Category Archives: #pb10for10

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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Building Baby’s Library: Some old. Some new. Some tried and true.

My first grandchild was born on January 29, 2017, and she has been born into a family of readers! That she would receive many, many books from me was never an issue. BUT having an event like #pb10for10 to focus my thinking about what to get her when is terrific. For #nf10for10  last February, I choose 10 non-fiction board books as a foundation for my grand-baby’s library. This time around I have added 10 fiction board books to that foundational shelf. So without further delay, let’s begin to build a library for baby!

Some old.

And when I say “old”, I simply mean that the book has been around for awhile in general and in my home specifically.

My kids LOVED Carl and his antics. While I was getting ready to write this post, my husband re-read the book and laughed just as hard this time. Baby is sure to make this a favourite since she is from families who LOVE their dogs.

No Matter What is a gorgeous book. It’s the story of Small, a mischievous fox cub, and his mother Large, who tries to explain the unconditional love a parent has for his or her child. This book is not one that will be out grown soon. With stunning illustrations and witty details, this story will be pulled out and re-read for years.  While the lyrical rhyming text will grab hold of baby’s ear and her attention, the need for assurance that “no matter what I will always love you” is ongoing. Munsch may tell baby that mommy and daddy will love her forever, but Gloiri provides the assurances that it’s true.

Some New

Obviously, these titles are new to our family. Published long after my own children had grown past picture books (some of us never do though!), I have read these books to children in classrooms while working as a literacy coach.

Olivia by Ian Falconer is a terrific match for my granddaughter. Olivia is big in spirit and life is grand! Falconer’s minimalist approach (dark lines on white background with accenting red) combined with his deadpan humour is sure to get mom and dad smiling as baby explores her world.

For one such spread, demonstrating “”She is very good at wearing people out,”” Falconer shows Olivia engaged in a variety of activities in 13 black-and-white vignettes, using red sparingly-for a hammer handle, a yo-yo, a ball, a mixing bowl spatula and a jump rope-as she progresses from energetic to spent. Against a completely white background, these vignettes seem to bob on invisible undulating waves, with the intermittent splashes of red creating a sense of movement and urgency-until Olivia’s collapse at the lower right-hand corner of the spread beneath a single line of text (“”She even wears herself out””). Publisher’s Weekly

Now, some will say that the next two books are a bit ahead for our little one, but like baby clothes, you never know exactly what books you’ll need when. AND I think we can often underestimate when children are ready to listen to longer stories with bigger ideas. So, I’m including 2 Jeffers’ books because they are fun and the brightly illustrated pages draw you in.

Up and Down does a great job involving the parent and child with sharp visuals and a story that gets the child thinking about why things are the way they are. Why do penguins have wings, if they don’t fly? What’s your theory?

In A Little Stuck, Floyd gets his kite stuck up a tree. He throws up his shoe to shift it, but that gets stuck too. So he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck, along with… a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an orang-utan and a whale, amongst other things! Will Floyd ever get his kite back? A hilarious book with a wonderful surprise ending that Like Up and Down can generate conversations about predictions and solutions to the problem. Both books help parents and baby think about the world and ask questions to understand it better.

In 1995 my mom passed away and the son whose daughter’s library I’m building never knew her. She was inimitable, but today her great-granddaughter carries her name and already I can see my mom’s love of life in her. My mom’s favourite song was “What a Wonderful World” and this lovely version of the song is a must. Look at the richness of the illustrations and of course, the lyrics will never grow old.

I would be completely remiss not to include a sing-a-long book on this picture book shelf. Pete, of course, is just too much fun.  James Dean brings us a groovy rendition of the classic favourite children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” sung by cool cat Pete and perfect for sing-a-long time with baby. Our girl is growing up near farms and we have farming friends, so she’ll be able to make some strong connections to the book and the song. Oh, and daddy loves to sing, too!

Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don’t compare to the love we have for you. Canadian poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller’s whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is. Reading poetry to our kids helps them hear what language can do; how it dances and stretches and shrinks. More than Balloons is a treat.

Comparisons are creative and lovely…The constancy of the rhyme scheme is remarkable…The artwork is exquisite: simple, yet elegant lines, delightful animal characters, warm washes of color, and plenty of details to build young vocabularies. (Kirkus Reviews 2017)


Some tried and true.

My mom was a grade three teacher, and when Dennis Lee’s first anthology, Alligator Pie, was published she bought it and taught with it every year until she left teaching. I was a teenager then, and I can still recall her reciting the title poem at home. It gave her such great delight. I never forgot the poem and Alligator Pie was the first anthology I bought when I became a mother. This book is just the title piece, on its own. It’s a board book and it’s awesome. Like the illustrations in Olivia, Sandy Nichols uses dark lines and sparse colour allowing the vignettes to pop off the page at us.

Finally, here is Are You My Mother? for my son because this was one of his most favourite books. Are You My Mother? follows a confused baby bird who’s been denied the experience of imprinting as he asks cows, planes, and steam shovels the Big Question. In the end, he is happily reunited with his maternal parent in a glorious moment of recognition. We want to find lots of ways to let our children know that we love them and that we will continue to love them “no matter what”.

#PB10for10 Information

by Cathy Mere

Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Grab a Badge (just copy the URL address of the one above or take a screenshot)
  2. Join the #pb10for10 Google Community
  3. Choose Your Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme to determine their selections.  We’ll leave this up to you.
  4. Narrow Your List to Ten:  It isn’t easy, is it?  We’ve seen some crafty ways to get around that number.
  5. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.
  6. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don’t have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one — or there are a million digital ways to join (see post below).  Of course, now with the Google Community it is quite easy to just post your favorites directly into the community without a blog.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.
  7. Comment:  On August 10th (and maybe for a week — there are a lot of posts) take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three.


Pull out your library cards, load up your Amazon accounts, or better yet – plan a trip to your local bookstore on August 11th because you’re going to be unable to resist checking out (or purchasing) a few new picture books.  We hope to see you on the 10th!

A Few Historical and Informational Posts:


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