12 Canadian books your family can read together for Family Literacy Day
Jan. 27 is Family Literacy Day, a day to celebrate and encourage reading and literacy in families.
Here are 12 books for younger readers the whole family can enjoy together.
Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow
Stand on the Sky is about a young girl who goes against her communiy's traditions in order to follow her dreams. In Aisulu's nomadic community, only men have traditionally learned to train eagles. But when her parents take her brother to a distant hospital, Aisulu secretly nurtures an orphaned baby eagle. Stand on the Sky won the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.
Stand on the Sky is for readers ages 9 to 12.
How writing Stand on the Sky brought Erin Bow's family closer and won a Governor General's Literary Award
Erin Bow is a poet and children's book writer from Kitchener, Ont. Her books for young readers include Plain Kate and The Scorpion Rules.
Ping by Ani Castillo
Ping by Ani Castillo is a celebration of self-expression in the digital age, when so much communication happens digitally and we are constantly connected.
Ping is for readers aged 4-8.
Castillo is a Mexican Canadian illustrator. Ping is her first book.
The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott
The Dragon Thief is the the second instalment of the middle-grade series Dragons in a Bag. It follows the fantasy adventures of young Jaxon and his life with dragons. When he's put in charge of taking care of baby dragons, he discovers that one is missing. This event sets Jaxon off on an adventure to find his best friend's sister, Kavita, who just might be the dragon thief.
The Dragon Thief is for readers aged 8-12.
Zetta Elliott was born in Ajax, Ont., and has lived in the United States for the past 20 years. She is a poet, teacher and writer for children and young adults.
I Promise by Catherine Hernandez, illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware
I Promise is a portrayal of all the joys and challenges of parenting and a celebration of the many different forms that loving families come in.
I Promise is for readers aged 3-8.
Catherine Hernandez is a playwright, performer and the author of the novel Scarborough.
Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, activist and scholar whose work has appeared in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Globe and Mail and in Nuit Blanche.
A Likkle Miss Lou by Nadia L. Hohn, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
A Likkle Miss Lou is a picture book about Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett Coverley, a Jamaican poet known for bringing international attention to Jamaican patois.
A Likkle Miss Lou is for readers aged 4-8.
Nadia L. Hohn is a children's book author from Toronto. Her other titles include Malaika's Costume and Malaika's Winter Carnival.
Eugenie Fernandes is an artist and children's book illustrator based in Ontario.
Operatic by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler
Operatic is a graphic novel about the beauty of opera. When her music class learns about opera, Charlie becomes obsessed with the life of Maria Callas. She looks to the ultimate diva for direction on how to cope with her feelings for her classmate Emile and her concerns for Luka, who hasn't showed up to school in weeks.
Operatic is for readers aged 10 to 14.
Kyo Maclear is the author of many picture books, including Bloom and Virginia Wolf, as well as nonfiction books like Birds Art Life.
Byron Eggenschwiler is an illustrator who has contributed to publications like the New York Times, New Yorker and GQ.
The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills
The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills is about a young girl named Shelly with an important job. She catches ghosts in her hair and helps them transition to the afterlife. But when Shelly's mom dies, she stops helping the ghosts and starts hoarding them as she waits for her mother's ghost to arrive. The Ghost Collector is inspired by Mills's great-grandmother's life and influenced by her Cree heritage.
The Ghost Collector is for readers aged 10 and up.
Mills is a writer based in Vancouver. The Ghost Collector is her first book.
Bear for Breakfast by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Jay Odjick
Children's author Robert Munsch and illustrator Jay Odjick team up for a second picture book called Bear for Breakfast. In this tale, a boy named Donovan decides to catch a bear to eat for breakfast, just like his grandfather used to eat. When he goes hunting, Donovan discovers the bear might have other plans.
Bear for Breakfast is for readers aged 3-8.
Bear for Breakfast is inspired by a 1990 visit with the Chippewan community in La Loche, Sask., where Munsch met a boy named Donovan who said he loved to eat bear.
Boonoonoonous Hair! by Olive Senior, illustrated by Laura James
In this charming picture book for young readers, a girl learns to embrace her wild, hard-to-manage curly hair. Olive Senior is an award-winning writer. Her books include the short story collection The Pain Tree and the picture book Anna Carries Water, which is also illustrated by New York artist Laura James.
Boonoonoonous Hair! is for readers aged 5-9.
Senior is the author of 18 books, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction and children's literature. Her collection Over the Roofs of the World was shortlisted for the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
In Small in the City, a young boy is on the hunt for a precious item he has lost on a snowy day in a big city. Along the way, he navigates special shortcuts and and shares secrets about the city he lives in. Small in the City won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature, illustration.
Small in the City is for readers aged 6-10.
Sydney Smith is a Halifax-based illustrator. His other books include Town Is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, and Sidewalk Flowers, written by JonArno Lawson. Town Is by the Sea won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award in 2017.
Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink with Randi Hampson, illustrated by Qin Leng
Qin Leng illustrates a picture book based on Sharon, Lois & Bram's beloved children's song. Sharon, Lois & Bram are a Canadian children's musical group that have performed together for over 40 years.
Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink is for readers 3-6.
Leng is a children's book illustrator from Toronto who has also illustrated the books Good Night, Good Night by Dennis Lee and Away by Emil Sher.
What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn & Kathy Lowinger
What the Eagle Sees is a follow-up to 2017's Turtle Island. It looks at historical events to reflect an underrepresented Indigenous perspective of our collective past and how to move on in the present and future. Academic Eldon Yellowhorn again works with author Kathy Lowinger to continue an examination of the lasting impact of settler culture on the Indigenous community.
What the Eagle Sees is for readers aged 11 and up.
Yellowhorn is an academic and author from the Peigan Indian Reserve (Piikani Nation). Yellowhorn explores the mythology and folklore of his Indigenous ancestors and in how the past informs the present in his books.
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