The Books

 

Bullying and the ability to rise above it are at the heart of this strikingly beautiful picture book. All school-aged children have either bullied, been bullied, or witnessed bullying, and all too often, they feel powerless to stop what has been set in motion.


Such is not the case with Eliza. Her mother has given her “wings to fly” and the ability to see all the possibilities that lie before her. So, when bullies pick on the new student, Lainey, gradually robbing her of her smile and ability to paint beautiful pictures, Eliza wants to help, and she does, by finding a way to show Lainey all that she can be. Then in the schoolyard, Eliza stands up to the bullies. One by one, the other children add their voices, and soon the bullies have skulked away.


Lyrical and eloquent yet realistic and down to earth, Nan Forler’s text is complemented beautifully with François Thisdale’s haunting images. This is a book for every child, every classroom, and every library.

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With an evocative poem for every month of the year, young Naomi introduces us to her family and hosts a journey through the seasonal rhythms of her rural Mennonite community.


In the winter there’s a quilting bee with chattering, friendly women to warm the frigid night, visits to a general store with all its treasures, and the awakening of the sap in the sugar bush. Spring months bring the hard work of clearing the fields and the sweet reward of shoofly pies. Under the hot summer sun there’s home-made ice cream, baseball to play, and a horse-drawn buggy to drive. Then it’s autumn when the shy narrator must help sell produce at the roadside stand, while she thinks of the snows to come. And all year long there are delicious, child-friendly recipes to make and sample.


The poems and recipes are perfectly complemented by Peter Etril Snyder’s lovely paintings. Winterberries and Apple Blossoms is a beautifully produced book, perfect for gift-giving, or sharing with anyone who appreciates simple, enduring values.