imagined in any language as we follow a family for a day on the beach. They dip their toes into the water, shoe away sea gulls, eat sandy sandwiches and, of course, build sandcastles that get washed away in the upcoming tide. A book that makes you want to go to the beach! ISBN 978-1-5362-0842-9, Candlewick

West Coast Wild at Low Tide

And, talking about the beach, West Coast Wild at Low Tide, Deborah Hodge, art by Karen Reczuch shows us the beauty and the wildlife of the seaside. This book celebrates life in the intertidal zones on Canada’s Pacific west coast. After explaining tides, Deborah Hodge zooms in on various species that call this place home and that kids might observe, including anemone, hermit crabs and sea urchins. Reading books like this will help educate kids, and adults alike, about the importance of creatures along the shores. ISBN 978-1-77306-413-0, Groundwood Books

Seaside Treasures: A Guidebook for Little Beachcombers

Seaside Treasures by Sarah Grindler has the subtitle ‘A Guidebook for Little Beachcombers’. With its smaller format, this is the perfect book to take along on a trip to the beach. Not only does the gorgeous art show sea life, like starfish and crab shells. It also shows all of the other treasures you can find on the beach: polished sea glass, glass floats from Japan, bits of rope from sailing vessels, even arrowheads and shards of pottery. The book also shows some things that don’t belong on the beach: straws, bottle caps and more, and encourages readers to help keep beaches clean.  ISBN 978-1-77108-746-9, Nimbus Publishing

Tug: A Log Boom's Journey

Tug, A Log Boom’s Journey by Scot Ritchie is a fun journey what follows logs from the ocean to the saw mill upriver. If you have ever spotted a boom of logs drifting or being towed, this is an interesting look at the how and why of felled logs. In a conclusion at the end, the author explains how First Nations used to look after the forest and how people now rely on logging for houses and other day uses. ISBN 978-1-77306-177-1. Groundwood Books

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian writer of over 40 books for children. Her book WHERE WE LIVE will appear with Kids Can Press in 2022 and highlights maps of special places where children around the world live. Book now for author workshops at international schools: www.margrietruurs.com