Five Children’s Picture Books from Groundwood Books

Groundwood Books was founded in 1978 by Patricia Aldana with a mandate to publish children’s books of the highest possible quality for all ages, which has grown to include fiction, picture books, graphic novels and nonfiction. Here’s a look at five of their most recent titles for children.

Busy, Busy Birds by Geraldo Valério is a perfect intro to birds for the little ones in your life. Presented in a board book, young children can learn the names of several birds, as well as different things that each type of bird likes to do. The artwork in this book is truly unique and eye-catching. It was so impressive to learn that it was made using things like old magazines and art paper, cut and glued together. Busy, Busy Birds is an educational and entertaining read that can be enjoyed by even the youngest of audiences.

Sonata for Fish and Boy by Milan Pavlovic is a unique, wordless picture book and the first of its kind in our collection. Through illustrations, the story of two unlikely friends – a fish and a boy – comes to life. The two set out on adventures that lead them to many different places together, eventually returning back to where it all began. While the images help to tell the story, without words, it really leaves a lot of the interpretation up to the reader. Younger children can enjoy looking through and coming up with their own ideas as to what is happening throughout.  Adeline and I had a great time talking about what the fish and the boy were doing on each page, and it really encouraged the use of our imagination. Sonata for Fish and Boy is a wonderful style of children’s book that can be enjoyed by a variety of ages.

A Kid is a Kid is a Kid by Sara O’Leary is a book that I can easily see being part of our favourites for a long time. Children are naturally curious, and may unintentionally ask questions that can be portrayed as hurtful or frustrating to their peers. In this book, children from a variety of backgrounds and abilities give examples of the questions they are often asked. They then follow it up with ideas of things they would love to be asked to share instead. This helps to encourage children to think about the questions they ask or the things they say to others. It also gives them some ideas of fun things they may want to learn about someone. It promotes inclusiveness and kindness and teaches them to embrace everyone’s individuality.

The House Next Door, by Claudine Crangle tells a story of a house and how it reacts to the changes happening around it. In the beginning, the house stands alone in an open field. Suddenly, other houses are built, and the surrounding land is constantly evolving. Not enjoying the change, the house closes and bolts it’s shutters in an attempt to block out the changes. After years have passed, the house very gradually decides to open the shutters, and when it does, it learns to embrace the new growth around.

The story itself is unique and enjoyable, representing the house as having its own sort of personality. There is a bit of an underlying lesson that encourages readers to embrace changes in the world around them and to learn to let go of things they cannot control. The artwork in this story caught my eye right away, and I later learned that the houses were all constructed using recycled materials like cardboard and other objects. Paired with the uniqueness of the story, this makes The House Next Door a delightful read.

My Mad Hair Day by Nathalie Dion, is a silly story of a girl with an absurd amount of hair, and the comical situations she faces while running errands for her mother. Malie begins her day frustrated with her wild hair, and her frustration continues to grow as she attempts to complete the errands. From knocking down whole trays of cupcakes, to having things as large as pianos land in her hair, Malie’s hair gets her into all kinds of situations. Eventually, as she becomes increasingly annoyed, she decides to take a rest. When she wakes, she begins to appreciate all of the crazy things her hair has been holding. Instead of being bothered by the cupcakes and piano, she enjoys the smell and the sounds around her. Although it may be an exaggerated experience, using humour My Mad Hair Day helps young readers to embrace their own characteristics and encourages them to look for the positive side of things.

Children's Picture Book Reviewer

Melanie is the Children's Book reviewer at The Miramichi Reader. She is a mother to two young children Adeline (5 years) and Harlow (3 years). She has a Bachelor of Health Science from Dalhousie University and previously worked as a Radiological Technologist before deciding to pursue a career in health insurance administration. She enjoys sewing, crafting, and going on adventures with her family. Having lived in all three maritime provinces, Melanie now raises her daughters with her husband in Moncton, NB.