Groundwood Recommends: Summer Reading

Surely summer is the best time to read for pleasure, so today our is blog dedicated to reading just for fun! We asked some Groundwood staff members for their top picks for summer reads.

Almost every public library has a summer reading program designed to encourage children to read books that interest them — make sure to check out the program in your area for more recommendations!

Rosario’s Fig Tree is a perfect summer story, as it reminds us of the beauty and joy that can be found getting to know your neighbours, gardening and spending time in your backyard. Rosario reminds me of my own neighbour, who gifts me tomatoes and cucumbers throughout the summer! C’est magnifique! (Just ask the New York Times.)”

— Jolise Beaton, Rights Assistant



“What’s the best part of summer? The mosquitoes, obviously. Griffin Ondaatje investigates the rich inner life of these omnipresent summer critters — and whether or not a leather jacket can make you cool — in his sweet new chapter book, The Mosquito Brothers.”

— Suzanne Sutherland, Assistant Editor



“Summertime for me, an indoor kid, meant unlimited time to read books and get delightfully lost in their adventures. Reading would ignite my imagination to come up with stories of my own, just like in Marie-Louise Gay’s Any Questions? and its exploration of how to be creative, featuring a very ferocious beast.”

— Cindy Ma, Publicist



“What I love most about Norman, Speak! is that it reminds me of the struggles some of my friends went through when they adopted their respective pets. Maybe things would have been easier for my friends if they learned Mandarin or Cantonese?”

— Neil Wadhwa, Technology Intern



“This enchanting picture book [Song for a Summer Night] makes me nostalgic for my childhood: those long summer nights when time and freedom were in abundance; when school was no longer part of the equation; and when friends and play were the only things that mattered!”

— Gillian Fizet, Rights Manager


Draw a Cat with Qin Leng!



Download a printable version.

Check out our printable resources for parents, teachers, and librarians.

9781554984930_largeQin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. She has published numerous picture books in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Sweden, Hong Kong, and South Korea. She has also illustrated for Save the Children and UNICEF. Her newest book is Song For a Summer Night, written by Robert Heidbreder.

Make a Magical Comic with Willow Dawson

This weekend the Groundwood crew and some of our creators will be at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. TCAF is a week-long celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators, which culminates in a two-day exhibition and vendor fair featuring hundreds of comics creators from around the world. Other festival events include readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations and much more.

In 2003, TCAF’s first year, 600 members of the public attended. Last year, just over a decade later, 22,000 people filed through the Toronto Reference Library to meet their favorite artists.

If you can’t be in Toronto this weekend, there’s no reason why you can’t celebrate comics too. That’s why Willow Dawson (illustrator of Avis Dolphin) made a special printable workbook just for you! Click on the cover to download it.


We have lots of downloadable goodies on our website for parents, teachers, and librarians. Check out all our downloadables here.

Talk, Time and Trust — guest post by Robert Heidbreder


The Voyage is a sweet picture book about making a home in a new place, and about facing new experiences with an open mind. With September slowly creeping up on us, we asked one of our favorite authors, Robert Heidbreder, about his thoughts on starting a new school year.

Every year, as school rolled around, I got the nervous shivers—and I was the teacher. Gradually, I learned to turn to talk, time and trust, 3 helpful Ts.

Talk to your child, the teacher, administrator, other parents and especially yourself about your anxieties.

Give your child, yourself and the school situation Time. A lot of issues resolve themselves in time.

And Trust in your feelings, your child’s feelings, the system and the teacher.

With talk, time and trust you will likely find your nervous shivers changing to shivers of excitement as you see your child growing, learning and being happy.


Ted Hayes Photo 4 DSC_2374 (good)Robert Heidbreder is an award-winning children’s poet and author. His many books include I Wished for a Unicorn, Drumheller Dinosaur Dance and the forthcoming Song for a Summer Night (Groundwood, Spring 2015). Robert spent thirty years as a primary school teacher and, in 2002, won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and continues to do many school and festival presentations.

Contact us

Get in touch with us!