A Series of Unfortunate Events is popular, especially among pre-teens, for a reason. At first, I didn’t think I’d like the series since it seemed too odd and dreary. However, Lemony Snicket (the pen name for Daniel Handler) has such an intriguing style of writing. The series is about three orphans who try to escape Count Olaf, a relative who attempts to steal the inheritance the orphans are supposed to receive when they grow older. While I agree with others that the books in the middle of the series are repetitive, the end gets very interesting! There are so many clues and sub-plots that the books start to feel like a mystery series, and it’s very rewarding if you read every single book. It’s a clean read that’s great for people who are willing to finish something all the way through and get lost in the mystery and adventure. (Submitted by Beatrice)
You are welcome to borrow A Series of Unfortunate Events from Surrey Libraries; we have it in different formats: books, ebooks, and audiobooks. Check it out!
The other day I was thinking about telling stories to a mixed group of children. Many stories are aimed at either girls or boys, but how about a story which appeals to both? Although there are many non-gender specific options, I found two fun books which intentionally mix the common gender stereotypes of boys’ and girls’ stories. These books are great stories in their own right, as well as interesting comments on mixed-up storytelling and gender stereotyping.
Daddy’s Zigzagging Bedtime Story by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
How can Daddy keep both his daughter and son interested in their bedtime story? By creating a princess who drives a monster truck, and a unicorn who defeats space aliens with cupcakes. The energetic illustrations compliment the enthusiastic storytelling, both of the father and of the author.
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley
Aimed at a slightly older audience, in this story a preteen girl and boy take turns narrating their story. The princess turns out to rock, and the cool motorcycle dude resigns himself to becoming a prince as they save the world together. The disparate illustration styles mirror the different storytelling voices, and the ending will bring a smile to everyone’s face. (Submitted by Rebecca).
In Stargold the Food Fairy: an exciting adventure that illustrates the importance of nutrition to children, registered dietitian Claudia Lemay makes the often daunting subject of nutrition entertaining and informative.This is a fun, quick read jam packed with practical advice that will please young and old alike. Ideal for kids and parents to read together! (Submitted by AM).
Meet author Claudia Lemay at Authors Among Us: Foodie February at Guildford Library on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot!
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Imagine having a dragon for a friend: powerful and perhaps capricious, but with your best interests at heart. I have a favourite dragon friend book for every age. For younger readers (maybe 8 and up) I recommend Patricia Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons series, about a Princess who decides she’d rather live with the dragons than the princes. As a teenager, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger was my very favourite book. Once I read it through twice on the same day. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight is one of the best dragon friend books for adults, and there are plenty of other books set in her world, Pern, to keep you busy for a while. (Submitted by Rebecca).
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Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies is middle grade fantasy. Corinne was taught by her father not to be afraid of the stories of monsters and strangeness in the woods, but while racing through the forest to save her mother’s locket she catches the attention of an old spirit. When the strangeness starts coming out of the woods, she must call upon the all her strengths as well as those of her friends to save herself and her village. A thrilling tale, the Jumbies is based on the classic Haitian folktale: the Magic Orange Tree. (Submitted by Meghan W).
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On her second day in her new school in a new country, Farah takes a field trip to an apple orchard. She doesn’t speak English and isn’t sure she likes her new home. None of the other girls wear a dupatta on their heads and she isn’t used to boys and girls being in the same class. But as the day continues, she notices some things that look, sound, and smell the same in any country. When each child picks an apple to add to the apple press for cider, Farah chooses a little green apple that’s different, like her. As she helps the other children turn the crank and sees the apples blending together, she starts to realize that she can blend in here, too, while still being herself. The story is told through Farah’s internal dialogue as she observes life on the farm and her classmates. I felt it was very realistic. For example, Farah wants to tell the teacher that she isn’t stupid, she just doesn’t understand the language, but of course she can’t. I liked that the children were friendly and welcoming, but it does mention that a few of them look at her coldly. The lovely watercolour illustrations in this picture book are filled with sunshine and express Farah’s emotions vividly, especially when she laughs with her classmates. This is a lovely story about coming to a new place and starting to feel a sense of belonging. (Submitted by Gayle).
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This fun graphic novel received a laundry list of well-deserved awards in 2015 and is recommended for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile. When twelve-year-old Astrid is dragged to yet another one of her single mom’s “cultural experiences,” it turns out to be roller derby, to see strong, empowered women. Astrid falls in love with the game and is sure her best friend Nicole will sign up for summer skate camp with her. But the girls are about to enter junior high and everything is changing. Nicole is interested in boys, makeup and ballet and she’s going to dance camp. Suddenly without her best friend, Astrid focuses on improving her (rather abysmal) derby skills so that she can play in a real bout. But does being so hardcore mean she’ll lose her new derby friend, Zoey? I’m intrigued by roller derby, so I really liked that the author plays for the Portland Rose City Rollers and used her experience to bring the game to life with costumes, terminology and cool names (Jamieson’s alter-ego is Winnie the Pow – how awesome is that?) (Submitted by Gayle).
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