A Yarn for the Youngsters

In my last giveaway basket, I included one of my favorite children’s books of all time. Since then, I have had numerous questions about children’s literature, specifically focused around themes within Newfoundland and Labrador. Back-to-school season has officially started and supplies are flying off of the shelves. So, I figured it was a great opportunity to outline a few of my NL-inspired favorites. I have used the following books both inside and outside of the classroom as read-alouds, but they would also make a great gift for the early readers in your life. I have indicated potential interest levels in parentheses. Each book is, of course, written by a talented author from this province!

(1) Down by Jim Long’s Stage by Al Pittman (Grades K-2)

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 4.58.06 PM

This book has the perfect mix of Newfoundland and Labrador culture, playful rhymes, and colorful illustrations. One factor that can influence success in children’s reading is the enjoyment they feel when the storyline in relatable. This book not only provides a seamless read, but also promotes conversations about various Newfoundland and Labrador communities as well as the wildlife that inhabit our waters. It is interesting and fun not only for little ones to learn from, but also for the adults who may read it aloud. I read this book for the first time in a grade one classroom and have loved it ever since. The children had so many questions about the places mentioned in the book such as Picadilly and La Scie. This quickly turned a language arts lesson cross-curricular to include both social studies and science.

Click here to purchase.

(2) What if Your Mom Made Raisin Buns? By Catherine Safer (Grades 1-3)

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 4.57.38 PM

Raisin buns (commonly known as tea buns or biscuits) were a staple in my upbringing. Smothered in Eversweet margarine (is there any other option?), they pair perfectly with a cup of tea. This book brings together a common provincial recipe with an imaginative twist. There are comical side conversations between different characters introduced throughout the book, while the main storyline involves a mother and her child baking together. It very much blends traditional values with modern literature, providing a whimsical read while still staying true to the culture of our province. This book would be a fabulous keepsake for anyone who has family recipes or enjoys baking with their children. I would encourage adults to write a special recipe inside the cover (for raisin buns or otherwise) and give it to their children as a gift. They may not appreciate it when they are five, but they certainly will when they are twenty-five.

Click here to purchase.

(3) A Long Way from Home by Alice Walsh (Grades 4-7)

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 4.58.33 PM

Every person who is old enough to recount the events of September 11th can probably recall exactly what they were doing in that moment. I was in a Phys Ed class and was promptly herded to the library to watch the events unfold on a small corner TV. Only nine years old at the time, I was mature enough to understand that it was a horrific situation. Little did I know that our province, most notably Gander, would play such an integral part in the safety and well-being of many who were affected by the tragedy of 9/11. Alice Walsh brings together diverse characters with varying cultural backgrounds. As outlined in her synopsis, these people realize that in tragedy, they can still find amazing kindness and hope for the future. In the age of social media and large productions such as Come From Away, this book serves as a fantastic explanation for children who have not yet been exposed to this piece of history, all the while highlighting our province’s role. With the anniversary of this day on the horizon, I highly recommend this book.

Click here to purchase.


~ Jill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s