Picture Books

cover of Island Morning by Rachna Gilmore

Island Morning

Illustrated by Brenda Jones
24 pages; Acorn Press, 2015
Hdbk. $19.95; ISBN: 978-1-927502-51-8

(Illustration © Brenda Jones)

In the still of the morning, the chill of the morning, we tiptoe outside, Grandpa and I. The sun isn’t up, but the sky whispers light. There’s no one about. Just the seagulls, swooping and gliding, swooping and gliding.

So begins this gentle, lyrical tale of a magical morning walk shared by a young girl and her grandfather across the fields and cliff tops of Prince Edward Island. It is a story about the joys of being silent with nature, about the wonder in a child’s heart, and about the powerful bonds that are built when we simply share time together.

cover of My Mother Is Weird by Rachna Gilmore

My Mother Is Weird

Illustrated by Brenda Jones
24 pages; Acorn Press, 2012 (originally published by Ragweed Press, 1988)
Pbk. $9.95; ISBN: 978-1-894838-74-0

(Illustration © Brenda Jones)

Back by popular demand, this best-selling classic originally published in 1988, is now available again in bookstores.

My mother is so weird. Some mornings, when she wakes up, she has horns on her head and long pointy teeth and claws. She speaks in a voice like a jackhammer. But after her morning coffee, Mom’s horns disappear, and her teeth and claws shrink back to normal. She speaks in a soft, smooth voice.

One morning...we ran out of coffee...

What is a girl to do when her mother sprouts horns and claws and pointy teeth when she’s cranky? Maybe it is best to just get out of the way and visit a friend – one with a sweet and lovely mother. But sometimes even sweet mothers have their bad days....

A hilarious and tongue-in-cheek look at a child’s view of a mother’s bad day.

French translation: Ma mère est bizarre:
Éditions d’Acadie, 1991

Awards & Honours

  • Chickadee Choice, March 1989


“My six-year-old daughter has picked My Mother is Weird as her favourite. It is not a quiet favourite, mind you, but a resoundingly assured favourite, as in ‘I Love This Book, This Is The Best Book!’ ”

Carole Corbeil, Books in Canada, February 1992

“...lighthearted, jokey and refreshingly non-earnest portrayal of domestic chaos. It has the energy of a real story.”

Canadian Children’s Literature , 55 1989

“...a delightful and perceptive look at a parent’s bad day from a child’s point of view.”

Atlantic Insight, November 1988

“...my 3-year-old loved it. He asks for it again and again. This should be recommendation enough. Truth is though, I love it too. ...a wonderful, short, flip-through-at-bedtime slice of contemporary domestic life.”

The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, January 21, 1989

cover of The Flute by Rachna Gilmore

The Flute

Illustrated by Pulak Biswas
32 pages; Tradewind Books, 2011
Hdbk: 16.95 (Canada) ISBN: 978-1-896580-57-9

(Illustration © Pulak Biswas)

Long ago and far away, in a village on the banks of a rushing river, a baby girl was born. The mother cuddled her baby and gazed up at the full moon, glowing in a sky like blue honey. “Chandra,” murmured the mother. “I’ll call you Chandra after the moon.”

As Chandra grew, she followed her mother like a shadow. Each day she helped her parents in the fields. Each evening, she went with them to the banks of the great river. There her mother played her old wooden flute. She played of shimmering hot days and the richness of the earth. She played of the cool evening sky and the growing promise of the moon.

Then one day, disaster strikes the village and Chandra’s parents are lost in a flood. Taken in by an unsympathetic aunt and uncle, Chandra finds the strength and hope to survive—with the unexpected help of her mother’s old flute. Set in India, The Flute is an original folk tale about the power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Flute: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Nominated 2012 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Shining Willow Award

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2012


“Gilmore knows how to tell a compelling tale and make a picture book story sing.”

Quill & Quire, July/August 2011

“Chandra is a resilient character who overcomes many obstacles, from the destructive forces of nature to human unkindness. The healing power of music is a central theme, and there are other well-crafted, recurring images such as the moon and shadows....this lyrically written book speaks of ‘hope and enduring strength.’ ” Highly Recommended

C M Magazine, Volume XVIII Number 6, October 7, 2011

“Without doubt this is an exceptional book...it reads like a traditional folk tale, with magic in the air.”

School Library Journal Vol.60 No. 1 Spring 2012

“Beautifully written and illustrated....enchanting story of hope.... This inspiring book is sure to be a permanent fixture in any library and one to be handed down from generation to generation.”

Resource Links, Vol 17, No.1, Oct. 2011

“...beautifully cadenced prose...emotionally powerful tale...delivering a satisfying and happy resolution.”

The Globe and Mail, Nov. 18, 2011

“This is an engrossing story, very well written in a style that evokes its setting and context and more crucially, its emotive content...thought provoking tale.”

Books For Keeps (read the full review)

“...lyrical, and evocative, exploring themes of hope, loss, and healing in creative ways...The Flute lends itself to all kinds of extension activities, from exploring imagery and symbolism, to discussing the healing power of music.”

Books My Boys Love, Feb.2012 (read the full review)

“This author/illustrator team is first class and deserves further high awards for artistry, authenticity and design.”

Midwest Book Review Vol 22, No. 2, Feb 2012

cover of Catching Time by Rachna Gilmore

Catching Time

Illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin
32 pages; Red Deer Press/Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010
Hdbk: $19.95 CAD/$17.95 U.S. ISBN: 978-1-55455-162-0

(Illustration © Kirsti Anne Wakelin)

Scurry and worry, bustle and whirl. When Sara’s mom and dad can’t find time to take her to the park, Sara takes matters into her own hands. With a preserve jar and a butterfly net, she sets out to catch time itself. But time proves elusive—slipping away under Mom’s computer, and swooshing down the drain while Dad washes dishes. The harder she chases, the harder it is to grab. How will Sara finally manage to catch time for family fun? A perfect remedy to today’s fast-paced lifestyle, Catching Time is a vivid reminder that time with family is precious and, in the end, the very best time of all.

Catching Time: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens 2011


“I love that this story is told from a child’s perspective...the illustrations are a mixture of whimsy and a pint-sized point-of-view. I love the lyrical text....Gilmore has a knack for filling books with wonder and delight... her tales often channel the best part of childhood: imagination and fancy.”

Word Of Mouse Book Reviews, March 20, 2011

“This captivating book...shows us the value of time and the price of wasting it.”

Resource Links, Volume 16, Number 3

“...a beautifully enchanting storyline.... Lovingly illustrated and an absolute delight to read, I loved, loved this book.”

Bookshipper, December 22, 2010

cover of Making Grizzle Grow by Rachna Gilmore

Making Grizzle Grow

Illustrated by Leslie Elizabeth Watts
32 pages; Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2007
Hdbk: $ 19.95 CAD; $18.95 USD; ISBN: 978-1-55041-885-9

(Illustration © Leslie Watts)

Later! It’s always later! When Dad is too busy to play, Emily stomps out to the snowy backyard and makes a dinosaur called Grizzle. But Dad doesn’t notice, so Emily rustles up a mountain of snow meals to help Grizzle grow. Grizzle grows all right, but the more snow food Emily cooks up, the bigger – and hungrier – her dinosaur gets. And still Grizzle wants MORE! How will Emily get this creature under control? An imaginative, endearing story about what happens when your temper gets the better of you, Making Grizzle Grow is also about love, and the enduring bond between a little girl and her dad – the kind that doesn’t disappear just because you get mad.

Making Grizzle Grow: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Nominated for 2009 Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Award

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens 2009

  • Nominated for 2009 Blue Spruce Award


“Rachna Gilmore’s picture books tend toward sweet endings, but those involving family conflict, such as the GG winner A Screaming Kind of Day and the early My Mother is Weird, also carry a satisfying bite. So it is with Making Grizzle Grow, in which Emily, annoyed with her father for breaking his promise to play outside with her, finds an imaginative way to bare her teeth at him. This story makes a reassuring suggestion to its small readers: it’s okay to get angry, and it might be smart to express it indirectly.”

Quill & Quire, November 2007

“Young children will enjoy Emily’s imaginative efforts to feed her dinosaur and sympathize with her impatience with her busy father. With children’s fascination with dinosaurs, they will like watching Grizzle grow from a small Dilophosaurus to a large Allosaurus and finally a huge Tyrannosaurus rex. The expressions on Watts’ characters are especially well done. The pictures are over-sized and brimming with primary colours.” Highly Recommended

CM, Vol XIV, Number 4, November 2007

“...well told and convincingly illustrated...”

Susan Perren, Books for Children, The Globe and Mail, November 24, 2007

“This is a lovely story about anger, rejection, forgiveness and unconditional love. Parents who have limited time to spend with their children will understand Emily’s frustration. Children who have busy parents will identify with Emily as she demonstrates how to express anger in a healthy and creative way.”

ForeWord Magazine, January/February 2008

“Written with humor and creativity, Gilmore’s story dramatizes the tenderness of a parent/child relationship. Watt’s artwork illuminates an already luminous story.”

Kirkus Reviews, February 2008

cover of When-I-was-a-little-girl by Rachna Gilmore


Illustrated by Renné Benoit
24 pages; Second Story Press, 2006 (reissue; originally published in 1989)
Hdbk: $14.95 CAD, $12.95 USD; ISBN: 1-897187-12-2

(Illustration © Renné Benoit)

Lisabeth’s mother constantly tells her about the perfect child she used to be. But one awful day, when there is liver and onions and no dessert for dinner, When-I-was-a-little-girl actually appears. She’s “all neat and tidy, with that I’m-so-perfect smile on her face.” Not only that, but she loves liver and onions.... How will Lisabeth manage to get rid of this obnoxious visitor?

When-I-was-a-little-girl: Teachers’ Guide

Listen to a podcast of When-I-Was-A-Little-Girl

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice

  • Morningside Book Panel Choice, 1989


“Family relationships are commonly the subject of the endearing picture books of Governor General’s Award-winning author, Rachna Gilmore, and this book deals with the need for different generations to learn to understand each other a bit better. The conflict here between mother and daughter is amusingly presented through a touch of fantasy.... The story is simple, and its sweetly humorous message will amuse parents as well as children. The soft colours and expressive faces of Benoit’s illustrations reinforce the sympathetic and reassuring qualities of the story.”

Quill & Quire, November 2006

“Rachna Gilmore and Renné Benoit have created a lovely book of reminiscence and reality in When-I-was-a-little-girl.”

Resource Links, December 2006

“This book made me laugh so hard! I think this picture book speaks for all children out there. It definitely gets the child’s point of view across. It is a great book for the whole family to enjoy together. This reviewer gives When-I-was-a-little-girl five translucent stars!”

KidsWWrite – Sarah’s Stars, June 2007

“...a very funny story that will have as much appeal, though on a different level, to adults as to children.”

Emergency Librarian, March-April, 1990

cover of Grandpa’s Clock by Rachna Gilmore

Grandpa’s Clock

Illustrated by Amy Miessner
Orca Book Publishers, 2006
$21.95 CAD $17.95 USD

(Illustration © Amy Miessner)

It’s Cayley’s turn at last! Her beloved Grandpa is making her a grandfather clock of her very own. Eager for the clock, Cayley helps in his workshop. But when Grandpa is taken ill, Cayley learns more than she ever thought possible....

Grandpa’s Clock: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice


“A gentle, touching picture book about the relationship between a grandfather and grandchild. Gilmore has created a caring family with credible characters. The soft, realistic watercolor illustrations are warm and inviting. Gilmore...illuminates the value of intergenerational relationships and their ability to enrich the lives of both young and old. This well-crafted story would strengthen any collection.”

School Library Journal, April 2006

“...a richly textured tale of family relationships, particularly between Cayley and her grandpa, who builds clocks....In this warm and delicate story of a bond between generations, we see the child not only learning...from her grandpa, but being able to give back to him when he needs her. Governor General’s Award-winning author Gilmore uses the craft of clockmaking to show how creating a beautiful and useful object has a value beyond the material.”

Starred review, Quill & Quire, March 2006

“...a warm and endearing family story about a little girl, Cayley, who helps her grandfather make clocks....Rachna Gilmore...manages to create an atmosphere of a close family whose members really care about each other...Highly recommended.”

CM Vol XII, Number 13, March 2006

cover of A Screaming Kind of Day by Rachna Gilmore

Winner of 1999
Governor General’s
Literary Award
Children’s Literature Text

A Screaming Kind of Day

Illustrated by Gordon Sauvé
40 pages; Fitzhenry & Whiteside; 1999

(Illustration © Gordon Sauvé)

It’s a screaming kind of day. I can tell the minute I open my eyes—Leo’s inches from my nose, making that cross-eyed, twisty-mouth face. He yanks my braid. I don’t bother to put in my hearing aids, I leap out of bed. I scream and chase him. He turns around long enough for me to see his lips say, “Can’t hear.”

Sent to her room, Scully watches a downpour and longs to go out, to dance, dance with the rain, to shout with the green. But when she sneaks out, Mom catches her and Scully’s day goes from bad to worse...

A Screaming Kind of Day: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Winner Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature Text, 1999

  • Chapters Write for Canada Selection, October 1999

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice Award - starred selection


“It is little wonder that the text of A Screaming Kind of Day won the 1999 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. Rachna Gilmore’s sensitive and insightful portrayal of her little hearing-impaired narrator is completely captivating. Scully’s story is one with which many families will be able to identify. Parents lose patience in their attempt to keep peace between siblings as they tease, provoke and retaliate, but, at the end of a trying day, love triumphs and brings peace to the family. In a flawless rendition of Scully’s voice, Gilmore convinces the reader that different though Scully is, her experience and behaviour are universal. Her moving story avoids the sentimentality or didacticism that so often spoils books involving a child with special needs. Whatever lessons are to be learned from A Screaming Kind of Day, Rachna Gilmore trusts her readers to draw them from the simple lyrical prose she has created to represent Scully’s thoughts.” Highly Recommended.

CM Magazine Volume VIII Number 1, September 7, 2001

“This wonderful book is a carefully composed collection of moments during one of those days when parents experience exasperation. Rachna Gilmore, a talented author, magically captures a child’s overbrimming love of life and irrepressible spirit of mischief and rebellion. This is not a book with a message; rather, it is a sweet story told in exquisite fashion. A Screaming Kind of Day is an engaging, ‘singing in the rain’ book which children will love to read.”

Jury Statement, 1999 Governor General’s Literary Awards,
Children’s Literature Text

“In its most literal form A Screaming Kind of Day is a delightful story about a child who wants to go out and play in the rain...While the plot is realistic and can certainly teach children a lesson about getting along, this story is so much more. The text is written in the lyrical diction of poetry. Through the author’s clever description, the event becomes a breathtaking slide show...a ‘must have’ for every elementary and public library picture book collection.”

Resource Links

“Now this is one book title I can relate to and I suspect a few other parents and children can, too...Rachna Gilmore doesn’t sugar-coat the angry interaction of the family members. She lets the story, from the perspective of Scully, who is also hearing impaired, unfold realistically. The result is a tale of heart-warming insight into the mind of a little soul trying hard to have a good day.”

The London Free Press

“What makes A Screaming Kind of Day unique and quite wonderful, is that Scully’s inability to hear is not her problem at all. For much of the book, in fact, it’s her solution to the problem...Scully is as convincingly real a human being as any child in children’s literature, and her self-acceptance, so complete, it’s left entirely unspoken, represents an important step forward in the depiction of children different from what we tend to call normal....a deserving winner for this years Governor General’s Award.”

Starred review, Quill & Quire

“This wonderful child shows that, despite a small difference, some experiences are universal. The story is gently and beautifully told by Rachna Gilmore.”

The Houston Chronicle

“In an internal monologue notable for its range of feeling and poetic prose style, a small, hearing-impaired girl tells readers about ‘a screaming kind of day.’ ”

The Globe and Mail

“Coupled with artist Gordon Sauvé’s rich, expressive illustrations, it’s easy to see why this book is a winner.”

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

cover of Wild Rilla by Rachna Gilmore

Wild Rilla

Illustrated by Yvonne Cathcart
24 pages; Second Story Press, 199

(Illustration © Yvonne Cathcart)

It’s not fair! Rilla is given a time-out by her teacher. But Rilla is no ordinary kid...

Wild Rilla is magic
Wild Rilla is free
Wild Rilla’s a blur
The teacher can’t see

What will Rilla get up to as she zooms through the school, helping out?

Wild Rilla: Teachers’ Guide


“This is an entertaining tale about a high-spirited little girl who uses her imagination to reverse the roles of authority between herself and adults. Gilmore’s text makes wry observations about authority and how it is used.”


“...Gilmore shows...how imagination can turn negative feelings into something constructive, and at the same time, fun. With its repeating verses and wildely colourful pictures, this book will appeal particularly to young children just starting school.”

Starred review, Ottawa Citizen, November 2, 1997

cover of Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore

Lights for Gita

Illustrated by Alice Priestley
24 pages; Second Story Press, 1994

(Illustration © Alice Priestley)

Newly arrived from India, Gita longs to celebrate Divali, the Festival of Lights, with the traditional fireworks. But the ugly November weather interferes and the friends she’s invited can’t come to her party. To make matters worse, the power goes out, plunging the city in darkness. How will Gita manage to overcome the darkness and find the light?

Lights for Gita: Teachers’ Guide

Just One More Book’s Podcast: Dispelling our Darkness:
Lights For Gita

Lights For Gita NFB Film – Talespinners Series

Awards & Honours

  • Pick of the Lists, American Bookseller, 1995

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice, 1994

  • Morningside Book Panel Choice, Dec 1994


“Words and pictures weave the particular holiday traditions into a universal story of disappointment and hope.”

Booklist, American Library Association, 06/01/95

“The best picture-books have to excel at the difficult task of pleasing adults and children alike. This is something that Lights for Gita certainly accomplishes...an emotional and magical resolution that crosses cultural boundaries and embraces us all in its humanness. It is just magical.”

Books in Canada, March 1995

“The rich tapestry of emotions woven through this lovely story tugs at the most resistant heart. Anticipation, disappointment and joy: Gilmore expertly navigates the young readers through each and the reader is left feeling very satisfied at the outcome.”

Expositor, November 19, 1994

“... a rich and resonant story.”

Starred Review Quill & Quire, September 1994

cover of Roses For Gita by Rachna Gilmore

Roses For Gita

Illustrated by Alice Priestley
24 pages; Second Story Press, 1996

(Illustration © Alice Priestley)

Several months after moving from India, Gita longs to plant roses, to create a garden just like her grandmother’s in India. But Mom is busy with her studies, and Mr Flinch, the mean old man next door won’t even let Gita look at his lovely garden. Will she ever be able to plant the first rose she longs for? Will she and Mr Flinch ever be friends?

Roses for Gita: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice, 1996


“...Gilmore draws the reader into Gita’s thoughts, memories and feelings, through her deceptively simple narrative and imagery.”

Books in Canada, May 1997

“This is a lovely gentle book. Gilmore is particularly adept at presenting subtle emotions. She writes with a fine intensity that, in less skilled hands, could easily degenerate into pathos, but never does.”

Quill & Quire, November 1996

“...a lovely quiet little story. Sensitively written with colourful illustrations by Alice Priestley, this book is a treat.”

Children’s Book News, Winter 1997

cover of A Gift for Gita by Rachna Gilmore

A Gift for Gita

Illustrated by Alice Priestley
24 pages; Second Story Press, 1998

(Illustration © Alice Priestley)

In the third and last Gita book, Gita is now well settled in Canada and is thrilled that her beloved grandmother, Naniji, is visiting. An unexpected announcement from her father sends Gita’s world spinning. She must now decide where her home and heart are. What will Gita choose?

A Gift for Gita: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice, 1999

  • Recommended by the CBC Children’s Book Panel

  • Nominated for 2002 Saskatchewan Young Reader’s Choice Award for Grades K-3/p>

cover of Aunt Fred Is a Witch by Rachna Gilmore

Aunt Fred Is a Witch

Illustrated by Chum McLeod
24 pages; Second Story Press, 1991

(Illustration © Chum McLeod)

Leila is convinced that Aunt Fred is a witch - after all, that’s what her cousin Jeremy told her. So when Aunt Fred invites her for the weekend, Leila isn’t exactly thrilled. Just to be on the safe side, Leila goes armed with a necklace of garlic—to stop Aunt Fred from hexing her. Will she survive this weekend with a witch? Leila’s visit turns out to be even more unexpected than she’d imagined.

French translation: Tante Frida est une sorcière,
Éditions d’Acadie, 1991

Aunt Fred Is a Witch: Teachers’ Guide

Awards & Honours

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice, 1991


“...both story and pictures grow on you with each reading.”

Canadian Children’s Literature, 67 1992

cover of Jane’s Loud Mouth by Rachna Gilmore

Jane’s Loud Mouth

Illustrated by Kimberly Hart
24 pages; Ragweed Press, 1990 (out of print)

(Illustration © Kimberly Hart)

After gorging on candy, sweets and goodies, Jane doesn’t want to brush the taste out of her mouth, so she “forgets” to clean her teeth. The next morning, Jane wakes up to loud rock and roll music. Where is that noise coming from? And why does the music suddenly boom louder every time Jane opens her mouth? Bee bop a do bop a doo!

Copies available from me! Email me to find out more!


“...humorous tale of caution...”

Vancouver Sun, February 23, 1991