Did you luv Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys growing up? Are your kids obsessed with solving mysteries? Then James Ponti’s new junior sleuth series may be for you or for the chapter book reading children in your life. In “Framed” (2016), readers meet two young friends, Florian and Margaret, who are not only trying to navigate the perilous waters of middle school but also trying to help the FBI solve baffling, international crimes using ‘T.O.A.S.T’, their theory of all small things. These super smart seventh graders use T.O.A.S.T. to identify the small details that adults often overlook and to develop leads that will help them catch the criminal culprits. The first two books in this captivating series, “Framed” (2016) and “Vanished” (2017) are currently in our collection and we will acquire the third book “Trapped” (2018) in this ongoing series when it’s released in late September 2018. (Submitted by Andrea)
I came upon this book by accident, while searching for something else. But, as you all probably know, many of the best things in life come as a surprise and turn out to be completely different from what we were initially looking for. When I saw this picture book, the title got hold of my attention and I started reading it. Inside, there is a powerful voice that is telling a child (or you, as a reader) as to why everyone is special and precious. The many reasons why every child and every being is unique and valuable are shared through a strong and flowing verse. This beautiful poetic language is accompanied by gorgeous, photography. The combination of the two gives this book a breath and a heart beat (the latter one is like a steady beat of a mini drum). Highly recommend this First Nations picture book to anyone who wants to empower a child (or anyone else!). The book is all about self-confidence, respect for others, and appreciation of life. (Submitted by Mariya)
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I came across this picture book by chance and I am grateful for this wonderful encounter. To me, a picture book, no matter how good the written content is, also has to have a very strong visual component. If You Hold a Seed kept my eyes drawn to every detail in the illustrations and I was savouring the beauty of the artist’s vision and how well it manifested in simple, yet warm and touching images. We need more picture books like this! – where pictures really do the narration. As for the story itself – it’s full of hope, patience, believing, and succeeding. I give a solid ‘A’ to Elly MacKay for writing and illustrating this gorgeous children’s book. (Submitted by Mariya)
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This delightful new picture book takes a look at Christmas traditions, especially that most important one – picking out and decorating the tree! Full of charming, retro illustrations, a diverse cast of loving family and friends, and lively rhyming text, it’s sure to become a holiday favourite. (Submitted by Gayle)
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This gorgeous picture book tells the story of Sami, who has had to leave his home in Syria and flee to a Refugee camp. The pictures are done in plasticine, and are so beautiful and moving. Sami had to leave behind his birds as his family ran, and he misses them so much. The story shows an gentle path towards healing both in the pictures and in the words. An eye opener for children who might never have heard of Refugee camps and what it means to be a refuge and leave your home. (Submitted by Sharleen)
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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).