This week we will look at at some beautiful places in the province of Quebec with the help of some wonderful photographers on flickr.

Rocher Perce

Rocher Perce by Michel Rathwell

Fjord de Saguenay

Saguenay Fjord by Remi

Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls by Joe Nevill

Aging Sentinel

Illes de la Madelaine by Malcolm Carlaw

Champlain, Gatineau park, Quebec #Flickr12Days

Gatineau Park by Zhongmin Li

Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac by Prayitno

Activity: Use a good atlas or google maps to find the places referred to in these photos and mark them on your map of Canada.


Picture Books: Northern Canada


This post is part of a challenge to write a post every day for 31 days: 31 Days of Canadian Picture Books. Instead of writing a new post every day, I have added a new book that we have enjoyed reading as a family every day to one of four posts which cover all of Canada.

inuksukI is for Inukshuk

Author and Illustrator: Mary Wallace lives in Ontario but has a fascination for the north, visiting Nunavut many times, and has written and illustrated a few books about Inuksuit. She is also an art teacher and has written several books on making art.

We loved the paintings in this book! As well as learning a few words in Inuktitut, and a bit about the people who live in the far north, it is a beautiful pictorial representation of the Arctic. She has another book on how to make your own Inuksuk!

klondikecatKlondike Cat

Author: Julie Lawson is from Victoria, BC and has written lots and lots of books about Canada. Check out her website here.

Illustrator: Paul Mombourquette lives in Ontario and has illustrated another book that we love as well called Fog Cat.

This is a story about the gold seekers who traveled to the Yukon with big dreams. Who knew that bringing a cat along would prove to be such an excellent idea!

oldwaysThe Old Ways

Author: Susan Margaret Chapman lives in Ontario and has worked as a teacher-librarian and a primary school teacher.

Illustrator: John Mantha is an artist living in Ontario. He has illustrated many children’s books and among other things, designed coins for the Royal Canadian Mint. You can see some of his other artwork here.

This little story is a reminder of the usefulness of old ways of doing things because, sometimes the new ways will fail. A young boy finds out the advantage of knowing how to tell a good story, and the practicality of knowing how to build a shelter out of nothing more than snow. There really is much more to life than video games and T.V.

verylastVery Last First Time

Author: Jan Andrews lives in Ontario and loves to tell stories. You can see some of the other books she has written, and also listen to some of her stories here.

Illustrator: Ian Wallace has a long list of interesting and successful picture books he has created, many of them about places in Canada. He was born and went to school in Canada, but now lives in Massachusetts.

This is an adventure not many children get to experience – walking on the seabed under the ice. My daughter was pretty sure that she would not want to do it, but the artwork makes it look magical!

walktundraA Walk on the Tundra

Author: Rebecca Hainnu lives in Clyde River and teaches at an elementary school. She has also written a similar book called A Walk on the Shoreline. Anna Ziegler lives in Iqaluit. She has also contributed to several books about Inuit life.

Illustrator: Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, but now lives in Toronto. She has published several other picture books. You can view more of her work here.

A little girl and her grandmother go for a walk on the tundra, and the little girl finds out to her surprise, how every plant is special.



East Coast Art

We are going to look at some paintings by four artists from the East Coast. You can explore their other amazing paintings if you wish to by clicking on their names.

On the east coast you might imagine that there would be wonderful sunrises over the ocean. Each of these paintings shows a sunrise in a slightly different way. Which do you like best?

Along with the paintings is a poem by Lucy Maude Montgomery which captures in words the beauty of a sunrise.


Adam Young – Brown’s House – Newfoundland

Athwart the harbour lingers yet
The ashen gleam of breaking day,
And where the guardian cliffs are set
The noiseless shadows steal away;
But all the winnowed eastern sky
Is flushed with many a tender hue,
And spears of light are smiting through
The ranks where huddled sea-mists fly.


Louise Mould – Sky Infusion – Prince Edward Island

Across the ocean, wan and gray,
Gay fleets of golden ripples come,
For at the birth-hour of the day
The roistering wayward winds are dumb.
The rocks that stretch to meet the tide
Are smitten with a ruddy glow,
And faint reflections come and go
Where fishing boats at anchor ride.

Upper Island Cove

Cara Kansala – Upper Island Cove – Newfoundland

All life leaps out to greet the light
The shining sea-gulls dive and soar,
The swallows whirl in dizzy flight,
And sandpeeps flit along the shore.
From every purple landward hill
The banners of the morning fly,
But on the headlands, dim and high,
The fishing hamlets slumber still.


Reilly Fitzgerald – Working on the Nets – Newfoundland

One boat along beyond the bar
Is sailing outward blithe and free,
To carry sturdy hearts afar
Across those wastes of sparkling sea;
Staunchly to seek what may be won
From out the treasures of the deep
To toil for those at home who sleep
And be the first to greet the sun.

Sunrise Along the Shore by Lucy Maude Montgomery

These beautiful paintings should give you a feel for what artists see on the east coast: the ocean, colourful houses, wonderful sunrises/sunsets, boats, and fishermen as well as other things.

The style of each painting is quite different, but they all include a beautiful sky. Sunsets and sunrises can be amazing, especially over water as the lovely colours are reflected in the water as well. Usually the rising or setting sun turns the sky colours that are warm: red, orange, and yellows. However, while the water reflects the light from a sunrise, the surrounding land, buildings or trees are usually dark or cool colours.

Notebook Pages: East Coast Art

Activity: Now it is your turn to create a beautiful painting. Use the paintings above to get ideas for what to put in your picture, and how you want to paint your sunrise. You can check out this pinterest board if you need more ideas.

Picture Books: Central Canada


This post is part of a challenge to write a post every day for 31 days: 31 Days of Canadian Picture Books. Instead of writing a new post every day, I have added a new book that we have enjoyed reading as a family every day to one of four posts which cover all of Canada.

morning_on_the_lakeMorning on the Lake

Author: Jan Bourdeau Waboose, a Nishinawbe Ojibway has written a few picture books about Native life. You can see her other picture books here.

Illustrator: Karen Reczuch lives in Ontario and has illustrated several other picture books. One that I have not yet read but would love to is called Loon. You can see more of her work here.

This is a picture book with chapters. It tells three stories of a little boy with his grandfather exploring the outdoors in northern Ontario.

findingwinnieFinding Winnie

Author: Lindsay Mattick is the great granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourne who brought the bear along with him from Winnipeg, to the London Zoo in England. Here is a link to a conversation she had with Eli Yarhi for the Canadian Encyclopedia. She lives in Toronto.

Illustrator: Sophie Blackall was born in Australia and now lives in New York, but here is a post from her blog where she describes the making of this book – it is worth reading!

This is such a sweet story about the bear who was the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. It is written as a story within a story, and is based on real life.

perfectsnowPerfect Snow

Author and Illustrator: Barbara Reid illustrates her books with pictures made out of plasticine. Her husband Ian Crysler photographs her artwork for her books. She has an amazing website which you can visit here. We enjoy watching the videos of how she creates some of her pictures. There is even a book about her called Barbara Reid by Jennifer Sutoski.

This book helps to bring out the magic of winter and enough snow to make snow forts and snowmen and why you would spend long enough outside that your mittens would be wet and your hands are frozen, but you wouldn’t be quite ready to come inside just yet. Our other favourites are Picture a Tree, and Subway Mouse.

foxesFoxes on the Ridge

Authors: Leon E. Pavlick was the Curator of Botany for the Royal British Columbia Museum for 20 years, but he was born in southeastern Manitoba which is the setting of this book and the two others in this trilogy. Ann M. Pavlick is the co-writer and wife of Leon.

Illustrator: Lissa Calvert is an amazing wildlife artist living in Sooke, British Columbia. You can see her artwork here.

This is a beautiful story of the life of a fox over a year. This is just one of the books in a trilogy – the others are: Red Pines on the Ridge and Aspens on the Ridge.

dragonflyDragonfly Kites

Author: Tomson Highway is a musician, playwrite, novelist and now picture book writer. He is Cree and was born in Manitoba although he lives in northern Ontario and Quebec now.

Illustrator: Julie Flett is Cree-Metis and has illustrated several picture books in her unique style. You can see more of her picture books here. (This book was first published with Brian Deines as illustrator.)

This book is a reminder of what childhood looks like minus technology. The world is full of possibilities. This story is also written in Cree.

from-poppaFrom Poppa

Author: Anne Carter lives in Ontario and has had a very eventful and interesting life. She has written several stories. You can read about her here.

Illustrator: Kasia Charko also lives in Ontario and has illustrated many children’s books. You can see them here.

This book is special because it is about a grandfather who carves wooden ducks or decoys. I love the pictures of the carving workshop.

wintertaleA Winter’s Tale

Author and Illustrator: Ian Wallace has a long list of interesting and successful picture books he has created, many of them about places in Canada. He was born and went to school in Canada, but now lives in Massachusetts.

I love the idea of winter camping… and so we enjoy reading this book as our way of experiencing it. Maybe one day if we get brave enough, we will try it. The rescue of a fawn tangled in fishing line adds an adventure and a happy ending.




Halifax Explosion


Halifax is a city built right beside the ocean. There is a sheltered harbour there that doesn’t freeze during the winters and so it is a good place for ships come in to dock and deliver their goods or passengers. During the early 1900’s it had a population of around 50,000 people.

One day, the 6th of December, 1917, a ship called the Imo was leaving the harbour through the narrow opening to the open sea. It was travelling a bit faster than it should have been and was on the wrong side of the waterway.

A ship called the Mont Blanc was entering the harbour on it’s way to the Bedford Basin. Ships coming into the harbour were supposed to have the right-of-way. They whistled at each other, telling each other to move out of the way, but were not able to sort it out in time.

Unfortunately the two ships hit each other, making sparks which started a fire on the Mont Blanc.

For several minutes the fire on the Mont Blanc sent black smoke into the air. This attracted attention from people on the shore and from the firefighters and other sailors who set out on their way to help put the fire out.

There were only a few people who knew that the Mont Blanc was carrying explosives. The crew of the Mont Blanc lowered their lifeboats and paddled away as fast as they could, and left the ship to drift into the harbour.

The fire eventually reached the ammunition and exploded. It was a huge explosion that shattered windows in a town 100 km away. The blast toppled buildings, set buildings on fire, and killed nearly 2000 people, and injured 9000 more. And to make it even more difficult, the next day a blizzard began.

Many people came to help and sent medical aid, doctors, and money. especially a group of people in Boston, Massachusetts.

In remembrance of the relief provided, every year the people of Halifax send a large Christmas tree to Boston to say “Thank you.”

51v5ywh2dkl-_sx334_bo1204203200_ If you are able to find this at your library or have it at home, read “Halifax Explodes” in the Canadian Flyer series by Frieda Wishinsky.

Notebook Page: The Halifax Explosion

Activity: Saying thank you can sometimes be something we mean to do, but somehow never get around to. So, take some time today and make some handmade “Thank You” cards, so that you never have an excuse not to send that note. Included in the notebook page is instructions for making a card and envelope if you need it, but you can easily make cards out of extra paintings or artwork. If you don’t have any extra artwork hanging around, here is an idea for decorating the front of your cards: Fingerprint Art

A Walk on the Beach


I am going to take you for a walk on an ocean beach in Nova Scotia. This is a little beach on a bay, which means it is a little more protected than ones that face the open ocean. On this walk, we are going to look at seaweed.


Seaweeds are algae. They are plants but they are quite different than plants that grow on land. They have no roots and they do not make flowers. They also cannot stand upright on their own. Instead some have air bladders that help to hold them up.


Algae can be so tiny you cannot see it with the naked eye (microalgae), or it can be up to and over 100 feet long (macroalgae)! Microalgae can live in both fresh water and seawater. Macroalgae lives in salty seawater.


The major types of seaweed are green, red and brown. Most green algaes are found in shallow waters, brown are found a little further out, and red can live the furthest out of all.


Some seaweeds just float around by themselves, but many attach themselves to a rock, or a shell, or other hard surface like a boat, or sometimes even sand. They attach themselves by a holdfast that looks a bit like roots but it does not provide any nutrients for the plant.


Seaweeds use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make energy, and absorb nutrients from the water to grow. They produce oxygen which is what we need to live.


Twice every day there is a low tide and a high tide on the ocean. This is when the water moves higher up the shoreline and then back out to sea. This make the edge of the ocean have different zones: the “splash” zone which is usually dry, the “intertidal” zone which is underwater only during high tide, and the “subtidal” zone which is always underwater.


Many macroalgaes live in the intertidal zone which means that twice a day they are out of the water. The subtidal zone is where macroalgaes such as Kelp grow.


In storms, bits of seaweed are often torn away and wash up on shore.


Many seaweeds provide food and homes for animals, but maybe you didn’t know that seaweed is also used by people. Long before grocery stores, seaweed was used as a fresh vegetable in times of hardship, eelgrass (not actually a seaweed but a seagrass) was often used as to stuff a mattress or to insulate the walls of houses, and other kinds of seaweed were scraped off the beach to fertilize gardens.


Today, harvesting seaweed is a big business. It is harvested to be used as food (for animals and people), cosmetics, medicine, and fertilizer.

Notebook Pages:

Art Project: Seaweed Art


Picture Books: Western Canada


This post is part of a challenge to write a post every day for 31 days: 31 Days of Canadian Picture Books. Instead of writing a new post every day, I have added a new book that we have enjoyed reading as a family every day to one of four posts which cover all of Canada.

wildhorses Where Wild Horses Run

Author & Illustrator: Georgia Graham went camping in Chilcotin Country in the interior of BC to find the wild horses there and write this book. She has written and illustrated several other children’s books as well. She was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and now lives on a tree farm in Central Alberta. You can find out more about her and the other books she has written here.

This book has beautiful illustrations and tells the story of a little brown colt.

maryofmile18Mary of Mile 18

Author & Illustrator: Ann Blades was only 20 years old when she began teaching in a small community in northern British Columbia. She wrote this book to give her students a a book about them and where they lived. She has since written several others books for children as well. She lives in Vancouver.

I read and loved this book when I was in primary school (a long time ago) and it continues to be a favourite.

fishing-gubbyFishing with Gubby

Author: Gary Kent was a commercial fisherman and salmon troller for ten years. He now works with wood as a cabinetmaker and instructor in Roberts Creek, B.C.

Illustrator: Kim La Fave also lives in Roberts Creek, British Columbia and has illustrated several other children’s books which you can see here.

This story is in the form of a comic book and is such an interesting look into the life of a Pacific Coast fisherman. There is a sequel to this book called Gubby Builds a Boat.

yetsassweaterYetsa’s Sweater

Author: Sylvia Olsen spent 30 years of her life living on the Tsartlip First Nations community on Vancouver Island, BC. She is non-native but her children are mixed-heritage and so many of her stories are about where different people come together. Making Indian Sweaters is a family business and you can see her store here. This story is about her grand-daughter.

Illustrator: Joan Larson loves horses and specializes in pastels. She lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, BC. You can see more of her art here.

This is a lovely story about family connection and what it takes to make a Indian Sweater.

gulfislandsGulf Island Alphabet

Author: Bronwyn Preece lives on an island in the Salish Sea in an off-grid waterwheel and solar-powered house. She has also written another picture book called Off the Grid Kid about living on Lasqueti Island.

Illustrator: Alex Walton lives in BC and has illustrated a few other books, such as Snowy White World to Save.

This is a book of beautiful watercolours of the Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea. It is also fun to read because of the alphabetical alliteration.

fraserbearFraser Bear: A Cub’s Life

Author: Maggie de Vries lives in a house overlooking the Fraser River and amongst others has written two more books about animals called The Tale of a Great White Fish, and Big City Bees.

Illustrator: Renne Benoit lives in Ontario and has illustrated several other books. You can see them at here.

The beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a black bear family living along the Fraser River and also the chinook salmon who come back every year to spawn.


Picture Books: Eastern Canada


This post is part of a challenge to write a post every day for 31 days: 31 Days of Canadian Picture Books. Instead of writing a new post every day, I have added a new book that we have enjoyed reading as a family every day to one of four posts which cover all of Canada.

freeasthewindFree as the Wind

Author: Jamie Bastedo, a biologist who likes to share his love for science and natural history. He lives in Yellowknife with his wife and children.

Illustrator: Susan Tooke, who grew up in New Jersey and moved to Canada in 1980. She has travelled all over the east coast to find inspiration for the many books she has illustrated. She lives in Halifax.

This is a story of a time in the history of the wild horses of Sable Island when they were being removed from the island and taken to Halifax to be auctioned off with many of them ending up as dogfood. Children came to their defence by writing letters to the Prime Minister and the horses are now protected.

pitpony Pit Pony

Authors: Joyce Barkhouse and her daughter, Janet Barkhouse. Joyce, an elementary school teacher and the aunt of Margaret Atwood, was born and lived most of her life in Nova Scotia. She was 61 when her first book, a biography of George Mercer Dawson was published. She died at the age of 98 in 2012. Janet has taken her mothers’ novel and condensed it so that younger children can enjoy it.

Illustrator: Sydney Smith was born in Nova Scotia and graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has illustrated many lovely picture books.

Here is another horse book, because my daughter has been in love with horses since she first noticed them. Any book with a horse in it is sure to be a hit!

I’m not certain if it is coincidence, but this book also has a horse from Sable Island called “Gem” although it takes place a few decades earlier than Free as the Wind. It is the story of what it was like to be part of a mining family back in the early 1900’s.

whereiliveWhere I Live

Author & Illustrator: Frances Wolfe, who lives in Nova Scotia on a piece of land that has belonged to her family for 200 years. She worked in a library for 30 years before writing this book, which was her first.

We like this book because we live here too and the beach is one of our favourite places to go. It is especially nice in the summer, but we like it in the winter too. With 7600 km of shoreline, you are never too far from a beach in Nova Scotia!

return-to-seaReturn to the Sea

Author & Illustrator: Heidi Jardine Stoddart, who started writing stories when she was 8, stapling sheets of paper together and drawing with crayons. She writes about things she has experienced and loves – like the Maritimes! She has published four other books which look great too and you can see them here on her blog. She lives in New Brunswick.

This book has lots of beautiful pictures of scenery from Quebec to PEI. It is fun to imagine being on the road trip with her characters.

lobsterpocketLobster in my Pocket

Author: Deirdre Kessler teaches creative writing and children’s literature at the University of Prince Edward Island. She also has worked for CBC Radio and Television.

Illustrator: Brenda Jones spent her childhood on her family’s 100 acre Prince Edward Island campground, and after spending some time in Montreal now lives in Charlottetown. She has illustrated several books, but also makes beautiful paintings which you can see here.

We liked this book because we also feel a bit sorry for all the lobsters crawling all over one another in the grocery store tanks, and would like to set them free. This is a sweet story of a little girl who makes friends with a lobster. This book originally had black and white illustrations, but was redone in full colour recently.

marcopoloThe Summer of the Marco Polo

Author: Lynn Manuel lives in British Columbia, but grew up in Hamilton Ontario. She has written another book about Lucy Maud Montgomery called Lucy Maud Montgomery and the Cavendish Cat.

Illustrator: Kasia Charko was born and educated in England, but now lives in Ontario. She has illustrated a number of Canadian picture books which you can find here.

Obviously any coastline is going to have the occasional shipwreck and P.E.I. has had its share. You can view a map showing shipwrecks along its shores here. This story is about the Marco Polo and the effect it had on the community of Cavendish where Lucy Maud Montgomery lived.

mcgintyHold on, McGinty!

Author: Nancy Hartry is a lawyer who lives in Toronto. She has also written a couple novels.

Illustrator: Don Kilby is an artist who lives on the shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario. You can find out more about his art here.

Although it is sad that the cod population in the Atlantic has been decimated by overfishing, this is an optimistic book that follows McGinty on his way across Canada to fish once again in the Pacific Ocean.

heroesHeroes of Isle aux Morts

Author: Alice Walsh grew up in a small village in Newfoundland. She now lives in Nova Scotia and has written several books.

Illustrator: Geoff Butler also now lives in Nova Scotia, but he grew up in the outports of Newfoundland. Another book he has illustrated is Ode to Newfoundland using the words of their provincial anthem.

It is always nice to read a story about heroes with a happy ending. Of course, my daughter likes that one of these heroes was a dog.

sugaring-offThe Sugaring-Off Party

Author: Jonathan London lives in California, but was inspired to write this book by his wife’s fond memories of growing up in Quebec.

Illustrator: Gilles Pelletier is a successful folk painter and has illustrated two other books worth mentioning: A Happy New Years Day and Come to the Fair. He lives in Quebec.

A grandmother tells her grandson about her experiences at her first sugaring-off party in Quebec as she anticipates going to her 60th one. The party sounds like a lot of fun, the illustrations are have such interesting detail, and a little French is thrown in to enhance the experience.


The Silver Dart


Alexander Graham Bell is famous for inventing the telephone, but he was also very interested in flight.

He started with kites, pulling them along with a steamboat on the Bras D’Or Lake. He was successful in having one stay in the air for seven minutes before it crashed into the lake and was destroyed.

He next tried gliders and eventually someone had the idea of putting an engine on a glider. It took a while to perfect the ability to control the direction of the plane but each time improvements were made.

The Silver Dart was the fourth plane built under the guidance of Mr. Bell, and included all the improvements that had been discovered: adjustable flaps in the wings, a water-cooled engine and a special silvery coating to waterproof the wings. It was successfully flown in New York and then taken apart and brought to Baddeck in Nova Scotia.

On the 23rd of February, 1909, the Silver Dart, piloted by John McCurdy rose into the air over Bras D’Or Lake and flew for half a mile before landing safely. It was the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada.

Alexander Graham Bell was also involved in the first planes to be designed, built and flown in Canada. They were designed by John McCurdy and Frederick Baldwin, and built in Bell’s laboratory. They were called the Baddeck 1 and Baddeck 2.

91lp4xnsuklWe will be reading some of the books from the Canadian Flyer series for our History lessons either as a read-aloud or independently. The one for this week is called “Flying High”.

Activity: Make your own paper airplane: Instructions

31 Days of Canadian Picture Books


My youngest child is starting to think she is too old for picture books. This makes me a little sad because I love reading them. So we are going to have one last Canadian picture book gala together.

I joined a challenge to post for 31 days, and for the month of October shared the books about Canada that we have loved, and still love, and hope you will end up loving too!

I have added to my four posts instead of writing a brand new post everyday. You can find them here:

Eastern Canada

Central Canada

Western Canada

Northern Canada