Blog | Essential Books for International Childrens’ Book Day

April 02, 2024

Essential Books for International Childrens’ Book Day

International Children’s Book Day is a celebration of literature that transcends borders and speaks to the hearts of young readers worldwide. As we commemorate this special day, let’s explore a curated list of essential books that ignite imagination, foster empathy, and inspire a lifelong love for reading. From timeless classics to contemporary gems, these stories have the power to shape young minds and create lasting memories. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or simply a book enthusiast, join us on this literary journey to discover captivating tales that resonate across cultures and generations.

MOUNTAIN MACHINES – Sara Leach
Ages 2-5, Poppy Productions

This is an illustrated counting book where children explore the machines that work on a ski kill.  The book teaches kids to count and name the machines playing in the snow.  Each machine has its own personality, and on every page Marty Marmot watches the fun.  It’s the perfect book to help little ones learn numbers and new words.

SING TO ME – Molly Nightingale & Minnie Schmidt
Ages 3-6, Prairie View Press

“Sing to Me” is a songbook containing over 85 nursery rhymes, lullabies, bible songs, and songs suitable for baby showers and features beautiful full-colour illustrations alongside each shaped-note song.  It’s a treasure trove for parents and caregivers as they rock their little ones.

FUN FOR THE LITTLE NUNAVUMMIUT UKALIQ SERIES
Ages 3-6, Inhabit Media

These books celebrate the culture, traditions, and daily live of children in Nunavut, a Canadian territory.  These books feature engaging stories, vibrant illustrations, and relatable characters, providing a window into the unique experiences of Nunavummiut children. Each book is in English and Inuktitut.

LOVE YOU FOREVER – Robert Munsch
Ages 3-6, Firefly Books

This is a heartwarming story that captures the essence of unconditional love.  It follows a mother’s unwavering devotion to her son as he grows from infancy to adulthood.  Despite the occasional frustration caused by her son’s behaviour, she sings a lullaby to him at each stage of his life and shares the enduring bond between parent and child.

HOW FULL IS YOUR BUCKET FOR KIDS – Tom Rath & Mary Reckmeyer
Ages 3-8, Gallup Press

Each of us has an invisible bucket.  When it’s full, we feel great.  When it’s empty, we feel awful.  This book is an illustrated adaptation of the long-running bestseller “How Full Is Your Bucket” and revolves around a boy named Felix who learns a valuable lesson about “bucket filling”.  Through the day, Felix realizes that every interaction either fills or empties his bucket, and everything he says or does to other people affects their buckets as well.  It teaches kids valuable lessons about kindness and empathy.

WALTER THE FARTING DOG – William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
Ages 4-8, North Atlantic Books

The story revolves around Walter, a dog with flatulence.  Despite this, he is loved by his siblings, but their father is on the verge of surrendering him to the local pound.  When burglars break into their home, Walter’s superpower of heroic toots saves the day and earns him a special place in the family’s heart.  This story emphasizes acceptance, love, and the incredible power of being oneself, farts and all.

WHO’S HOCKEY? A “Hockey Is For Everyone” Book About Acceptance – Jeff McLean
Ages 4-9, National Hockey League

This is the first release in the “Hockey For Everyone” series, created in partnership with the NHL, and focuses on the NHL’s first Declaration of Principles – Acceptance.  The story follows Cam who moves to a new town far away.  To her surprise, nobody in this town has heard of hockey!  So, as the world’s biggest hockey fan, Cam embarks on an adventure to bring her love of the game to everybody she meets.  Through Cam’s efforts, we learn how hockey can bring a diverse group of people together, create a place for everyone in the game, and even bring a whole town to life through acceptance.   

BAXTER & JEFFREY – Ariane and Todd Erickson
Ages 4-8, Norse-Gael Books

The story revolves around an unlikely friendship between a young boy named Jeffrey, who aspires to become a knight without any help, and a friendly dragon named Baxter.  Despite their differences they learn to accept each other’s help and build a kind and helpful bond.  The story emphasizes themes of friendship, understanding, and accepting help from others.

TWO MÉTIS VESTS – Leah Marie Dorian
Ages 5-7, Strong Nations

This is a book that introduces young readers to the traditional clothing of the Métis people.  Kids will learn that a Métis vest is a piece of clothing similar to a short jacket but without sleeves, with buttons down the front and decorated by Métis women with colourful designs and fringes.  The book features two pictures of Métis vests and encourages readers to consider which would be the hardest to make.

SEWING FOR KIDS – Alexa Ward
Ages 6-9, Callisto Publishing

This book offers beginner-friendly techniques for both hand and machine sewing.  From threading a needle to creating fingerless gloves, this book takes kids step-by-step through various sewing projects.  The projects increase in difficulty, allowing kids to build confidence and explore their creativity. 

SALMA WRITES A BOOK – Danny Ramadan
Ages 6-9, Annick Press

Part of the Salma Series, this early chapter book follows Salma, a recently migrated Syrian refugee living in Vancouver, Canada.  She recently received exciting news: she’s going to be a big sister!  She’s determined to be the best big sister ever, so she sets out to write the ultimate guidebook to siblinghood.  However, as she learns more about siblings, she becomes more and more confused, especially since her mom is in conflict with her own brother over matters of love.  This book deftly tackles themes of friendship, family, honesty, cultural values, and LGBTQ+ identity.

DOG MAN: TWENTY THOUSAND FLEAS UNDER THE SEA – Dav Pikley
Ages 7-10, Scholastic

This is the 11th book in the Dog Man graphic novel series.  This installment follows the adventures of Dog Man, a half-dog, half-human police officer.  In this story, Piggy returns as a new nemesis, accompanied by his army of fleas.  Piggy’s villainy leads to chaos, and the Supa Buddies find themselves in a sticky situation when they end up in a sweat gland on Piggy’s nose, battling a giant mite.

JACK & THE BOYS: MOUNTAIN BIKING ADVENTURE – Delia Dumont
Ages 7-10, Eaglecrest Books

This is a chapter book for young readers and tells the story of Jack the dog, who accompanies Glynn and Adrien on their mountain biking adventures.  When they discover a cabin on fire, Jack lets them know that someone is inside!  While Glynn helps the lady, Adrien rushes off to call 911.  Meanwhile, Jack plays a crucial role in saving the day.

WEIRD BUT TRUE: DINOSAURS
Ages 8-12, National Geographic Kids

This is a fascinating book that looks at the prehistoric world of dinosaurs and is packed with over 300 DINO-mite facts.  Readers will learn about the places dinosaurs lived, the art they inspired, and the paleontologists who discovered them.  They’ll also discover fun facts, like the T. rex had vision 13 times better than the average human, and that people collect fossilized dinosaur poop!

96 FACTS ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT – Arie Kaplan
Ages 8-12, Penguin Random House

Packed with fun facts, quick quizzes, and bonus pages for journaling, this is a must-have book for any Swiftie.  It’s a great exploration of fascinating tidbits about Taylor Swift and is truly the ultimate fact book and journal for die-hard fans.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES – LM Montgomery
Ages 8-12, Penguin Random House

Set in the late 19th century, this classic Canadian novel follows the adventures of 11-year old orphan Anne Shirley.  By mistake, she’s sent to live with middle-aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island.  The book follows Anne’s journey as she navigates life with the Cuthberts, goes to school, and becomes an integral (and unique) member of the community.

TALK LIKE AN EXPERT: DINOSAURS
Ages 8-12, Merriam-Webster Kids

This book introduces budding paleontologists to the world of dinosaurs.  It takes readers back millions of years to explore how dinosaurs lived, ate, fought, raised their young and more.  It contains full-colour illustrations and teaches 400 essential words that paleontologists use like “coprolites” (fossilized dinosaur poop).  An A-Z glossary makes sure that readers not only talk like experts but think like them too.

DOUBLE TROUBLE – Joanne Levy
Ages 9-12, Orca Book Publishers

Victoria Adelman’s best friend has moved away, leaving her to spend the summer alone.  One day, on her way home from a party, she meets Jazzy, her next-door neighbors’ granddaughter and hopes her friendless status is about to change.  Later she meets Jazzy again, but Jazzy doesn’t recognize the filthy, smelly girl as the one she met earlier.  Without thinking, Victoria tells Jazzy the girl she met earlier was her twin sister Vicky.  She figures she can fake being twins for two weeks, but then Jazzy announces she’s staying with her grandparents for the school year.  What is Victoria going to do?  Come clean and lose her new friend, or live her life as a fake?

A KWAKWAKA’WAKW POTLATCH – Sally Williams
Ages 9-11, Strong Nations

This book is part of the Strong Stories: Kwakwaka’wakw series and explores the sacred ceremonies of the Kwakwaka’wakw people, focusing on the Potlach.  This time for ceremony and community plays a crucial role in their culture.  Through these stories, readers will learn about the roots of the Kwakwaka’wakw people, their lands, and their traditions.

DRAGON ON THE LOOSE – Marty Chan
Ages 9-12, Orca Book Publishers

This book combines magical adventure, friendship and themes of Chinese culture.  The story revolves around eleven-year-old Hailey and her friend Kyle who accidentally bring a dragon to life when they make a wish on a Chinese lion statue.  The dragon, named Zhu, is a friendly dragon, and the kids show them around the city.  However, things take a turn when Animal Control gets wind of the creature on the loose.  Hailey and Kyle must find a way to send their new friend back home before she’s taken away.

THE JUMBLED JEWELS – David Gorman
Ages 10-14, FriesenPress

Seth and Julia Ambrose are seasoned mystery solvers at their favourite amusement park.  When Julia stumbles upon a ruby at the park, she and her friends embark on a quest to recover stolen jewels worth millions.  Can these kid detectives outwit the criminals?  And does Julia have what it takes to lead the team and save the day?  This all-girls mystery emphasizes self-confidence and believing in oneself.

GILMORE GIRLS: AT HOME IN STARS HOLLOW – Micol Ostow
All Ages, Insight Editions

This is a picture book that takes readers on a journey through the town of Stars Hollow.  Lorelai and Rory Gilmore reminisce about important moments in their lives, including their arrival in Stars Hollow in search of a welcoming home and community.  This book captures the essence of the town and its characters, such as Miss Patty, Luke, and Sookie. 

HAPPY READING!