Happy Canada Day! In honour of Canada's 150th birthday we have two books, I Am Canada and Spork, celebrating the beauty, freedom, hope and diversity of our country.
I Am Canada by Heather Patterson, was originally published in 1996. Heather's free verse poem has been given new life in this special edition for Canada's 150th birthday with artwork by thirteen of Canada's finest illustrators. This project by Scholastic Canada was not just to celebrate Canada's birthday but also Scholastic's 60th Anniversary. It's the perfect book to commemorate this special year. Each illustrator has a double page spread to interpret a few lines of the poem. The book showcases from a child's view, everything good about our country. From the freedom to run, swim, toboggan, read, learn and dream to our seasons, cultural diversity and beautiful geography. At the end of the book, both author and illustrators talk about what Canada means to them. The illustrators are (as well as just a fraction of their work): Jeremy Tankard (Grumpy Bird), Ruth Ohi (Fox and Squirrel), Barbara Reid (plasticine artist, Zoe's Year), Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back), Marie-Louise Gay (Stella), Danielle Daniel (Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox), Ashley Spires (Binky, The Most Magnificent Thing), Genevieve Cote (Without You), Cale Atkinson (To the Sea), Doretta Goenendyk (A Harbour Seal in Halifax), Qin Leng (A Family is a Family is a Family), Eva Campbell (The Matatu), and Irene Luxbacher (The Imaginary Gardener).
Spork by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. A spork is a cross between a spoon and a fork and this book was a perfect way for Kyo (who has a British father and a Japanese mother) to explain to her sons what it's like to grow up in a multiracial family. A great opportunity to start discussions about individuality, tolerance and finding your place in the world. Originally published in 2010 and now finally in paperback, it was Kyo's debut children's book. It won numerous awards including the 2010 IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. Isabelle's work has achieved international recognition and won the Governor General's Award for Childrens Literature an amazing three times. As well, two of her picture books were named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. For Spork, she used mixed media (pencil, colour pencils, collage, gouache) and assembled digitally. The idea was to reflect the hybridity of Spork through the usage of different mediums and techniques. I loved Isabelle's retro looking illustrations which were inspired by vintage kitchen references and a typical colour palette from the 50's. This box includes a letter from Kyo to our readers.