Category Archives: authors

150 Canadian Books for Children

July 1, 2017.
Canada Day. 
150 years. My Canada Birthday gift to you is this list of Canadian books for children.
It is not a scientific collection. These are simply books about Canada or great
books by Canadian creators, books that I have enjoyed, that stayed with me.
mostly chose them for their ‘wow factor’. It would have been easier if I had not
limited the number of books by the same author. 
I included classics as well as brand new releases, picturebooks, novels etc. 
I wanted this to be truly Canadian books so I didn’t include favorites titles like The
Totem Tale because it is American. I didn’t use such Canadian icons as Love You
Forever by Robert Munsch but did include a book called With A Silent
Companion which is a fascinating Canadian story. These are all simply books
that I have loved. I’m sure there are many more but I haven’t read them yet…
Hope you will find a local bookstore or library near you to check out these books.
If all else fails, order them from
Happy Birthday, Canada. And Happy Reading! 

A Canadian Wildlife Poem, Max Elliott
A Day of Signs and Wonders, Kit Pearson
A Dog Came, Too, Ainslie Manson
A Family is A Family is A Family, Sara O’Leary
A Harbour Seal in Halifax, Doretta Groenendijk
A Mountain Alphabet, Margriet Ruurs & Andrew Kiss
A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, Helaine Becker
A Prairie Alphabet, Jo Bannantyne & Yvette Moore
A Salmon for Simon, Betty Waterton
A Thousand Shades of Blue, Robin Stevenson
A Tree in a Forest, Jan Thornhill
ABC of Canada, Kim Bellefontaine & Per-Henrik Gürth
Adrift At Sea, Marsha Skrypuch
Alice, I Think, Susan Juby
Amos’ Sweater, Janet Lunn
Ankylosaur Attack, Daniel Loxton
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery
Aska’s Animals, Warabé Aska and David Day
Baby Beluga, Raffi
Bagels from Benny, Aubrey Davis
Belle of Batoche, Jacqueline Guest
Beneath Raven Moon, David Bouchard
Birdfeeder Banquet, Michael Marchenko
Boy Soup, Loris Lesynski
Canada Votes: How We Elect Our Government, Linda Granfield & Craig Terlson
Canadian Mysteries Series, Eric Wilson
Carson Crosses Canada, Linda Bailey & Kass Reich
Charlie: A Home Child’s Life in Canada, Beryl Young
Coming to Canada: Building a Life in a New Land, Susan Hughes
Counting on Hope, Sylvia Olsen
Dear Canada: A Time for Giving: Ten Tales of Christmas, Jean Little & Sarah Ellis
Death Benefits, Sarah Harvey
Deep Roots, Nikki Tate
Dream Boats, Dan Bar-el & Kirsti Anne Wakelin
Every Last Drop, Michelle Mulder
Everything on A Waffle, Polly Horvath
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, Lindsay Mattick
Fishing with Grandma, Susan Avingaq
Follow the Elephant, Beryl Young
Franklin the Turtle, Paulette Bourgeois
French Toast, Kari-Lynn Winters
From Far and Wide, Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet
From Far Away, Robert Munsch
Garbage Delight, Dennis Lee
Gifts, Jo Ellen Bogart & Barbara Reid
Going for a Sea Bath, Andrée Poulin
Gubby Builds A Boat, Gary Kent & Kim La Fave
Hanna’s Suitcase, Karen Levine
Hannah and the Salish Sea, Carol Anne Shaw
Hello Humpback, Roy Henry Vickers
How Smudge Came, Nan Gregory
I Am Canada, illustrated by Barbara Reid
I Live in the North, Margriet Ruurs
I’ll Be Watching, Pamela Porter
If The World Were A Village, David Smith
Imagine A World, Rob Gonsalves
In Flanders Fields, Linda Granfield
Jeremiah Learns to Read, Jo Ellen Bogart
Let’s Play A Hockey Game, Kari-Lynn Winters
Log Jam, Monica Hughes
Loonies and Twoonies: A Canadian Number Book, Mike Ulmer & Melanie Rose
Maggie’s Chopsticks, Alan Woo
Maps and Mapping for Canadian Kids, Laura Peetoom
Mary Ann Alice, Brian Doyle
Mary of Mile 18, Ann Blades
Missing Nimâmâ, Melanie Florence
Mister Got to Go, Lois Simmie & Cyntia Nugent
Moon At Nine, Deborah Ellis
My Arctic 1, 2, 3, Michael Kusugak & Vladyana Krykora
No Fixed Address, Maureen Bayless
No More Dead Dogs, Gordon Korman
No Safe Harbour, Julie Lawson
No Signature, William Bell
No Two Snowflakes, Sheree Fitch & Janet Wilson
North West Passage, Stan Rogers
Northern Exposures, Eric Walters
Now You Know Canada, Doug Lennox
Nowhere Else on Earth, Caitlyn Vernon
O Canada, Per-Henrik Gurth
O Canada, Ted Harrison
Oma’s Quilt, Paulette Bourgeois
Once Upon A Golden Apple, Maggie deVries, Jean Little & Phoebe Gilman
Once Upon A Northern Night, Jean Pendziwol & Isabelle Arsenault
One Hen, Katie Smith Milway
One is Canada, Maxine Trottier
Our Flag: The Story of Canada’s Maple Leaf, Ann-Maureen Owens, Jane Yealland
Pick-Up Sticks, Sarah Ellis
Pier 21, Anne Renaud
Pippin the Christmas Pig, Jean Little
Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper, Tololwa Mollel & Barbara Spurll
Roses for Gita, Rachna Gilmore
Salmon Forest, Sarah Ellis & David Suzuki
Saskatchewan, Gillian Richardson
Sea Otter Pup, Victoria Miles
Sea Stars: Salt Water Poems, Avis Harley
Secret of the Dance, Andrea Spalding, Alfred Scow & Darlene Gait
Seeking Refuge, Irene Watts
Selina and the Bearpaw Quilt, Barbara Smucker & Janet Wilson
Silverwing, Kenneth Oppel
Siwiti, A Whale’s Story, Alexandra Morton
Sleeping Dragons All Around, Sheree Fitch
Snow Day, Werner Zimmerman
Sockey Salmon Odyssey, Brenda Guiled
Something From Nothing, Phoebe Gilman
Sophie Sea to Sea, Norma Charles
Stella, Queen of Snow, Marie Louise Gay
Stolen Words, Melanie Florence and Gabrielle Grimard
Stories of the Aurora, Joan Marie Galat
Surviving Sam, Karen Rivers
Thank You, Canada, Andrea Lynn Beck
The Artist and Me, Shane Peacock
The Best Goalie Ever, Gilles Tibo
The Bite of the Mango, Mariatu Kamara
The Breadwinner, Deborah Ellis
The Darkest Dark, Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion
The Doll, Cora Taylor
The Fabulous Song, Don Gilmore
The Freedom of Jenny, Julie Burtinshaw
The Girl Who Hates Books, Manjusha Pawagi
The Girl Who Writes, Richard Cole & Jane Watt
The Hockey Sweater, Roch Carrier
The Inuksuk Book, Mary Wallace
The Kids Book of Canadian Exploration, Ann-Maureen Owens & Jane Yealland
The Kids Book of Canadian Geography, Briony Penn
The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration, Deborah Hodge & John Mantha
The Little Crooked Christmas Tree, Michael Cutting; Ron Broda
The Loon’s Necklace, Elizabeth Cleaver
The Man With the Violin, Kathy Stinson
The Middle of Everywhere, Monique Polak
The Moccasin Goalie, William Roy Brownridge
The Orphan Boy, Paul Morin
The Paperbag Princess, Robert Munsch    
The Polar Bear’s Gift, Jeanne Bushey
The Root Cellar, Janet Lunn
The Secret of the Dance, Andrea Spalding
The Story of Canada, Janet Lunn
The World in Your Lunch Box, Claire Eamer
This Land, Kit Pearson
Underground to Canada, Barbara Smucker
Waiting for the Whales, Sheryl McFarlane & Ron Lightburn
Waves in the Bathtub, Eugenie Fernandes
West Coast Wild, Deborah Hodge; Karen Reczuch
What’s That Noise?, Michele Lemieux
Who Has Seen The Wind?, W.O. Mitchell
Wild Bog Tea, Annette LeBox
Witch’s Fang, Heather Kellerhals-Stewart
With A Silent Companion,Florida Ann Town
Word Nerd, Susin Nielsen
Wow Canada, Vivien Bowers & Dan Hobbs
You Are Stardust, Elin Kelsey

The Girl Who Writes

The Girl Who Writes, a picture book  by Richard Cole and K. Jane Watt.

My new favourite picture book is a delicate, powerful story of a girl who uses her imagination.
She reads every book she can get her hands on but soon realizes that she need to tell her own stories.
“I know that with a bit of ink and 26 letters, I can make new worlds,” she says.
With her head full of images of kings and dragons and far-away places, but also with the splash of salmon and beaver in a nearby eddy, she writes. Her teacher and a writing contest encourage her to keep writing, even if her father says that she needs to get her head out of the clouds.

Perhaps this is how writers are made. I know this could be my personal story.
But it definitely is a story that will resonate with all those who love to use their imagination and dream of new world. A great gift for your favourite writer-friend!

ISBN 978-0-9917146-1-2

Author Visits

As a writer of books for children there is nothing more fun than to share my books with kids. Author visits are popular at schools across North America, but also at international schools. I have been lucky enough to travel to international schools across Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.
I have made some life-long friends among teachers and librarians who share my love to literacy and travel.
Highlights include bringing books to nomad children in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, reading stories to children in Lahore, Pakistan, handing out books to children in Myanmar and many others.
Attached is an article about my recent visits to schools in Kenya and Ethiopia. I love the added bonus of learning about different cultures and now also write a travel blog:

Visiting international schools has led me to write books of a more international nature. My latests books include titles such as Families Around The World and School Days Around The World. Coming out in 2017 will be Birthdays Around The World as well as The Elephant Keeper, a book about my visit to an elephant orphanage in Zambia.

As I plan my next tour of schools in the Middle East, I often pinch myself and marvel at the fact that I am so lucky to be able to combine my passion for writing with my passion for travel.

The Underneat by Kathi Appelt

The Underneath The Underneath, Kathi Appelt.
Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-84738-311-2

This book.
What a book it is.
Not poetry really, but such a story.
Woven around some kittens and a hound.

This story is dark, heavy, gripping. Yet light as a feather. I couldn’t put it down – wanted to taste the words and swirl them around on my tongue. How does one author make such words, put them in such a delicious order?
This author.
She is a story spinner.

Some stories are built on strong characters, with strong settings. A plot.
This story has all that, spun out of wonderful words.
It draws you in, like the whirlpools in the dark river in the story.
I was scared. Scared for the kittens and the hound.
Scared of the snake and the gators.
Scared of the darkness of the man.

But there was light, too.
Light of love, and hope.
Always hope. Hope for a happy ending…
This is a story to read aloud, share with children the story this author spins.
If you are a writer, read these words. See how she spun them. Into a story that will tug at your heart strings. A story of love and friendship. A story of deep running hatred. A scary story that is beautiful.
Part folklore, part fairytale. A tale set in the south.
A tale that you will not soon forget.
Oh, such a tale.

Awards for The Underneath:

  • Borders “Original New Voices”
  • Book Sense “Pick of the Week”
  • Starred review, Booklist Magazine
  • Top Ten Bestsellers, Indie Bound
  • Finalist, The National Book Awards
  • John Newbery Honor Book, ALA
  • Finalist, Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award
  • PEN Center USA Award Children’s Literature
  • Winner, Writer’s League of TX Award for Children’s Literature
  • New York Times Bestseller

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing, Stephen King

Let me beginning with confessing that I am not a fan of Stephen King’s novels. I’m not ‘into’ horror at all, even though they are, undoubtedly, well written horror stories.
However, horrible as the writing life can sometimes be – what with rejections and all – his book On Writing is a spot-on, often funny reflection on the profession.
I found it to be a helpful encouraging, down-to-earth guide for writers at all stages of their career. The book does not make things more rosy than they are. It states clearly the not even attempt to write for publishing if you don’t have anything to say. But it does make it clear how exciting a writer’s life can be if you love research and storytelling.

“Long live the King,” said Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King’s On Writing: Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. If you are serious at wanting to be a writer, get it.

Mass Market Paperback, 297 pages
ISBN 0743455967

Feature Movie: Library of the Early Mind

This documentary film explores children’s literature! Hooray for the creators, and those authors and illustrators interviewed.
OK, it’s very much American. Too bad they did not include some Canadian, or more international authors of children’s literature to give the study a broader scope.
Authors like Anthony Brown or Dick Bruna whose books are widely read in North America could have added a more worldly perspective.
However, this is an admirable production.

The accompanying website states that:

“Library of the Early Mind” is an exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves.
From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes that stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. “No one suspects the children’s writer,” says author and illustrator Mo Willems, a former ‘Sesame Street’ writer.
The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact. The number of books in print by the authors in ‘Library of the Early Mind’ exceeds 240 million.

It can be rented online to view directly on your computer, or you can purchase the DVD via the website. Check also to see if it is available in your local library.