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.



3 thoughts on “Picture Books: Eastern Canada

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Canadian Picture Books | Getting to Know Canada

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