Bald eagles soaring overhead; grey whales breaching in rich waters; immense Douglas firs reaching for the stars. The natural beauty of Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands offers a feast of inspiration for all.
Below, librarians from the Greater Victoria Public Library share some of their favourite books about the islands, all written by island writers. After reading, kids can look out their windows and behold the land and creatures of these stories, right before their very eyes. These books will instill pride of place and open little eyes and hearts to the beauty that surrounds them in our West Coast paradise.
Early Readers (0–5 years)
One Eagle Soaring by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd
This book introduces toddlers and young children to numbers and counting with the help of West Coast animals—from a single eagle aloft to a pair of swimming whales to a group of 10 dozing marmots.
Island in the Salish Sea by Sheryl McFarlane and Leslie Redhead
This gorgeously illustrated picture book is a celebration of summer vacation and West Coast island life. Every day is different on Gran’s island in the Salish Sea, as granddaughter climbs big-leaf maples, eats blackberries, explores tide pools and examines ancient petroglyphs.
A West Coast Summer by Caroline Woodward and Carol Evans
Pairing beautiful watercolours with a lilting rhyming story, A West Coast Summer tells of a timeless, idyllic season where “cedars smell so sweet beside the shore.”
The Moon is a Silver Pond by Sara Cassidy and Josee Bisaillon
A young child skates, bakes and milks the cow while the moon wondrously transforms above. The moon is a silver pond when seen through the trees. When they tend the cow, the moon is the milk at the bottom of the pail.
Primary (5–8 years)
Scallywag on the Salish Sea by Sara Cassidy and Mike Deas
The Greasy Lobster, a pirate ship run by the notorious Captain Gallows, is no place for a kid. But when a young orphan arrives on board, the boy has no choice but to take the captain’s orders and get to work.
Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature by Margriet Ruurs and Robert Bateman
This book follows the story of a young boy who achieves his dream of painting the world around him and becomes one of Canada’s most beloved artists.
Nootka Sound in Harmony: Aboriginal Connections by Spencer Sheehan-Kalina and Kim Nixon
Métis author Spencer Sheehan-Kalina uses poetry to capture the beauty of Nootka Sound and the animals that live there. Each verse of this beautifully illustrated book is accompanied by Indigenous connections to the poem’s content.
Middle Grade (8–12 years)
A Day of Signs and Wonders by Kit Pearson
Inspired by the childhood of acclaimed Canadian artist Emily Carr, A Day of Signs and Wonders offers a sensitive and insightful look at friendship, family and the foundations of an artist, drawn over the course of a single day—a day in which a comet appears, an artist is born and an aching hole in one girl’s heart begins to heal.
The Vegetable Museum by Michelle Mulder
Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years.
The Monster Sisters and the Mystery of the Unlocked Cave by Gareth Gaudin
When a quiet seaside town is suddenly overrun by hundreds of giant monsters, two young sisters are the only ones prepared to take care of the situation.
Orcas Everywhere: The Mystery and History of Killer Whales by Mark Leiren-Young
This nonfiction book for middle readers takes a deep dive into the lives of orcas (also known as killer whales). The book is illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs.