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.





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.