Saskatoon Kids & Teen Staff Picks


Saskatoon Kids and Teen Staff Picks

Picks are broken down into Kids and Teen recommendations. 

Click here to check out our Winnipeg Staff Picks. 


September Kids Staff Book Club Read

By Kristin Elizabeth Clark

Cover image for Freakboy

Written in fast-paced verse, Freakboy follows the inner narrative of three protagonists. Brendan, a senior in highschool who is beginning to question his gender identity; Angel, a young trans woman who has struggled through a lifetime of heartbreak while trying to find acceptance; and Vanessa, who seems to be unable to find an identity outside of being Brendan's girlfriend. It is ultimately Brendan's story that ties the other two narratives together as both Angel and Vanessa act as anchors that pull Brendan into the two opposing worlds that he assumes are his only options: completely straight, or completely transgender. After all, how could he possibly be on the wrestling team, be absolutely in love with his girlfriend Vanessa, but also sometimes wish that he had long hair, or that he could wear and fill out girls clothing? In this groundbreaking novel, Kristin Elizabeth Clark tells a story that is too often left untold, while also exploring the truth that lines can often be blurred and that there is no such thing as a gender binary.

Bottom Line: This book is great. It's one of the very few books that openly explores teenaged gender identity. The reader is gently guided through the character's personal journeys while effortlessly sliding through the ribbons of verse that make up the narrative. Unfortunately, the cisgender female charaters are all generally portrayed as weak and one dimensional. Despite this glaring flaw, Freakboy still manages to come out on top by tackling other issues that should be more openly present in teen fiction.
Four Stars.

This book is appropriate for a 14+ audience.



Kids Picks

I Will Never Get A Star on Mrs. Benson's Chalkboard
 by Jennifer K. Mann

Chosen by Allison

Rose is a distracted and creative soul. She does her best at school, but sometimes her mind wanders, and she answers the wrong question. And, well, keeping her desk neat is a challenge. When it's time for art class, Rose's art supplies turn her desk (and her) into a colorful mess. But her artistic skills shine through in the gorgeous card she creates. Could she possibly get a star after all? A cheerful and empowering picture book for the child whose talents lie in unconventional areas, and those searching for their strengths.

Won Ton
 by Eugene Yelchin

Chosen by Allison

Visiting hours! Yawn. I pretend not to care. Yet - I sneak a peek. 

Nice place they got here. Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home! Or so I've been told.  

So begins this beguiling tale of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, this adoption story, told entirely in haiku, is unforgettable.

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster 

Cover image for The Phantom Tollbooth

Chosen by Anna-Marie

This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom.


Out of the Woods
 By Rebecca Bond

Cover image for Out of the Woods

Chosen by Lori

Antonio Giroux lived in a hotel his mother ran on the edge of a lake. He loved to explore the woods and look for the hidden animals. One hot, dry summer, disaster struck: a fire rushed through the forest. Everyone ran to the lake and stood knee-deep in the water as they watched the fire grow closer. Then, slowly, animals emerged from their forest home and joined the people in the water. Miraculously, the hotel did not burn down, and the animals rebuilt their homes in the forest - but Antonio never forgot the time when he watched the distance between people and animals disappear.

Only One You
by Linda Kranz 

Cover Image for Only One You

Chosen by Sherry

 Adri's mama and papa share some of the wisdom they have gained through the years with their eager son. Their words, simple and powerful, are meant to comfort and guide him as he goes about exploring the world.

The Crossing
by Donna Jo Napoli

Chosen by Maureen

Told from the point of view of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the baby on Sacagawea’s back, this breathtaking picture book reveals the adventure and natural wonders that Lewis and Clark encountered on their Western expedition in the early 1800s. Donna Jo Napoli’s lyrical text and Jim Madsen’s majestic artwork offer a fresh perspective on the remarkable sights and sounds of a young country, and give voice to a character readers are already familiar with: baby Charbonneau is shown on the golden Sacagawea dollar.

Sometimes I Feel Like Fox
by Danielle Daniel

Cover of Sometimes I Feel Like A Fox

Chosen by Maureen

In this introduction to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals, young children explain why they identify with different creatures such as a deer, beaver or moose. Delightful illustrations show the children wearing masks representing their chosen animal, while the few lines of text on each page work as a series of simple poems throughout the book. In a brief author's note, Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can also act as animal guides for young children seeking to understand themselves and others.

Love: The Tiger
by Frederic Brremaud

Cover image for love: The Tiger

Chosen by Dave

A day in the life of the king of the jungle, this lavishly illustrated story follows a single majestic tiger through a wordless adventure of survival as it hunts prey and defends itself from other would-be killers defending their territory.  A beautiful, all-ages title that explores genuine natural behavior through the dramatic lens of Disney-esque storytelling. Like a nature documentary in illustration.

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula
by Andi Watson

Cover image for this is Princess Decomposia

Chosen by Lindsay

Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated. Oh, and her father (the king) just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook. Luckily for the princess, she hires Count Spatula, the charming vampire chef. He's a go-getter, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become ... friends? Decomposia has to sort out her life, and with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she'll succeed. A gothy-cute sensibility adds to this sweet and mildly spooky tale of friendship, family, and management training for the undead.

Mustache Baby Meets His Match
by Bridget Heos

Cover image for Mustache Baby Meets His match

Chosen by Lindsay

 When Baby Javier comes for a playdate, Baby Billy, a.k.a. Mustache Baby, feels the need to show him a thing or two, seeing how Javier's new to town--and also sports an impressive beard. What ensues is a hilarious test of wills and facial hair, as each baby sets out to prove his manliness. It seems Mustache Baby may have truly met his match . . . but one-upmanship isn't the point of a playdate, is it?

by Ian Falconer 

Chosen by Kayla

Olivia is a masterpiece of simplicity that portrays the complex, imaginative psyche of children. Olivia's boundless energy tests her mother's patience and endurance, while she wraps herself into the reader's heart. Deciding what to wear takes a full page of choices, all executed in charcoal and gouache with highlights of red. Her bedroom walls reflect her Pollock phase, which causes Mom to say, "Time out!" When Olivia negotiates with her mother over the number of books to be read at bedtime, every parent smiles. Olivia is a Caldecott Honor Book that proves the maxim that "less is more."

by Kevin Henkes

Cover image for Chrysanthemum

Chosen by Kayla

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school slowly got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

Barnyard Dance!
by Sandra Boynton 

Cover image for Barnyard Dance

Chosen by Shonnie

Barnyard Dance! Is a true romp of a board book, with cartoon farm animals that are wacky enough to make you laugh out loud, and rhymes clever enough to sustain those nearly infinite re-readings. Funny, flocking, festivities are depicted in this bright and sturdy board book. Everybody sings along as the animals do-si-do in the barnyard.



Teen Picks

Girl Defective
by Simmone Howell

Cover image for Girl Defective

Chosen by Tressa

This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything.
It's a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop and is trying to find her place in the world. It's about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It's about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It's about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It's about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music.
And it's about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff.

Cut Both Ways
by Carrie Mesrobian 

Cover image for Cut Both Ways

Chosen by Tressa

It took Will Caynes seventeen years to have his first kiss. He should be ecstatic...except that it was shared with his best friend, Angus, while they were both drunk and stoned. Will's not gay, but he did sort of enjoy whatever it was he felt with Angus. Unsettled by his growing interest in Angus, Will avoids his friend, and starts dating a sophomore. When he's hooking up with her, he's totally into it, so he must be straight, right? Then why does he secretly keep going back to Angus? Confusing as this is, it's a welcome distraction from his complicated home life. His father has started drinking earlier each day, and his mom--living in a McMansion with her new husband--isn't much help either. This leaves Will on his own to figure things out, but deciding who to be with will ultimately hurt someone. Himself probably the most.

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah Mass

Cover image for A Court of Thorns and Roses

Chosen by Brenna

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin --one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
     As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.

Ink and Bone
by Rachel Caine 

Cover image for Ink and Bone

Chosen by Brenna

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library of Alexandria is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly--but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested when training to enter the Library's service. When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life--and soon both heretics and books will burn....

Arctic Giants
by Neil Christopher

Cover image for Forget Me

Chosen by Maureen

In ancient times, giants ruled the Arctic. These were fearsome creatures, some so large and powerful that they could wade into the ocean to catch whales using their bare hands.This rich and dramatic Arctic folklore is based on Inuit oral tradition and for hundreds of years these legends have been carried down through each generation, whispered quietly in the night. Unsparingly told in the vein of the Brothers Grimm, this powerful cultural legacy is bound to become part of Canada's fairytale canon.

The Giver
by Lois Lowry

Cover image for Knife Of Never Letting Go

Chosen by Karlee

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Where Things Come Back
by John Corey Whaley

Cover image for Where Things Come Back

Chosen by Anna-Marie

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter's senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly disappears. Meanwhile, a young missionary in Africa has a crisis of faith which prompts a frantic search for meaning. When these two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emereges that is tinged with melancholy regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart

Cover image for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Chosen by Christina

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club, her father’s “bunny rabbit,” and a geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure, a sharp tongue, and a gorgeous senior boyfriend: the goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Frankie is the kind of girl who might pull a few pranks to show that she's smarter than any of them. Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell

Cover image for Eleanor and Park

Chosen by Kayla

A stunning debut young adult novel about two misfits falling in love for the first time. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under. And maybe helped you stay afloat. Eleanor & Park is the winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book, and the 2014 Printz Honor.

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