immigrantchildren.ca has highlighted International Literacy Day (Sept 8th) and Family Literacy Day (Jan 9th) by posting lists of children’s book about immigration in the past. See, for example Children’s books about immigration.
This year, I present a compilation of lines from four of my favourite ABC books for children – all with a decidedly Canadian theme (Sources listed at the end of the post). This is part of a larger piece I wrote entitled “Landscapes and Ethnoscapes in Children’s Books: The Picture Book as Immigrant Literature”. (These are all in print and available from your local public library and local independent bookshops).
A is for Autumn, often called fall. A is for Alberta, hear the rodeo call? (Pachter)
B is for two Bobbys, with last names of Hull and Orr (Napier & Rose)
C is for the Canadian Shield that stretches far and wide. Rivers, forests, and tundra cover most of our countryside (Gorman & Rose)
D is for Ducks, swimming in style, and D is for Dock, a place to sit for a while (Pachter)
E is for “Eh”, our national obsession for ending each sentence, not with a period, but a question. It’s a Canadian habit, as polite as you please, to give every listener the change to agree (Ulmer & Rose)
Old Fort William is for F. Journey back into the day when traders met to swap their goods near a place called Thunder Bay (Gorman & Rose)
G stands for Grain and the valleys of wheat that ripple through the prairies in the dry, summer heat. Our western-grown bounty is a gift to the globe, for the bread of the world comes from seed that we’ve sown (Ulmer & Rose)
H is for Hockey, the game that we play from summer’s last whisper to snow’s melting away. We may never grow to be NHL starts but it’s something we care for; it’ll always be ours (Ulmer & Rose)
I is for Identity and Igloo and such. Canada is cool, I love it so much (Pachter)
Take a unique adventure and discover the choice for J. The Polar Bear Express will take you to Ontario’s north: James Bay (Gorman & Rose)
K is for Klondike and the hunger for gold that drew thousands of miners to the northerly cold. The men made their journey by mule, foot, and teams to pan for their fortunes in the cold running streams (Ulmer & Rose)
L is for Louisbourg and the garrison that stands as evidence of France colonizing this land. Royal Navy cannons dealt a final defeat; you can still hear their echo in the shops and the street (Ulmer & Rose)
M is for Sir John A. Macdonald from Kingston, we can boast. The first prime minister of our country uniting us from coast to coast (Gorman & Rose)
N is for Northern, the great Northern Lights, those mystery visions that light u our nights. The Innu believed that the lights showed a game being played by the Sky People in their heavenly domain (Ulmer & Rose)
O is for Ojibwa, just one of the tribes that spanned this vast country before settlers arrived. We’re Canadians all, but we must never forget that our land was their land and we owe them a debt (Ulmer & Rose)
P is for Peterson and in jazz or in swing, he is musical royalty, the piano’s grand king. He played with the greatest on stages world ’round, yet no one could copy his magical sound (Ulmer & Rose)
Quebec is where I always go to ski in “neige” – that’s French for snow. Oh pity the countries who must make do with just one language instead of two (Ulmer & Rose)
R is for Red Barn Reflected, what beautiful colours the artist collected (Pachter)
S is for our heroine – Laura Secord is her name. It was the braveness of her actions that brought her glory and fame (Gorman & Rose)
T means Toronto, a place where they say you can spend a year doing something different each day (Gorman & Rose)
U is for Upper Canada, a British Colony way back when. In 1867 it became Ontario, one province out of ten (Gorman & Rose)
Victoria in Canada is the most common name for cities and roads all named in her reign (Ulmer & Rose)
W is for Winter, look at that snow! (Pachter)
X marked the spot where the Last Spike was driven; it was done with a hammer, not the cut of a ribbon. And with the last spike we could finally proclaim that we were a nation united by train (Ulmer & Rose)
Y is for two glorious Canadian years – the Summit Series and Salt Lake Games (Napier & Rose)
Z is for Zenith, the highest and best. A good place to end, and a good time to rest (Pachter).
A is for Algonquin: An Ontario Alphabet, written by Lovenia Gorman. Illustrated by Melanie Rose. 2005. Sleeping Bear Press.
M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet, written and illustrated by Charles Pachter. 2008. Cormorant Books Inc.
M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet, written by Mike Ulmer. Illustrated by Melanie Rose. 2001. Sleeping Bear Press.
Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet, written by Matt Napier. Illustrated by Melanie Rose. 2001. Sleeping Bear Press.