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.

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?

Africville

When a young girl visits the site of Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the stories she’s heard from her family come to mind. She imagines what the community was once like the brightly painted houses nestled into the hillside, the field where boys played football, the pond where all the kids went rafting, the bountiful fishing, the huge bonfires. Coming out of her reverie, she visits the present-day park and the sundial where her great-grandmother’s name is carved in stone, and celebrates a summer day at the annual Africville Reunion/Festival.

Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip

The post office is closed, and that means it’s time for Mr. Postmouse and his family to take a vacation. Of course, he’ll need to bring along a few parcels a postmouse’s rounds are never done! As he and Mrs. Mouse, Milo, Lulu and Pip set off on an around-the-world tour. The scenes provide an introduction to the concepts of community and neighborhoods, as well as modes of transportation.

The Promise

On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding on with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life — and a chance to change the world, for good.

Join the discussion of The Promise as well as other books centered around relocation on our My Take/Your Take page.

What A Party!

If it is just a few days until your birthday, and your mother says you can invite anyone you like to come over to play, be careful! If you don’t watch out, you might soon be having the craziest party ever. Before you know it, night could come and go and a new day could begin, and the dancing might still be going strong. In a celebration of neighbors and diversity, an open-ended party invitation results in a raucous gathering of children, pets, and parents (plus salsa dancers and a reggae band!), all feasting on food from all over the world.

I Am Jack

Life is good for Jack. He’s a great photographer, he wins at handball, and time at home with his family is never boring. But when big George Hamel starts calling Jack “Butt Head,” school becomes a little less great. And when everyone starts calling him “Butt Head,” it gets outright dangerous.

Susanne Gervay’s thoughtful story sheds light on the contagious and destructive nature of school bullying, and the power of humor, love, and community to overcome it.