World Book Day (April 23), created by UNESCO to foster literacy and a love of reading for fun in kids, is often a big event for little ones with school events that can include colourful homemade projects, book reports and even class costumes centred around their favourite book character.
This year’s theme is “You Are A Reader” with a focus on creating a space for children to learn to love reading as a pastime and not just for school work. With that in mind, we picked a few books by authors from B.C. and across Canada to explore for World Book Day.
The end of April also marks Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (April 30) and to celebrate and support local options, check out Vancouver Is Awesome’s list of must-visit used bookstores and shops and other independent sellers like Massy Books, Book Warehouse, Western Sky Books in Port Coquitlam, The Creative Bookworm in Langley, Companion Books in Burnaby, Upstart & Crow and Humpty Dumpty Books & Music on Granville Island, Little Bookshop in Squamish and 32 Books & Gallery in North Vancouver. Many of these stores also have online shopping and curbside pick-up options.
Have a favourite bookstore in your neighbourhood? Drop it in the comments below and we will add it to our list.
Books for bedtime
Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
By renowned Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk (with illustrations by Alexandria Neonakis), Sweetest Kulu is a soothing picture book of poems in the voice of a mother telling her daughter about her gifts from animals in the Arctic. Available at Indigo, Amazon and directly through Inhabitant Books (available in English, Inuktitut, French and hardback and paperback).
More Blueberries by Susan Musgrave
This playful book about a set of mischievous twins who can’t get enough of their favourite fruit is written in rhyme and after a few readings, little ones will be exclaiming “more blueberries!” Available at Indigo, Amazon or order directly through Orca Books.
Books for early readers (kindergarten to Grade 3)
Emily Car graduate Aidan Cassie has created three warm and wonderful picture books kids will adore: Sterling, Best Dog Ever; Little Juniper Makes It Big and The Word for Friend, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year list in 2020. Available at Amazon and e-book on Indigo.
Eilleen Holland knows what kids love to learn about: she was a school teacher in Campbell River and the Lower Mainland for 33 years and her two books, Sophie Trophy and Sophie Trophy Too are funny and sweet, tackling age-appropriate conflict with imagination and empathy. Available at Indigo and Amazon.
Seb and the Sun by Jami Gigot is a classic children’s story about a child on a journey of courage and self-discovery. Seb leaves his dreary coastal town to find the sun, discovering magic and a powerful friendship along the way. Available at Indigo and Amazon.
Books for grade 4-7
Wings of Olympus by K. George is set in ancient Greece (great for kids who are interested in that era’s mythology) and tells the story of a young orphan named Pippa and her magical companion Zephyr as they race for the gods at Mount Olympus. Available at Indigo and Amazon.
Lee Edward Födi is a prolific writer of young reader fiction and kids who are into magic, fantasy, riddles, historical fiction and mythical creatures will love The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar. There are six titles in the series; some are available at Amazon and Indigo.
The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson is the “Might Muskrats,” four cousins who live for their adventures and explorations. When a visitor to the Windy Lake First Nation goes missing, the cousins head out to solve the mystery together. Available at Second Story Press, Amazon and Indigo.
There’s quite a bit of Greek mythology in this age range, but Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick (with illustrations by Juliana Moon) stands out. This genre bending, super inventive graphic novel about a young teen who attends a new middle school, only to discover her classmates are gods. Available at Amazon.
For young readers ready for tween-centric novels, Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney is about a whip-smart protagonist who is a fledgling school paper journalist. She loathes being assigned to writing horoscopes for her school paper, especially when her predictions come true and her classmates become convinced she is a clairvoyant. When a real mystery unfolds, she has a chance to prove her mettle as an investigative journalist. Available at Amazon and Indigo.
Searching for more books by B.C.-based authors? The North Vancouver District Public Library has an excellent list online.