Overseas Good reads for kids
International books suitable for ECC & Primary school aged children
The Specific Ocean
Kyo Maclear and Illustrator Katty Maurey. (2015). Kids Can Press
This book would make a lyrical read-aloud that could lull young children into an appreciation for the peaceful joy found in nature. It also presents a compelling emotional component to why conserving our natural spaces is important. It would work well for any classroom science discussion on the environment or on the ocean as a habitat and ecosystem. Read Kim Higginson's review here.
Breathe and be: A book of mindfulness poems
Kate Coombs and illustrator Anna Emilia Laitinen, (2017). Sounds Ture.
Teaching mindfulness helps kids learn to stay calm, regulate their emotions, and appreciate the world around them. With Breathe and Be, author Kate Coombs and illustrator Anna Emilia Laitinen team up to present a book of poetry and art for young readers to make mindfulness easy, natural, and beautiful.
The sound of silence
Katrina Goldsaito and Illustrator Julia Kuo. (2016). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Young Yoshio delights in the everyday sounds of Tokyo, but when a musician tells him that her favourite sound is ma, the Japanese word for silence, Yoshio sets out to hear this sound for himself among the hustle and bustle of the city. Includes information on the Japanese concept of ma. Read the MHF review here.
Emily Hughes, author and illustrator. (2013). Flying Eye Books.
In this picture book by Hawaiian artist Emily Hughes, we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth - she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and to play by foxes. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don't talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She's puzzled by their behaviour and their insistence on living in these strange concrete structures: there's no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers. Now she lives in the comfort of civilization. But will civilization get comfortable with her? Read the the review on Mighty Girl here.
The little gardener
Emily Hughes, author and illustrator. (2015). Flying Eye Books.
A little gardener who is not very good at gardening makes a wish for a little help. He learns how important it is to persist and try, no matter what. Review a review on Mighty Girls website here.
Megan Wagner Llyod and Illustrated by A Halpin. (2016). Knopf Books for Young Readers.
There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Two kids set off on an adventure and discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard. A lyrical picture book with gorgeous illustrations that explores the ways the wild makes itself known to us and how much closer it is than we think. Visit the author’s website here and read a review on the Mighty Girl website here.
Anna Walker, author and illustrator. (2017). Viking.
When Mae's family moves to a new home, she wishes she could bring her garden with her. She'll miss the apple trees, the daffodils, and chasing butterflies in the wavy grass. But there's no room for a garden in the city. Or is there? Mae's story is a celebration of friendship, resilience in the face of change, and the magic of the natural world. Read a review on the Mighty Girl website here.
The Specific Ocean
Kyo Maclear and Illustrator Katty Maurey. (2015). Kids Can Press
This book would make a lyrical read-aloud that could lull young children into an appreciation for the peaceful joy found in nature. It also presents a compelling emotional component to why conserving our natural spaces is important, and would work well for any classroom science discussion on the environment or on the ocean as a habitat and ecosystem. Read a review on the Mighty Girl website here.
Akiko Miyakoshi, author and illustrator. (2016). Kids Can Press.
Author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi uses spare text and black-and-white drawings to echo the tension and uncertainty a child feels when encountering severe weather. The boy knows he is safe, yet danger is near. When he faces his fear in his dream, he becomes empowered by having conquered it. This is a perfect book for launching conversations about fears, particularly those that are nature related, or as the impetus for children's own imaginary stories of how they could be courageous and save the day. Visit the Publisher’s website here.
The last tree
Ingrid Chabbert and Illustrator Paúl Nieto Guridi. (2013). Kids Can Press.
The story, written by Ingrid Chabbert, is narrated by the boy as an adult looking back on something that had enormous significance for him, highlighting the positive role that nature plays in our lives, and ultimately offering hope for the future. It also celebrates how, with a bit of imagination, even small children can make a difference. A wonderful choice for character education discussions about initiative. Visit the Publisher’s website here.
When we go walking
Cari Best and Illustrator Kyrsten Brooker. (2013). Two Lions.
Wendy and her exuberant family of walkers discover new things on Rambling Road every day in all kinds of weather. No one keeps the things they find except for Wendy: numbers and letters, ribbon and string, a bucket, a ball, a wheel from a wagon. But what will she do with all this stuff? One snowy day when no one can go walking, Wendy uses her treasure trove of found objects to create her own special version of Rambling Road for her family to share and celebrate. Full of surprises on every page, this is a book that will inspire young readers to walk, discover and create on their own. Read a review on the Mighty Girl website here.
Mireille Messier and Illustrator Pierre Pratt. (2016). Kids Can Press.
When an ice storm snaps a small girl's favourite branch from the tree in her yard, she's crestfallen. “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship . . .” Luckily, her neighbour Mr. Frank understands. He says the branch has “potential.” “What's potential?” she asks. “It means it's worth keeping.” And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr. Frank's guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure.
In the Tree House
Andrew Larsen and Illustrator Dšan Petričić (2013). Kids Can Press.
One night the power unexpectedly goes out while the young boy is there by himself, and he's treated to an amazing view of his neighbourhood, blanketed in darkness and lit only by the stars. And then, just as unexpectedly, his brother appears, wanting to join him, to savor the magic of the night. This book makes a great resource for lessons on community, siblings or growing up. Separately, this book could also be used for classroom discussions about the environmental issues connected to the rate and severity of blackouts in recent years. Vist the Publisher’s website here.
Steve Anthony, author and illustrator. (2018). Scholastic Press.
BLIP spends all day plugged into her computer, playing games and having fun. But when there is a POWER CUT, Blip goes down the stairs and out the front door, where she discovers playing games and having fun . . . OUTSIDE. Isn't it wonderful to be UNPLUGGED? Winner of the Oscar's First Book Prize, nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. To read a review on the Mighty Girl website visit here.
Jon Arno Lawson and Illustrated by Sydney Smith. (2016). Walker.
In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. An ode to the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures. To read a review on the Mighty Girl website visit here.
Rhoda’s rock hunt
Molly Beth Griffin and Illustrated by Jennifer Bell . (2014). Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Rhoda is on a long hike with her aunt and uncle, and while their backpacks are full of supplies, hers is soon full of rocks! Everywhere Rhoda looks, there are beautiful stones, and every last one of them has to go into her pack. But soon, Rhoda’s pack is so full that it’s too heavy to lift. If she can’t bring every rock home, surely she can find some way to celebrate the beauty she sees in these simple rocks. To read a review on the Mighty Girl website visit here.
A handful of quiet: Happiness in four pebbles
Thich Nhat Hannh and illustrations by Wietske Vriezen. (2008). Parallax Press.
Pebble meditation is a playful and fun activity book developed by Thich Nhat Hanh that parents and educators can do with their children to introduce them to meditation. It is designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Practicing pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.
The curious garden
Peter Brown, author and illustrator. (2009). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
One boy's quest for a greener world... one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, grey city, transforming it into a lush, green world. This is an enchanting tale with environmental themes and breath-taking illustrations that become more vibrant as the garden blooms. A story about persistence, taking care and passion.