“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” – Leonardo da Vinci


“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.” – James Herriot, British veterinarian and writer

Bob: No Ordinary Cat
Bowen, James. Bob: No Ordinary Cat. London: Hodder, 2013.
James, a young homeless man, is befriended by a ginger cat who changes his life, giving him hope, courage and determination.  An easy-to-read heart-warming true story for readers 11 years old and up.  Fans might also like to follow the two online on James’s Twitter account. [Cats; Homelessness; London; Street musicians]
“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” – Mark Twain, American author
Two Bobbies
Larson, Kirby and Mary Nethery. Two Bobbies: a True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival.  New York: Walker & Co., 2008.
Bobbi and Bob Cat survive by staying together after Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans in this picture book for readers 8 to 11 years old. [Cats; Dogs; Hurricane Katrina, 2005; New Orleans; Survival]
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats…” – Albert Schweitzer, humanitarian
 More stories about cats: HERE

Floyd Cooper

American artist Floyd Cooper

began drawing when he was three years old,
and he has never stopped.

Notice how he shows emotions and depicts sensory details
in his award-winning stories and illustrations.

 Pass It On

Hudson, Wade, selected by. Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children. New York : Scholastic, 1993.
An illustrated collection of poetry by such Afro-American poets as Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Eloise Greenfield, and Lucille Clifton. A poem by Langston Hughes: HERE

 Tree of Hope

Littlesugar, Amy. Tree of Hope. New York: Philomel Books, 1999.
“Florrie’s daddy used to be a stage actor in Harlem before the Depression forced the Lafayette Theater to close, but he gets a chance to act again when Orson Welles reopens the theater to stage an all-black version of Macbeth.” – CIP Stories about poverty: HERE and a note-taking lesson on Shakespeare: HERE 

These Hands

Mason, Margaret H. These Hands. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
“An African American man tells his grandson about a time when, despite all the wonderful things his hands could do, they could not touch bread at the Wonder Bread factory. Based on stories of bakery union workers; includes historical note.” – CIP  More picture books using parallel structure:  HERE

Ma Dear's

McKissack, Patricia C. Ma Dear’s Aprons. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1997.
“Young David Earl always knows what day of the week it is, because his mother, Ma Dear, has a different apron for every day except Sunday.” – CIP More stories of African Americans: HERE

Ruth and the Green Book

Ramsay, Calvin Alexander. Ruth and the Green Book. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 2010.
“When Ruth and her parents take a motor trip from Chicago to Alabama to visit her grandma, they rely on a pamphlet called ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’ to find places that will serve them. Includes facts about ‘The Green Book.'” – CIP  More stories based on historical facts:  HERE

Back of the Bus

Reynolds, Aaron. Back of the Bus. New York: Philomel Books, 2010.
“From the back of the bus, an African American child watches the arrest of Rosa Parks.” – CIP  More stories of courage:  HERE

The Blacker

Thomas, Joyce Carol. The Blacker the Berry: Poems. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 
A collection of poems – including ‘What Shade Is Human?’, ‘Golden Goodness’, ‘Cranberry Red’ and ‘Snowberries’ – celebrating African-American identity. More poems:  HERE

A Beach Tail

Williams, Karen Lynn. A Beach Tail. Honesdale, Pa.: Boyds Mills Press, 2010.
“When his father tells him not to leave the lion he is drawing on the beach, a little boy starts making a very, very long tail–and a trail to follow back.” – CIP  More stories of summer adventures:  HERE

Miz Berlin Walks


Yolen, Jane. Miz Berlin Walks. New York: Philomel Books, 1997.
“Mary Louise gradually gets to know and love her elderly neighbor lady who tells wonderful stories as she walks round the block of her Virginia home.” – CIP  More stories based on authors’ own lives:  HERE


“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”
– Jonathan Swift, writer


Surreal Art: HERE        Cubism: HERE

“You seemed so far away,” Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.
“Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,” Matilda said. “It was wonderful.” – Roald Dahl, Matilda

Imagine a Place

Picture books for artists: HERE

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

How I Learned Geography

Biographies: HERE

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso, artist

Word After Word

Poetry: HERE     Surreal Poetry: HERE

“It is … through the world of the imagination which takes us beyond the restrictions of provable fact, that we touch the hem of truth.” – Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Lewis, J. Patrick and Jane Yolen. Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers: The Life of Marc Chagall in Verse. Mankato, MN: Creative Paperbacks, 2013.
MacLachlan, Patricia. Word After Word After Word. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2010.
Shulevitz, Uri. How I Learned Geography. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008.
Thomson, Sarah L. Imagine a Place. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008.

Positively Angry

“A man that does not know how to be angry does not know how to be good.” – Henry Ward Beecher, American abolitionist



 Stories based on the author’s life: HERE


“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle, Greek philosopher


Grandfather Gandhi


Stories about India: HERE

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” – James Thurber, American cartoonist
Walking to School
Stories about Ireland: HERE
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” – William Arthur Ward, American writer

Bunting, Even. Walking to School. New York  Clarion Books, 2008.
Gandhi, Arun and Bethany Hegedus. Grandfather Gandhi. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014.
Tutu, Desmond and Douglas Carlton Abrams. Desmond and the Very Mean Word. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2013.


Do you remember?

“You are speaking…as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing…what you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure.”C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Once Upon a Memory

“We seem to live in a world where forgetting and oblivion are an industry in themselves and very, very few people are remotely interested or aware of their own recent history, much less their neighbors’. I tend to think we are what we remember, what we know. The less we remember, the less we know about ourselves, the less we are.” – Carlos Ruis Zafon, Spanish writer


“There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it.” – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

  • Timmerman Was Here

Outstanding biographies and autobiographies: HERE
  Stories about memories: HERE
  Writing about your memories: HERE
  Picture books for writers: HERE

Laden, Nina. Once Upon a Memory. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2013.
Sis, Peter. Tibet: Through the Red Box. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998.
Sydor, Colleen. Timmerman Was Here. Toronto : Tundra Books, 2009.

Stand with Courage

 “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

I Have a Dream

“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens

The Negro Speaks

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – President Barack Obama

Martin Luther King

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coming Home

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” – Maya Angelou

Coretta Scott

“The time is always right to do what is right.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin's Big Words

Click HERE for stories about African Americans.

My People
Cooper, Floyd. Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes. New York: Philomel, 1994.
Fandel, Jennifer. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Great Civil Rights Leader. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2007.
Hughes, Langston. My People. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Hughes, Langston. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. New York: Jump at the Sun, 2009.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. I Have a Dream. New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012.
Rappaport, Doreen. Martin’s Big Words: the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 2001.
Shange, Ntozake. Coretta Scott. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2009.

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is Canada Day!
Canadian flag
“This is my country. What I want to express is ‘here’ and I Love it. Amen!” – Emily Carr, Canadian artist
Courage and Compassion
“We have it all. We have great diversity of people, we have a wonderful land, and we have great possibilities. So all those things combined there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” – Bob Rae, Canadian politician
Aboriginal Peoples
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” – John G. Diefenbaker, 13th Prime Minister of Canada
The Chinese in Canada
The happiness of every country depends upon the character of its people, rather than the form of its government.” – Thomas C. Haliburton, 19th century Canadian politician
The French in Canada
“Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world.” – Tommy Douglas, 20th century Canadian politician known as the father of Medicare
The Ukrainians in Canada
“Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.” – Pierre Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada
50 Canadians
“Our links to the past, our bonds with the present, our path to a civilized tomorrow are all maintained by libraries.” – Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada
Click HERE for stories by Canadians!