C. Review of Some Special Books
Suggested Time: 30 minutes
Briefly introduce some key books from the book box that
represent various types and some special categories of
books, such as books for modeling writing, special non-fiction
titles and books featuring Francophone or Aboriginal people.
- The Family Book. Stop on the spot
and read this book aloud - it’ll only take a minute or
two. The Family Book is
an incredible book about different kinds
of families that seems like it was designed specifically
for our curriculum. It is also great for multiple perspectives.
- In the Heart of the Village: The World of the
Indian Banyan Tree. Describes the importance
of a banyan tree to a village in India, socially, environmentally,
- A Pioneer ABC. Alliterative sentences
for each letter with lovely pioneer pictures for each
taken from the lives of the United Empire Loyalists who
escaped to Canada after the American Revolution.
- A Prairie Alphabet. With its prairie
pictures that take you back to your own rural childhood,
these accurate, interesting, and definitely Canadian
prairie pictures provide a perfect resource for inquiry
as well as a great model for reporting. Show several
of the pictures and read some of the captions.
- River Ran Wild. Extremely useful for
environmental issues, this book can also be used to support
the development of historical thinking, and also Aboriginal
perspectives. (Really good books nearly always have many
layers and therefore have many uses!). Show the pictures
and briefly tell the story of the book.
- Spirit Of Canada: Canada's Story In Legends,
Fiction, Poems, And Songs. This is a marvelous
and well-illustrated collection of Canadian material,
- The Flying Canoe. In
this retelling of a classic folktale from Quebec,
it’s New Year’s Eve, 1846, and 11-year-old Baptiste
has come to live and work among the lumberjacks of
Canada. They all miss their friends and families. As
midnight approaches, they come up with a magical plan
to get them home for the New Year celebrations.
- Birdman. In this true story, Noor
Nobi is devastated when he loses his family and nothing
can console him until he discovers the birds in the local
market. It transforms his life and the lives of many
others, including thousands of captive birds.
- Life Like Mine: How Children
Live Around the World. A unique and very special
book, this non-fiction is perfect for the grade 3 curriculum,
and something that every teacher will want to use.
It shows the most important of the United Nations Rights
of the Child and provides pictures of children from
all over the world illustrating what these rights mean
to the lives of these children. By UNICEF and Dorling
Kindersley, it’s no wonder that the book is so powerful!
- The Strongest Man This Side of Cremona.
Great Alberta prairie, farm, and mountain pictures in
this story of Matthew and his dad. They encounter something
even stronger than his dad – a tornado.
- King’s Chessboard. This mathematical
story from India is available in several versions and
fits very well into the math curriculum. Students will
quite enjoy the story.
- Canadian Shield Alphabet.
Lots of interesting and little-known facts about the
people and regions of the Canadian Shield. Beautifully
- Coming to Canada: Building A Life in A New
Land. WOW Canada! series. An essential book!
Tells the stories in brief and interesting text with
lots of good illustrations of many of the immigrant
groups that have come to Canada, starting with the
Filles du Roi right up to the Somalian refugees in
- Lobster in My Pocket. Although has
just black and white lines drawings, the story is charming
and provides lots of details about life in Acadia. Lee
lives in a fishing village. One day she hears a little
voice coming from a lobster crate and she discovers Lucky,
a talking lobster. Lee sets Lucky free and Lucky returns
the favour one day when Lee nearly drowns in a wild spring
- The Sugaring-Off Party. Paul, anxious
to be going to his first maple-sugaring party tomorrow,
asks Grand-mere to tell him about what it was like when
she was young and took part in the cabane a sucre. Gilles
Pelletier’s paintings--filled with brilliant colour--explore
the sights, sounds, and tastes of a special time in a
- Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish.
Based on the true story of the boat “Fish,” part of the
Canadian Arctic Expedition in 1913, this beautiful book
details the struggle to survive in the high arctic. It
demonstrates the knowledge needed for survival in the
far north and the skills the Inupiaq had for survival.
The explorers take along an Inupiaq family for their
survival skills and knowledge. The family provides hunting
skills, sewing, snow houses, and much care and wisdom
for the expedition.
- Delta is My Home. Tom McLeod is an
11-year-old boy. He tells about such things as how the
Mackenzie Delta floods, how to make bannock and about
“ratting” (trapping muskrats) and hunting black ducks.
- Secret of the Dance. A young Aboriginal
boy witnessed a secret ceremony (potlatch) after being
told that dancing is forbidden by law. Evocative illustrations
capture the west coast landscape and the sense of secrecy
that is central to the story.
of the Deeps. A story of the miners
and the hardships and danger of their lives in Cape
- Hidden Buffalo. Tells the story of
the dependency of the Cree people on the herds of buffalo.
- Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys
of Sudan. Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned
by civil war in Sudan, finds the strength to help lead
other boys as they walk hundreds of miles seeking safety
in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United
- Follow the Drinking Gourd. Winter’s
story begins with a peg-leg sailor who aids slaves in
their escape on the Underground Railroad. While working
for plantation owners, Peg Leg Joe teaches the slaves
a song about the drinking gourd (the Big Dipper). Slaves
begin to escape by following the song’s directions. History
in picture book format.
Additional books from other sources to highlight might
include some of the following. Don’t avoid books because
they may be out of print. They may be in participant’s
libraries and therefore available, and they may (likely
will) come back into print.
- No Room for Napoleon. Here’s an excellent
story for highlighting issues surrounding the use of
land and resources.
- Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea.
This postcard-format story serves as a great model for
student research and reporting.
- Rabbits. This simple but powerful
allegory describes the results of most of the colonizing
in the history of our planet. The book is also excellent
for helping to establish the idea that Aboriginal people
have a very different perspective from mainstream Canadian
- Silver Threads. This story of Ukrainian
immigrants to Canada and their experience here during
the war will help older students understand some of the
issues related to nationality.
- Carolina’s Gift: A Story Of
Peru. A young Peruvian girl wants to get a
gift for her grandmother so she visits the local market
to choose a gift. There are great pictures showing
dress, lifestyle, etc.
- Tonight is Carnaval. This is a story
of a Peruvian boy’s preparations for Carnaval with extremely
good pictures that are Peruvian artwork.
- Boy Who Ran with the Gazelles. A young
boy from a desert village follows his tame gazelle into
the wilderness, where they join a herd of gazelles. The
boy stays with the gazelles, and even though men find
him and capture him, he manages to return to live with
the gazelles. Although not a tale from Tunisia, the setting
is Africa and very well could have taken place in Tunisia.
- Tiger’s New Cowboy Boots. Tiger is
going on a cattle drive – with his new cowboy boots!
This appealing story provides great Alberta landscapes
and a look at the lifestyle of Alberta ranchers.
- Red Sash. It is Rendezvous, when the
voyageurs who spend the winter in the North American
wilderness come back to the trading post of Fort William,
at the head of the Great Lakes. A storm hits, and a young
Métis boy helps to save one of the travelers. Historically-accurate
illustrations give an authentic picture of life at this
busy fur-trading post.
- The New Land: A First Year on the Prairie. An
informative view of the circle of seasons for a pioneer
family in Canada. Wonderful book.
- Enough. This spirited Ukrainian story
is set during the famine of the 1930s. Marusia’s ingenuity
gives her the opportunity to go on a magical journey
to find more food for her village. Generosity triumphs
- Mare’s Egg. A new settler in Canada
is hoodwinked into purchasing a “mare’s egg” – actually
a pumpkin – which, he is convinced, will hatch into
the perfect horse. A very funny story about being
a settler in Canada.
- Any Out-of-Print books that may
be in your library and that may come back into print
(a great many will).