Our Canada: A Year with Canuck Kids
Our Canada: A Year with Canuck Kids
On Canada Day (1st) we go to a parade and have a picnic at the park. At night the fireworks explode in the sky.
On Canada Day many immigrants are sworn in as Canadian citizens.
In the morning before class begins, the whole school sings ‘O Canada’. We also have a land acknowledgment, which recognizes that Canada was created on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples.
Our Canada: A Year with Canuck Kids is a wonderful information book written narratively. With the help of nine Canadian children from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, the authors, Alister Mathieson, Kelly Jackson and Diane Simpson, create a storied full-year calendar from the eyes of these Canadian children. Following the children’s cheerful, respectful, and thoughtful first-person introductions, the reader gets an absolute treat to walk through the year, from January to December, Canadian style.
The book is filled with Canadian slang, such as Timmy’s – a loving nickname Canadian people give the popular coffee chain, Tim Hortons. Many familiar everyday vocabularies like this one can bring a subtle smile onto a Canadian reader’s face, no matter what age they are. For those who are not familiar with such local terms, this book thoughtfully provides an informative section, “The Talking Tidbits”. At the bottom of every page, there is a detailed glossary that explains and invites people to learn about Canadian customs.
The most intriguing part of the book is the combination of Canadian customs and each child’s home culture. It truly grabs the very essence of Canada – diversity and inclusion. Everyone, including children and adults, is and feels welcomed and celebrated in their preferred way. This is preciously the reason why every child in this book and all over Canada is proud of the country.
The kids in the book help the reader mark on the calendar many special days and festivals, covering history, school culture, ethnic traditions, religious customs, national and provincial holidays, international celebrations and so forth. Almost everyone can find themselves and their lifestyle reflected in the book. There are a variety of events marked in each month, from nature to food, from literacy to sports, from families to Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities. It also provides pieces of up-to-date information on online schooling during COVID-19, embracing the unprecedented change and transitions in the most recent year.
Lively illustrations by Derek R. Douglas capture the curiosity and creativity of young children in Canada. He uses vibrant colours and vivid lines to show the joy, pride, excitement, and respect on the children’s faces. The energetic movements through all four seasons, in different weathers and occasions, demonstrate the optimistic characters of the young Canadians. Kids in Canadian schools can see themselves in the illustrations. The details in diverse cultural celebrations presented in the pictures show the illustrator’s dedicated research behind the scene. The illustrations bring the kids’ stories in a typical year in Canada to life and invite the reader to join in each lovely event.
Our Canada: A Year with Canuck Kids is a great book for classrooms and homes throughout the year. Imagine the smiles and giggles when young Canadians read about activities they just participated in with their friends and teachers at school, such as the Terry Fox Run and making Valentine’s Day cards! It can also be a lovely resource for school community events, serving as a medium for parents, community members, and educators to learn more about all the wonderful things we share, as well as all the diverse cultures that can enrich each other’s lives.
Emma Chen is a Ph.D. student with a research focus on immigrant children’s heritage language education at the University of Saskatchewan.