| Aug 16, 2007

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Feature Article - August 16, 2007

Early literacy - August

by Susan Ramsay

Harry Potter has swept the nation. Children and adults alike are devouring “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as their top pick for summer reading. Inside the covers of this thick book, unknown adventures and mysteries await us. We won’t discover what happens to Harry, his friends, his enemies and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry until we read each chapter, though before we do sit down to read, we will know what to expect from the author J.K Rowling. Her writing has, and will, grip Harry Potter fans into hours of spellbound reading.


It is a clever strategy, when seeking new books for younger children, to twin an awareness of who consistently writes well for young children with the topics your child finds interesting. Even babies and toddlers will want their favourite books shared again and again. Children gravitate to styles of storytelling and illustration at a very early age. So here are a few suggestions to add to your own list of children’s authors who write great books for toddlers and preschoolers.

Marie-Louise Gay, a Canadian author and illustrator has created dozens of books in both official languages. Her stories weave childhood curiosity into the storyline, and her Sam and Stella books also build on the relationships between brother and sister. “Stella, Star of the Sea” and “What Are You Doing Sam?” are just two in the series that may tie-in well with your child’s summertime activities.

Iza Trapani has created many stories based on well-known nursery rhymes or songs. Trapani extends the traditional song with additional rhyming verses. “Row Row Row Your Boat” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” are only two of her many books in paperback or board book format that are sure to capture your young child’s imagination and inspire older children to make up original verses too.

Eve Bunting writes simply and effectively for young children as well. “Little Bear’s Little Boat” is about a small bear that spends many pleasurable hours in his little boat. But Little Bear begins to outgrow his small craft and discovers that growing up also means learning to share his cherished boat with others who are younger and smaller than him.

Lisa Wheeler is another author of note. “Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea”, one of her more recently published books won the Golden Kite Honours Award. This tale takes to the high seas where Moo, seeking bluer pastures meets Red Angus, a cow buccaneer. The child who loves stories about pirates, lives on a farm, or who likes to watch the Ploughing Match or animals at summer fairs may enjoy this crazy tale. Lisa Wheeler’s other stories “Sixteen Cows” or “Farmer Dale’s Red Pickup Truck” may be hits with your child as well.

Libraries and book stores are rich with quality books for children. Librarians and book sellers will have many authors and books to recommend as top summer picks for our youngest book lovers who aren’t quite ready to meet Harry Potter.

(Susan Ramsay, Early Literacy Specialist of HFL&A can be reached at 613-354-6318, Ext 32.)

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