M’s Blog

National Day For Truth & Reconciliation Reading List

National Day For Truth & Reconciliation is an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools – the impacts of which are still being felt in communities across Canada. As we reflect this week, here are some books that may help our learning and may equip us with the tools to guide little ones through this impactful day.


With Our Orange Hearts
By Webstad, Phyllis 
Illustrated by Kewageshig, Emily

“Every child matters, including you and me. With our orange hearts, we walk in harmony.” As a young child, your little world can be full of big emotions. In this book, I, Phyllis Webstad, founder of Orange Shirt Day, show that sharing my story with the world helped me to process my feelings. My true orange shirt story encourages young children to open their hearts and listen as others share their feelings, and to be more comfortable sharing their own feelings too. Listening is a first step towards reconciliation. It’s never too early to start.

Get it here!



The Witness Blanket
By Newman, Carey
Illustrated by Hudson, Kirstie

For more than 150 years, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools across Canada.

Artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket to make sure that history is never forgotten. The Blanket is a living work of art–a collection of hundreds of objects from those schools. It includes everything from photos, bricks, hockey skates, graduation certificates, dolls and piano keys to braids of hair. Behind every piece is a story. And behind every story is a residential school Survivor, including Carey’s father. This book is a collection of truths about what happened at those schools, but it’s also a beacon of hope and a step on the journey toward reconciliation.

Get it here!



When We Were Alone
By Robertson, David A
Illustrated by Flett, Julie

Winner of the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books) category and winner 2017 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award: Younger Category

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

Also available in a bilingual Swampy Cree/English edition.

Get it here!


Orange Shirt Day September 30th
By Webstad, Phyllis
Orange Shirt Society

Revised 2023 Edition. Orange Shirt Day, observed annually on September 30th, is also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is an official day to honour Residential School Survivors and their families, and to remember the children who did not come home. What was initially envisioned as a way to keep the conversations going about all aspects of Residential Schools in Williams Lake and the Cariboo Region of British Columbia, Canada, has now expanded into a movement across Turtle Island and beyond. Orange Shirt Day: September 30th aims to create champions who will walk a path of reconciliation and promote the message that ‘Every Child Matters’. This award-winning book explores a number of important topics including the historical, generational, and continual impacts of Residential Schools on Indigenous Peoples, the journey of the Orange Shirt Day movement, and how you can effectively participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. With end of chapter reflection questions and a series of student art submissions, readers are guided to explore how they, and others, view and participate in Residential School reconciliation.

Get it here!


Our recommended reading is made possible by our partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers. Visit your nearest McNally Robinson Bookstore in person or online to secure a copy of the titles listed above.

MUSEUM MONDAY

You might think that a visit to the Children’s Museum is only all about fun. Having fun is a rule, of course, but there’s also tons of learning going on too!

Take our Tumble Zone gallery. Using our unique Tumble Zone blocks, tiny architects can build, balance, and topple blocks on each of our 7 project tables. What you may not know, however, is that each table has a different challenge! There are tiny hourglasses on one table that challenge your tiny technician to build a specific design in a jiffy. Another table asks for a high rise built to meet a bird, an airplane or even the moon! A bumpy landscape beckons builders to use balance and problem-solving to create their structure. What challenge will you take on during your next visit?

Watch today’s fun fact here!

MUSEUM MONDAY

Sometimes we use items from the galleries in other activities like school programs. These hearty, lightweight but strong blocks are the perfect addition to some math fun!

In Math Mission and Made-to Measure, two of our math school programs, Tumble Zone blocks take centre stage as students use them to practice several math learning outcomes. Using these colourful blocks, students practice measurement, estimation, accuracy, skip counting, and more!

Watch today’s fun fact here!

Grandparent’s Special Day Reading list

We recently celebrated Grandparent’s Special Day at the Museum, and we’re continuing the love with this curated reading list that’s all about these special persons in our lives.


My Baba’s Garden
by Scott, Jordan & Smith, Sydney

A young boy spends his mornings with his beloved Baba, his grandmother. She doesn’t speak much English, but they connect through gestures, gardening, eating, and walking to school together. Marked by memories of wartime scarcity, Baba cherishes food, and the boy learns to do the same. Eventually, Baba needs to move in with the boy and his parents, and he has the chance to care for her as she’s always cared for him.

Inspired by memories from poet Jordan Scott’s childhood, with beautiful, dreamlike illustrations by award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith, My Baba’s Garden is a deeply personal story that evokes universal emotions.

Get it here!


Just Like Grandma
by Rogers, Kim & Flett, Julie

Becca loves spending time with Grandma. Every time Becca says, “Let me try,” Grandma shows her how to make something beautiful.

Whether they are beading moccasins, dancing like the most beautiful butterflies, or practicing basketball together, Becca knows that, more than anything, she wants to be just like Grandma.

And as the two share their favorite activities, Becca discovers something surprising about Grandma.

Get it here!


Berry Song
A Caldecott Honor Book
by Goade, Michaela

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade’s luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

Get it here!


Mexikid
by Martn, Pedro

Pedro Martin has grown up hearing stories about his abuelito–his legendary crime-fighting, grandfather who was once a part of the Mexican Revolution! But that doesn’t mean Pedro is excited at the news that Abuelito is coming to live with their family. After all, Pedro has 8 brothers and sisters and the house is crowded enough! Still, Pedro piles into the Winnebago with his family for a road trip to Mexico to bring Abuelito home, and what follows is the trip of a lifetime, one filled with laughs and heartache. Along the way, Pedro finally connects with his abuelito and learns what it means to grow up and find his grito.

Get it here!


Our recommended reading is made possible by our partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers. Visit your nearest McNally Robinson Bookstore in person or online to secure a copy of the titles listed above.

MUSEUM MONDAY

When designing items to live in a Children’s Museum, a word that gets thrown around a lot is “robust”. The items we use in the Children’s Museum have to withstand more than 100,000 little fingers and hands each year!

A perfect example of a robust item at the museum is our Tumble Zone blocks. Made from the same material as bike helmets and bumpers, these blocks are made to last! The material is called EPP – Expanded Polypropylene. Designed and manufactured in Canada, these blocks can be bumped, dropped, stepped on and poked with little to no effect. The perfect block for a tall tower in this gallery!

Next time you’re in, see if you can find the sun, moon, cloud and planet blocks to include in your tower!

Watch today’s fun fact here. 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL READING LIST  

It’s time to head back to school! This week we look at books focused on going back to school and some for those just starting in kindergarten. These finds may just be what you need to help with the transition. 


The Crayons Go Back to School
By Daywalt, Drew
Illustrated by Jeffers, Oliver

The hilarious crayons from the #1 New York Times bestselling The Day The Crayons Quit are ready to go back to school!

The crayons are getting ready to go back to school, and each crayon has a subject they’re looking forward to the most. They’re also ready to meet new friends. . . and let loose during their very favorite time of day: art class. A humorous, small hardcover back-to-school story from everyone’s favorite school supplies.

Get it here!


The World’s Best Class Plant
Vernick, Audrey; Garton Scanlon, Liz
Illustrated by Bontigao, Lynnor

An irresistible picture book about a boy and his classmates who long for a class pet, but discover the joys and rewards of nurturing a class plant.

Room 107 has a cockatiel. Room 108 has a chinchilla. Even the Art Room has a bearded dragon. But in Room 109, Arlo’s classroom, there is a plant. A mostly green, hardly growing, never moving plant. Even though it doesn’t squeak, whistle, or whimper, Arlo’s teacher says the plant is “more than enough excitement for us.” But what could possibly be exciting about a plant?

One day, Arlo decides to name the plant Jerry. Something about naming the plant makes it more exciting. As the class learns to take care of Jerry, he starts to grow . . . greener and longer and twistier. And before long it’s clear that something amazing has taken root in Arlo’s classroom.

Get it here!


The Invisible String Backpack
Karst, Patrice
Illustrated by Lew-vriethoff, Joanne

It’s Mila’s first day of school, but mixed with excitement is worry. What if she can’t find her classroom? What if no one likes her? What if she’s too nervous to speak up? With a little advice from her brother, she learns that she has everything she needs right in her Invisible Backpack: an Invisible Microphone to help her find her voice, an Invisible Flashlight for when she’s feeling lost, an Invisible Net to catch her if she falls, and much more. Her pack is bottomless! The Invisible String is the very first thing that she puts in her pack—and each time she uses it, it gets bigger and better.

Get it here!


Mr. S
Arnaldo, Monica
It was the first day of school.

But even the kindergarteners of room 2B could tell something was seriously wrong . . . Where was the teacher? Who left this sandwich on the desk?

The only clue, written on the chalkboard, were three simple letters: Mr. S

Prepare for plenty of giggles as a kindergarten class arrives for their first day of school, but can’t find their teacher—only a delicious-looking sandwich and the words “Mr. S” scribbled on the chalkboard. Chaos ensues as the kids argue whether or not the sandwich must be their teacher.

Get it here!


Our recommended reading is made possible by our partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers. Visit your nearest McNally Robinson Bookstore in person or online to secure a copy of the titles listed above.

Museum Monday

The final step in creating this “a-maze-ing” experience was creating the artwork to appear on its walls. In the initial design phase, many themes were discussed, but in the end, we decided on a graphic pattern of 2D shapes that would create a sense of movement as one explored the space. And, of course, fitting in with the rest of the museum wouldn’t be possible without a lot of colour.

Chris’s skills in colour theory came in handy during this phase. Using several shades of pink, green and blue, we learned how to mix and mingle the colours, creating texture and movement on the walls. Chris taped out the various shapes and decided when the shapes would merge from one to the next, and our staff team followed behind with a cart full of paint, filling in the shapes.

Starting with several shades of pink, the entire maze was covered in triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons and trapezoids. Then, we layered on blue and green shapes. Finally, a lighter shade of green/yellow was used to highlight several areas. The cubes were painted after they were placed on top of the wall, whereas the train was painted on the floor and then moved into place.

Watch today’s fun fact here! 

Exhibition Supporters: Toromont, Johnston Group, Len Dubois 

Museum Monday

Three hundred and seventy-five boxes. 1800 square feet. One artist. Four staff. One volunteer. Five days. One design. And a lot of paint.

Chris Minsal, A-MAZE-D Artist and Installer, was instrumental in the success of this maze-building extravaganza. Chris arrived on Monday, and we quickly got to work with our small and eager staff team to build the boxes. Four hours later, 350 boxes were built and taped shut (a few were kept aside for spares). Then came the fun part – putting it all together. Using four boxes, our team created 5’ x 5’ panels with a window in the centre. Each of these panels is one wall section. Once we had all the wall sections built and a few tunnel tops (created with 6 boxes), the maze started to take shape. Using Dave’s design, Chris’s expertise, and our handy staff and volunteer team, the maze was completely laid out by the end of the second day.

Watch today’s fun fact here! 

Exhibition Supporters: Toromont, Johnston Group, Len Dubois 

Museum Monday

How many boxes does it take to create a life-sized cardboard maze?

Well, first, you need to know how big your space is. Ours is about 1800 square feet. That’s going to be a pretty big maze. Then you need a design. This took about 7 tries, but we eventually landed on the perfect layout. You need to know what your boxes look like, of course. Ours are (2’ x 3’x 1’). You need big boxes when you have a big maze.

Once we had all that information, we worked it all out.

Drumroll, please!

375 boxes. You read that right! 375 was the magic number! But don’t forget, the boxes are flat when they are delivered. So, how long does it take to build 375 boxes? With 4 handy staff and an artist, it takes about 4 hours. Not bad!

Watch today’s fun fact here!

Exhibition Supporters: Toromont, Johnston Group, Len Dubois