Hope and joy in the neighbourhood

By Véronique Dupuis

There is something about walking a city street in spring that makes one feel buoyant. Some delight in the rebellious feeling of leaving the house without a coat and boots. Others are eager to display their best fashion-forward look as well as enjoy some people watching. Most welcome the many elated smiles (or at least, smiling eyes) that cross their path and reply with a similar expression. And some appreciate having their sense of smell being tickled once again – for better or for worse.

Here are some picture books that will stretch out the pleasure of your spring city walk even after you get back to the comfort of your home with your little ones.

These titles are all available from Ottawa Public Library at your Sunnyside branch at 1049 Bank Street. See you around the neighbourhood!

Wake Up, City!
by Erica Silverman and Laure Fournier

A girl walks through her city from the early morning hours when most are still sleeping to the time when class starts. She will see the early risers like herself clean the streets, bring products to the market, sweat at the gym.

My City,
by Joanne Liu

In this wordless book, a boy is tasked by his mother to deliver a letter to the mail. His wide-eyed experience through his colourful city is depicted in bold gouache art.

by Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale

An evocative book that follows a boy who takes a walk in the evening. Seeing through undraped windows, he finds that even when the streets are empty, life goes on all around him in the houses that make up the neighbourhood. A great book to combat feelings of loneliness!

Maybe Something Beautiful,
by F. I. Campoy, T. Howell, and R. López

This picture book is inspired by the true story of the authors, who are artists who transformed their neighbourhood in San Diego by creating a community-wide mural. In the book, Mira, a young girl, starts giving out her colourful drawings to people in the street, then sticking them on the sad walls of her grey city, until she meets an artist, and everybody starts painting everywhere!

Anywhere Farm,
by Phyllis Root and G. Brian Karas

A book that shows you don’t need a whole lot of land to start a farm!

by Jeannie Baker

In this extraordinary wordless book by collage artist Jeannie Baker, we witness the transformation over three decades of what was a less-than-inspiring street corner into a lush environment where families, friends and neighbours live in harmony.

Last Stop On Market Street,
by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

A boy and his grandmother take the bus after church and as he observes things around him, he realizes that there are many things that his family doesn’t seem to possess. This award-winning book can help you teach children that some wonderful things in life are actually free!

Véronique Dupuis works at the Ottawa Public Library. She enjoys reading travel memoirs and richly illustrated books.

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