Children's and Young Adult Literature

The Wigham Family Collection:  The Best In Children's Literature

For further assistance in using any of the resources in the Lab, please ask at the Curriculum Lab Information Services Desk

What is the collection?

This collection represents the most outstanding works in children's literature, both fiction and non-fiction, published each year. It was intitiated in 1982 by the Wigham family.

Who are the Wighams?

Darol and Evelyn Wigham are highly regarded for their philanthropic work in support of education. Their daughter Patricia graduated from the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education. As a gesture of their appreciation for the quality of education she received here, the Wighams established a fund for developing a collection of the finest children's literature, to be made available to students at the University of Lethbridge.

The Curriculum Laboratory is proud to provide a home for this outstanding collection.

How many books are in the Wigham Family Collection?

There are presently 8000 titles in this collection.

How do I know a particular book is part of the Wigham collection?

The Wigham sticker in the front of a book is your assurance that it has been given a stamp of quality and is considered to be among the best in children's literature.

How do I find a book from the Wigham collection in the Curriculum Laboratory?

These titles can be easily searched in the Library catalogue:

  • by typing "Wigham" into the library catalogue as a keyword search
  • Using the Modify Search button to limit to location UofL Curriculum Lab
  • Sort by date
  • You can also add any keyword you would like to this search, to focus on a particular author or subject.
The titles you find using this approach are guaranteed to "well reviewed."

How do you choose the books each year?

The titles are selected from reviews found in these sources:

What is new to the collection?

This year, we selected $5000 worth of titles.  Besides the standard titles we purchase each year, as outlined above, we will be  developing the following specialized collections of well-reviewed titles over the next few years:

  • eBooks collections:
    • Linked to the curriculum outcomes
    • Many are now integrated into the Library Catalogue
    • Animated formats are included
  • Mathematics Literature Titles (Supports the literature connections titles found in the new mathematics textbooks).
  • Collection of German language literature titles, including dual language (English-German) titles.
  • We have been developing our First Nations literature titles across the Curriculum. See the handout "First Nations Teaching Materials Across the Curriculum".  The new materials include the two Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium's kits "Literature to support First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) student success."  One kit is for elementary schools, and other is for secondary classrooms.  We have also ordered Grade Level First Nations Literature Kits with lesson plans and projectionable versions of all titles ("Turtle Island Voices").
  • We are in the planning stages to enhance our Social Studies Literature collection, based on "Literature Connections  to The New Social Studies Curriclum" (Calgary Board of Education)."
  • Multicultural Literature Kit (Dr. Pamela Winsor and Beth Cormier).
  • Lesson Plan Database (Dr. Marlo Steed and Bill Glaister). It includes novel studies at all grade levels.
  • Best Read Aloud Browsing Collection (Organized by grade level for K to grade 8).

How helpful is this collection to Education faculty and students?

Rather than paraphrase, we’re happy to let you read what Faculty of Education professors and instructors have to say about the benefits of the Wigham Family Collection.

“To be able to send our student teachers to the Curriculum Laboratory knowing that the best books are available right here helps the best of theory and practice to happen together for the good of all our students. Of course the professors like to read them too, to feel better about the world! It keeps our own literary knowledge current so it is also a site of research for us." (Dr. Leah Fowler)

"The Wigham Collection has greatly enhanced our ability to put exemplary literature in the hands of student teachers, which in turn, means that children are also the beneficiaries of these wonderful books." (Dr. Robin Bright)

What is the Wigham Reading Area?

In keeping with the spirit of this fine collection – which is dedicated to the magic of literature and the power of the imagination – we have created an area in honour of the Wigham family in the Curriculum Laboratory. This reading area is equipped with comfortable chairs, book displays and a superb view of the river coulees.

Prepared July 2005. Revised March 2013.

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