Journals and Diaries

“It’s Spring. Everyone can’t wait to go outside. But this Spring is different; everybody is quarantined because of the coronavirus. I am getting bored and more bored as every second passes by, so I go on a walk around our farm. 

“There are puddles of water on the ground. I try to make sure I don’t step in them. It’s cloudy and it looks like a sad day. I can hear birds chirping from far away but I can’t see them. It’s also windy. I walk around and see all the mud and all the soaked plants. 

“I normally hear our neighbours’ children, who are teenagers, revving their cars because they are expensive and they want to show them off. I usually see a lot of people coming to throw garbage at the compost area in front of our house, but not today. I usually see people come parachuting at the Skydive area near us, but not today.

“My parents went to the store to buy sanitizer, gloves and masks from the store and when they came back I asked, “Was there anybody even there?” They told me that there were no people at parks or walking outside but quite a few people at the store. There was barely any sanitizer left and there were no gloves or masks left. They had to go to five different stores to find everything we needed.” – Mehtej in grade six

More excerpts from journals

Journals become history. 

History tells stories…

Liu, Na and Andrés Vera Martínez. Little White Duck: a Childhood in China. Minneapolis: Graphic Universe, 2012.
Da Qin and her younger sister live with their parents in the city of Wuhan, China. This thought-provoking graphic novel – composed of 8 short stories – describes the author’s childhood in the 1970s. Emotive illustrations by the author’s husband – Andrés Vera Martínez – help to create a powerful portrait of life for two little girls in a changing world. Recommended for competent readers 9 years old and up.

McMullan, James. Leaving China: An Artist Paints His World War II Childhood. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin, 2014.
Do you ever feel like you’re not quite good enough? That you can’t ever please your parents? That you don’t belong anywhere? Read this memoir about an artist who grew up moving from China to Canada to India to the U.S.A. where he became a highly acclaimed designer and illustrator. A 113-page autobiography – with full-page illustrations – recommended for readers 10 years old and up.

More stories based on the author’s memories

      “Last night, I found out about something that for me, is the scariest thing so far.  I live in a quiet neighbourhood, but the street in front of my house is one of the main streets in my city.  On the busy street, there is a place where people who are retired or are old live.  Then, last night, my family and I found out that some people were diagnosed with Covid-19.
       “Everything is so strange.  Who would ever think that on April 2, it would snow?  I mean it is not snowing a lot, just small flurries.  Just three days ago, it was sunny.  A beautiful blue sky with some white clouds gently but swiftly moving across the sky.  And now, today just a while ago, it was snowing.
        “Same thing with Covid-19.  Three months ago, everything was perfect; but now everything is the complete opposite.  The only words that I hear on the news are Covid-19 and deaths.  I really want to go outside and play or have a nice walk; but what do I do? It is cold out and it just snowed.  I definitely do not want to get sick!
“I might play some games with my siblings or maybe help my mom in the kitchen.  For now, all we can do is hope that doctors and scientists work together to find a cure and stop Covid-19!” – Esha in grade 6

Speaking Our Truth

Gray Smith, Monique. Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2017.
A Canadian book about reconciliation with chapters focusing on honesty, love, kindness, and reciprocity. Stories of indigenous people, explanations of current political negotiations, and historical information combine to create a highly readable life-affirming book recommended for all ages. Supplemented by a glossary, online and print bibliography, list of residential schools in Canada, and an index. If you can purchase only one book, buy this one! 

More books about indigenous people of North America


The comfort of trees…

Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2017.
Red is an oak tree who has seen a lot of changes. Provided a home for countless little creatures. And comforted many children. But now someone wants to get rid of Red. What will happen to this venerable neighbourhood tree?
A wonderful read-aloud novel for children 7 to 9 years old. A wonderful story for imaginative readers who enjoy seeing life from a wider perspective.

P.S. Any book published by Fiewel and Friends is worth picking up. The quality is invariably superb.

More stories celebrating the wonders of nature

More novels for young readers

“Friendship is a sheltering tree.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Rivers of the World

September 24th is World Rivers Day!

Peters, Merilee. Ten Rivers That Shaped the World. Toronto: Annick Press, 2015.

The Nile. The Amazon. the Mississippi. The Tigris and Euphrates. The Thames and Rhine in Europe. The Yangtze and Ganges in Asia. The Zambezi and Awash in Africa. These 10 rivers have changed the course of history. And they still affect life today. 10 Rivers That Shaped the World, an easy-to-read book full of anecdotes, coloured photographs, maps, and drawings, is highly recommended for all readers – 11 years old and up – who enjoy expanding their general knowledge.

Did you know?

3,000 species of freshwater fish have been discovered in the Amazon.

Ancient Egyptians were the first people in the world to pay taxes, which were based on the height of the Nile floods: higher floods meant greater harvests which led to higher taxes.

The nursery rhyme of London Bridge falling down may recall the Viking invasion of 1014.

Musicians on riverboats helped spread jazz and blues north along the Mississippi in the early 20th century.

Find more books about rivers HERE

O Canada!

MacLeod, Elizabeth. Canada Year by Year. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2016.
Canada is 150 years old! This 96-page book – illustrated by Sydney Smith – celebrates with brief highlights of every year from 1867 to 2017. The invention of basketball in 1891. The invention of the snowmobile in 1922. The first superman comic in 1932. The discovery of oil in Alberta in 1947. Historical firsts, political events, and prominent people are all included in this book recommended for browsers 12 years old and up. 

Stories set in Canada HERE.