Monday, October 26, 2009


Kids books.  Love 'em.  We can't ever have too many!  But not all kids books are created equal.  There's some really really really crappy ones out there.  For starters - as a queer household, we avoid so so so many books because of the default "traditional" family model.  Seriously - in a world that has so so many different kinds of families (single parented, grandparented, queer parented, whathaveyou) you'd think there would be some more variety out there in books!   And secondly, lots of kids books are just badly written.   Kids aren't stupid - they're just, well, young.  They need good literature too!

So here's a list of (a few of) our current bookshelf faves...

1.  Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.  A classic, clearly.

2.  The Family Book, by Todd Parr  (Also, The Feelings Book, The Okay Book, The Peace Book etc. Todd Parr is prolific).  Todd Parr does an amazing job of introducing all different kinds of families (feelings, experiences, etc.).  Includes single parents, two mom/dad households, families whose members are different colours, live in different places, etc.  Great, great book with fun illustrations.

3.  No Matter What, by Debi Gliori.  A sweet read about the enduring love between parents and kids, and easing the anxieties that kids can sometimes have (particularly separation anxiety).  I love that the kid character is called Small and the adult is called Large, so that kids can fill in the blanks with their own experiences. 

4.  Baby Haiku, by Betsy Snyder.  The most beautiful baby book I've ever seen.  Hands down.

5.  Stella Star of the Sea (Also: Stella Queen of the Snow, Stella Fairy of the Forest, When Stella was very Little, Good Morning Sam, Goodnight Sam, What are you Doing Sam? -  Or pretty much any Stella or Sam book by Marie-Louise Gay).  Stella is a spectacular, spunky and bossy heroine, and Sam (the little brother) is a sweet timid counterpart.  Together, they are ridiculously loveable.

6.  When Wishes Come True, by Per Henrick Gürth.   Really quite beautiful illustrations with a baby polar bear, his mama and lots of stars and northern lights.  I tear up at the end.  It's true.  I do.

7.  I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch.  Do I really need to say anything here? 

8.  Hilda Must be Dancing, by Karma Wilson.  A cute and funny read about a hippo (with a lotta junk in her trunk) who loves to get her groove on. 

9. Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers.  A sweet but spare look at friendship between a boy and his penguin.

10.  My Granny Went to Market, by Stella Blackstone.  A gorgeous counting book and round the world adventure.

11.  Llama, Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney.   This is a wonderful and cute book for dealing with bedtime/nighttime anxieties.  How can you not love the phrase..."Lets stop all this Llama drama!"  (We also have her follow-up Llama Llama Mad at Mama, which chronicles the difficulties of grocery shopping with a toddler... very beneficial to Oliver's store time behaviour!)

12.  Mabel Murple, by Sheree Fitch.  This book is fantastic!  By a Nova Scotia author, it chronicles the mis/adventures of a wild -and purple- little girl.

13.  The Whole Human Race by Jamie Lee Curtis.  Actually all of her books are good - check 'em out!.  They are all definitely the traditional family model, BUT - they do an awesome job of educating kids about all kinds of wonderful values, making positive change in the world around us, appreciating diversity, being okay with all of our feelings, self-esteem, etc.  And the illustrations by Laura Cornell are gorgeous. (Oliver loves them and we just edit out the dad bits most of the time).

14.  On Top of the Potty and other Get up and Go Songs, By Alan Katz.  Super fun potty songs for singing while potty training.  Our whole family pretty much has them memorized.  They'll get stuck in your head for days, but you probably won't mind too much, and your little potty fan won't either!

I'm totally up for suggestions on other great kids lit... if anyone feels so inclined! 


  1. the 'olivia' books also very good. margaret

  2. We're loving 'Camille and the Sunflowers,' 'the girl with the pony tail' and the rest of the series by Laurence Anholt. Thanks for all the great recommendations!