Read In Week is an annual event devoted to raising awareness about the importance of reading. Although literacy and learning events occur on campus and around the city throughout the year, Read In Week is a special time for Edmontonians to celebrate reading and plan their own reading-centred events—in classrooms, libraries, community centres, workplaces, and more.
The theme for this year’s Read In Week is “One World, Many Voices”. The librarians at H.T. Coutts Education Library have come up with their list of 15 books that capture that theme of diversity. All books can be borrowed through UAlberta Libraries or Edmonton Public Libraries.
6. Nana and Me by Kathy Knowles (2015).
Prior to creating Nana and Me, Winnipegger Kathy Knowles asked 100 children from Ghana, West Africa, to write about their grandmothers. This delightful picture book follows a young girl and her grandmother through a day of tea parties, dancing, hide and seek, pat-a-cake, bath time, story time, and bedtime. At the end of the story the little girl discovers why she is so extra special. Recommended for ages four to eight.
5. Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts by Jane Yolen (2013).
Children’s book author Jane Yolen’s dynamic, enchanting retellings of Jewish tales from around the world come together with recipes from her daughter Heidi Stemple in this book for readers of all ages. Discover creative versions of classic dishes—from challah to matzo brei to pomegranate couscous, tzimmes chicken, and rugelach—in combination with folktales, fun facts and anecdotes.
4. The Highest Mountain of Books in the World by Rocio Bonilla (2016).
A boy who wants to fly discovers the many ways that books can take him to the greatest heights. Translated from Spanish.
3. Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior (2013).
Anna fetches water from the spring every day, but she can't carry it on her head like her older brothers and sisters. In this charming and poetic family story set in Jamaica, prize-winning author Olive Senior shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.
2. Missing Nimâmâ by Melanie Florence (2015).
A young mother, one of Canada’s many missing Indigenous women, watches over her small daughter as she grows up. A free verse story conveying the human side of a national tragedy, the book includes an afterword by the author that provides a simple, age-appropriate context for young readers.
1. Nokum Is My Teacher by Dave Bouchard; paintings by Allen Sapp; singing and drumming by Northern Cree Singers (2006).
Featured at the Read In Week 2016 kick-off event, the award-winning Nokum Is My Teacher is the poetic story of a young Cree boy, posing questions to his grandmother, his “Nokum”, about the wider world beyond the familiarity of their home and community. Nokum offers her grandson a vision of a world he can enter through imagination and reading, while retaining respect for the ways of his people. By the conclusion of the book, the young grandson has learned many new ideas from his grandmother and discovered his own wisdom in dealing with the changes in his life. The text is in English and Cree, and the book is accompanied by a bilingual Cree and English audio recording.
Want to add more books to your reading list? The Canadian Children's Book Centre, a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers, is a great resource.
Here are six bonus book selections from the H.T. Coutts librarians:
- My name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams (2009).
- Follow the moon home: a tale of one idea, twenty kids, and a hundred sea turtles by Philippe Cousteau & Deborah Hopkinson (2016).
- Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki (2003).
- Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming (2003).
- Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson (2015).
- You Are the Earth by David Suzuki (2010).