Book recommendations for Young Readers: Social Issues

Young Readers Day books

November is bookended with two celebrations of children and young people, Young Readers Day on November 8 and UN Children’s Day on November 20.

In the spirit of celebrating children and promoting literacy, these books will capture your child’s interest while introducing them to challenging topics in Canadian history and current events, like Residential Schools, displacement, and discrimination.

Aggie and Mudgy: The Journey of Two Kaska Dena Children won the 2022 City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize. This middle-grade novel is based on the true story of Wendy Proverbs’s biological mother and aunt, tracing the long and frightening journey of two Kaska Dena sisters as they are taken from their home to attend residential school.

kā-āciwīkicik / The Move—shortlisted for a 2022 Governer General’s Literary Awards—is a bilingual children’s picture book, rooted in the historical displacement and relocation of members of the Chemawawin First Nation from their ancestral homeland, tells the story of two Cree Elders adjusting to life in their new environment.

Her Courage Rises: 50 Trailblazing Women of British Columbia and Yukon by Haley Healey and illustrated by Kimiko Fraser is a collection of inspiring and diverse life stories of fifty extraordinary historical women from BC and Yukon. The 50 women featured had a wide range of careers and passions—from adventurers, pioneers, athletes, artists, educators, activists, writers, scientists, and more. The women featured also represent diverse identities and backgrounds, including individuals who identified as Indigenous, Black, Japanese, Chinese, and Doukhobor.

An ABC book that goes beyond the basics, Granville Island ABC: A Family Adventure is a whimsical delight written by Alison Kelly and illustrated by Linda Sharp. With interesting facts, a detailed map, a historical timeline, find-and-seek-style illustrations, and text that fosters observation, Granville Island ABC captures the location’s unique magic.

Caring for Critters: One Year at a Wildlife Rescue Centre by Nicholas Read is a colourful, engaging, and educational profile of a BC-based wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre. Full of information, compassion, and a strong dose of social awareness, Caring for Critters highlights the heartwarming (and sometimes difficult) stories of wild animals and the people who care for them.