Building Baby’s Library: Who am I?


I’ve begun building a library for grandchildren. What a joy it is to peruse the shelves of books aimed at babies and toddlers! It’s been a long time since I spent time in that part of the bookstore and there are so many new treasures there. But, as I review the titles already in baby’s library, I realize that there is little diversity on that shelf.

Here is baby’s library so far (author then illustrator):

  1. Aston, Dianna and Sylvia Long. An Egg is Quiet.
  2. Carle, Eric. Little Cloud.
  3. Cassino, Mark, Jon Nelson and Nora Aoyagi. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder.
  4. Covello, Paul. Canada ABC.
  5. Crozier, Lauren and Rachelle Anne Miller. More than Balloons.
  6. Day, Alexandra. Good Dog Carl.
  7. Daywalt, Drew and Oliver Jeffers. The Crayons’ Book of Colors.
  8. De la Pena, Matt and Loren Long. Love.
  9. Dean, James. Pete the Cat: Old MacDonald had a farm.
  10. Eastman, P.D. Are you my Mother?
  11. Falconer, Ian. Olivia.
  12. Fox, Meme and Steve Jenkins. Hello Baby!
  13. Glaser, Linda and Loretta Krupinski. Wonderful Worms.
  14. Gliori, Debi, No Matter What.
  15. Holub, Joan and James Dean. Mighty Dads.
  16. Jeffers, Oliver. A Little Stuck.
  17. Jeffers, Oliver. Up and Down.
  18. Jenkins, Steve. Biggest, Strongest, Fastest.
  19. Knapp, Andrew. Let’s find Momo!
  20. Landen, Nina. Peek-a-Choo-Choo!
  21. Landen, Nina. Peek-a-Who?
  22. Landen, Nina. Peek-a-Zoo.
  23. Lee, Dennis and Frank Newfeld. Alligator Pie.
  24. Levenson, George and Shmuel Thaler. Circle: The Story of a Garden.
  25. Light, Steve. Cars Go.
  26. Lomp, Stephen and Amy Pixton. Things that Go!
  27. Martin, Bill and Eric Carle. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?
  28. Messner, Kate and Christopher Silas Neil. Over and Under the Snow.
  29. Snyder, Betsy. I can Dance!
  30. Thiele, Bob, George David Weiss and Tim Hopgood. What a Wonderful World.
  31. Tudor, Tasha. 1 is One.

In selecting titles for the library, I have focused on fiction and nonfiction classics, and those books that my own children loved. I paid attention to nationality so that Canadian authors and illustrators might be included. It’s important that our children and grandchildren’s lives be reflected in words and pictures of the books they read. It’s also important that our children and grandchildren experience the world from the many diverse perspectives that make up our country. And yet, despite holding this belief, I hadn’t done the work to ensure that the library includes those voices.

So here’s the plan.

The focus for this year’s selections is on Canada. And within those titles I hope to have captures some of the diversity of this nation in content, but also in author and illustrator. Future lists (for #NF10for10 in February and then #PB10for10 in 2019 and so on) will take the grandchildren on global adventures.

Here’s my #PB10for10 list for 2018:

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The most iconic song ever written for the game of hockey comes to life through one of the greatest shinny games imaginable, illustrated by Governor General’s Award-winning artist and cartoonist Gary Clement.

As Stompin’ Tom Connors says, “It’s the good old hockey game, the best game you can name.” And in this charmingly illustrated book for all ages, the classic song played at hockey games around the world is imagined as a shinny game on an outdoor rink in the middle of the city that starts with two players and soon grows to include the whole community. Clement’s colorful illustrations unite young and old, men and women, and girls and boys of all races, all wearing fan paraphernalia from every team you can imagine. “The puck is in! The hometown wins! The good ol’ hockey game.”

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In the days of Roch’s childhood, winters in the village of Ste. Justine were long. Life centered around school, church, and the hockey rink, and every boy’s hero was Montreal Canadiens hockey legend Maurice Richard. Everyone wore Richard’s number 9. They laced their skates like Richard. They even wore their hair like Richard. When Roch outgrows his cherished Canadiens sweater, his mother writes away for a new one. Much to Roch’s horror, he is sent the blue and white sweater of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs, dreaded and hated foes to his beloved team. How can Roch face the other kids at the rink?

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“Dream a little, Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you.”

This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.

Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

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“There once was a bear, a moose and a beaver who were the best of friends, though they often disagreed.” So when the three friends go canoeing together one sunny day, it doesn’t take long for them to start quarrelling with one another. First, they can’t decide who should get to steer the canoe. Later, they debate how best to get across a beaver dam that blocks their way. But when they can’t agree on the proper course for maneuvering through the white-water rapids they suddenly find themselves in, the consequences become truly perilous. It takes a long, uncomfortable night spent stranded on a rock to remind the bear, the moose and the beaver what they often forget: everything turns out better when they work together as a team.

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Ada hates everything about ballet class, yet she still has to go! Arabesques? Grotesque! And then one Saturday, Ada pliés right out the door and into the hallway, smacking into someone who thinks her ungraceful moves are great!

In the tradition of Kevin Henkes’s Lilly books and Russell and Lillian Hoban’s Frances classics, Ada is a plucky little kid with her own way of thinking. Through Ada’s stubbornness and emotional honesty, author/illustrator Elise Gravel shows her understanding of how kids feel and why. She shows us that anger is normal and feeling our emotions leads to growth! 

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What could be more perfect than a brand new set of crayons? Evan can’t wait to use them, until Snap!, the brown one breaks in two. Then one by one, the others break, get crushed, are blown away, or simply disappear. How can he possibly draw when there’s no green, purple, or even black?

Evan feels like throwing things, but instead, he scribbles using all the bits and pieces that are left. But what’s this? Where yellow and blue cross, there’s green, and when blue and red get all mixed up, it creates just the right purple to draw monsters. Soon, all he’s left with are tiny stubs of red, yellow, and blue, but Evan discovers that even with just a few crayons, he can create new and exciting art¬—his imagination is the only tool he needs.

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Chester is more than a picture book. It is a story told, and retold, by duelling author-illustrators. Melanie Watt starts out with the story of a mouse in a house. Then Melanie’s cat, Chester, sends the mouse packing and proceeds to cover the pages with rewrites from his red marker, and the gloves are off. Melanie and her mouse won’t take Chester’s antics lying down. And Chester is obviously a creative powerhouse with confidence to spare. Where will this war of the picture-book makers lead? Is it a one-way ticket to Chesterville, or will Melanie get her mouse production off the ground?

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When Jake finally gets a puppy to call his own, all he can think about is the fast, strong sled dog that his puppy will become. But Kamik is far from an obedient sled dog. He won’t listen, he tracks mud all over the house, and he’s a lot more work than Jake ever thought a puppy could be! But after a visit with his grandfather, who raised many puppies of his own while living out on the land, Jake learns that Inuit have been raising puppies just like Kamik to be obedient, resourceful, helpful sled dogs for generations.
Inspired by the real-life recollections of an elder from Arviat, Nunavut, this book lovingly recreates the traditional dog-rearing practices that prevailed when Inuit relied on dogs for transportation and survival.

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An evocative story about two brothers who are growing up (one faster than the other), an unusual summer night and a special tree house that proves childhood is not just a time but also a place. This story is so beautifully told that you may be compelled to build your own!

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Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. 

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem–at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. 
But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is–and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Happy Reading!!

Notes: I am super late with this post, but sometimes life interferes with our best intentions. See you in February for #NF10for10. To know more about  #PB10for10 information read this post by Cathy Mere.



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