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International Day of Education
Today, January 24 marks the date of International Education Day. This day was established in 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly to address and strengthen education as a public endeavour. Supporting educators with the right tools and resources, ensures a better quality of education for children. See below for a curated list of Canadian books to enhance any primary or secondary educators’ classroom.
The Street Belongs to Us by Karleen Pendleton Jimenez (Arsenal Pulp Press)Do you like summer days with great friends uncovering mysteries? The Street Belongs to Us is a sweet middle-grade chapter book about two best friends who transform their torn-up street into a world where imaginations can run wild. The exuberant and expressive line drawings by Gabriela Godoy perfectly capture the summers of youth, when anything feels possible, and an adventure is always around the corner.
The Pond and Beyond by Audrey Lute (At Bay Press)Just beneath the water’s surface exists a fragile and delicate ecosystem, yet is a place often overlooked and taken for granted. The Pond and Beyond explores the tiny worlds right beneath our feet and the beautiful creatures that inhabit them. This sensitive and poignant graphic novel calls out our arrogance as the dominant species and the risks of continuing to ignore the complex environments and social systems thriving right alongside our own.
Killing the Wittigo by Suzanne Methot (ECW Press)Written specifically for young adults, reluctant readers, and literacy learners this book explains the traumatic effects of colonization on Indigenous people and communities and how trauma alters an individual’s brain, body, and behavior. It explores how learned patterns of behavior — the ways people adapt to trauma to survive — are passed down within family systems, thereby affecting the functioning of entire communities. Full of bold graphics and illustration, Killing the Wittigo is a much-needed resource for Indigenous kids and the people who love them and work with them.
I Am William by Rébecca Déraspe, & translated by Leanna Brodie (J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing)Margaret Shakespeare, age 13, must write her remarkable plays in secret: it is 1577, and a girl who can read and write is in danger from the witch-hunters. After all, as her father keeps reminding her, a woman’s place is in the home. ..next to a big pile of laundry. Once the sweet but dim William discovers his sister’s astonishing talent, a chain of events is set in motion that will change both their lives forever. What happens to women of genius in a world that wants only their silence? Can a sister’s determination — and a brother’s unfailing love — really conquer all? Seamlessly translated from the original French by Leanna Brodie, this strikingly original play with music tackles the big feminist questions with wit, heart, and infectious energy. Winner of Quebec’s prestigious Prix de la critique and Prix Louise-Lahaye, Rébecca Déraspe’s I Am William has toured France, Spain, and the province of Quebec to great acclaim. This English version, commissioned by Theatre Le Clou, was also a hit at the Stratford Festival.
Don’t Try This at Home by Daria Salamon & Rob Krause (Turnstone Press)Rob Krause and Daria Salamon sold their car, rented out their Winnipeg home, and packed up their two young children to embark on a 12-month journey around the world. In this dual retelling of their ambitious year abroad, Don’t Try This at Home chronicles the hilarious and sensational misadventures of a Canadian family as they travel across 15 different countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Response of Weeds by Bertrand Bickersteth (NeWest Press)Bertrand Bickersteth’s debut poetry collection explores what it means to be black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of black identity on the prairies. Through these rousing and evocative poems, Bickersteth uses language to call up the contours of the land itself, land that is at once mesmerizing as it is dismissively effacing. Such is black identity here on this paradoxical land, too.
* * *Do you remember your favourite book that you stumbled upon in either elementary or high school school? Tell us in the comments or on social media at @alllitupcanada.