For over 40 years, Heritage Day has celebrated Alberta’s ethnic diversity and vibrant culture. Our provincial heritage begins with Indigenous peoples and spans generations to include immigrants who call Alberta home.
At Lift Legal, we’ve assembled the following list of age-appropriate books about multiculturalism, suitable for ages 4–8.
Look to our companion articles for book suggestions for school-aged children, tweens and teens.
Motherbridge of Love (Barefoot Books, 32 pages)
A poem credited to an anonymous adoptive mother, the text describes the exchanges between a little Chinese girl and her parent. The poem was anonymously submitted to the UK-based charity Mother Bridge of Love, founded by acclaimed Chinese author, broadcaster and journalist Xinran. Xinran made it her aim to reach out to Chinese adoptees, creating a bridge of understanding between Chinese and the West and between adoptive culture and birth culture. The beautifully illustrated Motherbridge of Love offers a poignant and inspiring message to adoptive parents and children all over the world.
Bagels from Benny (Kids Can Press, 32 pages)
Benny loves to help out at his grandpa’s bakery in the morning. When his grandfather explains to Benny that God deserves thanks for the wonderful bagels, Benny decides to leave God a bagful of bagels in the synagogue at the end of each week. Lovingly told, this book offers glimpse into Jewish life and the close relationship between a grandpa and his devout grandson. Bagels from Benny explores the values of caring and sharing, building a strong sense of community and finding joy in giving thanks.
Ten Old Men and a Mouse (Tundra Books, 32 pages)
Once a busy, bustling place, the synagogue sits empty most of the time. Now only ten old men come to tend it and pray each day—that is, until a scratching sound heralds the arrival of a new visitor. One of the men volunteers to set a trap, but, in the morning, the mouse is still there, a bit more appealing than before. Day after day, the men become more engaged, until the mouse has a bed, pictures on the wall and a little carpet. An unexpected surprise turns bittersweet, leaving the men to plan a trip to the country with their mouse friend. They return to a once‑again empty synagogue—that is, until a scratching sound heralds the arrival of a new visitor. Full of gentle humor and witty truisms, this book will delight both young and old.
Lights for Gita (Second Story Press, 24 pages)
Recently emigrated from New Delhi, eight-year-old Gita has already made friends in Canada. She is looking forward to Divali, the Hindu festival of lights. However, Canada is nothing like India. It’s cold and grey, and a powerful ice storm cuts off the power. Gita’s plans for a Divali celebration fall apart as she becomes homesick. Indian-born author Rachna Gilmore, who now lives in Toronto, describes just how, for young Gita, the traditional festival of lights comes alive in a sparkling new way.
Zoe and the Fawn (Theytus Books, 32 pages)
Author Catherine Jameson’s book tells the story of Zoe, who finds a lone fawn in the forest. Concerned, Zoe begins a search for the fawn’s mother. But who could the mother be? A bunny? A fish? Drawing from Indigenous themes and imagery, this story will help your children learn the Okanagan (Sylix) names of some of the woodland animals Zoe and her father encounter. Zoe’s inquisitive nature is endearing, as is her father’s gentle patience. The Sylix words add value to an already-rich and charming story.
Courage to Fly (Red Deer Press, 32 pages)
Nothing like her Caribbean home, the big city closes in around Meg. The tall buildings dwarf her, and she is lost among the long shadows. Everything is closing in on her, so she hides in the safety of her bedroom. Gradually, however, Meg begins to discover that there’s more to the city than she thought. There’s a Chinese man who performs intricate exercises in the courtyard of her apartment. Some even have some pretty interesting names! She and the Chinese man together make an unusual, unexpected friend—one who teaches Meg to believe that, with the courage to fly, she’s no longer alone in a strange, new world.
Heritage Day is observed on the first Monday in August. Whether you start reading these books with your child today or make reading them part of your Heritage Day activities, the team at Lift Legal wishes you a safe and enjoyable celebration!