May 28, 2017

Hit the road with youngCanLit: Travelling Canada through books for children

Just as books can be elixirs for the sleepless child, they can be a blessing for the bored child travelling with adults who already have their go-to in-flight, on-train or in-car activities.  What better way to occupy your child while engaging them than with a tome of youngCanLit (books for children and young adults by Canadian authors and illustrators)?

Though numerous picture books, early readers and chapter books could be included here, and more so now with Canada celebrating 150 years and a plethora of new books slated for release, I’ve generally focused on books that would appease the youngest of travellers who might be less inclined to find their own entertainment without a little help from Mum or Dad (or Auntie or Uncle or Grandma or Grandpa …)

Whether a picture book that informs and entertains a non-reader about Canada or non-fiction books for pre-teens that cover geography and trivia across our country, this book list of youngCanLit for Canada may include the balm you’re looking for to satisfy your own young traveller.

ABC of Canada
Written by Kim Bellefontaine
Illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth
Kids Can Press
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
2004
Learn the alphabet from Arctic to Zamboni and all the letters in between for a colourful look at Canada by alphabet.

The Big Book of Canada (updated ed.)
by Christopher Moore
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books
256 pp.
Ages 9-12
April 2017
Rich with photographs and illustrations, this book delves deep into Canada’s places and people.


Canada 123
Written by Kim Bellefontaine
Illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth
Kids Can Press
24 pp.
Ages 2-6
2008
Counting from one maple leaf onward and back has never been so Canadian or fun!

Canada ABC
Written and illustrated by Paul Covello
HarperCollins Canada
28 pp.
Ages 1-3
2016
The alphabet provides the basis for a simple book of Canadian images like dogsled and Ottawa, with more hidden in the details.

Canada Counts: A Charles Pachter Counting Book
Written and illustrated by Charles Pachter
Cormorant Books
64 pp.
Ages 8+
2009
Artist Charles Pachter uses his uniquely Canadian artwork to cover numbers 1 through 20, with a couple of other important numbers like 1867 thrown in.

Canada Year by Year
Written by Elizabeth MacLeod
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 9-13
2016
A book of history like no other, commemorating important historical events in politics, sports, the arts, and more from 1867 to 2017.

Carson Crosses Canada
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
Tundra Books
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
May 30 2017
Annie Magruder and her dog Carson travel from BC to Newfoundland to visit Annie’s sister, enjoying the expansive scenery and attributes of Canada along the way.

Crazy Canadian Trivia
Written by Pat Hancock
Illustrated by Bill Dickson
Scholastic Canada
128 pp.
Ages 7-12
2009
Hundreds of quirky facts about Canada. 

A Day in Canada
Written and illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth
Kids Can Press
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
2015
Take a trip over the course of one day (timed delightfully by a clock) with various Canadian animals to stops at recognizable Canadian locales.


Do Beavers Eat Poutine?: Cool Canadian Quizzes
Written by Helaine Becker
Scholastic Canada
96 pp.
Ages 8-13
2017
Trivia, jokes, and puzzles that are all about Canada.

Eh? to Zed: A Canadian ABeCedarium
Written by Kevin Major
Illustrated by Alan Daniel
Red Deer Press
32 pp.
Ages 4+
2000
A rhyming alphabet book with images of quintessential Canadian icons and events, including a Mountie, soapstone carvings and a Montreal Canadian. 

Good Morning, Canada
Written and illustrated by Andrea Lynn Beck
Scholastic Canada
32 pp.
Ages 3-6
2014
Wake up with children across Canada and see the landscapes of each’s life.

Good Night, Canada
Written and illustrated by Andrea Beck
Scholastic Canada
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
2012
Follow a young boy's nightly ritual of adieus from coast to coast to coast, as he looks out his window at his country and wonders who else is going to bed.

Hey Canada!
Written by Vivien Bowers
Illustrated by Milan Pavlovic
Tundra Books
72 pp.
Ages 8-12
2012
Gran takes her two grandchildren on a road trip across Canada, covering details about flags, terrain, points of interest and more.

I Am Canada: A Celebration
Written by Heather Patterson
Illustrated by Jon Klassen, Barbara Reid, Marie-Louise Gay, Danielle Daniel, Geneviève Côté, Ashley Spires, Qin Leng, Ruth Ohi, Irene Luxbacher, Cale Atkinson Jeremy Tankard, Eva Campbell and Doretta Groenendyk
Scholastic Canada
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
May 2017
Multiple-illustrator version of Heather Patterson’s free verse poem I Am Canada (1996).

The Kids Book of Canada
Written by Barbara Greenwood
Illustrated by Jock MacRae
Kids Can Press
60 pp.
Ages 8-11
2007
Compendium of facts about each province and territory, including geography, history and symbols.

M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet
Written by Michael Ulmer
Illustrated by Melanie Rose
Sleeping Bear Press
40 pp.
Ages 8+
2004
A classic alphabet book illustrated by scenes of key Canadians and circumstances like Terry Fox and Anne of Green Gables.

M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet
Written and illustrated by Charles Pachter
Cormorant Books
64 pp.
Ages 10+
2008
Artist Charles Pachter lends his own artwork to depicting the alphabet in this sophisticated book for older readers.

My Canada: An Illustrated Atlas 
Written by Katherine Dearlove
Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith
Owlkids Books
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
May 2017
A picture book atlas covering each province and territory with icons and labels of key cities, landmarks, etc.

That’s Very Canadian:  An Exceptionally Interesting Report about All Things Canadian, by Rachel
Written by Vivien Bowers
Illustrated by Diane Eastman
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 8-12
2004
This is Rachel’s school report on Canada in which she covers all things Canadian, with the help of  Moose, Goose and Bucko Beaver.

Wow Canada!: Exploring this Land from Coast to Coast to Coast
Written by Vivien Bowers
Illustrated by Dan Hobbs and Dianne Eastman
Owlkids Books
160 pp.
Ages 9-12
2010
Take a road trip with Guy, his sister Penny and their parents to learn all about Canada’s special points of interest and symbols, through photos, stamps and illustrations.

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