Family Literacy Day 2017 Reading List

Family Literacy Day® is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada, held annually to raise awareness of the importance of engaging in literacy-related activities as a family. Celebrate this January 27 with our list of Canadian books that celebrate and encourage reading as a family activity.

Picture Books

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Oriol Vidal
HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-235308-5
IL: Ages 2-6 RL: Grades 1-2

Humour | Family | Siblings | Acceptance | Animals

Three eggs in a nest begin to wiggle and wobble until… CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! It’s a duck… duck… DINOSAUR! Meet Feather, Flap and Spike. They’re three unlikely siblings… and each wants to stand out. But together they make the biggest splash! Perfect for families of all kinds, this playful, clever story has a dino-sized heart.

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Written by Julie Pearson
Illustrated by Manon Gauthier
Translated by Erin Woods
Pajama Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-927485-85-9
IL: Ages 5-8 RL: Grades 1-3

Foster Care | Feelings | Loss | Hope | Family | Love | Anxiety | Adoption

Elliot’s parents love him, but they don’t know how to take care of him. When a social worker named Thomas comes, Elliot’s world turns upside down. His foster families are kind, but everything is strange and new, and all the changes make him cry, and yell, and misbehave. When it is clear that Elliot’s parents will never be able to take him back, Thomas finds Elliot one last home — a forever, forever home. This title is also available in French under the same name.

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Family is a Family

A Family Is a Family Is a Family
Written by Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-55498-794-8
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Family | Family Situations | Diversity

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

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Fishing with Grandma

Fishing with Grandma
Written by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Inhabit Media,
ISBN 978-1-77227-084-6
IL: Ages 5-7 RL: Grades 1-2

Inuit | Arctic | Fishing | Jigging | Traditional Knowledge | Grandparents | Intergenerational Relationships

Adventure begins when Grandma takes her two grandchildren on a trip to the lake. After Grandma shows the kids how to prepare for a fishing trip, she and the kids enjoy a day of jigging in the ice for fish. Grandma teaches them everything they need to know, and by the end of the day, they have a yummy meal of Arctic char.

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Written by Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Tundra Books, 2015
ISBN 978-1-77049-613-2
IL: Ages 5-9 RL: Grades 2-3

Humour | Family | Attention | Middle Child

Bill just wanted someone to pass him the potatoes. Unfortunately, no one even noticed — not his mother (a very busy woman), not his father (a very important man), not his older brother, not even his little sister. If someone had noticed, the wonderful, terrible thing that happened might never have happened. But it did. An absurd and clever take on the overlooked middle child.

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Island Morning

Island Morning
Written by Rachna Gilmore
Illustrated by Brenda Jones
The Acorn Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-927502-51-8
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Natural World | Intergenerational Relationships | Prince Edward Island

A girl and her grandfather take an early morning walk through the fields of Prince Edward Island. On their journey, they see gentle pastures, farm animals, scenic vistas and a glorious sunrise. This is a story about the special bond between grandfather and granddaughter, and how they see the world through each other’s eyes.

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My Two Grandmothers

My Two Grandmothers
Written by Diane Carmel Leger
Illustrated by Jean-Luc Trudel
Nimbus Publishing, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77108-400-0
IL: Ages 3-7 RL: Grades 1-3

Grandmothers | Differences | Love | Family | Intergenerational Relationships

Acadian Mémére and Scottish Nannie seem to have nothing in common, but their love for their grandchildren is a bridge that brings them together. This picture book is a whimsically illustrated, heartwarming tale of the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and a celebration of family of all shapes and sizes. This title is also available in French as Mémére Soleil, Nannie Lune.

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Nana and Me

Nana and Me
Written by Kathy Knowles
Illustrated by Edmund Opare
Osu Children’s Library Fund, 2015
ISBN 978-1-928093-02-2
IL: Ages 2-7 RL: Grades 1-3

Ghana | Grandparents | Love | Intergenerational Relationships

This book is a celebration of grandmothers or Nanas, and of the special bond between a young Ghanaian girl and her Nana. Grandmothers in Ghana play significant roles as they often live close by, many sharing the same family compound. Kathy Knowles created this story from the words of 100 children in Ghana, West Africa, who wrote about their grandmothers.

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Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Balthazar Fabuloso

Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs
Written by I.J. Brindle
Illustrations by Sholto Walker
Holiday House, 2016
ISBN 978-0-8234-3577-7
IL: Ages 9-11 RL: Grades 4-5

Adventure | Magic | Family | Humour

Eleven-year-old Balthazar Fabuloso’s eccentric family of magicians actually have magic powers — all except Balthazar. So when the entire family, except Balthazar, disappears, the only Fabuloso without real magic must find them. Balthazar teams up with a long-lost lunatic uncle and the loathsome Pagan Fistula against a force so evil that even powerful magicians cower before it. What hope does a ragtag crew of misfits have?

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Biggest Poutine in the World

The Biggest Poutine in the World
Written by Andree Poulin
Illustrations by Marc Serre and Christine Battuz
Translated by Brigitte Waisberg
Annick Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-55451-825-8
IL: Ages 9-11 RL: Grades 4-5

Family | Humour | Friendship | Perseverance | Acceptance | Coming of Age

The last time Thomas saw his mother was on his fifth birthday, when she made him poutine in which she stuck five green candles. On his 12th birthday, Thomas decides to win a Guinness World Record for the biggest poutine in the world, in order to bring his mother back. Will “The Phenomenal Poutine Project” provide the answers Thomas needs? This title is also available in French as La plus grosse poutine du monde.

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Duke's Den

Duke’s Den
Written by Becky Citra
Orca Book Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4598-0901-7
IL: Ages 9-11 RL: Grades 4-5

Family | Belonging | Friendship | Exotic Pets | Animal Rescue | Community

Amelia’s world fell apart when her parents separated, but she finds a renewed sense of belonging when Duke, Gabriella and their menagerie of exotic rescued animals move into the apartment downstairs. Convinced her mother will not let them stay, Amelia tries to keep the secret, but it’s difficult hiding a California king snake or a cockatiel… will Amelia be able to keep her newfound family together?

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Finding Place

The Finding Place
Written by Julie Hartley
Red Deer Press, 2015
ISBN 978-0-88995-533-2
IL: Ages 10-14 RL: Grades 6-7

Adoption | Family | Identity | Coming of Age | Journeys

Found as a baby outside a school in China, Kelly is adopted and lovingly raised by North American parents. When Kelly is 13, her father deserts the family, leaving her heartbroken. Struggling with what it means to be loved and then left behind, Kelly and her mother embark on a journey back to China in search of her origins — a journey which changes their lives forever.

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Look Out for the Fitzgerald Trouts

Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts
Written by Esta Spalding
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Tundra Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77049-876-1
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-6

Family | Siblings | Humour | Home | Adventure

Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together on a tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go — to school, the laundromat or the drive-in. The Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything… maybe even find a real home.

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Summer We Saved the Bees

The Summer We Saved the Bees
Written by Robin Stevenson
Orca Book Publishers, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4598-0834-8
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 5-6

Honeybees | Activism | Blended Families | Environmentalism | Responsibility

Wolf’s mother is obsessed with saving the world’s honeybees. He gets that. But it’s another thing altogether when she announces that she’s taking her Save the Bees show on the road — family style, complete with mortifying bee costumes. Can Wolf and his sisters convince her that dragging the family around in a beat-up panel van may not be the best idea she’s ever had?

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Young Adult Fiction

Are You Seeing Me

Are You Seeing Me?
Written by Darren Groth
Orca Book Publishers, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4598-1079-2
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Siblings | Autism | Letting Go | Family | Adventure | Loss | Love

Twins Justine and Perry have left Australia and embarked on a road trip in the Pacific Northwest. When their dad died, Justine became caregiver for her autistic brother, who has now been accepted into a group home. Before he moves in, the twins want to create the perfect memory. For Perry, the trip is a celebration; for Justine, it’s an opportunity to learn how to let go.

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Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain
Written by Shelley Hrdlitschka
Orca Book Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4598-1065-5
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grades 8-9

Adoption | Grief | Healing | Abandonment | Acceptance

After the death of her adoptive mother, Brenna, 16, reconnects with her biological family, hoping to discover why her biological mother broke off contact many years earlier. Meanwhile, she falls in love with Ryan, who provides support while she grieves but has to leave her when she needs him most. Brenna realizes that getting strong physically and focusing on the needs of others might help her find peace and plan a future for herself.

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Finding Hope

Finding Hope
Written by Colleen Nelson
Dundurn, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4597-3245-2
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grades 8-9

Drug Ab use | Sexual Abuse | Siblings | Family | Bullying

Hope escapes her family and small town by attending Ravenhurst Academy as a boarder. Leaving home means leaving her meth-addicted older brother who needs the money she gives him. As Hope finds new friends and an online boyfriend, Eric’s addiction spirals out of control and he shows up at her school desperate for a fix. Hope discovers that to save her brother, she must first save herself.

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Spirit Level

Spirit Level
Written by Sarah N. Harvey
Orca Book Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4598-0816-4
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Sperm Donation | Half-Siblings | Family | Transgender | Homelessness | Jealousy | Mental Health | LGBTQ

Harriet (a.k.a. Harry) is a donor-conceived child, an only child who has never considered her family unusual. But then her boyfriend chooses New York over her, and her best friend leaves for Paris. Feeling adrift, Harry decides it’s time to find some half-siblings and redefine her idea of family. Harry finds Lucy and Meredith… now the three half-sisters must negotiate their differences and their relationship and decide whether to contact their donor.

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Under the Dusty Moon

Under the Dusty Moon
Written by Suzanne Sutherland
Dundurn, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4597-3202-5
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Family | Mother-Daughter Relationships | Self-Discovery | Coming of Age

Victoria is the 16-year-old daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band Dusty Moon took the world by storm when Micky was a teenager. Now, Micky’s solo career is taking off. With her mom going on tour, Vic is spending the summer with her grandmother. With the help of new friends, Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow.

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Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Worlds of Ink and Shadow
Written by Lena Coakley
HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-44341-659-7
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 8-9

Historical Fiction | Fantasy | Escapism | Siblings | Sisters | Brontës | Imagination | Storytelling

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. Their vivid imaginations let them escape from their strict upbringing, transporting them into their created worlds. But as Branwell descends into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters refuse to let them go.

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