Jeremy Stone by Lesley Choyce
Jeremy receives help, comfort and aboriginal wisdom from his grandfather's ghost while he copes with high school bullies, a tortured girlfriend and his own mother's addictions. Jeremy's down-to earth, wry and self-deprecating approach to life, told in verse, blends the real world with the spirit world.
Journey by Aaron Becker
In this wordless picture book, an imaginative girl's artwork inspires her adventures and finally finds her a like-minded friend. The story and the illustrations loop out and back together with cunning, gentle hope.
The 26-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
Two boys live in a 26-story treehouse-complete with anti-gravity chamber, ice cream parlor, skate ramp and the Maze of Doom. Full of silly adventures and wildly funny drawings, this sequel to The 13-Story Treehouse will captivate readers of all ages!
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
Rules of Summer is about two brothers who spend their summer with fantastical gizmos, giant birds and red-eyed monsters. The younger brother insists on breaking a long list of arbitrary rules, causing trouble for his disapproving and frustrated older sibling. The art is vibrant, surreal and captivating, and you can't help but stare at each one, looking for the hidden stories on every page.
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
Remember The Jetsons and their nostalgic view of the future? Well it comes alive again in If I Built a House! This rhyming story with retro futuristic illustrations is an amazingly fun read. The house is complete with a flying room, fish tank room, and detachable Plexiglas room. Follow Jack through the exciting, playful and structurally offbeat house he imagines constructing.
Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
Daddy Long Legs is the story of Jerusha Abbott who leaves the orphanage where she grew up to attend college thanks to a mysterious benefactor. The book is written as a collection of letters that Jerusha writes to the secretive man whom she nicknames 'Daddy Long Legs.' A wonderful tale set in the early 1900s, Daddy Long Legs continues to be a classic alongside books such as Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women.
Stravaganza City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
Terminally ill and weak from chemo treatments, Lucien finds himself transported into the magical world of Talia, that mirrors Renaissance Venice. Meeting new friends and learning about the Stravagantes, a group of people who can move between worlds, Lucien discovers the dangers this new world has to offer. Exciting and fantastical, this book is wonderful for people who love fantasy and historical fiction.
Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek
When Peter the Puffin loses his friend Paul, a friendly whale offers to help reunite the two friends. However, Peter's description is less than helpful and confusion ensues. A comical and heartwarming story with fun with vibrantly coloured pictures is perfect for reading aloud to children of all ages.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
This strange and beautiful book captivated me from page one. It is the multi-generational saga of the Roux family including Ava Lavender, a perfectly normal girl born with wings - brown speckled wings. Combining whimsical magic realism with heartbreaking passion, this hypnotic novel haunted me long after I finished it. Ages 14+
Loula is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve
Loula is running away from her "mean, terrible, stinky", triplet brothers and going to Africa. In this heartwarming adventure, you will fall in love with Gilbert, the chauffeur, who knows just how to get to there. Together, Loula and Gilbert ride camels, cross the desert and the jungle and make it back in time for bed. This lovely story of imagination, reminiscent of Madeline, has become one of my favourites. Ages 4+
Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth
"Eating warm cookies on a cold day is easy." This is perhaps my favourite of the 26 Haiku written by Jon Muth to celebrate the turning of the seasons, but it's a difficult choice. In Hi, Koo!, each poem is perfect, and perfectly illustrated with Jon Muth's delicate and winsome watercolour paintings where his favourite panda pal features prominently. A perfect read for all ages when it's "summer morning Up with the kite! send the moon to bed!".
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
One of my favourite Canadian authors, Kenneth Oppel has written another rollicking great read. There is something here for everyone; sasquatch, trains and circus performers. There is a little history, a little romance, a little social commentary. There is a great deal of action, mystery and some supernatural surprises. The Boundless, the world's most extravagant and largest train is crossing Canada on its maiden voyage and Will, whose father is in charge of the enterprise, is aboard. What seems to be a joy ride soon becomes embroiled in murder and mayhem and Will is forced to become part of the solution. The Boundless is a truly grand adventure!
Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch
Originally written in 1982, this wonderful story was reissued in the spring. Children will use their imagination, enjoying the friendship between Bear and Moon. Bear hears an echo and thinks he is talking to the moon. The beautifully simple illustrations add to the story.
Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke
This fantasy novel is set in the present and medieval times, around Salisbury, England. Jon is sent to boarding school where he encounters ghosts seeking revenge from his family. Jon and his new friend, Ella, must uncover secrets of a centuries old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits. This fast paced adventure is full of suspense.
The McNally Robinson Book Club read this book in the spring and enjoyed it very much.
Freud by Corrine Maier and Anne Simon
A graphic (and comic) account of the watershed event of modernity, the founding of psychoanalysis, for teen historians et al. Key cases and controversies are memorably rendered, and the contrasting turquoise and orange throughout gives everything a suitably surreal tint. Attractive and informative.
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka
An eminently seasonable story of a young girl learning to ride a bike. Her father's gentle encouragement are buoyed along by Chris Raschka's positively glowing illustrations of eco-friendly urban bustle.
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C Wrede
Princess Cimorene is not about to be married off, so like any sensible gal she strikes her independence and runs away. Enter Kazul the sassiest of dragons who takes her in provided she does a few chores here and there. Full of wit and humor this book and its companions create a fractured-fairy-tale wonderland that never gets dull.
The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy
This hilarious novel works as both a read aloud for 6-9 year olds and a great adventure for older children (or adults) to read themselves. It follows the adventures of 4 famous princes who are famous only for their association with their princess. Follow Frederic as he tries to prove himself as adventurous enough for Cinderella; Gustav, as he deals with resenting Rapunzel rescuing him; Liam, who is convinced his parents just want Briar Rose's money; and Duncan, who was asked to give Snow White a bit of space because he talks a LOT more than dwarves do. They have many misadventures but do learn how to save the kingdom (with a little help from their princesses, families, and a real dragon!). One of the funnest and funniest books you'll ever read!
The Long, Long Line by Tomoko Ohmura
This charming picture book takes you through a line of 50 animals from smallest (a frog) to largest (an elephant). Their conversations as they wait, play word games, and interact with the bird monitoring the long line will carry you through to the BIG surprise of what they are all waiting for!
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Maisy Danger Brown (yes, Danger really is her middle name) is starting to chafe at the bonds of her quiet life. A free trip to Space Camp seems like the perfect antidote - but then Maisy and her friends accidentally gain superpowers, and she realizes that it's up to her to save the world from an evil corporation (and maybe aliens, too). This rip-roaring read is suitable for younger teens, but will also appeal to older teens and anybody who likes a great superhero story.
Bink and Gollie by Kate Di Camillo and Alison Mcghee
Join Bink and Gollie as they learn to compromise over a pair of painfully bright socks, go on an impromptu adventure to the Andes, and find a most unlikely marvelous companion. This is the oldest story - the best story - the story of a friendship. Both kids and adults will find this an absolute delight.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The brutally devastated world of The 5th Wave is the result of one of the most methodical alien invasions I have ever read. Complex, eerie, and with room for so much fantastic potential, modern sci-fi doesn't get any better than this.
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
A wonderful little sci-fi comic not unlike The Wizard of Oz, Zita is an epic of spacetastic proportions. Adventurous and charming, Zita is someone we should all aspire to be.
Little Pear Tree by Jenny Bowers
What is hiding under the leaves of the Pear Tree? This delightfully illustrated lift the flap book takes us through the seasons of the year. Discover what hides under the leaves as the pear seed develops into a fruit bearing tree.
The Boy in the Box by Cary Fagan
Sullivan Mintz lives a boring, ordinary life with his family. They run the Stardust Home for Old People, but when the Medicine Show comes to town all that changes for Sullivan. He accidently joins the troupe and his life is turned upside down.
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc
This tale of loneliness and connection proves once and for all (as if there was every any doubt) that there is nothing more likely to make your heart swell than unlikely animal friendships.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This is quite literally my favourite book of all time. I read this book at least once a year and have since I found it some 18 years ago as a child. The story of a young man who has nothing who gets everything he ever wanted, it's a heartwarming tale of young Charlie Bucket. This book has majorly shaped my life, through the morals it teaches (about perseverance in the face of adversity), the way it shows different types of children (I can't hear a child yelling about things they want without picturing squirrels checking to see if they are a bad nut that belongs down the garbage chute) and the fact that it discusses one of my favourite foods of all time... Chocolate! This is the perfect year to introduce this book to children of all ages as it is the 50th anniversary!