Friday, October 28, 2022

3 in 3 (and tea!) Episode 3 - 3 books by Canadian creators

Welcome to another episode of 3 in 3 (and tea) with Debbie Ridpath Ohi and me, where we feature 3 children’s books by Canadian authors and/or illustrators and share a few tips and resources for using them in the classroom. 

In Episode 3, we explore a picture book and a middle grade novel with connections to family relationships, and a colourful bonus picture book! (If you want to catch up on other episodes, you can find them on Debbie's 3 in 3 playlist -- or click here: Episode 1 & Episode 2). After you watch the video, click on the titles or book covers below to find out more about the books and a few teaching ideas. 

Picture Book:

Grandmother and girl walking on beach towards water

 In this dual-language picture book, a young child and their grandmother experience the seasons through nature. The poetic language and detailed illustrations make this a wonderful story to inspire children to write and draw.

Learn about the book creators:

Author: Brittany Luby ๐Ÿ

Illustrator: Joshua MangeshigPawis-Steckley ๐Ÿ

Translator:  Alvin Ted Corbiere.

Visit the publisher:

House of Anansi Press/Groundwood Books 

Activities & resources here.

Middle Grade:

Girl and her duck sitting outside in nature
 Like a Duck by Deborah Kerbel

 Summary: In the middle grade novel, Like a Duck, Sarah, a girl who has a registered therapy animal, Webster, to help her copie with stressful situations, is forced to go to a French-themed cooking camp where her duck isn't wanted. A quirky and fun story with lots of heart.

Visit the author online:

Deborah Kerbel ๐Ÿ  

Visit the publisher:

Scholastic Canada


Activities & resources here.


Bonus Picture Book:

In Raindrops to Rainbow, a girl experiences different emotions on a day that starts out rainy. A fun rhyming story that features different colour words and shows the colours in a rainbow.

Visit the author and illustrator online:

John Miklos Jr.

Charlene Chua ๐Ÿ 

Visit the Publisher

Penguin Random House 

Activities & resources here.


**Find out more about Canadian author/illustrator Debbie Ohi by visiting her website.

**Thanks to The Faithful Sidekicks for writing and performing our theme song! You can learn more about them at their website

Raindrops to Rainbow by John Miklos Jr. & Charlene Chua


Painting of smiling girl with glasses holding an umbrella, walking under a rainbow with her dog

Why this book?

What a fun rhyming book about colours! I really loved the cute illustrations that showed a little girl and how she felt and the colours she enjoyed over a rainy day. Even though this story seems simple, there are lots of layers and ways to use this story in the classroom (another thing that attracted me to to this one).

My thoughts as a creator:

If you’re interested in writing rhyming stories, the text in this book is a great example of how to weave another concept, in this case colours, into a rhyming story. The way the illustrator kept the focus on the main character and showed her emotions was great for helping young children connect to the story.

My thoughts as an educator:

Not only does this story teach us about the colours in a rainbow and give kids a chance to practice colour words and names, but it also showed the different emotions a young girl experienced throughout the day. This book is a good length for preschool or kindergarten kids and the rhyming words and colours keep students engaged during a read aloud.

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K - 3

Connections: colours, rainbows, emotions, storms


Active Learning/Math: Have students go on a colour hunt for items of different colours around the room. Build a giant rainbow together using the items!

Literacy: Encourage children to listen for the rhyming words in the story. Choose one of the words and see how many rhymes you can come up with!

Social-Emotional Learning: Draw emoji faces to show the different feelings the girl experienced in the story. Encourage students to try to think of a time when they felt scared or joyful (or one of the other feelings they discussed). Encourage students to draw their own picture about a time when they experienced one of the feelings.


More resources:

Rainbow Activities for Kids at Growing a Jeweled Rose

Rainbow Activities for Preschool at Preschool Inspirations

Description from the publisher

Raindrops are falling outside, but there’s still a world of color to experience! Delightful rhymes and brilliant illustrations detail how a gloomy, rainy day might not actually be so gloomy after all when you get to spend time with Mom, Brown Bear, and the colors around you. And when a “beaming rainbow, bold and bright” cuts through the sky, everyone gets to experience the joy of all the colors that can only come after the rain.

Raindrops to Rainbow, written by John Miklos Jr. and illustrated by Charlene Chua was published by Penguin Random House.

I feature this book in Episode 3 of #3in3 (and Tea) with Debbie Ridpath Ohi. For other picture books we've featured, check out Debbie's Youtube playlist here.

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know by Brittany Luby & Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

Cover illustration showing child and grandmother walking outdoors over sand towards water

Why this book?

This wonderful book takes look at the seasons through feeling and experiencing them in nature. The more times I read it, the more I appreciate and think about different ways I know the seasons myself.

My thoughts as a creator:

I really enjoyed this look at the seasons from a perspective that is not my own. To stretch your writing brain, it would be interesting to try to make a list of the different ways you know the seasons (or a place) yourself and add those details to a manuscript or write a poem.

My thoughts as an educator:

child and grandmother in silhouette sitting in front of lake at sunset
I was so happy to share this book with my students! While we read this story, the children were eager to talk about their own experiences of how they experience the seasons. It’s wonderful to be able to share this dual-language story and keep it in the classroom for children to refer to at different times over the year. Talking about the illustrations with children provided so much opportunity for discussions about activities they experience with family members.

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K - 3

Connections: seasons, nature, Anishinaabe culture, intergenerational relationships


Literacy & Nature: Talk about different ways of knowing the seasons. Go out on a nature walk and explore. What do you see, smell and hear related to the current season? When you return inside, draw a “map” to show what you found.

Dramatic play: Make a list of student ideas about different ways of knowing the seasons. Have students take turns acting out one of the ideas while others guess what they are showing (or which season they are showing).

Art: After reading the story and talking about the details in the illustrations, encourage children to paint their own pictures to show a favourite activity they do with a grandparent or other family member. What details could they include?

Inquiry: Talk about the animals and plants shown in the story. Choose one animal or plant and find out what it does during the different seasons of the year.


More resources:

The publisher has provided a study guide with comprehension questions and activities related to seasons and storytelling.

Description from the publisher:

In this lyrical story-poem, written in Anishinaabemowin and English, a child and grandmother explore their surroundings, taking pleasure in the familiar sights that each new season brings.

We accompany them through warm summer days full of wildflowers, bees and blueberries, then fall, when bears feast before hibernation and forest mushrooms are ripe for harvest. Winter mornings begin in darkness as deer, mice and other animals search for food, while spring brings green shoots poking through melting snow and the chirping of peepers.

Brittany Luby and Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley have created a book inspired by childhood memories of time spent with Knowledge Keepers, observing and living in relationship with the natural world in the place they call home — the northern reaches of Anishinaabewaking, around the Great Lakes.

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know was written by Brittany Luby and illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckly. It was translated by Alvin Ted Corbiere. This book was published by House of Anansi Press and Groundwood Books.


I feature this book in Episode 3 of #3in3 (and Tea) with Debbie Ridpath Ohi. For other picture books we've featured check out Debbie's Youtube playlist here.

You can also find wonderful picture book selections at Perfect Picture Book Friday, a blog review feature compiled by Susanna Leonard Hill, listing picture books with contributions by avid picture book readers and book bloggers.

Monday, October 24, 2022

LIKE A DUCK by Deborah Kerbel

Girl and duck sitting on a hill with lake and sun in the background

Why this book?

There were so many things to love about this book! Sarah, the main character lives with her mom and her duck, Webster, who is a registered therapy animal that helps Sarah when she feels stressed and anxious. Sarah has many worries, including how she’ll get through the unusual cooking camp her mom signed her up for as well as why her dad left when she was little.

I was really interested in the cooking camp—and a bit surprised to find it wasn’t quite what I expected. This book is about building relationships, coping with stressful situations and solving the mystery of what happens to Webster when he goes missing. 


Connections: family, friendship, anxiety, therapy animals, cooking


Activities for students:

Social Emotional Learning – Discuss different strategies for coping with stressful situations. Encourage students to write their ideas on cards to put in a basket in a “calming centre” where they can try each other’s ideas.

Literacy – A great activity could be for students to each make a list of 7 things people should know about their pet or about them. Posting them anonymously could make for a fun guessing game about who’s who.

Personal Journal – Reflect on times when you were forced to participate in something you didn’t want to do. What did you do? Is there something you could have done differently?

Reasoning Skills: List the pros and cons of having a duck for a pet.

Literacy & Problem-Solving: Brainstorm a list of ideas for what Webster might be doing while Sarah is searching for him. Provide materials for students to create a board game to show where Webster the duck might have gone.

More resources:

Discussion and Activity Guide from Scholastic

Description from the publisher:

For almost as long as she can remember, it’s been Sarah, her mom and her steadfast duck, Webster. Ten years ago, Sarah’s dad mysteriously left, and it feels more important than ever for her to find out why. But that is going to be harder than she expected.

When Sarah’s birthday plans get cancelled, she is sent to a camp where she doesn’t want to be. It couldn’t get any worse. And then it does. Will Sarah have to say another painful goodbye?

In a story about love, loss, unexpected friendship and finding out who you are, Like a Duck reminds us that family is what you make it . . . and sometimes what feels broken is actually imperfectly perfect.


Like a Duck by Deborah Kebel was published by Scholastic Canada.

You can also find more middle grade book selections at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, a blog review feature compiled by Greg Pattridge, listing middle grade books with contributions by enthusiastic middle grade book readers and book bloggers.