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Books to Inspire Your Adventures

Welcome to a world of wonder. In each of the books below, you and your children will be invited into magical worlds that are very different from our own, and ones that are right outside your door. As your kids head outside this summer, these books will help them find ways to entertain themselves like hunting for squirrel tracks or journeying under the sea in their minds. And the more they read, the more they’ll realize that nothing can stop them from seeing adventure wherever they are.

The first book might seem a little out of place in a collection of book reviews coming out at this time of year, but Hiders Seekers Finders Keepers: How Animals Adapt in Winter by Jessica Kulekjian and illustrated by Salini Perera (Kids Can Press, 2022) is a good way to help encourage your children to explore the world around them. This story is filled with small educational snippets about different animals and how they survive the winter. It also contains a collection of animal prints, for example, a raccoon or a great horned owl, in the back that you and your kids might be able to spot while you’re going on an afternoon hike in the woods. For ages 4 to 7.

Another book that will help build a sense of wonder in your children for the world around them is Ocean by Gail Armstrong (Big Picture Press, 2024). Each illustration is so incredibly detailed that it seems impossible that they were created with paper and not digital software. The pictures will draw your children down into the ocean depths to learn about ocean life and then pull them back up into Mangrove forests and tidal pools. Every page is covered with facts about the water cycle, animals and the environment. But, unlike a typical textbook, each page is a lift-the-flap adventure that draws children in as they hunt to find all the hidden tidbits. For ages 8 to 12.

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It is unfortunate, but sometimes when our children are exploring, they can be discouraged by someone’s ill-thought-out words. If that’s the case, For Our Daughters by Mel Nyoko and illustrated by Joelle Avelino (Random House, 2024) might be a good fit. This book helps young girls find the words to say to naysayers and to refute their own minds when the naysaying is self-inflicted. It is positive and uplifting and designed to help young girls feel empowered to dream big. For ages 4 to 7.

If your children aren’t outdoorsy types, or they prefer the company of people in cities to walking through the forest, they might enjoy Roy is Not a Dog by Esmé Shapiro and Daniel Newell Kaufman (Tundra, 2024). This book encourages children to be detectives in their own neighbourhood and learn about those who live around them (not necessarily by spying on them, but by talking to them). Because as Weasel and Pam Pam learn, even in small communities where everyone knows everything about everybody, there is still so much that you can discover. For ages 4 to 7.

Sometimes as a parent or guardian, you might find that the kids ask for “one more story” until your voice is hoarse from reading. This is one of the reasons why books like The Last Zookeeper by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press, 2024) exist. This book has no words.

The story, which is about a robot who is taking care of animals after a flood, is told exclusively through the watercolour paintings. And if you’re curious about how it encourages children to get out and explore, well, you’ll have to read the book to find that out. I’m just kidding, the robot is struggling to care for the animals, so the robot decides to build a boat and set sail for somewhere that has enough food and shelter for all of them. For ages 5 to 9.

There you have it. Five wonderful worlds set in places far from our reality and locations that are right under our noses. I hope you and your children have a great time learning about different sea creatures, forest dwellers and new friends as you enjoy this great summer.

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