Saturday, May 08, 2010

Canadian Children's Books You Should Know

If you've ever read my blog before, you know that I have a little addiction issue with books. B has taken to referring to the near-weekly arrival of books from around the world as my "power-ups." (I like the image of myself as a video-game character!)

Today I read two recently published books for children that I think deserve a little more attention than they're currently getting:

Mom, What Can Be Done? by Jason Leo Bantle and Lori Nunn
Theo in the Spotlight by Patti McIntosh

Mom, What Can Be Done? is a photographic picturebook that tries, through verse, to introduce environmental concepts like climate change, habitat loss, and environmental responsibility to young readers. The book is set in the Arctic, using perspectives from various arctic animals to convey the themes of critical climate change and environmentalism. There is clear passion and urgency behind the simple presentation.

Theo in the Spotlight is intended for a slightly older, school-aged audience. In this book, Theo, a "soccer-playing kid," turns social activist by raising money and awareness in his school. (The book builds on an earlier volume by the same author, Ollie's Field Journal: A 9/10ths Happy Story from Africa.) Through the first-person narrative, it steps the reader through the process of setting up a benefit concert, evoking the figure of George Harrison for inspiration.

I am particularly pleased with Theo in the Spotlight and wish it had better reach. However, according to Library Thing, neither of these books is carried by Amazon, and neither one came up in a search through That's a shame, because children need more books about social activism, social justice, and global awareness.

I've spent the last two weeks immersed in Web 2.0 concepts. This post is, I suppose, my tiny attempt to bring some peer-to-peer exposure to these two deserving books. I'm doing so not just because I love books, especially Canadian books, but because I believe in the missions of these particular books.

So, if you have or know children — early readers or Grades 3 to 4 — who might benefit from greater awareness of global issues, presented in an accessible, attractive way, please consider picking up these books. You can learn more about them here:


Best of luck, little books!

Postscript: On Friday, 14 May, Theo in the Spotlight won two awards at the Alberta Book Awards. Well deserved!

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