I’d Like to Be the Window for a Wise Old Dog

Stead, Philip. I’d Like to be the Window for a Wise Old Dog. New York: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2022.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else? Be something else?  What would it be like to bring joy to someone else? Bring safety to someone else? Not for fame but simply out of love. This wonderfully imaginative picture book is an extraordinary example of other-centredness. You can find endless lesson plans on empathy. Instead, read this book aloud. Then start a conversation.

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Everything by Philip Stead is lovely: encouraging, hopeful, and life-affirming. Read these books, too…

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The Rough Patch

Lies, Brian. The Rough Patch. New York: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
Everything is wonderful. Until it isn’t. Evan’s best friend – his dog – dies. And life becomes dark and angry. Until, in autumn, Evan takes a pumpkin from his garden and goes to the town fair. He sees some friends, wins a prize, and goes home with a new puppy. A story of loss and grief but also hope. A perfect picture book, told not only with words but also with illustrations. A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book. Recommended for readers 5 to 11 years old. 

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Grandpa’s Stories

Coelho, Joseph and Allison Colpoys. Grandpa’s Stories: A Book of Remembering. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019.
A young girl remembers all the special moments she shared with her grandfather. Spring. Summer, Fall. Winter. Every season holds precious memories of her beloved grandfather. A poignant picture book by an award-winning British writer and an Australian artist. Recommended for young readers who are grieving.

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The Proudest Blue

Muhammad, Ibtihaj. The Proudest Blue. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
What symbolizes your identity? What shows people your most important beliefs? In this vibrantly illustrated picture book, a little girl celebrates the day that her older sister wears hijab for the very first time. Written by the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the U.S. in the Olympic Games and illustrated by a Canadian who grew up playing with his mother’s colourful scarves in Egypt, this thoughtful story is highly recommended for readers of all ages and of all beliefs.

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Yours in Books

Falatko, Julie and Gabriel Alborozo. Yours In Books. Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids, an imprint of Cameron + Company, 2021.
Owl is tired of all the visitors disturbing the peace and quiet of his life in the forest. So he writes a letter to Squirrel, the owner of a bookstore, to request a book on how to soundproof his home. Squirrel replies. Unfortunately, that book is out of stock. How about a different book? And so begins a correspondence, a friendship, and a slow realization that perhaps guests aren’t so awful, after all. Perhaps a party, even, could be fun. An absolutely brilliant picture book. Highly recommended for anyone of any age who would like to enjoy some light-hearted humour right now! 

P.S. The book titles in the story hilariously summarize the relationship between Owl and Squirrel. After reading the book, you might like to summarize your own relationships with friends by making up imaginary book titles.

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I Talk Like a River

Scott, Jordan. I Talk Like a River. New York: Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, 2020.

A little boy wakes up every morning with the sounds of words stuck in his throat. He can’t make them come out properly and so goes through his days without saying a word. Afraid. Sad. But then his father takes him down to the river – to walk along the bank and watch the water bubbling and churning, whirling and crashing – and explains that he is like that river. He stutters. Beyond the rapids, however, there is smooth water. He feels less lonely. Based on the author’s own experiences growing up, this beautiful picture book – illustrated by the award-winning Sydney Smith – is highly recommended for readers of all ages.

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The Piano Recital

Miyakoshi, Akiko. The Piano Recital. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2019.
Nervousness. Momo is overwhelmed with nervousness. Will she be able to play the piano on stage in front of all those people? And then she spies a tiny door and follows a tiny mouse into a fantastical world of acrobats and orchestras and ballerinas all joyously performing in front of a vast audience. This magical story by an award-winning author and illustrator is recommended for young readers who face their own nervous moments.

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