The best children’s books to spark conversations between generations

Nhung N. Tran-Davies Author Of Ten Cents a Pound
By Nhung N. Tran-Davies

The Books I Picked & Why

The Little House

By Virginia Lee Burton

Book cover of The Little House

Why this book?

The Little House won the Caldecott Medal for a reason and is one of my all-time favourite books. Although it was published in 1942, the book remains relevant today, 80 yrs later. The story centers on a little house built at the top of a small hill, far out in the country. As the seasons pass, it sees the city lights, roads, and buildings grow ever closer. Something magical happens when the great, great-granddaughter rediscovers this little house nestled in between skyscrapers and subway stations. It is a powerful, timeless little book that will spark conversations about the passage of time and the urban sprawl.

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

By William Joyce, Joe Bluhm

Book cover of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Why this book?

As a person who loves words, loves stories, loves books, my eyes filled with tears reading and re-reading The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore to my children. The story was in part inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds, but when he discovers a library filled “with the faint chatters of a thousand different stories as if each book was whispering an invitation to adventure,” his life is forever changed.

In a time of eBooks and apps, this story speaks to the power and allure of stories and the printed page that generations of us grew up with. As with the young girl who, like generations before her, opens the book pages at the end of this story, the story ends as it begins...

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I Am Not a Number

By Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland

Book cover of I Am Not a Number

Why this book?

We as a nation and society are on the road to truth and reconciliation. Critical to that journey are stories such as I Am Not a Number. The book tells the heartbreaking story of Irene, the author’s grandmother, and her brothers who were taken away from their home on Nipissing First Nation to live at a residential school, very far from home. At the school, names are not used. All students are known by numbers. This story will inspire important conversations that will help younger generations understand the horrors so many indigenous children endured in the residential schools. It is a dark part of our history, kept secret by past generations, that is only now coming to light through these powerful stories.

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Fania's Heart

By Anne Renaud, Richard Rudnicki

Book cover of Fania's Heart

Why this book?

For many who have lived through war and conflict, traumatic memories are often kept buried to bury the painful memories. In Fania’s Heart, there are secrets of the tattooed number on Sorale’s mother’s arm. And there are secrets of why her mother had no sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. This book tells the true story of the crafting of a wonderful gift, created against all odds, within the confines of a prison camp. Curiosity about this secretive gift will spark conversations that are difficult, but necessary to remind younger generations of the courage it takes to survive atrocities.

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We Sang You Home

By Richard Van Camp, Julie Flett

Book cover of We Sang You Home

Why this book?

There is no greater joy than when a new baby comes into our world. We Sang You Home is a simple yet profound little book that depicts the poignant connection between a child and their parents, even before the child is born. The story also beautifully illustrates how love helps us grow and makes us all better. This is an important book that will spark sweet, gentle dialogue between parents and their child, to reinforce that every child is precious, wanted, welcomed, and loved.

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