Children’s Books

Learning About Culture, Language & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book): One Green Apple

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Eve Bunting

Brief Summary of the Book:

In this book, there is a young girl who is from a different country and feels like she does not belong because she looks and talks different from all the other children. One day they went on a field trip to an apple farm and she found the only green apple. With the apples the students picked, the whole class made apple cider. After the trip, she begins saying some English words and other children are pointing to object and saying the name to help her learn. The little girl says “I will blend with the others the way my apple did with the cider”

Title of Children’s Book: A Promise is a Promise

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Robert Munsch and Micheal Kusugak

Brief Summary of the Book:

“A Promise is a Promise” is based on an Inuit folktale about the Qallupilluit and how if children got too close to the sea ice without their parents they would grab the children. In the story a young girl promises her mother that she will not go near the sea ice to fish but go to the lake instead. She breaks her promise to her mother and goes to fish on the sea ice where the Qallupilluit grab her. She then promises to bring the Qallupilluit all her brothers and sisters so they let her go with the promise she will bring them her siblings. The story is a moral fable about making promises and keeping them, showing what will happen when you make promises and don’t keep them as well as not listening to your parents or caregivers.

Title of Children’s Book: From Far and Wide: a Canadian Citizenship Scrapbook

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book tells the tale of one young Chinese girl becoming a Canadian citizen. This book describes the process through her eyes and contains useful information about the process. Everything from the singing of the National Anthem to the reciting of the oath, to the celebration afterward, is presented in the form of a colourful scrapbook.

Title of Children’s Book:  Chrysanthemum

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Kevin Henkes

Brief Summary of the Book:

Chrysanthemum is a picture book written about a mouse with a unique name. Chrysanthemum enters school confident and happy until she realizes that she is different than the other students because of her long name. The students recognize this difference and tease Chrysanthemum because of it. The book points out the feelings that arise due to bullying and how the situation can be changed to make everyone feel welcomed and accepted. The teacher plays a big role in including everyone in the classroom and making them feel loved.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Racial Identity & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  All the Colors of the Earth

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Sheila Hamanaka

Brief Summary of the Book:

For Ages 4-8 or Grades Pre K -3

This book outlines skin colours, but with creative descriptions, such as “whispering golds of the late summer grass” ­­. It makes connections between skin colour and hair types to natural things that are relatable to children’s environments and everyday lives. The book also talks about how each colour is loved with the same intensity. The pictures are incredible as well, very colourful and detailed, and they show all colours uniting and playing together.

Title of Children’s Book:  Shin-Chi’s Canoe

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Nicola I. Campbell (Illustrator: Kim LaFave)

Brief Summary of the Book:

The book is based on the residential school system.  Shin-chi is the main character and he has an older sister named Shi-Shi-etko.  The children were going to be taken away from their family on a cattle truck and taken to the Indian Residential School.  Throughout the story, the author talks about how the children had to be taken away from their parents, to go to the residential school – as it was the law at the time.  Shin-chi’s father had always taken the children on canoe trips and each of the children wanted a canoe for themselves.  The children were determined to learn the skill of canoeing on their own and wanted to each own their very own canoe.  Before being taken away on the cattle truck, the children were sent to have their hair cut, so they went up to the mountain.  When the children arrived back home, the cattle truck was waiting.  With tearful eyes, the father had carved out a small canoe for the kids.  When the two children were sent off on the truck and had arrived, the older sister gave her younger brother the hand-carved canoe.  She told him that he needed to keep it safe and hidden.  Shin-chi’s older sister had to gently remind him that he was unable to speak to her until they returned home, it was hard for the children as they would see each other out and about but were not able to talk with one another.  The seasons changed and it was soon winter.  Shin-Chi went down to a nearby river with his carved canoe, taking it out and placing it into the open water or onto the ice.  The canoe was symbolic in the way that it reminded him of his father and home.  When the day finally came for the children to return home, the family was overjoyed.  Greeted by their mother and grandmother, the children were confused and had asked, where is our father?  To which their mother responded with, “Your dad is in the woodshed.” (pg.31).  Both Shin-Chi and his older sister, Shi-Shi-etko went into the shed to find that their father had carved them their very own canoe.

Title of Children’s Book:  “Bein’ with You This Way”

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  W. Nikola-Lisa

Brief Summary of the Book:

“Bein’ with You This Way” is about a little African American girl who goes to a park and rounds up a number of her friends. When looking at all of the different children she begins to see that everyone is different. Some kids have curly hair and some have straight hair, some have blue eyes and some have brown or green. Then they start to notice how people have different skin colors as well. In the book, they see that everyone is different and they see that being different is beautiful and everyone is different but the same. It is about accepting everyone’s differences no matter what they look like, skin color and all. It is about accepting people no matter what.

Title of Children’s Book:“Tar Beach”

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Faith Ringgold

Brief Summary of the Book:

Tar Beach the story of a young African American girl growing up in the 1930s in Harlem, New York. She lives in an apartment with her parents and her younger brother, Bebe, where they make the best of their low socioeconomic status, having barbeques on the roof of their apartment, which they call “tar beach”. The story explores the issues of racial, social, and industrial segregation in America prior to the civil rights movement, and her father’s challenges finding work, entering unions, and ultimately providing for his family.

Every night, the girl dreams of flying through the New York skyline, which stands as a metaphor for a longing for freedom and opportunity. When she flies through the sky, she imagines that whatever she flies over becomes her property. She imagines a world in which the factory that her father works at, the building he helped to build, and even an ice cream factory, all belong to her family. She imagines a future in which her family has greater opportunity and influence in society.

Though her family experiences discrimination, they gain friends in Mr. and Mrs. Honey, a childless family, who live in the same building. They share food and experiences with the family, participating in the rooftop barbecues. This suggests that although business and industry present barriers in society, there is an opportunity for fairness and change resides in the daily interactions of individual citizens. There is hope for fairness and a better future for everyone.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from theUniversity of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Gender Identity & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  The Story of Ferdinand

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Munro Leaf

Brief Summary of the Book:

The Story of Ferdinand is a story of a young bull who lives with his mother and other young bulls in a pasture in Spain. Ferdinand likes to spend most of his days under his favourite cork tree quietly smelling flowers. Whereas the other young bulls seem to prefer rumble, tumble kind of play (e.g., running and bucking). One day, after years went by, 5 men came out to the pasture to select the bull for a bullfight that was to happen in Madrid. The men were looking for the most ferocious bull they could find for this fight. Ferdinand did not care to be selected for this competition while the other bulls competed with one another for the attention of the 5 men. As it happened, the passive and seemingly recluse Ferdinand was stung by a bee which in turn sent him into a violent fit of rage and the 5 men decided that Ferdinand would be the best bull for the fight. Little did the 5 men know, this rage from this beast is not typical behaviour of Ferdinand; in fact, quite the opposite is true. Ferdinand was expected to fight the Matador in the ring but instead Ferdinand chose to sit and smell the flowers that were tossed into the ring. Despite all efforts to make Ferdinand angry enough to fight, it was all for naught.

Title of Children’s Book:  In Our Mothers’ House

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Patricia Polacco
Brief Summary of the Book:

“In Our Mothers’ House” is the story of a young girl’s relationship with her two mothers and her siblings. It shows a brief overview of life in her childhood home as well as all the love and laughter they shared together during her childhood. This story also briefly touches on homophobia but primarily focuses on the loving home the two moms have made for their three children.

Title of Children’s Book:  Red: A Crayon’s Story

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Michael Hall

Brief Summary of the Book:

In Red: A Crayon’s Story, a young crayon with a red label struggles to fit that label. His teacher first tries to help him be red by coloring strawberries with him. His mother then tries to help him by encouraging him to make orange things with the yellow crayon and his grandparents try to help by giving him a red scarf. The art supplies try loosening his label, taping his label on, and sharpening him. The other crayons begin to think he isn’t trying hard enough or is maybe just a late bloomer. He then meets a friend who asks him to draw an ocean. Even though he protests that he cannot, because he is labeled red, his friend insists this doesn’t matter. Once he draws this ocean, he realizes that even though his label says “red”, he is actually blue. Once he makes his realization, things begin to fall into place for him, and the other crayon’s see that he is excellent at drawing blue things.

Title of Children’s Book:  The Paper Bag Princess

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Robert Munsch

Brief Summary of the Book:

The Paper Bag Princess is about a princess named Elizabeth who is about to marry a prince named Ronald but then a dragon comes along and tries to destroy the castle and kidnaps her prince, Ronald. Elizabeth gets her clothes burned off when the dragon breathes fire on her and she is then forced to wear a paper bag because that is all that she can find to wear. Elizabeth finds the dragon and tries to outsmart him so that she can try and save Ronald. When she finally saves him, Ronald is disgusted by the way that she looks because she doesn’t look anything like how a princess should look.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Economic Class & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  In Coal Country

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Judith Hendershot

Brief Summary of the Book: 

This book focuses more on the economic class of poverty.  It is from the perspective of a coal miner’s daughter.  She talks about her life throughout each season of the year.  From the perspective of a child, she talks about all of the fun and friends she has, but you can see the struggle that a family in the poor/working class in some of her experiences.  As the daughter narrates her life in a positive mood, it does not have a bias towards her lifestyle or the lifestyle of others.  While there are a few gender roles in place in this book, it is emphasized that both parents are hard working.  I feel like this is a good book for a child to read, because it discusses economic class in a way that they will understand, and also in a way that does not put down people who do live this way.

Title of Children’s Book: I Know Here – Laurel Croza & Matt James

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Laurel Croza & Matt James

Brief Summary of the Book:

I Know Here, is a beautifully written book from Canadian author who chose Nipawin Saskatchewan as their setting. The story is about a little girl who lives in a work camp because her father is helping build a power dam. The job is just about finished and her parents have told her that they are moving to Toronto in the summer. The little girl who is the main character takes us through the beautifully illustrated book showing us what she knows about where she lives and reaffirming that she does not know Toronto.

Title of Children’s Book:  The Magic Beads – Susin Nielsen-Fernlund

Brief Summary of the Book:

The Magic Beads – Lillian begins Grade 2 at a new school after she and her Mom have had to move to a shelter to escape her abusive father. They have left everything behind and Lillian is feeling a range of emotions from anxiety to anger. There is a part of her that misses her father even though she knows he was not a nice man. She loves her Mom and knows why they had to leave but she also feels angry that her Mom them away. When she is asked to share at Show and Tell on Friday at the new school she begins to become more upset. She no longer has her personal possessions with her as she had to leave everything behind. The butterflies in her tummy turn into grasshoppers, donkeys and eventually buffalos. She has the courage to stand in front of the class on Friday and Lillian talks about her plastic beads, telling everyone they are magic beads and explaining that with just a little imagination, the beads can be all kinds of things. Lillian’s inventive imagination fascinates her classmates and provides a way for friendships to begin.

Title of Children’s Book:  Those Shoes

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  MariBeth Boelts

Brief Summary of the Book:

Those Shoes is about a young boy named Jeremy who really, really wants a pair of high-top sneakers. Almost everyone in Jeremy’s class has a pair. However, in Jeremy’s family there is no room for buying things they want, only things they need. One day during kickball Jeremy’s shoes fall apart, so he has to go to the guidance counselor to get a new pair. The guidance counselor gives Jeremy a pair of shoes that have Velcro and a cartoon animal on them, Jeremy think they are babyish. When Jeremy goes to class wearing his shoes everyone laughs, except his classmate Antonio who also does not have money for a pair of high-tops.  Jeremy bags his grandma to take him thrift store shopping to look for the pair of high-tops he wants so badly. Jeremy end up finding the pair of shoes, but they are half a size to small. Jeremy buys them anyway thinking he will be able to cram his feet into them. Jeremy does do end up wearing the shoes because they hurt his feet. Since it is going to start snowing soon, Jeremy’s grandma buys him a new pair of boots. Jeremey notices that Antonio’s feet are smaller than his and decides to give his high tops to him.  Jeremy wears his boots and realizes not only are they useful, but he likes that they are different from what everyone else has.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Family Structure & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  The Family Book

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Todd Parr

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book discusses the many different forms of families there are whether a child has a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, one mom, etc. It also discusses big and small families, as well messy and clean families, families of different colors, families living near or far from each other, stepfamilies, adoption, families eating different foods, families being quiet or noisy, families being clean or messy, families living alone or sharing a house with other families, etc. Although it talks about differences, it also discusses similarities. It talks about things that all families do such as giving hugs, being sad when they lose someone they love, celebrating special days together, and helping each other be strong. The last page of the book says: “There are lots of ways to be a family. Your family is special no matter what kind it is.” This book shows that it is okay to be different and really strengthens all family forms.

Title of Children’s Book:  The Night My Dad Went to Jail

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Melissa Higgins

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book talks about a little boy whose dad has been arrested. In a very age-appropriate manner, the book goes through how a boy’s father was arrested and a social worker takes them to a foster home. It talks a lot about how sometimes parents make bad choices but that that does not mean they are a bad person. It discusses the importance of safety and how the only reason they are going to live in a foster home for a while is so they can be safe.

Title of Children’s Book:  This Is My Family: A First Look at Same-Sex Parents

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Pat Thomas

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book brings up topics about same-sex parents and helps the reader to understand different situations. The book does not tell a story about a single character, however, it discusses situations same-sex parents relate to. The book explains the difference between gay and lesbian in a simple way for younger children to understand. It also informs the reader how same-sex parents do not reproduce children the same way as a heterosexual couple, and brings up adoption. The book explains to the reader that same-sex couples treat their children in the same way as others. Throughout the book, the author provides questions for the reader to take in perspective of their relationships and about family differences. The end concludes with the statement that there is more than one way to make a family, but it is the love and support that is shared that makes these family dynamics the same.

Title of Children’s Book): And Tango Makes Three

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Brief Summary of the Book:

It takes place in New York, at the Central Park Zoo. It begins by talking about different human families going to see, different animal families present in the zoo. The book specifically focuses on penguin families. There are two male penguins that fall in love. It explains how they are just the same as all the other families, and do all the same things as the other families. Although when the male and female partners start to have babies, the two males aren’t able to lay an egg. So the zookeeper brings them an extra egg. The two male penguins hatch and raise the baby together. This book is based on a true story and I think you can still go see the family of three at the zoo.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Different Abilities & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  Susan Laughs

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Jeanne Willis

Brief Summary of the Book:

In this book, the author talks about Susan. She describes Susan doing things that all students do. Susan does things like laughs, smiles, gets mad, just like all children. At the end of the book, the illustration is a picture of Susan who is in a wheelchair. The author never mentioned or illustrated anything about the wheelchair until the end.

Title of Children’s Book):  Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Genevieve Petrillo

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book is based on a true story. In the book I chose, there is a new student named Davie. Davie is an independent student who has a visual impairment. All the students try to help Davie but his answer is always “Thanks, but no thanks”. Although Davie is not like the other students, he is still capable of doing everything on his own. His well-meaning classmates stop offering help when they see how able Davey is. They stop helping him until he tries to play kickball. After many failed attempts to kick the ball and an incident resulting in a trampled base keeper, no one wants Davie on their team anymore. The students see how upset this makes Davie feel so they come together to make a plan so he can play. They create a plan that allows Davie to participate freely without help from others. The children tell Davie to “Keep his ear on the ball” as it rolls towards him, once kicked, the keeper at first base yells “First base Davie. I am at first base” so Davie knows where to go. This plan worked perfectly and allowed Davie to participate freely and independently. The students learned that “interdependence can be just as important and rewarding as independence.”

Title of Children’s Book):  Even Superheroes Get Diabetes

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Sue Ganz-Schmitt

Link of Book Being Read:

Website on Book:

Brief Summary of the Book:

Kelvin is a boy that loves “Superheroes”.  He spends most of his time playing superheroes and fighting villains with his friends.  Kelvin and his friends always saves the day in there play!  One day Kelvin’s fantasy world of playing Superheroes is interrupted by getting Type One Diabetes.  He gets sick with the symptoms of no energy, won’t eat, going to the bathroom a lot, and drinking lots of water.  He was waiting so long to go to a new superhero movie with his family, but suddenly got sick.  He goes for a nap and gets up feeling sicker. Kelvin’s parents rush him to the hospital to see what is wrong with him.  He gets admitted to the hospital and a specialist doctor uncovers that Kelvin has superpowers of Type One Diabetes. The specialist doctor explains to Kelvin that he has superpowers of Type One Diabetes and explains what is happening to his body.  The doctor makes Kelvin take a superhero oath about taking care of himself and how to help others with his special powers.  The finger pricks, shots, and the many doctor’s appointments makes him upset about his Type One Diabetes.  When he got out of the hospital he gets to go see the new movie, except his mother was watching everything he was eating, which made him upset.  Kelvin had many doctors’ appointments.  His new specialist doctor invites Kelvin into his special library for superheroes, the doctor explains that Kelvin has to be his assistant superhero in training to help other diabetic children.  They go on an adventure around the town to assist children with diabetes that forgot their glucose supplies, to read the amount of insulin for the children on the needles, and drop off extra supplies of insulin to the hospitals that run out.  They go on the adventure together.  Kelvin had his insulin pump on him the first day back at school and all the children were very accepted of him, when he explained he was a superhero and had special powers of Type One Diabetes. The children in Kelvin’s class were even more excited to learn about his superpowers of Type One Diabetes.

Title of Children’s Book): Back to Front and Upside Down

Author(s) of Children’s Book: Claire Alexander

Brief Summary of the Book:

This book takes place in a classroom, with a bunch of animals as the characters. In the classroom is a student, Stan, who has dyslexia. Stan notices that he is having trouble and taking longer to spell words, and other students in the class are not. He felt uncomfortable asking the teacher, Miss Catnip, for help because he was scared everyone would laugh at him and judge him for having trouble. Eventually, he confides in one of his friends about his problem, and his friend encourages him to ask for help, saying, “We all have to ask for help sometimes.” When he asked for help, so did another student in the class. Miss Catnip worked with them and they practiced until they were confident in themselves! The book ends with Stan saying that now whenever he needs some help, he always asks for it.

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.

Learning About Holidays & Fairness:

Title of Children’s Book:  The Trees of The Dancing Goats

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Particia Polacco

Brief Summary of the Book:

“The Trees of the Dancing Goats” is a wonderful story about the power and strength of friendship, and how the holidays have the ability to bring people together. This story tells the tale of a young girl named Trisha and her family, who are getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah while their neighbours are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. The story goes on to explain how the neighbours all enjoy watching each other celebrate their own special family holidays and eventually tells of how Trisha’s family is able to help out their neighbours when they need it most. When Trisha’s neighbours get sick during the holiday season, Trisha’s family finds it hard to celebrate and enjoy their own festivities knowing that their good friends next door are unable to celebrate as well. Trisha’s family decides to adopt the Christmas tradition of decorating a tree and plans to deliver it to their friends to help cheer them up. Trisha’s family does not normally celebrate Christmas, but when they knew that decorating Christmas trees would cheer their friends up, they adopted the tradition to support them. In the end, all the neighbors ended up having an enjoyable holiday season together while celebrating aspects of both holidays.

Title of Children’s Book:  New year at the Pier

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  April Halprin Wayland and Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Brief Summary of the Book:

“New Year at the Pier” Is a story of a young Jewish boy named Izzy who is beginning to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). In preparation Izzy and his family begin to write a “I’m sorry” list before Tashlich. Tashlich is a ritual performed at a large, natural body of flowing water (e.g., river, lake, sea or ocean) on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Counting aloud on Izzy’s fingers he remembers the times he let someone down or acted in a crude way. Sharing his I’m sorry list with his sister and mom they all head down to the pier where Rabbi Neil begins to play the shofars (a large horn). After the Rabbi Neil is done, Izzy’s mom yells out it’s time! She begins to hand out slices of bread for the adults and children to throw into the air as they apologize for the things they have done. Tashlich means to throw. Tashlich is like cleaning your heart’s closet. A new year, a clean heart. Will Izzy keep true to his I’m sorry list and be able to clean his heart entering a new year? Read “New Year at the Pier” and find out.

Title of Children’s Book: Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas

Author(s) of Children’s Book:  Gail Piernas-Davenpor

Brief Summary of the Book:

“Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas” is a story about a young girl who is determined not to break the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s.  When she arrives at her grandma’s and her grandma tells her that she’s forgotten her peas, Shante runs around her neighborhood asking if anyone has black-eyed peas.  In the process of asking all of her neighbors, she learns about other foods people eat on New Year’s and other holidays (such as Scottish eating haggis and cheese, and people eating grapes in Mexico). She learns about all sorts of traditions in the process of looking for peas.  She finally finds peas at her Auntie’s house and then they head back to her grandma’s together.  In the end, the people who Shante had asked that day had shown up at her grandmas to celebrate and try the peas.

Title of Children’s Book: Ramadan Moon

Author: Na’ima Robert & Shirin Adl

Brief Summary of the Book:

Ramadan is a Muslim celebration where a month of strict fasting from sunrise to sunset occurs. Na’ima Robert and Shirin Adl create a wonderful introduction to what it means to celebrate Ramadan, for any child. This book takes us on an adventure starting from the first crescent moon and ending with a crescent moon. Throughout the book we travel to a mosque, take part in early morning prayers, and eat only at night. During Ramadan, the characters do all sorts of good deeds like looking to give away things, collecting money for charity, being kind and caring, as well as trying not to be angry. When the crescent moon appears for the second time Eid day is announced and the Muslim world rejoices and a festival begins. On Eid, there are haircuts, henna patterns, new clothes, family and friends, parties, and treats. All in all, “Ramadan Moon” is a great holiday resource to read with your students. Who knows, maybe your future students could teach you and their peers more about Ramadan!

*Book selection & summary made in conjunction with students from the University of Regina, Winter 2017, ECE 325 class.