Staff Picks – Literacy Week 2019

We hope you enjoy this selection of our favourite books below. Happy reading!


One of my favourite children’s books is If the dinosaurs came back by Bernard Most. One of my favourite themes to teach is dinosaurs!  This book is great for sparking a child’s imagination and gets them thinking about what life would be like if the dinosaurs came back to earth. From helping librarians reach the top shelves to cutting grass with their sharp teeth, the author has come up with fun ideas to read about. I also love asking the children about different ideas they have and what they would want to happen if they were to live among the dinosaurs. It is very entertaining to hear each child’s answer and perspective.



What To Do With A Box By Jane Yolen

Who didn’t love playing with a box as a child? I remember having a box at home I transformed into an airplane. My sister and I had that box for the longest time. We played with it until it literally fell apart. This book is simple, but yet refreshing. It explains in simple text imaginative ways to use a cardboard box. It invites the child to imagine beyond what can be real, things we can only imagine doing in dreams. My goal is to pair this book with a STEM project or even an Earth Day/Recycling theme. I have read it in class and love how children come up with the most magnificent ideas of what that box can be… Is it a hot air balloon or a race car? What would you turn this box into?  The possibilities are endless.



My favourite book series is The Mole Sisters. Written and illustrated by Roslyn Schwartz.

Each book tells a little adventure the mole sisters encounter with few words and beautiful illustrations. These little books were a must at bedtime when my son was small. His favourite was The Mole Sisters and the Blue Egg. The first page reads ” The Mole Sisters were looking for something”……I can’t think of a better way to begin an adventure!




When asked, “So, what is your favourite children’s book?” How can I answer!? It is not possible for me to have only ONE favourite book. I have favourite books from when I was a child, I have favourite books I read to my own children, and I have favourite books I read to my little ones at school. Books have the ability to take you to another world and stimulate your imagination. Books increase knowledge, expand vocabulary and also teach us lessons. Books can be exciting, scary, funny and really interesting.

During a recent trip to the UK, I came across a book called Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and illustrated by Jim Field.

In rhyming text, cat explains why frog has to sit on a log. This playful and brightly illustrated book filled with animals and silliness encourages phonemic awareness. I know when I read it for the first time this week, my little students are going to be rolling around in fits of laughter. This will be my newest favourite book!



One of my favourite children’s book is I Love You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark. It is a heartwarming and comforting tale of sibling rivalry, loyalty and lasting love. Every night Blue Kangaroo falls fast asleep cuddled in Lily’s arms. He is her very own kangaroo. But things change when new toy animals start to arrive. There just doesn’t seem to be enough room for Blue Kangaroo anymore. Feeling unloved he goes to her baby brother’s room. Lily is so upset and she gives up all her new toys just to get Blue Kangaroo back.

This book has a lot of meaning for me; I use to read this book to my grandchildren as they sat on my lap holding their favourite stuffie. Also, every time I read this book it reminds me of when my mother used to read to me while I sat on her lap with my Raggedy Ann. It is a sweet story that emphasizes the importance of friendship, love, and appreciation. Perfect for bedtime!



One of my favourite books is The Princess and The Wizard, by Julia Donaldson.

I enjoy this book for many reasons.

1) The illustrations are really colourful, (with a bit of “sparkle” thrown in for good measure!))

2) The book is written in rhyming verse, which is always an invitation for additional learning

3) It’s about a girl who manages to outwit the wizard by herself, (no prince appearing at the eleventh hour!)

4) The book demonstrates independent thinking and problem-solving.

Julia Donaldson has written many books, all with the same rhyming lilt, and all of them with fabulous illustrations.



One of my favourite French children’s books is Frisson l’écureueil (Scaredy Squirrel) by Mélanie Watt.                     This funny story and adorable illustrations are enjoyable for adults and kids alike. Scaredy Squirrel, who never leaves his safe tree house, loves lists and checking his extensive first aid kit (which includes band-aids and a parachute!) He is much too afraid of all of the dangers that could be out there – germs, poison ivy, or even sharks! One day Scaredy Squirrel is forced to leave the safety of his home. But, as we all know, sometimes fun and amazing things happen when we step outside our comfort zone.

Mélanie Watt is a Montreal children’s author and illustrator.  She has created the series of 6 Frisson l’écureuil books as well as other favourites such as the Chester series and Léon le caméléon, all of which have been translated into English.



A favourite book in my house these days is No Fits, Nilson! By Zachariah OHora.  Inspired by OHora’s own “negotiations” with his two sons, No Fits, Nilson! is a hilarious preschool pick for kids and parents navigating the treacherous tantrum phase. Nilson and Amelia do everything together. But if one little thing goes wrong, Nilson throws the biggest, most house shaking-est fit ever! Amelia helps Nilson control his gorilla-sized temper by promising him banana ice cream and letting him play with her froggy coin purse. But, sometimes, Amelia needs to be calmed down, too.

I love the characters, storyline (twist at the end!) and illustrations, but more importantly, it acknowledges some of the hard work that goes into self-regulation!



My book pick for this year is one that captured my imagination back in grade 2 when my teacher Miss Clien gave it to me to acknowledge my “excellent work all year!”

The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman.

Wow! Plant a balloon, say the magic words, and grow a balloon tree?! How colourful and amazing is that? I always enjoyed looking at the details in the pictures and thought it was pretty neat that she had a secret passage from her room. I still have my original copy and was pleased to incorporate it in our story-drama this week and share the fun. We had a lot of fun searching for balloons after they had all been popped by the evil Archduke! After thinking we had no hope, we came across a young boy that had hidden one away in his closet. The boy gave it to us save the kingdom. I am sure that the children will remember the chant the wizard taught us to grow the tree!



My family and I have come to enjoy a new series of books that takes television series or movies that are typically geared towards an older crowd and turns them into picture books for kids! We have started to collect the POP Classics series, illustrated by Kim Smith, and our favourite books in the series so far are Home Alone, E.T., Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and The Ex-Files. It is interesting to see how the author is able to change the story into a kid-friendly version and I love being able to discuss the story with my kids as many of the titles are movies that I had watched growing up.



My favourite type of children’s book is one that allows the reader to have as much fun reading the story as the child does listening to the story. Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch is one such book filled with laugh out loud antics and is filled with silliness from beginning to end.

The hilarious storyline of Thomas refusing to wear his snowsuit is a subject that most parents and children are familiar with. Most children quickly realize that Thomas’ behaviour is an exaggeration and understand the humour of watching the frustrations of the adults in Thomas’ life unfold. In addition, the illustrations are hysterical with lots of fun details.

Love to hear your child laugh? …this book will definitely make that happen. Robert Munsch is the king of silly stories 😊


Leave Your Reply