Lisa's Staff Picks:
Down in the Woods at Sleepytime by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Down in the Woods at Sleepytime is the perfect bedtime story. Featuring animals who are not quite ready for bed, the reader will soon discover how Grandma Owl solves this problem. My daughter absolutely loves this book, and at fourteen, still hasn't parted with her treasured copy.
The Prince of Neither Here Nor There by Sean Cullen
Chock full of adventure, The Prince of Neither Here Nor There is not your typical Faeire Tale. Brendan, our main character, is very funny. Be sure to read the very humorous footnotes, the Introductory Note from the narrator, and the oh-so-important prologue. My daughter loved this book and I could hear her laughing as she read. Enjoy!
Kim's Staff Picks:
Tamar by Mal Peet
Have you ever wanted to know more about your grandparents? In this book you follow the story of a teenaged girl who chooses to unravel the clues about her grandparents' participation in the Resistance during World War II. With twists and turns the book moves from modern day London to Nazi-occupied Holland as the main character learns much more than she bargained for, including where her name came from.
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski
What would you do if a computer game could talk to you? Students in London discover the answer as they discreetly pass around a computer game that they are to keep completely secret. The game learns personal details about each participant, which only peaks the interest of those involved. When the game starts asking participants to do things out in the real world some begin to ask questions while others blindly follow along. What would you do to be successful in a computer game? Would you do what these kids did?
Allison's Staff Picks:
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I have always felt that Watership Down is an epic novel; the quest, courage and joy experienced by the rabbits are longed for by many humans, both today and in the past. An early fantasy-adventure novel that relates to a child's point-of-view and a complex novel of warfare, need and triumph that gives an adult pause, this is a treasured favourite for both myself and my family!
Lizzy's Lion by Dennis Lee
has created a magical work in verse, recounting the story of Lizzy and the very real and very grownup pet Lion she keeps in her bedroom. Lizzy's Lion is a wonderful, gory rhyming story with a surprise ending which must be read aloud, tongue-in-cheek. Long Live King Dennis!
Tamar's Staff Picks:
My Car by Byron Barton
This adorable and informative book lets very young auto-enthusiasts learn more about cars, driving, and safety by reading about Sam and his car. The absolutely irresistibly funny twist at the end makes this a must-read for any young (or young at heart!) reader.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
One of the few young adult books that can outcreep The Hunger Games, a href="product/item/564867/">Unwind introduces us to a future where kids can be taken apart for organ donation if they fail to meet their parents' expectations. This is a fast paced thriller, following several strangers whose stories intertwine due to the dreadful legislation that seeks to 'unwind' them into usable parts. Check it out for riveting adventure and thoughtful meditation on social justice, activism, and revolution.
Faye's Staff Picks:
Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke
With colorful and expressive illustrations, this is the humorous tale of a little chick who gets, as the title suggests, stuck in the mud. Can the other animals pull him out? Children will enjoy the silly rhyming text and the surprise ending. This book is a must-read for the young and young at heart.
Bob by Tracey Pearson
This is a funny story about a rooster who needs help learning how to crow. His efforts are humorous and will delight young readers. Children will enjoy the ending when Bob the rooster saves the day in a most unexpected way. Animal noises, lots of repetition, a cute story line and fun illustrations make this an excellent choice.
Chrissy's Staff Picks:
The Gypsy Princess by Phoebe Gilman
I like how Gilman creates a story of finding out that who you are is exactly who you are meant to be, and that not all dreams live up to our expectations. The gypsy girl soon comes to realize the beauty of freedom and that her natural self is better than her desire for the wealth and beautiful things of the palace. This is a journey about finding home. I especially like how her homeward journey is illustrated told and how beautiful and colourful the illustrations are.
Evermore by Alyson Noel
I picked this book because it's about two people that love each other no matter where they are in both time and place and against all odds; they will always try to be together. It contains all the dramas of school and how our main characters deal with the life they've been dealt. Noel writes in a colourful way that will make you want to keep reading, well past the time you should have been sound asleep. Does a love this strong, spanning many life spans and time periods really exist?
Christina's Staff Picks:
The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
I received a signed copy of The Girl with the Silver Eyes as a gift when I was in grade 3. I read it then and have read it many times since. The premise of the story is fairly typical: the main character is a young girl struggling with how to define herself in the midst of big changes in life. However, it contains paranormal elements and a mystery that really drew me in when I reading. The supernatural aspects of the story set against a realistic situation make this book a wonderful and interesting read!
Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White
I read this book in elementary school as assigned reading. I ended up finishing it within a few days of starting and loved it so much that I had to spend the next few weeks struggling not to spoil the ending for my classmates. The two main characters, Gypsy and Woodrow, are thrust together and develop a friendship while coming to terms with family issues. The events from their past are not revealed for much of the book, so the reader has to deal with the characters' issues at the same pace as Gyspy and Woodrow. The mystery of the events that the characters struggle to deal with makes this novel hard to put down!
Rachel's Staff Picks:
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
With a hatred of needlepoint and her potential marriage suitors, Birdy consistently questions and challenges (with humour and mischief, no less!) the social structures of the medieval society she is being brought up in. The book is historical fiction, but its lessons can surely be applied to modern life. Think Dear Dumb Diary, but written from the perspective of a girl growing up in the middle ages. This book is for anyone who has ever felt like the world expects them to conform to a lifestyle that makes them want to go sulk in a corner for all of eternity. This is one of my childhood favourites!
Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Another childhood favourite, this book offers beautiful, detailed illustrations and a story that teaches its readers to value that which might seem worthless. ?Something from Nothing? also serves as a reminder that we each have gifts that transcend what we own and that we should trust these gifts in the face of change, loss, or whatever happens to shake our ground. This is the kind of story that will stick with you for years and give you a little more insight into life after each read; not to mention the delightful wordless subplot of mice who use Joseph's cloth scraps to furnish their home under the floorboards! A book for all ages.
Rochelle's Staff Picks:
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
I absolutely loved Harry when I was a kid, and I must confess I still do. He's determined to rebel, be adventurous, and have fun along the way; discovering once he does, that having someone to love you as you are is the most perfect thing of all. Kids and adults alike will be able to relate to Harry's urge to rebel, the joy of getting dirty, and the comfort of family. A must-read!
Mama, How Long Will You Love Me? by Anna Pignataro
I first read this story when I was teaching ESL in Mexico and immediately fell in love; in the same way that I had already fallen in love with Mexico, the culture, dancing, and most especially my amazing grade 5 students. I promptly sent a copy home to my mom for Mother's Day, as I would be out-of-country for a few more months. Shortly after as I was preparing to leave both the school and the country I curled up with my students surrounding me to read this beautiful tale aloud. When I finished, we were all a little teary as I assured them that no matter what happened, no matter where we all were, that I would always be their Maestra and I would love them for "miles and miles forever."
Nykea's Staff Pick:
Paper Towns by John Green
teenage characters are witty and intelligent, creating funny and thought provoking dialogue. Margo Roth Spiegelman, Quentin's best friend from childhood, is an unattainable and sophisticated beauty he doesn't have much contact with in his grade 12 year when she miraculously re-enters his life, abruptly disappearing before long. The novel merges adventure, mystery, and teen literature, taking the reader on a road trip mission to find Margo. This journey recreates the search for self and identity, along with the elation and confusion, which many experience in their teenage years.
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