April 2022


News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
March Reading List: Graphic Novels and Comics
Educator Corner: Adrienne Gear
Author’s Corner: Robert Heidbreder
Experts’ Picks

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends

Purchase One-Of-A-Kind Art to Support the CCBC!

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to share the virtual Picture Book Gallery.  Award-winning Canadian illustrators are selling original art to support the CCBC’s annual Canadian Children’s Book Week program. Illustrators are donating 60% of the value of their original art in support of the CCBC.

Visit the gallery here!

Be a Friend, Share a Book!

Be a friend, share a book! Support the CCBC by purchasing this vintage style poster by celebrated children’s book illustrator Pierre Collet-Derby. Produced entirely in Canada, these prints are letterpressed by Everlovin’ Press and are signed by the illustrator. Proceeds go to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Buy your copy here!

Call for Submissions: Best Books for Kids & Teens, Fall 2022

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is now accepting submissions for the fall 2022 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens (BBKT), the CCBC’s semi-annual selection guide to the best Canadian children’s books, magazines, audio and video.

When is the deadline?
The deadline to submit is April 22, 2022

Learn more here.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Adds Two New Prizes to Its Established Awards Program

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to introduce two new English-language prizes that will be awarded in fall of 2022. The Arlene Barlin Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy will honour excellence in science fiction and fantasy books, written for ages 8 to 18. The David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award is a biennial award which will honour excellence in poetry written for young readers up to 18 years old. In total, $178,500 in prize monies will be awarded in 2022 through the CCBC’s nine literary awards.

Learn more here.

Support the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award

Established in 2022, the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award is intended to recognize excellence in Canadian children’s and youth poetry. The award honours David Booth, former Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), who passed away in December 2018. The biennial award is a cash prize of $3,500 and is sponsored by David’s colleague and dear friend Shelley Stagg Peterson.

Help support the award by donating today!

Call for Participation – Hackmatack’s Future Voices Showcase

The Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award is seeking submissions for the 2022 Future Voices Showcase. This virtual presentation offers a platform for emerging Canadian BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) authors and illustrators to showcase their work in children’s literature.

Learn more here.

Accessible books for all readers!

Accessible books open the world of reading to everyone. But, it can be a challenge to identify and locate accessible books for young readers. As part of our mission to help readers “discover great Canadian children’s books,” work is underway at Bibliovideo and the CCBC to promote the production, discoverability, and use of accessible Canadian books for young readers. 

With support from Canada Book Fund, the project includes producing an Accessible Books playlist on Bibliovideo where some of the growing number of books in accessible formats from Canadian creators and publishers will be showcased. Look for the launch of the pilot playlist April 28, with more videos added every month. 

Do you have a video featuring accessible books you’d like to share? Let us know! Contact spencer@bibliovideo.ca.

“This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.”

« Ce projet a été rendu possible  grâce au gouvernement du Canada. »

Download Activities for Canadian Children’s Book Week!

Canadian Children’s Book Week is the single most important national event celebrating Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading.

The upcoming tour will take place from May 1 to May 7, 2022, and will allow young readers to connect with highly acclaimed and emerging authors and illustrators. See the complete list of everyone touring here. 

Learn more about Canadian Children’s Book Week at bookweek.ca and at communication-jeunesse.qc.ca.

This year’s poster was designed by the Fan Brothers and can be downloaded for free! Learn more about the poster here. Download in English or French here.

View the CCBC’s New Strategic Plan

2019 was a year of transition for the CCBC. Throughout the year, we succeeded in achieving our goals, such as operational and financial stability, downsizing operations, reducing expenses and developing a fundraising strategy. When all of these goals were met in 2020, we were given the opportunity to look ahead at the future strategically.

On October 23, 2020, a strategic planning workshop was held with staff and board members. This workshop was the starting point for the creation of the CCBC’s strategic plan for 2022-2024. 

Download the full strategic plan here. Download the condensed version here.

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Presents “Imaginations Ignite!” Event Series for Schools

With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the EMWF presents Imaginations Ignite!, an national online event series for schools that invites students to explore worlds beyond their own, featuring Canadian authors Jade Armstrong, Lawrence Hill, Kirstie Hudson, Dane Liu, Carey Newman, Heather M. O’Connor, KC Oster, Dom Pelletier, and Darcy Whitecrow.

Designed for students ages 4-13, all events are free of charge and include live ASL interpretation. Learning themes are provided for all events to allow teachers and home-schooling families to integrate events into their classroom curriculum.

Learn more here.

Letter-Writing campaign for #OurLondonFamily

Educators and students are invited to write digital Letters of Remembrance for #OurLondonFamily—the Afzaal family—marking one year after the London terror attack. 3 generations of the Afzaal family: Grandmother Talat, Father Salman, Mother Madiha, and daughter Yumnah were brutally murdered in London, ON in June 2021. Only Fayez, now 10, survived. Letter-writing is a way to heal, reflect, and learn. It’s also an instant action against Islamophobia, and will keep the memories of the Afzaal’s alive.

This is a historic opportunity for students to affect change. All ages welcome. The #OurLondonFamily Educators Tip Sheet will help students write letters immediately.

The essential guide to today’s book market

Sales of English-language print books in the Comics & Graphic Novels and Psychology categories had large increases in sales in 2021 as compared with 2020, according to new research released by BookNet Canada. For the fourth year running, two out of every five print books sold in the English-language market in Canada were categorized as either Juvenile or Young Adult. Though the Juvenile category market share dropped slightly in the English market, the Young Adult share had a significant increase: from 3.5% in 2020 to 4.8% in 2021. More insights can be found in the 2021 edition of BookNet Canada’s annual The Canadian Book Market report. It’s a comprehensive guide to the national print trade market with detailed information on more than 50 subject categories, including:

  • market share;
  • weekly unit sales;
  • price-point analysis;
  • top 10 hardcover and paperback sellers;
  • year-over-year comparative data; 
  • and more!

The report also includes insights into consumer buying behaviour and top-level highlights from the French Canadian market. And new this year, information about sales of books by Canadian contributors.To read a sample of the report and get your copy, visit booknetcanada.ca/canadian-book-market. Special pricing is available for those who subscribe to BNC SalesData.

Virtual Conversation with Valerie Sherrard

Librarians, teachers and their classrooms, and readers of middle-grade are all welcome to attend this virtual conversation with celebrated author Valerie Sherrard and host Bobbie Henley.

A Bend in the Breeze, award-winning author Valerie Sherrard’s 30th novel, is a delightful tale about the importance of love and compassion. Join us on April 21, 2022 at 2pm ET / 11am PT.

Register soon because space is limited!

Live captions will be made available during the event. Please contact c.cho@cormorantbooks.com with any accessibility questions or requests.

Learn more here.

Relive International Children’s Book Day!

Just a reminder, if you missed our International Children’s Book Day launch event with IBBY New Zealand/Storylines, it is available to watch on @bibliovideo until April 15, 2022. Enjoy, and thank you again for your support. #ICBD2022

Become of Member of Our Board of Directors

To all members: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Annual General Meeting is taking place on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 virtually. In accordance with Section 3.04(b) of our bylaws please accept this notice as a formal call for the nomination of directors. The members will elect new director(s) to the board to fill four vacancies at the Annual General Meeting. We welcome nominations from the general membership.

Learn more here.

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature Finalists

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is excited to announce the finalists for the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards, including the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Chapter Books). Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards, the City of Edmonton and The City of Calgary recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors.

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Chapter Books)  
(Sponsored by Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation)

  • Larry Loyie (Edmonton) with Constance Brissenden (Edmonton) – Wild Waters: Inside a Voyageur’s World (Indigenous Education Press)
  • Meagan Mahoney (Calgary) – Meranda and the Legend of the Lake (Owlkids Books)
  • Lorna Shultz Nicholson (Edmonton) – When You Least Expect It (Red Deer Press)

Gérard DuBois wins the Cleaver Award for À qui appartiennent les nuages?

Last month IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian section) announced that Gérard DuBois has won the 2021 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for À qui appartiennent les nuages?, written by Mario Brassard and published by Éditions de la Pastèque. Selected from 120 books submitted by 36 publishers, the winner receives $1,000. The jury also selected two honour books from the list of 10 finalists: Gemma and the Giant Girlillustrated by Marie Lafrance and written by Sara O’Leary (Tundra Books), and Time is a Flower by Julie Morstad (Tundra Books).

Upcoming Event – Fighting Antisemitism Using Children’s Books

Hate and antisemitism are on the risethis unfortunate fact likely isn’t a surprise to anyone. But how do we combat it? Start early and with books. 

Please join Joanne Levy and Tziporah Cohen as they share some startling statistics and strategies for fighting hate. We will also be reading from our booksincluding a sneak peek of my upcoming THE BOOK OF ELSIE. Q&A to follow.

This seminar is free but registration is required. Please reserve your spot here

Note: *This event will be recorded so if you can’t attend, please register anyway and you’ll receive the recording link once it goes live.*

Empowering Youth, One Generation at a Time: Free Resources 

The Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) is inspired by Rick’s belief in the power of youth and their ability to change the world. RHFSP raises awareness, challenges perceptions, and changes attitudes, through a variety of lessons and activities, empowering youth to take action on important issues.

RHFSP resources are designed for youth from K-12 and include age-appropriate lessons and interactive activities for every grade level. Free, bilingual, and connected to provincial curriculum, our resources are:

  • Ready-to-use
  • Deliverable online or in the classroom
  • Developed by educators, for educators
  • Grounded in Universal Design for Learning and incorporate Differentiated Instruction Strategies

Learn more here.

Pre-Order the Newest Issue of Canadian Children’s Book News!

The Spring 2022 edition of Canadian Children’s Book News celebrates illustrators and the beauty they bring to children’s books. Montreal illustrator Nathalie Dion shares her journey to becoming a children’s book illustrator. Heather Camlot explores the relationship between author and illustrator and what happens when that relationship moves off the page and into real life. Canadian illustrators are selling their artwork in support of the CCBC. Find out more about the virtual Picture Book Gallery and the inspiration for it’s creation. The 45th Canadian Children’s Book Week tour takes place in May! Learn more about the authors, illustrators and storytellers participating in this year’s virtual event. Our Bookmark column features books that have been acknowledged for their beautiful illustrations and design. Our Keep Your Eye On column introduces you to Ojibwe woodland artist Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. And, as always, we have reviews of over 40 new Canadian books for you to enjoy!

Buy your copy today!

Want to stay updated on the world of Canadian children’s books all month long? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Links We Love

Articles and videos of interest to educators and parents.

Books for Bringing Indigenous Knowledge and Perspectives into the Classroom (Portage & Main Press)

Children’s book by Cape Breton cartoonist adapted into new Apple TV+ series (CBC)

“Not Recommended”: What It’s Like When a School Board Rejects Your Work (Freedom to Read)

“It helps my words.” How young adult author Teresa Toten is influenced by Toronto’s ballet scene, museums and galleries (Toronto Star)

Want to support an author’s or illustrator’s new book but can’t afford to buy it? Here’s what you can do. (Debbie Ridpath Ohi)

Most Anticipated: Our 2022 Books for Young Readers Spring Preview (49th Shelf)

‘Go-getter’ students inspire Nanaimo author’s latest children’s book (Nanaimo News)

A Different Booklist’s cultural centre renamed Blackhurst ahead of move to new ‘permanent home’ (Toronto Star)

1930s children’s language book published in Canada returns to benefit Ukrainians (CTV News)

Meet the muses behind Robert Munsch’s most iconic stories (Eminetra Canada)

April Reading List: National Poetry Month

Our April newsletter is all about poetry! Get young readers excited about rhyme and verse with this list of some of our favourites that are great for parents, librarians and teachers to use.

Visit the online version of Best Books for Kids and Teens for amazing books recommended by our committees of experts.

Educator’s Corner

Adrienne Gear has been a teacher in Vancouver, Canada for over 25 years working as a classroom teacher, literacy support teacher. ESL teacher, teacher librarian and District Literacy Mentor.  She is passionate about literacy, learning and inspiring teachers to reflect and refine their practice in order to best support their students.  Adrienne developed Reading Power over 12 years ago and has been since working with teachers in many districts throughout British Columbia and Canada. Her practical and engaging workshops are in in high demand as well as her workshops, demonstration lessons and facilitated Reading and Writing Power leadership training. Internationally known, Adrienne has presented workshops in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden.

How did you first develop an interest in poetry? What works first instilled this love for you?

I credit my love of poetry to two peoplemy late father and Robin Williams. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house filled with poetry. My father, a high school English teacher, was passionate about it. More than anything, he loved words and all things Shakespeare, Burns, Whitman, Keats, and Blake.  Every Robbie Burns Day, after piping in the haggis, he stood at the dinner table and recited Robbie Burns poems to us.  Even though he had spoken these same words of his beloved Scottish poet so many times, my dad would often be moved to tears. That passion for poetry grew in me and is still growing. I, too, can sometimes be moved to tears by a simple poem. My father is no longer here, but I am grateful to be able to continue to share his love of poetry through my work.  

When I was a first-year teacher in the late 1980’s I watched the movie Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams.That movie, about an English teacher in a private boy’s school, transformed me like no other. I have watched it dozens of times since, pausing and rewinding in order to write down all the poetry quotes in my quote book. “John Keating” was the teacher who invited every student to stand on their desk because he wanted them to see the world in a new way; a teacher who played classical music at soccer practice and had players warm up by shouting lines from famous poems before kicking the ball; a teacher who made a class of adolescent boys grow to love poetry and literature because he made it come alive for them. A teacher I wanted to be.  

Why do you think instilling a love of poetry in young readers is important?

Long before there was inquiry or competencies or place-based learning, there was poetry. Poetry has been around for thousands of years and, while it may not be on every elementary teacher’s radar, it should be. Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, nudges our senses, and pulls at our emotions. In its entirety, poetry is an experience of sight, sound, emotion, and thought. It has rhythm, beat, and beauty all wrapped up in a flurry of words and phrases and white spaces. It fills our bodies, our ears, our souls, and helps us see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart. Poetry is powerful and deserves a space and a place in every young readers’ hearts. Many books I have read about teaching poetry begin with a chapter on “Why teach poetry?” I tend to take the position of “Why NOT teach poetry?”

What advice do you have for educators who are intimidated by teaching poetry?

My advice isease in! Most often, what I hear from teachers is that they are don’t teach poetry because they don’t really know how to start. They end up waiting until the end of June or they pass it along to their student teacher to teach! (connections anyone?) I think of poetry is an experienceit’s visual, auditory, cognitive, and emotional. In my book, I talk about the importance of introducing students to this concept by asking the big picture question: “What is Poetry?” Explore the question with your students by breaking it down into four elements: What does poetry LOOK like? What does poetry SOUND like? How does poetry make us feel? What does poetry make us think about? By exploring these four aspects of poetry in depth, it helps students begin to see poetry differently.  

What activities can you recommend for educators to use in the classroom when teaching poetry?

One of the misconceptions about teaching poetry is that it is taught as a “6 week unit”.  Poetry deserves to have a place and a space in your classroom all year! Sadly, there are too many “printable” poetry units out there that completely miss the mark when it comes to introducing poetry to students. Many of these units focus on poetic structures: students learn to count syllables for a Haiku and Cinquain, learn how to write an acrostic poem down the left side of a page and call it a day. And while the poems the students produce might have the correct syllable count, they are often missing the true essence of what a poem is.  My advice to teachers is don’t start a poetry unit with writing. Before children can realistically write poetry, they need to discover and experience it: read it, listen to it, live it, breath it, clap and snap to it, feel it inside them. Here are just a few ideas for bringing more poetry joy into your classroom: 

  • Read poems every day to your students
  • Introduce a Poem of the Week
  • Invite students to respond to poemsidentify the rhyming words, talk about the meaning, etc. 
  • Introduce your students to different children’s poets 
  • Create a Poetry Corner in your classroom and hang poems on a “Poet-Tree”
  • Do poetry slams and poetry jams (you can read more about these in my book Powerful Poetry)  
  • Have a “Poetry Request Jar” on your desk for students to request poems for you to read 
  • Celebrate National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket day in April 

Fill them up with so much poetry joy they are bursting to write!  Don’t wait until the end of June to introduce poetry. Once we make the shift in our thinking that poetry isn’t just something we fit in but something we live in, poetry becomes a natural addition to our day-to-day practice. 

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you have on the horizon?

One of my dreams is to write a children’s book. I have many ideas swirling around in my head, but haven’t settled on one just yet! I also would love to write a poetry book for children. I ended up writing a lot of poems for the lessons in my Powerful Poetry book, so it would be wonderful to be able to put them altogether into a poetry collection!    

April is national poetry month so I’m doing a few eventsone for teachers (this one is on March 31st so likely will be over at this point) and one that I’m really excited about is a live stream poetry lesson for kids!  Teachers can sign up their class and watch together and I’ll be teaching a lesson on how to write a gratitude poem. Students will be invited to write a gratitude poem for Earth Day (also in April) and there is a poetry contest as well! Teachers can sign up for these free events at simbi.io/events.  If the event is over, they can still access the recording by registering.  

Purchase Adrienne’s books, including her latest Powerful Poetry: Read, Write, Rejoice, Recite Poetry All Year! on her website:  readingpowergear.com/store 

Adrienne is the author of seven professional books for teachers: (Pembroke/Stenhouse Publishers)

Reading Power (2nd edition) (Pembroke Publishers, 2006)

Nonfiction Reading Power (Pembroke Publishers, 2008)

Writing Power (Pembroke Publishers, 2011)

Nonfiction Writing Power (Pembroke Publishers, 2013)

Powerful Understanding (Pembroke Publishers, 2018)

Powerful Writing Structures (Pembroke Publishers, 2020)

Powerful Poetry (Pembroke Publishers, 2021) 

Her books have been translated into French, Swedish, Danish and Chinese. 

Connect with Adrienne: 

Email:  adrienne@readingpowergear.com

Website:  www.readingpowergear.com

Facebook: readingpowergear

Instagram:  readingpowergear

Twitter:  @AdrienneGear

Watch Your Favourite Book On Bibliovideo

Subscribe to Bibliovideo today to watch videos made specifically for booklovers! Don’t forget to push the bell to receive updates when new videos are uploaded.

Featured Video

Indigenous / Autochtone


I Read Canadian / Je lis un livre canadien

Telling Tales: Celebrating Stories

Illustrator Demonstrations / Démonstrations des illustrateurs

TD Summer Reading Club / Club de lecture d’été TD

Stay Home, Read Together / Lisons ensemble à la maison

Author Interviews / Entretiens avec des écrivains

Book Readings / Séances de lecture

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Author’s Corner

Robert Heidbreder was born on the wet, muddy banks of the Mississippi River in 1947 and in 1970 he moved to the wet, misty skies of Vancouver, BC to pursue his degree in Classical Languages.
In 1975 he became a Canadian citizen, and in the same year he completed his teaching degree at University of British Columbia. Soon after he started teaching primary children in Vancouver. He began writing because he wanted the children in his class introduced to a liveliness of language that matched their natural bounce, energy, imagination and playfulness.
In 2002 he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. (He partly credits his love of poetry for this award!). In 2005 he retired from teaching after 30 years. He lives with his wife of 50 years and two wild cats.
His first book was Don’t Eat Spiders (Oxford, 1985) and his latest book is alphabet antics (Tradewind Books, 2022).

First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author?

Like many authors, I feel it was by chance.  I did not set out to write children’s poetry. Poetry found me though the energetic, language-loving children I taught. I wrote poems for my class and we recited them over and over. I put together (at my wife’s suggestion) a collection of the kids’ favourites and sent them off to Bill Toye at Oxford, Toronto.  He accepted them and my writing career started.

What initially drew you to writing poetry?

Since childhood I have loved poetry—all the Mother Goose rhymes, the silly ‘smell my feet’ playground rhymes and making up my own action rhymes to amuse me and irritate my older sister.

When I started teaching primary children in a diverse, multi-language area of Vancouver, I realized children and poetry were a natural fit.  They loved chanting poems; they could say the poems over and over and poetry could lead them naturally to reading through its words, its repetition and its rich sounds. 

How has your 30 years of teaching influenced you as a storyteller?

Yes, children have led me to a finer understanding of childhood today—the interests, the concerns, the worries of children.  But it also taught me of the steadiness of childhood. Children want some ease in living, some fun with words, some acknowledgement of their special non-adult culture. Though a lot of the culture of the world has changed, this, I feel, hasn’t changed a lot over the years. 

Where do you find your inspiration when composing poetry?

I think like most children’s writers I find there is inspiration all around—in the sounds of traffic, in voices about, in the green growth of spring, the mists of winter, in children’s open laughter and the wonders that surround.  The challenge always is to capture this inspiration and hold it in words.  Words are so slippery and don’t always deeply reflect our observations.  They can mislead or diminish what we struggle to write. So what turns up on the page seems flat and lifeless compared to the seed of inspiration, the inner aliveness we feel. But we all keep trying, partly because, I think, of the joy of the struggle itself.

What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?

I have several projects on the go: a cat/ballet book, a sleep-over book, a bike book, a flower garden book and maybe a magpie book. 

I just had a new book out this March called alphabet antics illustrated by Phillippe Béha and published by Tradewind Books. It’s an alphabet book that lets us all see the small letters of the alphabet not as sounds but as a series of shapes and characters in their own right:

a wiggles its hook,

right off its back,

starts playing golf

with a thwack

and a whack.

Phillippe Béha’s illustrations capture the whimsy and liveliness of my verses. I was lucky to have him as an illustrator.

Learn more at robertheidbreder.com

Experts’ Picks

Bookseller’s Picks

Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. Find an independent bookseller here.

Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS:

Sing in the Spring, written by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Deb Plestid (Nimbus Publishing) Ages 4-8

In joyous, effervescent verse this book celebrates the quiet miracles of nature as winter ever so slowly gives way to the wonders of spring. Fitch’s poetry flows and frolics, leaps and lingers, and dances merrily off the page and into the hearts of readers of every age as she playfully, yet perceptively describes the magic at work as busy creatures and sleepy buds and all of nature respond to this time of transition and newness and triumphant return. This magnificent celebration is exquisitely rendered in Deb Plestid’s carefully-crafted quilted artwork. Each page provides a treasure trove of textures and a myriad of tiny details to discover and delight in. Together, words and images evoke the ever-awesome mystery and wondrousness of the seasons and the world around us.

—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager

Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 6013 Shirley St, Halifax, NS B3H 2M9 woozles.com

Librarian’s Picks

Canadian librarians share their recommendations for kids and teens.

Mina written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Simon & Schuster, 2022) Ages 4-8 

Mina, a little mouse, contentedly keeps her nose in a book while her father gets up to some kooky schemes.  She doesn’t mind a whisker when he rigs up a tin can speaker system, or posts stamps on the wall as art. But when her father brings home a “squirrel”, Mina takes one look at the big, black-and-white cat and knows this is not a good idea.  Their new houseguest moves in, feline antics ensue, and there are more witty twists than you can shake a stick insect at. The droll side-eye delivered by Forsythe’s characters are glorious sights to behold.  A wryly told, clever cat and mouse story.  

—Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library

Staff Picks

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s staff members share their recommendations for kids and teens.

Giju’s Gift, written by Brandon Mitchell, illustrated by Veronika Barinova (HighWater Press, 2022) Ages 7-12

In this beginner graphic novel, Brandon Mitchel (This Place: 150 Years Retold ) and Veronika Barinova create a story that skillfully combines elements of adventure, Mi’kmaw legends and the loss of a grandparent all into an easy-to-read, kid-friendly book. When young Mali’s hair clip is mysteriously taken during a strawberry-picking excursion, she discovers the presence of a mischievous little person, named Puug, who her mother cannot see. In hopes of getting back her hair clip, Mali joins him on his hunt for objects that preserve special memories. Their task becomes all the more urgent when they encounter and must overcome a zombie-like giant named a jenu. 

My 7-year old very much enjoyed this book and was especially interested in the characters of the jenu and the pugulatmu’j who are based on Mi’kmaw legends. The publisher recommends this book for 6-8 years old; however, I would suggest that it is best suited for kids slightly older. The drawings of the jenu are a bit frightening and the panels where the characters are transported back in time into a memory might need an explanation from an older reader. The story is also intriguing enough to capture the interest of ten to twelve year olds looking for an easier read.

Both my child reader and I were thrilled to see that there is already a Volume 2 in the works in this new series. We look forward to reading together more adventures with Puug and Mali! 

Amanda Halfpenny, Events and Program Coordinator, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

May Newsletter

See you next month for our May newsletter, all about celebrating spring!