Stand Like a Cedar

Campbell, Nicola I. Stand Like a Cedar. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Highwater Press, 2021.
Spring. Summer, Autumn. Winter. Walking through the woods, children learn about nature and all it has to teach us. Written in English, Nłe7kepmxcín, and Halq’emeylem – and accompanied by a glossary and pronunciation guide – this quietly respectful and life-affirming picture book will provoke reflection and encourage gratitude. Highly recommended for readers 7 years old and up. (P.S.: All stories by Nicola Campbell are worth reading. All gently encourage empathy and celebrate nature.)

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Let’s Get Gardening

Let’s Get Gardening: 30 Easy Gardening Projects for Children. New York: DK Publishing, 2019.
Nonfiction books by DK are always beautifully designed and this 128-page hardcover book is no expection. It’s a joyous introduction to planting vegetables, designing containers and welcoming nature into the garden. From growing herbs and sunflowers to building planters from eggshells and creating bee hotels, a multitude of ideas are illustrated with step-by-step coloured photos in this cheerful book for readers 8 to 12 years old.

What Grew in Larry’s Garden

Alary, Laura. What Grew in Larry’s Garden. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2020.
Gardens bring friendship and understanding. They build goodwill in a world often filled with fear and loneliness. This quietly gentle picture book illustrated by Kass Reich is based on the true story of a Toronto schoolteacher who showed his students how to grow tomato plants and share them with others. “We can figure this out,” he says over and over again to his young neighbour Grace when problems arise. Highly recommended for gardeners of all ages.

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Picture book memoirs

A Stone Sat Still

Wenzel, Brendan. A Stone Sat Still. San Francisco, California : Chronicle Books LLC, 2019.
A stone is a pebble to a moose and mountain to a snail. A wild place to some but a home for others. A dark rock in the night until the moonlight shines upon it. In this beautiful picture book, a stone is depicted from many different perspectives while all the while remaining steadily the same. A lovely book – in rhyming verse – to share with preschoolers, it is perhaps even more valuable as a way to start a conversation about life. Most highly recommended for all ages.

“Not enough people in this world, I think, carry a cosmic perspective with them. It could be life-changing.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson 

“I believe everyone should have a broad picture of how the universe operates and our place in it. It is a basic human desire. And it also puts our worries in perspective.” – Stephen Hawking

“It’s useful to go out of this world and see it from the perspective of another one.” – Terry Pratchett

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” – Dr. Seuss

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Full of life…

Davies, Nicola. Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2017.

Another wonderful picture book from Candlewick Press. The author, a zoologist, explains the complexity of life in simple sentences that even the youngest of readers will understand. The illustrator elaborates with detailed and labelled drawings that will interest even the oldest of readers. Highly recommended for everyone.

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Observing nature…

Heckert, Barbara. A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White. New York: Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
Who was the author of the classic novel Charlotte’s Web? What was his childhood like?  What challenges did he overcome? What inspired him to write children’s stories? The design of this picture book – illustrated by Caldecott winner Lauren Castillo – is unfortunately weakened by the font, which does not match the style of the pictures. Nevertheless, this biography is still recommended for curious readers 8 years old and up. 

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“There’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.” – E.B. White

Where do I belong?

Stevens, April. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2018.
Figrotten loves nature. And she loves spending time outdoors on a big rock on a hill behind her house. She feels safe up there. Like she can truly be herself when she is there alone. But over the course of her eleventh year, she starts to see life differently. Maybe she can find friends at school, after all. Maybe her sister doesn’t hate her, after all. Maybe she can find a balance between being along and being with people.
This 196-page novel is beautifully written. Like poetry in prose. Highly recommended for thoughtful readers 10 to 13 years old.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”  A.A Milne

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