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. 


August Kids Staff Book Club Read

By Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Cover image for Fig

This haunting debut novel by author Sarah Elizabeth Schantz captures the often frightening reality of witnessing a loved one suffer from mental illness. In stunning and poetically rendered prose, we follow Fig through her childhood from age six to nineteen as she attempts to navigate a world where her Mama slowly succumbs to the personality-altering effects of schizophrenia. Fig begins a quest of sacrifice in an effort to bring Mama back to her, and it is through her increasingly self-destructive trials that Fig begins to understand that she may have her own demons to battle. Aching and yet ultimately hopeful, Fig explores the beauty and isolation of an all-consuming love, and the importance of learning to recognize the value within yourself.

Bottom Line: Gorgeous and heartbreaking, Fig explores a number of difficult subjects while accurately portraying life and hopefulness. The difficulty and loveliness of family relationships are delicately portrayed, and Fig herself is a character who you can identify with, admire and love. Five 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.

by Cynthia Rylant

Cover image for Poppleton

Chosen by Lori

Poppleton, a most interesting pig, lives in a charming house in the country in this three-chapter beginning reader. In the first chapter, he makes a friend, though not without first making a muddle of it. In the second, he shows how much he values his Monday's at the library, and in the final chapter, he helps out a sick friend. Teague contributes fetching watercolor-and-pencil images of the pudgy pig, slender llama and dignified goat.

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 animals, but they always remained hidden. 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.

Giraffes Can't Dance
by Giles Andreae

Cover Image for Giraffes Can't Dance

Chosen by Sherry

Giraffes Can't Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it's harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend. With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.

Yeti and the Bird
by Nadia Shireen

Chosen by Maureen

Even hairy, scary monsters need friends! This heartwarming tale of unlikely playmates features bright artwork and a sweet message. Deep in the forest lives the biggest, hairiest, scariest yeti anyone has ever seen. And he is also the loneliest yeti around. Then one day...THUNK! Someone lands on Yeti's head. And that someone isn't scared of Yeti at all. Could that someone be a friend? This fun story of fur, feathers, and friendship delights and inspires--a welcome reminder that friends can be found in even the most improbable places.

Wherever You Go
by Pat Zietlow Miller 

Cover of Wherever You Go

Chosen by Maureen

Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors.
Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller's lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler's enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road--the same road that will always lead you home again.

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?

Flora and Ulysses
by Kate DiCamillo

Cover image for El Deafo

Chosen by Lindsay

The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry -- and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

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 didn't improve. In fact, it 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

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
by Shaun David Hutchinson

Cover image for The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

Chosen by Tressa

Andrew Brawley was supposed to have died, just like his family. Now he lives in the hospital, sleeping in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.Then, Rusty is wheeled into the ER, half his body burned by hateful classmates. Rusty’s agony calls out to Drew, pulling them together though all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. But to save Rusty, Drew will have to confront Death, and life will have to get worse before it gets better. And by telling the truth about who he really is, Drew risks destroying any chance of a future.

A Perfect Gentle Knight
by Kit Pearson

Cover image for A Perfect Gentle Knight

Chosen by Tressa

Set in the 1950s, this novel follows the story of the 5 Bell children, each of them coping in various ways in the aftermath of their mother's death. Seen through the perspective of 11-year-old Corrie, A Perfect Gentle Knight illustrates how a rich fantasy life both helps and hinders children trying to cope with loss, loneliness, and growing up.While elder sister Roz is growing up and out of the desire for fantasy games, eldest brother Sebastian, who fancies himself Sir Lancelot in their Round Table game, continues to need it as much as ever, creating tension in the family and concern for Corrie, who worries that he may have lost his grip on reality.

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.

The Darkest Part of the Forest
by Holly Black 

Cover image for The Darkest Part of the Forest

Chosen by Brenna

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and as a child, she knew she knows how to stop them. At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does... and as the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

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.

Made For You
by Melissa Marr

Cover image for Jeremy Stone

Chosen by Billy

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she's confused--who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her, the town darling, with their car? And why? But she has little time to consider the question when she finds that she's awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people's deaths when they touch her. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive Melissa Marr's racy thriller--a story of small-town oppression and salvation.

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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