Author Archives: kitsmediatech

Where We Live

Where We Live, Mapping Neighbourhoods of Kids Around the Globe

Where We LiveWritten by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Wenjia Tang

This book is a unique, illustrated map book. It explores neighborhoods of 16 real children from around the world. Author Margriet Ruurs, who met many of these children in her travels, tells the story of each child’s neighborhood by highlighting the places that are important to them, such as where they live, go to school and play, as well as interesting facts about their lives, including the food they eat, their religious practices and the sights and smells they encounter every day. From big cities, such as Amsterdam and Beijing, to small communities, such as Salt Spring Island in Canada and the village of Komanyana in Zambia, each place is special to the children who live there.

In the book’s opening pages, Ruurs explains what a map is and what its component parts are: compass rose, legend, scale bar. Then, each child’s story gets its own spread, with Wenjia Tang’s playful and inviting maps as a backdrop featuring illustrations of the important places and a legend specific to that map. Each of the maps in the book is based on the child’s actual neighborhood. The “Say It!” box includes words and phrases in the child’s native language. This book has a wealth of social studies applications: it’s both a valuable resource … and an insightful look at how much children around the world have in common, this book has a wealth of social studies applications. It makes a perfect jumping-off point for projects in which children create their own map and story or do further research on any of the neighborhoods in the book. Back matter includes activities, a glossary, an author’s note and a further-reading list.

04-Oct-22978-1-5253-0137-7 | List Price: USD $19.99, CAD $21.99
4-color • 9 x 12 • 40 pages • Grades: 2 to 5 / Ages: 7 to 10

Come, Read with Me

Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Christine Wei
Orca Book Publishers

Join two young children as they begin an adventure through a world of books in this story-within-a-bedtime-story. This metered read-aloud pays homage to classic children’s literature: readers of all ages will love searching for characters they recognize from fairy tales and beloved picture books amongst the pages. Spiders weave words and mythical dragons soar as the children travel through magical lands guided by the rhythm and rhyme of acclaimed author Margriet Ruurs. Little ones will want to cuddle closer and settle in for a delightful journey before heading off to sleep themselves.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“A book that parents, primary teachers and librarians can use to introduce a discussion of the world of children’s books. [Children] will enjoy the game of identifying the literary references hidden in the lines.”

School Library Journal
“Sweet and richly detailed… Wei’s rich, complex mixed media illustrations make the story’s concept shine, totally capturing the magic of imagination, while Ruurs’s simple, rhythmic text pulls everything together.”

Kirkus Reviews
“[Pays] homage to the wonderful world of imagination found in children’s books.”

Resource: Come, Read with Me Colouring Sheet

The Boy Who Painted Nature

The Boy Who Painted Nature
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Artwork by Robert Bateman

Celebrated artist Robert Bateman is renowned internationally for bringing the natural ?world to life on the canvas. A naturalist and painter from his youth, Robert has for decades used his recognition to shed light on environmental issues and advocate for animal welfare.

Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature is the story of how a young child achieved his dream of painting the world around him and became one of Canada’s most famous artists.

Using Robert’s own personal photographs, sketches and artwork, author Margriet Ruurs weaves a simple story of inspiration and encouragement. A story to motivate all the budding artists and naturalists in your life, with proceeds benefiting The Bateman Foundation.

*BC Bestseller!
Quill & Quire:
“The immersive, documentary-style narration describes “Bobby” in his natural environment. There is the behind-the-scenes thrill of peeking at Bateman’s coil-bound, black-and-white preliminary sketches, along with a candid, on-location photo, showing the artist sitting on a rocky shore, calmly watching a penguin waddle right up beside him.”

Also available as Read-Along and Audio Book:

Click here for teaching resources and videos:

Celebrating this beautiful book at the Bateman Centre, Victoria BC and at the Salt Spring Island Public Library:


Bus to the Badlands

Bus to the Badlands
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Claudia Davila

ISBN: 9781459816701
Price: $6.95, Orca Book Publishers
In this illustrated chapter book, a group of grade schoolers fundraise to go on a trip to the dinosaur museum in Drumheller. And make a prehistoric discovery once they get there.

“Muddy mishaps and a thrilling discovery highlight a class outing to a dinosaur museum and dig in Alberta.
Following months of fundraising and dinosaur study. The weeklong trip to Drumheller begins with a bus, features a visit to a dinosaur museum, and culminates in an encounter with a snake—in the course of which Josh finds the protruding end of a fossilized bone. Better yet, the discovery earns Josh’s whole class free pizza from the site’s paleontologists!
Fledgling chapter-book readers working their way through Suzy Kline’s Horrible Harry series may be drawn to this Canadian counterpart.”

Birthdays Around the World

Birthdays Around the World
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Ashley Barron
Series: Around the World
Kids Can Press, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-77138-624-1
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $19.99
4-color 9 x 12 40 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7

Everyone in the world has a birthday. But birthdays are not celebrated in the same way everywhere. Meet Mercedes in Peru, who eats a cake and a purple pudding called mazamorra morada. Ieva in Latvia is raised in the birthday chair, one lift for each year. And rather than celebrating his own birthday, Phúc Khang in Vietnam joins in the festivities during Tet, when everyone in the country turns one year older.

Based on interviews with real people, award-winning author Margriet Ruurs tells the unique stories of how seventeen children from all around the globe celebrate a birthday, including how they each say happy birthday in their native language.

Following the memorable stories, children are invited to compare their own birthday traditions with the ones they’ve learned about in the book. Birthdays can be a yearly highlight and a shared experience for children, which make them a perfect subject for introducing different customs around the world.

As with all the titles in the bestselling Around the World series, this fascinating book provides cross-curricular applications in language arts, global studies and geography. Ashley Barron’s beautiful cut-paper collage artwork adds a contemporary, stylized feel to the pages. Enriching the reading experience are a world map that pinpoints all the locations of the children in the book; a two-page spread containing six activities that facilitate a closer reading of the text; and a glossary containing translations, pronunciations and foreign scripts for the foreign words and phrases in the book.


An easy, enjoyable way to start thinking about similarities and differences around the world.
— Kirkus Reviews, June 2017

a good choice for introductory conversations about cultural differences.
— School Library Journal, July 2017

a cheerful, inviting introduction to birthdays.
— Booklist, July 2017

— “Young readers will have lots to discover as they flip through the colourful pages while older readers will enjoy reading and learning from this informational picture book.”
— CM Magazine, December 2017

“… a great book to share with young children on their birthday or in a class- room when talking about different cultural celebrations.”
— Resource Links, February 2018

“… a delightful book with engaging artwork perfectly suitable for reading out loud to children.”
— Quebec Library Association, May 2018

2018 – Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Winner
2018 – Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner

To hear a Jamaican style birthday song, play the video!

Families Around the World

Families Around the World
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Jessica Rae Gordon
Kids Can Press, Hardcover 40 pages, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1894786577

This colorful cross-section of families introduces readers to fourteen real children from around the world and the people they love the most, from Sanne in the Netherlands, who has two moms; to Gilad, whose parents and siblings live on a kibbutz with other families in Israel; to Ji Eun in South Korea, whose parents both work outside the home. An engaging book about different cultures and what they share: the importance of family, and the familiar ways people care for one another.

“… this quick global trip can serve as a first look at the larger world.”
— Kirkus Reviews, June 2014
“Your wanderlust-filled kids will make 14 friends from all over the world and get acquainted with their families, too.”
— Today’s Parent, September 2014
“An attractive and informative multicultural offering.”
— School Library Journal, September 2014
“Inclusive in showing many different family structures, this large-format book offers an amiable introduction to families around the globe.”
— Booklist, October 2014
2015 – Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Winner

Family Activities Worksheet (140Kb PDF)

School Days Around the World

School Days Around the World
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Alice Feagan
Series: Around the World
Kids Can Press, 2015
Hardcover or Ebook
ISBN 978-1-77138-047-8
List Price: USD $18.95, CAD $19.95
4-color 9 x 12 40 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7

Author Margriet Ruurs begins this engaging informational picture book by posing an intriguing question: “What is a school? Is it a building with classrooms? Or can it be any place where children learn?” The fascinating stories that follow will expand how young readers think of school, as they learn about the experiences of real children in thirteen different countries around the world. From Marta in Azezo, Ethiopia, and Luciano in Mérida, Venezuela, to Alina in Taraz, Kazakhstan, and Lu in Shanghai, China, the children who are profiled live in places that truly span the globe. However, while there are huge differences in their environments, all the children share similar desires to learn, read and play with others. Alice Feagan’s charming cut-paper collage artwork further enhances the idea of a global community by featuring smiling, enthusiastic children’s faces, which are equally joyous and filled with life in every situation.

As with all the titles in the popular Around the World series, using a familiar concept such as going to school is a perfect way to introduce children to other cultures and places in social studies classes. The author has provided several resources at the end of the book, including discussion topics and a list of organizations that help children access education. A world map at the beginning of the book shows the location of each of the countries, and a glossary contains definitions of the foreign words. These, along with a table of contents, make useful tools for familiarizing young readers with book navigation.


K-Gr 2 – This upbeat picture book explores a typical day for children attending 13 schools around the world, from Amy and Gwen, who are homeschooled in Alaska, to Mathii, an orphan from Kenya. For each country, there’s a colorful spread featuring a few first-person details (“I am out of breath by the time I reach my classroom on the third floor of my school. Lots of stairs!”) that demonstrate that ultimately these kids have more in common than it might seem. While readers will enjoy learning about the different cultures, the lack of depth here may spark more questions. Educators looking to provide more context will find some help in a section toward the end of the book, “A Closer Look at Schools Around the World,” which offers tips on how to engage kids with the text and presents additional information about the different schools. There is also a list of charities that donate books and other supplies to schools in need. The cut-paper illustrations are bright and friendly looking, matching the cheerful feel of the text.
– School Library Journal

VERDICT This title is a gentle introduction to the concept that when it comes to global experiences, similarities outweigh differences, though some adult guidance is required.
– Laura Stanfield, Campbell County Public Library, Ft. Thomas, KY

In this companion to Children Around the World and Families Around the World, Ruurs introduces 14 children from various countries, based on real individuals, who describe what school is like for them. Feagan’s crisp, digitally assembled cut-paper collages give the children cheerful, puppetlike appearances and provide a sense of school environments that range from a fancy German boarding school to the house where two homeschooled Alaskan girls study. Mathii, who lives at an orphanage in Kenya, describes his morning routine (“The sun is barely up when I hurry to school to sweep the floors”), while in Shanghai, a boy named Lu explains that “classical music plays over the intercom” at his public school between classes. A lighthearted overview of school-day life that will leave readers considering how their routines compare to those of their global peers. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
– Publishers Weekly

“This title is a gentle introduction to the concept that when it comes to global experiences, similarities outweigh differences …”
— School Library Journal, April 2015

“The lively and colourful cartoon-like illustrations will be highly appealing to youngsters.”
— CM Magazine, June 2015

2016 – Rainforest of Reading Award, OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation, Short-listed
2015 – Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
Reading Lights selection, Vancouver Public Library

A Brush Full of Colour

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison
Written by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson
Art by Ted Harrison
Panama Press, 40 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-927485-63-7

How did a boy who grew up in a drab mining town in northeast England become one of Canada’s most beloved and decorated artists? A Brush Full of Colour is the story of that boy, whose passion for learning would save him from a life in the coalmines.

Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson trace the life of Ted Harrison and the influences that would lead to his unique style as an artist. Filled with full-color examples of his vivid art, and with a foreword written by Ted Harrison, A Brush Full of Colour will provide inspiration for a new generation of budding artists.

2015 Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award winner
2016 Crystal Kite Award winner
2016 Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee
2016 OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award nominee
2015 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award Shortlist
2015 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award nominee
2015–2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award nominee
2015 Spring Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection
2014 OLA Best Bet
2014 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection

“An outstanding, well-organized biography… A joy to look at and an inspiration to read.”—School Library Journal
“Seldom does an artist’s biography for children offer so many beautiful reproductions of the subject’s work. Pair this inviting book with Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song (2009), another wonderfully visual celebration of an artist following his own path.”—Booklist
“A child-friendly introduction to an iconic, wonderfully accessible and quintessentially Canadian artist.”—Kirkus Reviews
“…a must have…The text is easy to read,comprehensive, and interesting…[A] beautifullypresented book…Highly recommended…”—Resource Links
“This outstanding biography does more than just inform the reader of Ted Harrison’s life in a well organized way. A Brush Full of Colour is indicative of the spirit and passion of its subject…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
“This inspirational and informative biography includes many stunning examples of Harrison’s luminous artwork as well as resources, sources and a foreword written by the artist himself…”—Canadian Children’s Book News
“…this book is virtually larger than life…A Brush Full of Colour is an exemplary youngCanLit biography…”—CanLit for LittleCanadians
“The table of contents for this lovely new book from Pajama Press entices with the promise of a foreword by the artist himself, and then goes on to let the reader know that soon they will learn about Ted’s childhood, his world travels, his life in the north, and his life as a full-time artist.” – Sal’s Fiction Addiction
“Here’s a book that will be as interesting for you as it will be for your child. A Brush Full of Colour is a vibrant, fact-based picture book about Canadian artist Ted Harrison.” – Getting Kids Reading

Activities based on A Brush Full of Colour

View the book trailer!

A Mountain Alphabet

A Mountain Alphabet
Written By Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Andrew Kiss
Tundra Books, 1996
ISBN 0-88776-374X

A picturebook highlighting the wonders and beauty of the mountains. Lyrical text combined with Andrew Kiss’ breathtaking oil paintings make this a book for all ages. Children will love trying to find the hidden letters of the alphabet.
Available in paperback and e-book.

Selected by B.C. Ministry of Education as a gift for every child in Kindergarten in B.C. in 2006

Full of imaginative detail, visually stunning, clever and amusing sentences will amuse
– Winnipeg Free Press

Each page is a visual treasure. Andrew Kiss’ magnificent illustrations combined with Margriet Ruurs’ alliterative text, offer young readers an opportunity to experience the thrill of the mountains.
– Books in Canada

Bold, rich colours and perspectives and lyrical language combine to create an exquisite experience.
– Book Links

A Mountain Alphabet Coloring Sheet (220Kb PDF)

Teaching Guide

Available through all bookstores.

Used with permission of Tundra Books. All rights reserved.

A Pacific Alphabet

A Pacific Alphabet
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Dianna Bonder
Whitecap Books, ISBN 1-55285-264-4

A zany, playful alphabet book celebrating the coast of the Pacific Ocean. From the top of Alaska to the tip of Mexico, the Pacific Coast of North America comes to life in this vividly illustrated alphabet book. From albatrosses and orcas to Zodiac boats, children can identify objects that start with each letter and read along with the lilting text. In addition, each illustration has the featured letter hidden within the colorful artwork, creating a challenge for older readers, too. Featuring forests full of fairies, singing seashells, and persnickety pirates, this is an alphabet adventure for the young and young at heart.

A Pacific Alphabet was #1 for 8 weeks straight on the BC picture books bestsellers list, and on the Canadian national picture books bestsellers list.

Shortlisting, Chocolate Lily Award
Shortlisting, Oregon’s Patricia Gallagher Award
White Ravens Selection, International Board of Books for Young People
Selected by B.C. Ministry of Education for Achieve BC and presented to all students starting Kindergarten

Rhymes are playfully appealing and colorful folk-art illustrations are packed with additional items starting with the same letter. Clever detail oriented readers will enjoy the challenge of identifying additional items.
– Quill and Quire Review

Related links
Activity sheet

Teaching Guide, created by Jan Keese: Pacific Alphabet Guide305

Available through all bookstores or email