The Pencil

Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things. One afternoon, their mother leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do―until their father brings out the pencil! As Susan draws and draws, the pencil grows shorter and shorter. What will their mother think when she comes home? Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu, this charming story introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely.

Encounter

Based on the real journal kept by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534, Encounter imagines a first meeting between a French sailor and a Stadaconan fisher. As they navigate their differences, the wise animals around them note their similarities, illuminating common ground. This extraordinary imagining by Brittany Luby, Professor of Indigenous History, is paired with stunning art by Michaela Goade, winner of 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award. Encounter is a luminous telling from two Indigenous creators that invites readers to reckon with the past, and to welcome, together, a future that is yet unchartered.

And Then The Seed Grew

In an ordinary garden full of flowers and plants, little Jack and Mr. Gnome live above the ground, while Yvonne the mole, the Field Mouse family, Paulie the earthworm and Colette the ant live below the ground. Everybody is happy in the garden. Until one day, a new seed arrives, which soon sprouts into a plant. As the plant begins to grow (and grow, and grow), its stalk and leaves get in the way of those aboveground, and its roots disrupt the homes and passageways of those underground. Before long, the plant has gotten so large, it has become a huge problem for the garden’s residents. So, the friends decided they must chop it down. Unless … wait! What’s that growing on the plant?

Aunt Pearl

Aunt Pearl arrives one day pushing a shopping cart full of her worldly goods. Her sister Rose has invited her to come live with her family. Six-year-old Marta is happy to meet her aunt, who takes her out to look for treasure on garbage day, and who shows her camp group how to decorate a coffee table with bottle caps. But almost immediately, Pearl and Rose start to clash over Pearl’s belongings crammed into the house, and over Rose’s household rules. As the weeks pass, Pearl grows quieter and more withdrawn, until, one morning, she is gone.

Playgrounds of Babel

This unusual, thought-provoking story begins with an old woman telling a tale to a group of children in a playground. One of the boys can’t understand what she is saying, so another offers to translate. The old woman’s tale is inspired by the Tower of Babel story: In the days when everyone spoke the same language, the people built a tower to reach God. But God was annoyed and sent a dragon to destroy the tower, then created new languages for everyone so that they couldn’t understand each other. Fortunately, two little girls find a way to communicate through song.

Stolen Girl

When Nadia arrives in Canada in 1950 with Marusia, the woman she calls mother, she is glad to finally be out of the displaced persons camp where she has lived for five years, but troubled by confused memories of World War II; she speaks Ukrainian, but she seems to remember living with a German Nazi family who called her by a different name. As she tries to settle into the Canadian-Ukrainian community of Brantford, she is haunted by one question: who is she, and where was she stolen from.

Shu-Li And Tamara

This contemporary story of the true friendship between two girls is set in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighborhood. Shu-Li’s parents run a local Chinese deli and much of the story revolves around food. There is a helpful compendium of recipes at the end of the book for kids to try out. Beautifully illustrated throughout with line drawings.