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Children's books

Susan Perren's top 10 children's books of 2010 Add to ...

COUNTING ON SNOW Written and illustrated by Maxwell Newhouse, Tundra

Snow can be counted on in an alliterative, playful counting book in which the denizens of the Canadian arctic - 10 caribou, 9 musk oxen, 8 ravens, 7 trumpeter swans, etcetera, are covered, in varying degrees, in the stuff.

I KNOW HERE By Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James, Groundwood

"Here" is the home a little girl has known forever, the northern trailer camp with its familiar forests, roads, and friends. "There" is the big, unknown city, Toronto, to which she and her family are moving. Getting from here to there, figuratively as well as literally, is the great achievement of the little girl and this many-laurelled picture book.

CANADIAN RAILROAD TRILOGY By Gordon Lightfoot, illustrated by Ian Wallace, Groundwood

Gordon Lightfoot's iconic song, written for Canada's centennial in 1967, is brilliantly reinterpreted in Wallace's celestial illustrations.

LIIi YIIBOO NAYAAPIWAK LII SWER: L'ALFABET DI MICHEF Owls See Clearly at Night: A Michif Alphabet, written and illustrated by Julie Flett, Simply Read

Starkly simple, beautiful illustrations embellish an enchanting alphabet book that pays homage to Métis culture, especially its endangered language.

A CHANUKAH NOEL By Sharon Jennings, illustrated by Gillian Newland, Second Story

In this true story Charlotte, a small Jewish child newly arrived from Canada, experiences Christmas in France over half a century ago. She finds a way to have both Chanukah and Christmas and to both give and receive.

BLOOD AND IRON Building the Railway by Paul Yee, Scholastic Canada

PRISONER OF DIEPPE World War II by Hugh Brewster, Scholastic Canada

These superb novels, the start of a projected series, present two pivotal pieces of Canadian history - the involvement of Chinese slave labour in the building of the Trans-Canada Railway, and the contribution of Canadian soldiers to a significant World War II battle - in a way that makes a young country's history both potent and palatable for young readers.

HARVEY How I Became Invisible, written by Hervé Bouchard, illustrated by Janice Nadeau, translated by Helen Mixter, Groundwood

This graphic novel, about loss as experienced by a small boy with a big imagination and long antennae, weaves together luminous pencil and pastel drawings and an economy of words, artfully deployed, to produce an imaginative work of psychological insight, uncommon beauty, humour and poignancy.

FATTY LEGS A True Story, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes, Annick

A vivid, feisty, often heartbreaking memoir about an idyllic Arctic childhood changed forever as a result of four years in a residential school. What she gained there was the ability to read, but that was little compensation for the losses incurred.

THINK AGAIN By JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Julie Morstad, KCP Poetry

This collection of the mostly four-line poems dwells on matters of the heart and head. Succinct, assertive and pithy, - the poems (and their accompanying pencil drawings) are just the thing for readers in the first throes of first love, or for those beginning to ask big questions such as "Who am I?"

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