Arts + Culture » Literary

Tell me a story

Hot off the news that Sydney Smith’s Small In The City has nabbed a Governor General’s award, we take a look at some of the best local kid lit to hit shelves this season.

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My Hair is Beautiful
In the late aughts, comedian Chris Rock released a documentary called Good Hair. Rock was inspired to get to the root of the relationship between Black women and their hair when his three-year-old daughter asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"

It's a shame she didn't have Shauntay Grant's My Hair is Beautiful. The Halifax poet, playwright, spoken-word artist and children's author has written a board book that celebrates babies and toddlers with natural hair; Afros, cornrows, dreadlocks and more. The bright photographs are engaging and the descriptions of "knotty" and "puffed" hair are fun to read. This book is sure to help little humans love their twisty, twirly, curly hair!
By Shauntay Grant, Published October 2019


A Pocket of Time: The Poetic Childhood of Elizabeth Bishop
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop was American. But when she was a little girl, she lived in fits and starts with her Gammie and Pa on their farm in Great Village. Her idyllic (if sporadic) Nova Scotia childhood informed her poetry and prose, and it informs this delightful children's book. Caribou River resident Rita Wilson mixes her own clear prose with snippets of Bishop's writing, and Halifax illustrator Emma FitzGerald adds whimsical pictures of little Elizabeth, her grandparents, her house and her dog. 
Written by Elizabeth Bishop and Rita Wilson
Illustrations by Emma FitzGerald, Published November 2019


Sid the Kid and the Dryer
The good ol' hockey game is the best game you can name—and the best player you can name is Nova Scotia's Sidney Crosby. In Sid the Kid and the Dryer, local literary legend Lesley Choyce reimagines the story of the young hockey player and the puck-pitted Whirlpool clothes dryer. Early readers will learn about Crosby's hits and misses from an understanding—if unlikely—source: The famed family dryer.
Written by Lesley Choyce Illustrated by Brenda Jones Published October 2019


Nature All Around: Bugs
Did you know that ladybugs hibernate? Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Did you know spiders aren't insects? No? Well, practiced children's author Pamela Hickman has you covered—in creepy, crawly, easy-to-read facts about insects, arachnids and more. It's entertaining, educational and charmingly illustrated. This book will have you and your junior entomologist buzzing, chirping and trilling about bugs.
Written by Pamela Hickman, Illustrated by Carolyn Gavin, Published September 2019


Small in the City
All alone and bundled in winter layers, a child navigates a big city. The child addresses an unknown someone—maybe the reader, maybe not. There's a quiet mystery in these pages. Small in the City is Sidney Smith's first solo book (it's the first book that the award-winning illustrator has both written and illustrated) and it is something special. Small in the City won the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award in the category of Young People's Literature. Smith has returned to Halifax after several years in Toronto, and he expertly captures the vulnerability of feeling small in an urban space.
By Sydney Smith, Published September 2019



I'm Finding My Talk
Award-winning spoken word artist and former poet laureate Rebecca Thomas branches into the world of children's literature with this picture book poem. A  response to Rita Joe's poem "I Lost My Talk", the work is both an age-appropriate  crash course in the destructive effects of colonialism and celebration of Mi'kmaw culture.
By Rebecca Thomas, Illustrated by Pauline Young, Published October 2019

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