Along a Long Road, by Frank Viva

Frank Viva’s Along a Long Road is a stylish children’s book about a long and (mostly) fast bicycle ride.

Along a Long Road cover

The cyclist travels along a sleek embossed yellow road that goes up and down, around a small town and through a city. He travels on a bridge, through a tunnel, around many corners, past shops and the library, and receives friendly waves as he goes along the long road. There’s one small road bump, but nothing deters the cyclist from his free and bold ride.

Along a Long Road

Frank Viva, an illustrator, designer, Toronto bicycle commuter and cover artist for The New Yorker, created Along a Long Road as a single, continuous 35-foot-long artwork, which has been shown in galleries. The use of only five colours for the illustrations is striking, and ensures that the cyclist and yellow road pop out on every page.

Along a Long Road was selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2011, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration.

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas – Choosing the Happy City

There will be a live webcast of the Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas lecture on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m.

Happy City

Charles Montgomery will talk about Choosing the Happy City:

For years, self-help experts have told us that we need to do inner work in order to improve our lives. But new insights in psychology, economics and brain science suggest that our cities themselves have the power to make or break our happiness. In his new book, Happy City, Charles Montgomery shows how urban systems shape our emotions and behaviour in ways most of us never recognize. Can we build transportation systems that maximize future happiness in Metro Vancouver? It won’t be easy: In the complex modern world, humans have proved not to be experts at what economists call “maximizing utility” — or choosing what’s actually best for us. But there is hope. Montgomery will offer a powerful new vision of city life and novel strategies for how to get there.

Tweet your comments and questions to #happycity. This lecture is presented by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program. Visit the lecture series web page to learn more about the series and to watch past lectures.

Trains Go, by Steve Light

Trains Go by Steve Light is an exhilarating introduction to trains and the many noises they make. We started reading this book when N was about two months old. N detested tummy time at that age, and I credit Trains Go with changing his opinion of tummy time. As soon as we started reading this book, N never seemed to mind spending time on his belly. The width of Trains Go and Light’s bright and colourful illustrations make it the perfect read for tummy time.

Trains Go Cover

Trains Go is still a favourite title in N’s book collection six months later. He never fails to laugh and smile when he hears the first SQUEAK of the freight train on the opening page. We now use the clangs, tings, bings, wo wooos and zooshes from Trains Go whenever we read other books about trains.

Trains Go Streamliner

This book has been such a hit in our home that we’ve given it as a gift to several friends, who seem to love it as much as we do.

On My Walk, by Kari-Lynn Winters, illustrated by Christina Leist

This post is the first in a new series of reviews of children’s books about car-free transportation. Whenever I browse children’s books on transportation, I’m usually disappointed to find that books about active transportation and taking public transit are missing in the transportation section. Train books are prominent, but so are many books about cars and trucks. In an effort to improve the visibility of great books about car-free transportation, I plan to write short reviews of some older and newer children’s books about walking, cycling, public transit, trains and other ways of getting around.

The first children’s book that I want to recommend is On My Walk by Kari-Lynn Winters with illustrations by Christina Leist.

On My Walk Cover

This fun book with onomatopoeic words like clippity-clop, hippity-hop and drippity-drop, is set in Vancouver. The child in the book enjoys a pleasant summer walk with mom (presumably) and pet dog. Along the way, he observes many things, including horses, frogs, fish and freighters. And, of course, the Vancouver rain makes an appearance, turning the summer walk into a summer run. This simple and short book is a celebration of walking in our city.

On My Walk

On My Walk was a finalist for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize (BC Book Prizes) and the Chocolate Lily Award (BC Readers’ Choice) in 2010.

Look for it at your local and independent bookstores and the library.

Vancouver School Board Rejects Chevron’s Fuel Your School Funding

The Vancouver School Board recently rejected Chevron’s Fuel Your School funding, as reported in The Tyee and Vancouver Sun. I like that VSB Chairwoman Patti Bacchus mentioned sustainability concerns to the Vancouver Sun:

“The idea of raising money by encouraging people to buy gas at a time when we’re really working on sustainability and getting kids to walk and bike to school, even that would be uncomfortable if we were in a position to enter into these agreements.”

The Surrey School District has accepted $200,000 in funding from the Fuel Your School program.