CCBC March 2014 Newsletter: International Women’s Day



March Book List
Author Corner: An Interview with Jill Bryant
Classroom Activity Suggestion
World Read Aloud Day Author Readings
Out Now: Winter 2014 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News
INSPIRE! The Toronto International Book Fair – Opportunities for Teachers and Schools
Next Month…

March Book List

by Emma Sakamoto

There were so many good books for this month’s theme that we had to expand the list! Here is only a small selection of the best Canadian kids’ and teen books that we considered empowering for girls and young women.

Interest Level (IL) is listed by age; Reading Level (RL) is listed by grade

Picture Books

My Name Is Elizabeth! My Name Is Elizabeth!
Written by Annika Dunklee
Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Kids Can Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55453-560-6
IL: Ages 3-7  RL: Grades 1-2
Elizabeth really likes her name. She likes that it’s nine letters long and that a queen was named after her! She does not like it when people call her by nicknames. In this story you’ll discover how this larger-than-life little girl puts her foot down and insists on being called by her proper name – by most people anyway.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

The Paper Bag Princess The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Annick Press, 1980
ISBN: 978-0-920236-16-1
IL: Ages 4-7  RL: Grades 1-2
Tradition gets tweaked when an unglamorous princess outwits an arrogant dragon to rescue an equally arrogant prince in this charming whimsically illustrated feminist fairy tale.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Stella! A Treasury Stella! A Treasury
Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Groundwood Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55498-292-9
IL: Ages 3-7  RL: Grades 1-2
With gentle humor, freshness, a sense of whimsy and exquisite watercolours, Marie-Louise Gay gives us stories featuring our red-headed heroine, Stella, and her younger brother Sam. This collection includes Stella, Star of the Sea; Stella, Queen of the Snow; Stella, Fairy of the Forest; Stella, Princess of the Sky and When Stella Was Very, Very Small.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

When I Was Eight When I Was Eight
Written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Annick Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55451-490-8
IL: Ages 6-12  RL: Grades 3-4
Based on the best-selling memoir, Fatty Legs, this picture book tells the story of a young Inuit girl whose dream of learning how to read takes her to a residential school. Treated poorly by one nun in particular, her mettle is tested but her spirit never breaks.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Junior Fiction

Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch
(The Lunch Bunch)
Written by Susan Glickman
Illustrated by Mélanie Allard
Second Story Press, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-897187-51-7
                               IL: Ages 7-9  RL: Grades 3-4
Bernadette is finding third grade a bit challenging. It’s only when she makes three best friends and forms the Lunch Bunch that she finds a way to survive the school lunchroom! Contains black-and-white illustrations.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Captain Lilly and the New Girl Captain Lilly and the New Girl
(First Novels)
Written by Brenda Bellingham
Illustrated by Clarke MacDonald
Formac Publishing, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88780-857-9
                               IL: Ages 6-9  RL: Grades 2-3
Lilly and her friends have joined a new soccer team, but when Annie gets hurt, the coach’s niece, Sara, takes her place. When Lilly’s team comes up against another team, the competing team’s coach doesn’t want to let Sara play because she’s wearing a hijab (headscarf). The soccer players, tired of listening to the adults argue, head off to have a game for fun, showing the adults what really matters.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Justine McKeen, Walk the Talk Justine McKeen, Walk the Talk
(Orca Echoes)
Written by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55469-929-2
                               IL: Ages 7-9  RL: Grades 2-3
In this second book in the Justine McKeen series, Justine decides that too many cars sit idling outside her school every day. So Justine plans to start a walking school bus to help create a greener environment at her school, but many adults don’t trust her crazy plans and ideas. How will Justine convince them to see things her way?
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

One Year in Coal Harbour One Year in Coal Harbour
Written by Polly Horvath
Groundwood Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55498-188-5
IL: Ages 9-13  RL: Grades 5-6
With her parents now safe at home (they were once lost at sea), Primrose is worried about other people and places. She can’t get Uncle Jack and Miss Bowzer to connect, Mendolay Mountain is being logged, and Primrose wants her new friend Ked, who’s a foster child, to stay in Coal Harbour forever. Will Primrose be able to save all that matters most to her? This is the companion novel to Everything on a Waffle.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Intermediate Fiction

Days of Toil and Tears: The Child Labour Diary of Flora Rutherford Days of Toil and Tears: The Child Labour Diary of Flora Rutherford
(Dear Canada)
Written by Sarah Ellis
Scholastic Canada, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-439-95594-2
IL: Ages 10-14  RL: Grades 4-5
Eleven-year-old Flora Rutherford is reconnected to her mother’s family after being in an orphanage for almost 10 years. But her courage and strength are tested as she is put to work in a textile mill.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril and Romance Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril and Romance
Written by Marthe Jocelyn
Tundra Books, 2006 ©2004
ISBN: 978-0-88776-826-2
IL: Ages 10-14  RL: Grades 4-6
Mable is an aspiring writer and an independent thinker. This coming-of-age tale about a girl finding her voice — and the courage to make it heard — is as funny as it is inspiring.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

My Name is Parvana My Name Is Parvana
Written by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55498-297-4
IL: Ages 11-14  RL: Grade 5
In this stunning sequel to The Breadwinner, Parvana, now 15, is found in a bombed-out school and held as a suspected terrorist by American troops in Afghanistan. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Her mother had managed to open a school for girls, but that put Parvana and her family in grave danger.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

A Sea of Sorrows: The Typhus Epidemic Diary of Johanna Leary A Sea of Sorrows: The Typhus Epidemic Diary of Johanna Leary
(Dear Canada)
Written by Norah McClintock
Scholastic Canada, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4431-0710-5
IL: Ages 10-14  RL: Grades 4-5
This novel captures a dreadful time in history for those desperate, impoverished Irish famlies who hoped to make Canada their home. Johanna Leary and her family are among those who make their way to Canada. Johanna keeps a record of the ocean journey and her first few months in this new land. Her incredible journey of survival is told with insight and sensitivity.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

YA Fiction

The Darkest Corner of the World The Darkest Corner of the World
Written by Urve Tamberg
Dancing Cat Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-77086-214-2
IL: Ages 14 and up  RL: Grades 9-10
In Estonia during World War II, 15-year-old Madlii struggles to survive and keep her family together. When Nazis invade, her country and loved ones are divided as they choose which dictator they’d rather follow: Hitler or Stalin. Madli hears about a band of freedom fighters and is forced to choose the evil regime she knows, or help another evil regime in hope of freeing her father and her nation.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

The Friday Society The Friday Society
Written by Adrienne Kress
Dial Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3761-7
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 7-8
Set in Edwardian London, this novel follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, a lab assistant; Michiko, a Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, a magician’s assistant. The three young women meet by chance at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man. Now they must solve this and other related crimes without bringing too much attention to themselves.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

A Spy in the House A Spy in the House
(The Agency)
Written by Y.S. Lee
Candlewick Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4067-5
IL: Ages 13 and up  RL: Grades 7-8
Mary Quinn, an orphan and thief sentenced to die on the gallows, is rescued by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary is educated and trained to be an investigator for the Agency. In her first assignment, Mary must pose as a lady’s companion to infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hope of tracing his missing cargo ships. Book One in the series.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Violins of Autumn Violins of Autumn
Written by Amy McAuley
Walker Publishing Company, Inc., 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2299-7
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 7-8
It’s 1944, and Betty Sweeney is determined to make a difference. Instead of collecting scrap metal or running air raid drills like most 17-year-old, Betty lies about her age and trains to become a spy and member of the Special Operations Executive. Now known by her secret-agent persona, Adele Blanchard, she finds herself parachuting over German-occupied France in the dark of night to join the secret Resistance movement.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator
Written by Shelley Tanaka
Illustrated by David Craig
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7095-3
IL: Ages 8-12  RL: Grades 3-4
Ever since Amelia Earhart disappeared, people have wanted to know more about her. Follow this charismatic aviator from the first time she saw an airplane to the last radio transmission she made before she vanished. Contains original artwork, contemporary photos, bibliography and index.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Courageous Women Rebels Courageous Women Rebels
(The Women’s Hall of Fame)
Written by Joy Crysdale
Second Story Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-926920-99-3
IL: Ages 12-15  RL: Grades 7-8
This book includes ten biographies of women reformers from around the world working in the realms of politics, social justice, media and women’s rights. These are profiles of international women – from abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who spoke out against slavery, to Canadian First Nations activist Shannen Koostachin, who fought for the right of all children to have access to good schools – who’ve made an incredibler difference to the landscape of social justice.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives
Written by Marthe Jocelyn
Tundra Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-88776-952-8
IL: Ages 12 and up  RL: Grades 6-7
Many of the women in this book had eventful lives. They became friends with cannibals, delivered babies, stole horses and sailed on whaling ships. They came from all corners of the Earth and, though they had little in common, they all had the desire to leave something behind – each of them has illuminated the world through her words.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Shannen and the Dream for a School Shannen and the Dream for a School
(A Kid’s Power Book)
Written by Janet Wilson
Second Story Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-92692-030-6
IL: Ages 9-12  RL: Grades 4-6
Attawapiskat had nothing but a few portables where their children attended school. Shannen Koostachin was one of those children and she, along with her friends and community, decided to do something about it. They started off by making a YouTube video about the poor condition of the portables and travelled to Ottawa to speak to politicians, telling them they were failing First Nations children. Their story inspired children across the nation.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

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Author Corner: Jill Bryant

By Kate Abrams

Jill Bryant Jill Bryant is a Canadian children’s book author. Specializing in non-fiction, Jill has written such books as Dazzling Women Designers and Amazing Women Athletes, both part of The Women’s Hall of Fame series by Second Story Press. She has lived all over the world, including Japan and Germany, and now makes her home in Kingston, Ontario. When she’s not writing books and inspiring children with her energetic presentations, Jill works as an editor and enjoys swimming and cross-country skiing. Jill’s latest book, Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs, was published by Second Story Press in 2013.

What kind of impact do you hope your books will have?

My goal is that my books will show girls and boys that they can try new things, challenge themselves and follow their dreams, no matter how impossible those dreams may seem. I want them to ignore that little voice saying, “can’t” and try, try, and try again. I want kids to see that it’s worth taking a chance and meeting scary challenges head on.

How do you like to get kids (girls and boys) involved and engaged in your presentations?

I channel my inner drama queen and use lots of expression, gestures, and movement. I encourage kids to be brave and ask for lots of volunteers to demonstrate activities. I use props and handmade cards to add a sense of play. As often as possible I like to keep the learning student-based. Also, I aim for a friendly, gentle approach to encourage timid kids to take part and try new things.

Are there any books you think should be required reading for girls growing up today?

Yes, and no. Ideally, girls should read whatever quenches their thirst for knowledge, prompts them to ask questions, challenges them intellectually, and makes them feel good about who they are. Adults can take a role in helping this happen. We can surround girls with high-quality books that encourage independent-thinking and self-confidence. Here is a sampling of books I recommend especially for girls from my home library:

  • The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch; illustrated by Michael Martchenko) is a feminist classic that’s won hearts the world over.
  • To encourage girls to get dirty and actively engage in science learning, I recommend The Dirt on Dirt (Paulette Bourgeois; illustrated by Martha Newbigging).
  • Earth to Audrey (Susan Hughes; illustrated by Stéphane Poulin) is a beautiful story of friendship that shows it’s OK to be different.
  • Brave girls abound in these emotionally wrought stories of war for middle-schoolers: Hana’s Suitcase (Karen Levine), The Breadwinner Trilogy (Deborah Ellis), and Thunder Over Kandahar (Sharon McKay).
  • To pay homage to our favourite feisty girl and great Canadian literature from our past, I recommend the fairly recently written prequel, Before Green Gables (Budge Wilson).
  • For young adults, the fearless and quick-thinking Mary Quinn from The Agency Series (Y.S. Lee) offers intelligent repartee amidst an atmospheric Victorian setting.

What surprises kids the most during your presentations?

I’ve had a lot of kids express delight in the mismatched, patterned socks that I wear for presenting Backyard Circus. They also say, “You’re tall!”

You’re touring Alberta for Book Week this May. What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m excited about visiting schools and libraries, being dazzled by young minds, and seeing the Rockies. I’m also hoping to meet with media specialist Nicole Robertson who is featured in Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs and lives near Calgary. I had two long phone interviews with her and I’d love to meet her in person.

What is the biggest challenge about writing non-fiction books?

Explaining abstract and difficult concepts to children is tough. In Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs, I describe, for example, high-finance banking, facilities for servicing aircraft, and direct marketing. The book also includes descriptions of historical events, such as the 1893 Chicago World Fair, the “Roaring Twenties,” the persecution of Soviet Jews. This part of the writing process requires a lot of research and thinking, but it’s very rewarding when it all comes together.

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Classroom Activity Suggestions

The Breadwinner 1) Deborah Ellis, author of The Breadwinner Trilogy and My Name Is Parvana, founded Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan in 1996. This small solidarity volunteer network strives to empower Afghan women and girls. Students can think up and implement creative ways to raise funds for the organization’s mission. To learn more about the organization, visit Click here to access their resources for educators, including their Educators’ Resource Kit and lesson plans.

2) We are also inviting teachers to encourage their students to participate in the Amy’s Marathon of Books 13 Book Challenge. Amy Mathers, who we interviewed in our January newsletter, is reading one Canadian teen book a day in order to raise money for a new award. She’s inviting everyone to participate by selecting a book from each province and territory to read throughout the year. Find out more on Amy’s website.

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World Read Aloud Day

To celebrate World Read Aloud Day on March 5, we asked Canadian authors to share videos of themselves reading from their books. Over twenty authors contributed videos, with stories for kids and teens of all ages. In the following video, Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada, reads from her new book Every Day is Malala Day:

You can watch all the videos in our World Read Aloud Day playlist on Youtube.

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Out Now: Winter 2014 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

Book News With the national launch of the movie Hold Fast, based on Kevin Major’s award-winning book, the latest issue of CCBN looks at the ups and downs of movie adaptations of Canadian books – the successes, the obstacles and the horror stories.

This issue also features a plea for school librarians; a profile of “Rodeo Writer” David Poulsen; Amy’s Marathon of Books; TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and reviews of over 35 new books.

Check your local newsstand or purchase it on our website.

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INSPIRE! The Toronto International Book Fair – Opportunities for Teachers and Schools

The CCBC is excited to share this information with you from our friends at INSPIRE! The Toronto Internatonal Book Fair.

Come one, come all: join book lovers at the inaugural INSPIRE! The Toronto International Book Fair, the latest celebration of all things literary to hit Canada! (Nov 13—16, 2014).

From the Children’s Courtyard & Activity Zone, full of lively, interactive programming including readings, creative crafts, song and dance, to the Young Adult & New Adult Area, jam-packed with author chats, signings, writing workshops and more, there’s something to inspire readers of all ages, abilities and interests!

Other Featured Areas sure to educate and enthrall include the Digital and New Media Zone, and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literary Circle. Enroll your class into one of the Creative Writing workshops, or bring them down for a chance to meet authors, learn about all facets of the book industry, and participate in events just for them!

A full list of INSPIRE’s dynamic workshops and programs will be available in the coming months.

Any teachers who are interested in bussing their classes down should contact Nicola Dufficy, Director of Programming & Operations, at

For more information, visit, tweet @InspireTIBF or contact Maddy Curry at

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Next Month…

The April 2014 issue of our newsletter will be inspired by National Poetry Month. If you have any suggestions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us!