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10 Kids’ Books That Celebrate Canada’s Towns and Cities

Jul 26, 2013

Summer is a great time to explore new places and get reacquainted with familiar spots closer to home. In the 10 books I've selected here, we'll get to know towns and locales across Canada, and maybe see our hometown in a new way!

BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOLERS (AGES 2 TO 5)

The City ABC Book by Zoran Milich
Using black and white photography, this concept book invites readers to find the alphabet in everyday city locales. But you don't have to live in the city to appreciate the book's simple charm. And kids will likely want to create their own ABC featuring photographs from their own hometown.

 

 

 

 

Where I Live by Frances Wolfe
The narrator of this book lives in a place where "sunbeams sparkle like diamonds on water" and special treasures are found on "sun-warmed sands." With the help of beautifully realistic illustrations, readers are invited to guess where the narrator lives.

 

 

 

A Northern Alphabet by Ted Harrison
Featuring the vibrant artwork of Ted Harrison, this concept book celebrates life in Canada's northern communities. Each page features lively alliterative text, while towns beginning with the featured letter are highlighted around the border. Readers will enjoy searching the illustrations for the extra words listed at the end of the book.

 

 

See Saw Saskatchewan by Robert Heidbreder; illustrated by Scot Ritchie
In this companion to their first collaboration, Eenie Meenie Manitoba, Robert Heidbreder and Scot Ritchie combine playful rhymes with light-hearted illustrations to celebrate towns and cities not just in Saskatchewan, but across the country. Little ones will delight in the playful text and may even recognize their own hometown. Or maybe they'll wonder about the places they've yet to visit.

 

 

 

A Few Blocks by Cybèle Young
Ferdinand doesn't want to go to school. Not today. Maybe never. But big sister Viola manages to get him out the door with some imaginative coaxing. Along the way, ordinary streetscapes are transformed into fantasy scenes. Alternating between reality and fantasy, the book is an exploration of where your imagination can take you in just a few blocks.

 

 

BOOKS FOR THE SCHOOL-AGED (AGES 6+)


In Lucia's Neighbourhood by Pat Shewchuk and Marek ColekI
nspired by what Lucia learned from her grandmother about urban visionary Jane Jacobs, "a lady who talked about neighbourhoods," Lucia tells the story of her own neighbourhood and what she finds special about it - the different people at the park, the shoppers and shopkeepers, the homes with their unique front yards. Young readers will enjoy this simple look at Lucia's neighborhood and want to share what's special about their own community.

 

 

 

 

Our Corner Grocery Store by Joanne Schwartz; illustrated by Laura Beingessner
Every community has its hub. In Our Corner Grocery Store, much like in many towns and cities, it's the corner store. Anna Maria happily spends a Saturday helping her grandparents at their corner grocery. She helps sort and shelve goods while neighbours pop in to shop, chat and share news. 

 

 

I Know Here by Laurel Croza and Matt James
In I Know Here, a girl laments her upcoming move from northern Saskatchewan to the far-off city of Toronto. Her family has lived in a trailer in the community while her father worked on building the dam. But now the dam is nearly finished, and it's time to move. The girl knows everything about her village, and asks, "Have people in Toronto seen what I've seen?" In the end, she finds a way to carry "here" with her to her new home.

 

 

 

 

Heartland: A Prairie Sampler by Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet; illustrated by Yvette Moore
A sampler is a traditional needle craft made using scraps of fabric of all sorts. In Heartland, we get a sample of life on the Prairie, Canada's heartland. Learn about the land, the people, the climate and more. You even get a recipe for Saskatoon pie. 

 

 

 

Arctic Stories by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak; illustrated by Vladyana Langer Krykorka
Agatha lives in Repulse Bay, at the tip of Hudson Bay. It's 1958, and Agatha will experience a number of amazing things. Then she, along with other children of the community, is taken away to school. It's a snapshot of life in the far north in the middle of the last century, with a gentle introduction to the topic of residential schools. 

Article Author Tamara Sztainbok
Tamara Sztainbok

Tamara Sztainbok is the mother of two school-aged children. A children's book editor with Scholastic Canada, she believes anything you ever need to know you can learn from a children's book. She also runs Puzzle Box Communications, providing communication services to small businesses. She writes about adult books on her ClubMom blog, Turning Pages. Follow her on Twitter @PuzzleBoxCom. Opinions expressed here are Tamara's alone.

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