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October 2017 Staff Picks

Andrea’s Pick: Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende

take good careHow does an active athlete and newly published writer from tiny Haines, Alaska respond after a near-fatal bicycle accident with a truck?  Lende charts her own experience of healing with faith, humour, and honesty.  Each chapter reads like a short, reflective vignette, full of wonder and gratitude for family, community, and life itself.

Andrea’s Pick: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

 wonderThis story follows Auggie (a boy with a rare facial deformity who is going to school for the first time) and his peers and classmates.  It is a perfect book for group discussions as we meet and learn about lots of characters and how they all respond to Auggie’s school debut. What do we do with uncomfortable people or situations?  In the end, everybody has a story.

Brenda’s Pick: The ministry of utmost happiness by Arundhati Roy

ministryThis novel is dedicated to “the unconsoled” by the author and is beautifully written but it is an uneasy read. As I got to know the characters I realized that I could never truly identify with the hardships that poverty and war brought to them. The central love story of Tilo is deep and complex and intertwines with a colourful group of Hijras living in New Delhi. Everything else revolves around Anjum, one of the Hijras, who lives an uncommon and edgy life in a graveyard. The story line is not a straight one, but well worth following.

Deb’s Pick: Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix

apples and robinsApples and Robins is a playful book, beautifully written. “All you need for a bird is three bright triangles like the robin’s whistle and a red oval like its round red breast.” Cut out shapes overlay, page over page, to reveal vibrant, very familiar objects. By experiencing this mesmerizing book, a child can understand the visual potential of basic shapes.

Deb’s Pick: Sea Change by Frank Viva

sea changeEliot is teetering on teen-hood when his parents ship him east to spend a summer with his uncle in remote Pt. Aconi, Nova Scotia. Eliot is certain the province is filled with “wrinkly old relatives who smell like fish.” These misgivings are confirmed, then tossed overboard by summer’s end. Eliot becomes a character worth his salt. Sea Change is a contemporary coming of age story, simply and honestly told and illustrated with great imagination and humour by Frank Viva.

Deb’s Pick: Triangle by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

triangleTriangle is a tale of trickery and unwitting (calculated?) revenge for the preschool mindset. It is a practical story too. A 2-legged triangle can goof around in a square doorway but a 2-legged square gets stuck in a triangular entrance, simple as that! The illustrations in this book are a hoot.

Joanne’s Pick: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

unwantedsThis is the first book of a children’s fantasy series filled with adventure and many surprises.  In Quill, every year all the 13 year-olds are sorted into three groups -the Wanted, Necessary and Unwanted.  The children that are Wanted are sent to school or they train for the Quillitary.  The children that are Necessary become laborers and the Unwanted are sent to be eliminated.  Alex is labeled Unwanted and expects to die, while his twin brother Aaron has been chosen as a Wanted.  When Alex and the rest of the Unwanted are enclosed in the death farm to meet their fate, they find that what they have really entered is a magical place of beauty and freedom in the care of a wonderful magician.

Mark’s Pick: The Elves and the Shoemaker by The Brothers Grimm

elves Jim La Marche has brought to life this classical children’s story about two kind elves who help a poor shoemaker as he sleeps at night. The beautiful illustrations in this book help adult readers to rediscover this tale and are a great means of introducing the story to children.

Megan’s Pick: Susceptible by Genevieve Castree

susceptibleThis graphic novel gives an honest look at one girl’s life as she grows up between two separated parents, two cultures, and two parts of Canada. The book spans from Goglu’s childhood to her experiences as a young adult. Genevieve doesn’t sugar coat how hard life can be for many kids lives whose lives are more chaos and less calm. All-in-all this is an engaging and moving story with spectacular illustrations.

Megan’s Pick: This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

this one summerRemember how awkward those phases of life are when you’re hovering between childhood and being a teenager, or teenager and being an adult? Cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki capture those phases and moments so perfectly for the characters in This One Summer. Whether it’s moments of lust for the boy working at the video rental shop, or overhearing gossip of teenage pregnancy, the Tamakis highlight the push and pull of growing up. In addition to a compelling story, this graphic novel has some of the most beautiful illustrations I’ve seen. They create amazing movement and action, while being simple too.