Category Archives: Children’s Fiction

Dragon Books for All Ages

Image result for dealing with dragonsImagine 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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The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Image result for jumbies tracey baptiste book coverTracey 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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One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

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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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

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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The Chronicles of Harris Burdick – Chris Van Allsburg

chronicles harris burdickThis book presents a series of enigmatically titled and captioned monochrome drawings, which, if the introduction is to be believed, are the work of a shadowy artist who had abandoned them at a publisher’s office, never to return.   Chris Van Allsburg asked famous authors to write their own stories inspired by the drawings.  Each contribution has its own flavour of menace, allowing us to discover our favourites.  Mysterious, funny, creepy, poignant—these are tales you won’t soon forget written by authors from both adult and children’s literature: Sherman Alexie, M. T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself. (submitted by DS)

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The Boundless – Kenneth Oppel

boundless imageIf you love adventure, this book has it all. Trains, Sasquatch, circus and murder! It is 1888, and teenage Will Everett is aboard The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, on its maiden voyage across Canada. But all does not go well, and Will must enlist the help of fellow travelers Mr. Dorian and his Zircus Dante, along with the Maren the beautiful young wire-walker, to stop the villains before they get to the treasures in the palatial funeral car. This story has elements of steampunk and the supernatural, but at its essence, is an action-packed tale of danger and mystery that will not disappoint. Admittedly, I’m biased, as I’ll read anything by master Canadian storyteller Kenneth Oppel of Silverwing fame. (submitted by SG)

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Rooftoppers – Katherine Rundell

rooftoppers_imageThis is by far the most beautiful book I’ve read in a long while.  Katherine Rundell has an utterly unique and lyrical prose style that reminds me of Oscar Wilde. I was charmed and maybe you will be too. (submitted by LG)

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