Today I’m joining up with the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team to talk about our favourite Canadian books. My first thought was—one book? I have to pick ONE favourite Canadian book? Um……
I was a voracious reader during my childhood and teenage years. When I was ten, my mom gave me an old journal in which to write down the books I’d read. I actually kept doing that until about ten years ago. It’s fascinating now to go back and see what books I was reading when. Often the titles make me smile as I remember the books (or don’t). I can’t wait to read some of them again with my daughters.
In the first few pages of that book, various authors’ names appear multiple times. One Canadian name jumps out at me: Janette Oke.
Probably best known for her prairie romances, Oke also wrote a whole series of kids’ books that I read and re-read. I still have two of the books on my shelf: Who’s New At the Zoo and The Impatient Turtle.
Each of Janette’s stories is told in the first-person by a particular animal. Each has a lesson in character to learn, but there’s lots of fun along the way. I love the way Janette can spin a story around the daily life of a turtle in a pond or a gorilla in a zoo. These books are perfect for either an advanced reader (like I was) or reading aloud to younger readers.
The Impatient Turtle is about a turtle named Pogo who wants to have fun like the boys who come to swim at their pond. Except that his shell keeps getting in the way. Pogo’s friends are happy being turtles, but Pogo is convinced life would be better without a shell. Until one day he learns why he was made the way he was…
“I slowly opened my eyes and blinked at the brightness of the blazing sun. I knew that I had to move, and move quickly, but my whole being seemed to protest. This was not the time of day to be hurrying. I blinked again and saw family members and friends resting here and there, faced turned into the sun, arms and legs stretched out as they soaked in the afternoon rays. None of them wanted to move either.” ~ opening paragraph, The Impatient Turtle
Other books in Janette’s Animal Friends’ series include A Cote of Many Colors (about a flock of pigeons and two boys who want a pet), Maury Had a Little Lamb (one of my favourites), and Ducktails, which are all listed in the first few pages of my book journal. (After reading Ducktails I started on A Woman Named Damaris and the rest of Janette’s prairie romances!)
Janette Oke was born in Alberta and attended Mountain View Bible College in Didsbury. She and her husband Edward have pastored churches in Indiana as well as Calgary and Edmonton. Janette’s first novel, Love Comes Softly, was published in 1975; since then, she has written more than 75 other books. She has co-written books with T. Davis Bunn and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan. She’s been awarded several awards for her contribution to Christian fiction. I actually met her in 2000, at the first writing conference I attended.
Looking for more great Canadian books? Check out recommendations by other homeschoolers over at The Canadian Homeschooler.
What are your favourite Canadian books or authors?
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Oh I didn’t even realize she was Canadian!! I should have guessed though. My husband, when we got married, brought with him a few cherished books from his childhood – one was by Janette Oke. He would never agree to let go of his books (and I’m now so glad!) My son, now 8, recently found “The Prodigal Cat” that my husband had kept all these years and he loved it so much he read it twice in one week. We also own a newer printing of “The Impatient Turtle” that I haven’t been successful in getting my son to read yet. If he’d just start I know he’d love it!
I grew up reading Janette Oke, I didn’t know she had children’s books! I will have to find them! Love the simple bright format of your blog btw, this reply form is fantastic and your pop up is epic 😉
Rebecca – how fun to meet another Janette Oke fan! I think I read all of her books (many times over) as a kid. 🙂 Actually, I was surprised when I looked back at my book journal how early I was reading her books. 🙂 And I’m glad you like my blog. Thanks for dropping by!
I will have to look for these books at our next library visit! thanks for sharing!
I hope you find them! When I googled them I noticed that they’ve been republished with new covers, which is great. 🙂 They really are classic stories and now I want to start reading them to my girls (we need to finish the Little House series first). Thanks for dropping by! 🙂