The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Andrew Whiteman on the inspiring series of books he reads to his daughter

The guitarist for music collective Broken Social Scene on the Little People, Big Dreams series of books for children.
Andrew Whiteman is a Canadian musician (Getty, Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Andrew Whiteman is the lead guitarist of the Toronto-based musical collective known as Broken Social Scene and with his own group called AroarA.

He stopped by The Next Chapter to discuss a book series that he's been reading to his young daughter. 

"The book I'd like to talk about is actually part of a series called Little People, Big Dreams. They are fabulous children's books. Our daughter is three and a half years old. She gets three books before she goes to bed every night. Inevitably one of these books gets chosen every single night — and often the same book, night after night after night. It's a series that's just beautiful. The illustrations are incredible. They are stories of women in the 20th century who really have made a big difference on society.

"So you have Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel — and the two that we have are Agatha Christie and Maya Angelou. They are told in such a way that difficult things get brought up. For example in the Maya Angelou book, we find out that Maya and her brother get moved to Arkansas when they're very young. We learn that life was very difficult for Maya and her brother because of the colour of her skin and because she was a girl.

"Nothing more is said, but the illustration is quite sly and it can provoke a question from your kid or eventually something can come up about that. Later in the book, we see an image of Maya Angelou walking with a bunch of other women and a few men and she's in a women's march and one of the signs says 'stop violence.' My daughter is always interested and asks, 'What does that say?' There is so much sophistication in the elegance and simplicity in these books."

Andrew Whiteman's comments have been edited for length and clarity.


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