By Tamara Sztainbok
How do you choose just 10 books to represent Canada? How do you capture in a book the essence of a country that is as physically diverse as its people? It's no simple task. In this selection, you'll find books about the provinces and territories, books about how we arrived in this country and books about all the ways we enjoy this land.BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOLERS (AGES 2 TO 5)O Canada
, by Ted Harrison
Ted Harrison's rustic and vibrant illustrations accompany the words to our national anthem. This first illustrated edition of O Canada
pays tribute to each part of the country, both in words and in pictures. The text is fully bilingual.Goodnight, Canada
, by Andrea Beck
In the tradition of Goodnight Moon
, this picture book by Andrea Beck accompanies a little boy as he settles down to bed and bids goodnight to each of the provinces and territories one by one. Young readers will enjoy the rhyming text and become absorbed in examining every detail of the rich illustrations that depict representative features of each province and territory.Oh, Canada!
by Per-Henrik Gürth
In this vibrantly illustrated book, kids travel across Canada discovering all the things they can do in each region. Readers also pick up morsels of information about each province and territory, such as the flags, official trees, flowers and birds. It's a fun introduction to this great big country.I Am Canada
, by Heather Patterson
With lively photographs and simple text, I Am Canada
celebrates the diversity of our country. Readers see many different activities enjoyed by children from all across Canada - and in all the different seasons. The short sentences are perfect for kids just beginning to read on their own.Over at the Rink
, by Stella Partheniou Grasso; illustrated by Scot Ritchie
What collection of books about Canada would be complete without at least one book about hockey? This cheerful counting book, written to the melody of "Over in the Meadow," celebrates all the best things about hockey.BOOKS FOR THE FOR SCHOOL-AGED (AGES 6 TO 9)From Far Away
, by Robert Munsch
and Saoussan Askar; illustrated by Michael Martchenko
This may not be what you'd expect from a Robert Munsch book, but the content speaks to the lives of so many Canadian children. Based on a series of letters that Saoussan Askar wrote to Robert Munsch, the book shares her experience of coming to Canada from war-torn Lebanon and learning to adjust to a new home and life. Told with tenderness and a little humour, the story will be relevant to readers who have immigrated to Canada or know someone who has.The Day I Became a Canadian
, by Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet
; illustrated by Song Nan Zhang
Xiao Ling Li and her parents are about to become Canadian citizens. To mark this great event, she decides to start a scrapbook to record the day for her soon-to-be-born little sibling. This novel approach gives readers a glimpse at what the process of becoming a Canadian is like.Our Canadian Flag
, by Maxine Trottier
; illustrated by Brian Deines
This simple narrative, accompanied by the luminous art of Brian Deines, touches on what our flag has meant to Canadians everywhere. While the narrative points out the many ways and places we find the flag, historical details explain its past and present.Wow Canada! Exploring this Land from Coast to Coast to Coast
, by Vivien Bowers
; illustrated by Dan Hobbs
and Dianne EastmanWow Canada!
is a fun approach to learning everything there is to know about Canada. Rather than a run-of-the-mill encyclopedia, the book is formatted like a kid's travel journal. "Written" by 12-year-old Guy as he travels across Canada with his family during the summer, the content is approachable, and jam-packed with photos, illustrations and graphic elements that give it that scrapbooky feel. And it's super-educational, but don't tell Guy!Pier 21
, by Linda Granfield
Known as Canada's Ellis Island, Pier 21 in Halifax, NS, was the site through which new immigrants entered the country from 1928 to 1971. In this slim volume, Linda Granfield has collected over 80 archival photos, and shares accounts of the many people who passed through Pier 21 - refugees, war brides, service men and others. Is there a book that perfectly represents Canada to you? Tell us about it in the comments below.
||Tamara Sztainbok is a mother of two school-aged children. A former children's book editor with Tundra Books and Scholastic Canada, she believes anything you ever need to know you can learn from a children's book. After more than 10 years in the children's book business, she started Puzzle Box Communications, providing editorial services to publishers and small businesses. She writes about adult books on her ClubMom blog, Turning Pages, and about Toronto's hidden gems at TorontoMomNow.com. Follow her on Twitter @PuzzleBoxCom.