Here are some thought-provoking new books to read this Canada Day.
There is no denying that the world we live in right now is a very fraught and fragmented one. These are trying times that have called into question many of our deeply held beliefs and principles about our place in the world. So, as we celebrate this Canada Day, the message by authors Leona Prince and Gabrielle Prince to “be a good ancestor” is a deceptively simple and poignant one. The book is rooted in Indigenous teachings and addresses a variety of issues that are all relevant today: the environment, animal welfare, self-esteem and self-respect, and the importance of community. A lot of issues might pull us in different directions, but it is important to remember to just be a good ancestor to the world around us and be cognizant of the ripple effect our actions. These wise words are accompanied by breathtaking illustrations by Carla Joseph that incorporate Indigenous motifs and the natural beauty that British Columbia, in particular, is known for. Although meant for preschoolers, Be a Good Ancestor could honestly be book for readers for all ages. Grades Preschool-K
I Hear You, Ocean is the second book in the Sounds of Nature Series by author Kallie George and illustrator Carmen Mok. Their first book was I Hear You, Forest, in which George wrote about how nature can be therapeutic and how listening to its rhythm can be a calming and restorative experience. In a similar vein, I Hear You, Ocean talks about how the sounds of water can have a joyful and soothing effect on us. In the book, two boys visit the ocean and soak up all the wondrous sights and sounds that the ocean has to offer. They hear the rumble of pebbles, the bark of a seal playing peekaboo, and the whooshing of a shell murmuring messages. As families plan to spend their long weekend by the seaside, this book is especially relevant because it talks about being mindful and empathetic to the world around us; it nudges us to consciously engage with nature and be attuned to its rhythm; it also conveys a positive message about being kind to our siblings and share quality time with them. Grades Preschool-2
In Drum from the Heart, author Ren Louie and illustrator Karlene Harvey celebrate the enthusiasm of a child for a musical instrument that in turn fosters in that child a lifelong love for and a sense of belonging to his community. In the book, a boy named Ren – clearly modeled after the author himself – is gifted a drum by his mother. The drum is a very important instrument for the people belonging to the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation. It is made of deer hide and yellow cedar. Ren is very excited to learn how to play the drum and sing the traditional songs belonging to his nation. With the help of his family, Ren practices how to play the drum and performs in a parade. In doing so, he is able to connect to his culture and find the confidence in his voice to joyfully share in singing the traditional songs of his Nuu-chah-nulth Nation. The drum becomes Ren’s enduring passion, which he goes on to share with younger people when he grows up. Grades 1-3