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Children's Nonfiction Inventions

Innovation Nation

How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, Happier

by (author) David Johnston & Tom Jenkins

Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Inventions, Discoveries, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


This young readers edition of Ingenious focuses on 50 kid-friendly Canadian innovations that changed the world, from canoes to whoopie cushions, chocolate bars to Pablum. Co-written by Canada's Governor General and accompanied by contemporary illustrations, this adaptation offers young Canadians a way to celebrate our history and world contributions on Canada's 150th birthday.

Successful innovation is always inspired by at least one of three forces -- insight, necessity and simple luck. Innovation Nation moves through history to explore what circumstances, incidents, coincidences and collaborations motivated each great Canadian idea, and what twist of fate then brought that idea into public acceptance.
     From the marvels of aboriginal inventions such as the canoe, igloo and lifejacket to the latest pioneering advances in medicine, education, science, engineering and the arts, Canadians have improvised and worked together to make the world a better place. With striking, vibrant illustrations throughout, Innovation Nation is a gorgeous companion to the adult edition that will surprise, enlighten and entertain young readers, and will be a valuable resource for teachers and librarians.

About the authors

David Johnston's profile page

Tom Jenkins has been affiliated with the Royal Canadian Air Force for more than fifty years. He began his career with the RCAF as a royal Canadian air cadet at CFB Trenton in 1972. He became a squadron warrant officer with the Air Cadets at CFRB Hamilton and later joined the reserves, first as a corporal and then as an officer; he received his commission in 1977 and served at CFB Cold Lake. He has been the honorary colonel of 409 Squadron at CFB Cold Lake and the honorary colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada (RHFC) in Cambridge, Ontario. He has chaired a report on defence procurement for the Canadian government and is currently a member of the RCAF Commanders Advisory Council.

Tom Jenkins' profile page


  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Nominated, Red Maple Award

Editorial Reviews

One of CCBC’S Best Books for Kids & Teens (2018)

"3.5/4… this collection of ideas gives a fascinating look at Canada's contributions to the world and is a fitting tribute to its century and a half as a country… Co-authors Governor-General David Johnston and innovator/entrepreneur Tom Jenkins both bring extensive educational expertise to this volume, along with a desire to encourage young readers to embrace innovative activities and programs… Highly Recommended" --CM Magazine

"[R]eminds us just how ingenious Canadians are, despite our golly-gosh-shucks tendency to downplay our accomplishments… Bright illustrations by Josh Holinaty swirl around each page of text to evoke the brilliance of fun and curiosity." --Quill & Quire

Other titles by David Johnston

Other titles by Tom Jenkins

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