As I was strolling through Chapters the other day looking for new books for my sons, I came across several picture books that were distinctly Canadian in either content or authorship. So, here’s a list of 12 excellent picture books that proudly proclaim “our home and native land!”
1. “The Hockey Sweater” by Roch Carrier (Translated by Sheila Fischman and Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen)
I bought this classic “Canadien” story for my sons. Despite the NHL lockout, hockey is still a big topic of conversation and who can resist this tale of the little boy who receives a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater instead of his beloved #9 Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens sweater?
2. “Crosby’s Golden Goal” by Mike Leonetti (Illustrated by Gary McLaughlin)
A great story about a boy who abandons hockey, a game he loves so much. After witnessing Crosby’s golden goal at the Vancouver Olympics, he returns to the ice and the sport he loves. Other famous stories about hockey heroes by the same author include Wendel and The Great One, The Rocket, and The Mighty Tim Horton.
3. “The Salmon Twins” written and illustrated by Carroll Simpson
A visually stunning book that celebrates Canada’s First Nations by looking at the groups of the Pacific Northwest. Although it would be perfect for the grade 6 social studies curriculum, the theme of community values makes this a great addition to any classroom library.
4. “A Promise is a Promise” by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak (illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka)
Together, Munsch and Kusugak take you to the Northwest Territories to tell the story of Allashua, a little girl who encounters the qallupilluit, Inuit monsters that live below the ice. In this book, children learn the importance of listening to their parents, keeping their promises, and Inuit story-telling traditions.
5. “Goodnight, Canada” written and illustrated by Andrea Beck
A wonderful book that takes you through the Canadian provinces and territories, while saying goodnight to children living in these different locations.
6. “M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet” by Charles Pachter
This is a beautiful book that is filled with tons of visual information about Canadian history, pop culture, and heritage. A stunning book! Also, check out “Canada Counts: A Charles Pachter Counting Book”
7. “Picture a Tree” by Barbara Reid
I still remember reading “Have You Seen Birds?” with my grade three class and making our own plasticine bird pictures in Barbara Reid’s distinctive style. “Picture a Tree” is a great book to use during Earth Week, learning about the environment, and helping students develop respect, appreciation, and stewardship of our Earth.
8. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service (Illustrated by Ted Harrison)
I love this poem and teach it to my students each year. The illustrations are beautiful and remind me of the Group of Seven. It would be great to integrate an art lesson with this poem and book by creating oil pastel drawings of the Northern Lights.
9. “Alligator Pie” by Dennis Lee (Illustrated by Frank Newfeld)
“Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg
To win a peg-leg pig.
But will a peg-leg winner win
The piglet’s ill-got wig?”
What’s not to love?! My son and I love reading these hilarious poems before bed each night!
10. “Wishes” by Jean Little (illustrated by Genevieve Cote)
I’ve been a Jean Little fan since I read “From Anna” in grade 4. I bought this book for my youngest son for Christmas It would be great to create a collaborative class book where each child writes and illustrates their own wishes.
11. “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas” by Helaine Becker (illustrated by Werner Zimmermann)
Another Christmas gift for my sons! Can you tell I buy a lot of books? A great twist on the classic Christmas song! My favourite verse? Ten Leafs a-leaping!
12. “M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet” by Mike Ulmer and Melanie Rose (illustrated by Melanie Rose)
A beautifully illustrated book that takes you from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. Filled with Canadian history, personalities, geography, and pop culture. If you like this one, check out the province specific ones including “A is for Algonquin: An Ontario Alphabet” and “B is for Bluenose: A Nova Scotia Alphabet.”
Don’t forget to check in next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links