Music By The Season Reads
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
We parents and caregivers in the Music By The Season community have been discussing books a lot lately so we thought that it might be interesting to have a recommendation section on the site about books that we enjoy or find inspiring. If you'd like to recommend a book for kids or adults, please contact us via the form at the registration page with the name and author and short comment about the book.
Here we go:
Blueberries For Sal/One Morning In Maine
By Robert McCloskey
We love these simple stories of island life in Maine. Blueberries for Sal is about a mother and little girl picking blueberries to can for the winter, and the adventures that entail after they accidentally meet up with a mother bear and her cub who are also collecting berries in preparation for the winter. One Morning in Maine is a longer book about the same little girl who is now older and helping her father collect clams.
Suzanne Tate's Nature Series (various titles)
by Suzanne Tate
Suzanne Tate is an American scientist-turned-author who has created an extensive series of educational and fun books for young children about wildlife in and around the ocean. This is a great resource!
Disgusting Critters series
By Elise Gravel
Elise Gravel is amazing and she's from Montreal! We like all of her witty and cutely illustrated books but as someone who is interested in teaching kids about nature I'm going to recommend here the both funny and scientific Disgusting Critter series that features titles such as: The Worm, The Slug, The Spider, The Fly, The Rat and Head Lice. She also has a book called The Mushroom Fan Club!
Dinosaurs (and other titles)
By Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons is another author with a huge collection of basic educational books for young children about the natural world (and the rest of the world.) If you have a dinosaur lover in the house, this one might be of interest. It discusses palaeontology and a number of the different kinds of dinosaurs, as well as some theories about the dinosaurs disappeared.
Katie and The Waterlilies (and other titles)
By James Mayhew
Artist James Mayhew has written many books, including the ballet stories about Ella Bella Ballerina, inspired by his niece Eloise, but the ones I'm recommending here are his books about his character Katie (based on his sister Kate) who enters into famous paintings and discovers the worlds within them. These books are so creative, and I love that they introduce children to the masters.
How Does My Garden Grow? (Ce pousse comment?)
By Gerda Muller
What a gorgeous book, both engaging and educational, with absolutely beautiful illustrations, about a little girl visiting her grandparents in the country and learning all about gardening. This book was written and illustrated by veteran Gerda Muller (born in 1926 in Holland) who is known for her Rudolf Steiner-approved books about the seasons, amongst others. This is her latest book, published in 2018. My 5 year old, 8 year old and I were all riveted.
Over and Under the Snow/Over and Under the Pond
By Kate Messner
Another wonderful nature series in picture book form, this one by former teacher Kate Messner (also look for titles: Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, and Where the Sea Meets the Shore) featuring adorable, accurate pictures as well as educational text about what goes on above and below ground during the different seasons and in different ecosystems.
Hop On Pop
By Dr. Seuss
This book is one of the best first readers that I've found. The words are really simple and rhyming and the illustrations help kids decipher any trickier words. It's a good confidence booster for beginning readers!
Peter & Ernesto; A Tale of Two Sloths
By Graham Annable
My five-year-old, eight-year-old, and I all loved this very funny and cute graphic novel for little kids about two best friend sloths, one of whom decides to leave the tree to go on an adventure, leaving his other friend behind. Graham Annable is an Oscar-nominated cartoonist and his text and drawings are simple, funny, and evocative. When we finished reading it my five year old told me that she would like to read it again sometime; a good sign I think! Update: there's a sequel now!: Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths (2019).
The Adventures of Hamish and Mirren, Magical Scottish Stories for Children
By Moira Miller
This is one of the most charming books that I have come across since becoming a parent. These are sweetly told magical tales full of good lessons and featuring fairies, witches, sea urchins and seal people. The stories are about the relationships in Scottish folklore between supernatural creatures and people. There are lots of fun cultural Scottish references. Adorable illustrations are done by Mairi Hedderwick of Katie Morag fame.
By Tove Jansson
Have you heard of the Moomins? This classic adventure series was written from the mid 1940s to the early 1970s by the (Swedish speaking) Finnish author Tove Jansson who says that she created the books to create some innocence and light after the second world war. The stories progress in a slow and philosophical manner (at least compared to books these days!) and are inhabited by a collection of fantastical talking creatures, including the main character Moomintroll and his family and friends. The Moomintroll books are creative and wholesome.
Elephant & Piggie books
By Mo Willems
My favourite early readers these days are written by the award-winning witty and succinct Mo Willems (Elephant & Piggie and Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus series' and others). Willems is an author, illustrator, animator and playwright who started his career at Sesame Street. I am very grateful to Mr. Willems because these are the books that got both of my girls interested in reading. The books are easy to read and very funny which creates in kids both a desire to read them and a real sense of accomplishment from doing so. And adults like them too; my personal favourite is this one: http://pigeonpresents.com/books/i-will-take-a-nap/
By Jeanne Birdsall
My girls and I are absolutely delighted to have discovered this chapter book series by Jeanne Birdsall about a family of girls in Massachusetts called the Penderwicks. There is something wholesome about these well-told stories, written between 2007 and 2019. They are as hearty and appealing as some of the classic novels we have read in the recent past yet with a detail here and there to remind us that they take place in modern times. We are still on the first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, and are relieved to know that there are four more to go.
All The Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr
All my bookworm friends told me I had to read this book and I'm so glad I did! A hauntingly beautiful novel worth every award it received.
Still Life (and the rest of the Gamache series)
By Louise Penny
My favourite books right now are from Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series, set in Quebec's Eastern Townships. I love the kind and intellectual Armand Gamache, the quirky characters, and the cozy scenes from the fictional small town of Three Pines (based on Knowlton, QC where Louise Penny lives). The books are usually based on interesting historical themes that are well researched by Penny, and can be quite intense at times, though never graphic or gruesome; being more focused on the humanity of the murderers and the police who search them out.
Britt-Marie Was Here By Fredrik Backman
Swedish columnist Fredrik Backman is good at writing about curmudgeons (see also his 2012 A Man Called Ove) and outcasts. I loved this story about the development of the stodgy Britt-Marie's character after she leaves her cheating husband and starts afresh in the most unlikely of places. I miss her and her odd yet endearing ways.