October 2019 booklist from the Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their new books for children with us. This month’s post is by Kristina Roudiy, Children's Program & Public Service Assistant at the Alta Vista branch of the Ottawa Public Library

Picture book: Find Spot at the library / 2019

For ages 1-3.
Some of you might remember reading Spot’s adventures as a child. The first books in the series were published in the 1980’s. The books have since been reedited. This is the latest Spot the dog board book! Spot explores a library and, as always, plays hide-and-seek with the reader.

Picture book: The book hog / 2019

For ages 3-5.
The author of The Watermelon Seed is back with another brightly-coloured title. In this one, the main character, a pig, loves his scooter and…books. But he has a secret: he does not know how to read them! Until, one day, he meets a whole community of book lovers and a dedicated librarian at his local branch. The illustrations reflect the story in that the books first look blurry, and once the pig learns how to read, they start having lines & titles (some of which the readers will recognize!).

Picture book: The night library / 2019

For ages 3-7.
This is the story of a young boy who receives a book for his eighth birthday. He is less than thrilled with the gift, since he is a reluctant reader. But his interest in reading will be rekindled once he finds himself into a dream where the two lion statues from the New York Public Library come to life and take him onto a magical exploration of the various library rooms. The art in this picture book will make readers feel like going to visit the New York library building! Classic references are also hidden in the illustrations: The-cat-in-the-hat, Peter Rabbit, the Polar Express.

Non-fiction: Planting stories: the life of librarian and storyteller Pura Bulpré

For ages 4-7.
This brightly-coloured picture book tells the true story of a Puerto Rican woman, Pura Bulpré, who starts working at the New York Public Library and finds out that there is not a single book on the shelf about Latin American culture. She decides to write her own books and to share stories with the Storytime families. Soon, she travels across the country to present and to inspire.

Early Reader: Otter: I love books! / 2019

For ages 5-7.
If you don’t know Otter, you ought to start with the introduction title: “I am Otter”! The Ottawa Public Library owns 7 titles in the series. This is Otter’s latest adventure. He feels like going to somewhere fun, like the circus or the sea, but his keeper takes him to… a library.

Chapter book: The library of ever / 2019

For ages 7-9.
Science fiction novel. Eleven-year-old girl Lenora thought accompanying her nanny to the public library would be pretty boring -that is, until she walks into the library and somehow finds a magic portal to a very special library that contains the knowledge of the whole universe. There, Lenora is given the job of Apprentice Librarian and has to fight the Forces of Darkness.

An excellent, timely, book for initiating a discussion about intellectual freedom and censorship. 

Chapter book : The book case : an Emily Lime mystery / 2019

For ages 8-11.
Mystery novel set in England in the 1950’s. Daphne arrives at St Rita’s and finds out that it’s a rather unconventional boarding school. The classrooms are numbered in a random manner and the head librarian is nowhere to be seen. Daphne becomes friends with library assistant Emily and student George. Together, they decide to investigate a library break-in and a missing student.

Chapter book: The library shelves: an interactive mystery adventure / 2019

For ages 7-11.
During their field trip to the local public library, grade 6 schoolfriends Catalina, Edward, James and Samantha notice a scratching sound, as well as some yellow bookmarks sticking out of library books. Do they follow the source of the sound, or do they collect the bookmarks with riddles on them? Your choice! This is a “Choose your own story” book, with 12 possible endings.

Chapter book: Property of the rebel librarian / 2018

For ages 8-12.
This is the story of twelve-year-old June who decides to start an underground library in her school locker, when their school library bans the majority of the books from their shelves. But her boyfriend Graham does not understand her activism and joins in the censorship. How will June manage, especially once her loan log goes missing? Good food-for-thought on book banning. 

For ages 6-12.
Children are well familiar with the “You wouldn’t want…” non-fiction series, as the Ottawa Public Library has about 70 titles in their collection, covering topics such as : inventions, history, nature, science, health, biographies, and more. This newly published title uses fun cartoon graphics to depict how libraries have become a space for the community to share and to be together.

By the way, did you know that October is “Library Month”? The Ottawa Public Library takes the opportunity every year in October to hide and give away Golden Tickets. For more information, click here : https://bit.ly/2o9wk9y  

Library Recommended Kids’ Books For Remembrance Day

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their new fall books for children with us. This month’s post is by Kristina Roudiy, Children's Program & Public Service Assistant at the Alta Vista branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

Remembrance Day is an important event for Canadians of all ages. It is also an ideal opportunity to have thoughtful discussions with kids, not only about the sacrifices made by others, but also about conflict, war and peace. To help get the discussion started, take a look at the following books that can be found at the Ottawa Public Library. Simply click on the book title for more information about each book.

Picture book: Proud as a peacock, brave as a lion

For ages 5+. In this picture book, a young boy asks his grandfather questions when he sees him getting ready for Remembrance Day. The grandfather explains why he fought in World War II, using animal idioms to describe how he felt or acted. A lovely story to read with younger children.

Non-fiction picture book: A bear in war

For ages 6-8. Aileen, 10 years old, sent her teddy bear to her father, who was serving as a medic in Belgium during World War I. Teddy followed the father everywhere, and was with him also when he died on the battleground.

In the sequel to that book, Bear on the homefront, Aileen is now a nurse serving on the homefront during World War II, and this time Teddy keeps company to some British children sent away from the war zone and travelling by train to their host families.

These are based on true stories, and you can see that toy bear at the War Museum in Ottawa!

Non-fiction picture book: Rags, hero dog of World War I

For ages 6-9. This book will appeal to dog lovers as well as elementary school students interested in the history of World War I. It tells the story of Rags, a dog who was found in the streets of Paris by an American soldier, and who ended up following him into the trenches and serving as a messenger. 

Non fiction book: Dazzle ships : World War I and the art of confusion

For ages 7-11. During World War I, British warships were routinely targeted by the Germans, which threatened to cause starvation in the UK. An artist called Norman Wilkinson came up with the brilliant idea of painting the ships with wild designs and uneven patterns, thus confusing the periscopes and the most experienced sailors. The illustrations soften the wartime theme, while the text provides historical facts and emphasizes the role that artists & women played in the war.

Special picture book: The eleventh hour / Jules et Jim

For ages 7-10. This is the story of Jules and Jim, childhood friends who end up serving together in World War I. Cartoonist Goldstyn uses gentle comics to tell the moving story of the very last Canadian soldier to die in World War I, at 10:58 am on November 11th. This book also covers the theme of friendship, being different, and going at a different pace than other children. This is a new book that is available in both English and French (so a great read for French immersion families!)

Novel : Winnie's great war

For ages 8-12. A follow-up to award-winner picture book Finding Winnie. Did you know that Winnie the Pooh was originally Winnipeg, a Canadian bear adopted by Captain Colebourn and the unofficial mascot of the infantry brigade? The bear then travelled overseas, all the way to the London Zoo, where he met Christopher Robin Milne. This story will appeal to animal lovers as well as those interested in good historical descriptions.

Graphic novel : Where beagles dare

Did you know that the comic strip Peanuts has been one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, and that it has been translated into 21 different languages in 75 countries?

In this book, Snoopy is recruited for a World War I top-secret mission while on holiday in France.  

Silver Birch Award : The Vimy Oaks : a journey of peace

For ages 7-12. This is the story of Lieutenant Leslie H.Miller, a Canadian soldier, who picked up a handful of acorns and mailed them home. Over the following one hundred years, those acorns became majestic oaks on the Miller’s family farm in Ontario. In April 2017, seedlings from these oaks were repatriated to Vimy Ridge - as a living legacy of hope, remembrance and renewal.   

Non fiction book: Spies of World War I; an interactive history adventure

For ages 9-12. This is a “choose your own adventure” book, which uses real facts from World War I espionage. It offers 43 choices and 21 different endings! Contains interesting black & white photos.

Thriller novel: The Button War: a Tale of the Great War

For ages 10-14. This story takes place in a Polish village during World War I. One night, the Germans drop a bomb on the local school, making it real that war has come to the village. Jurek, a 12-year old boy, dares his friends to steal the shiniest and most intricately designed military button, to become “king”. The game turns deadly… Told from another boy’s perspective, the novel captures the way that war can forever alter a child’s sense of morality and security in the world.

"Go - Bon Voyage" to the Ottawa Public Library this summer (part 2)

By  Xiao Feng Xing - Youth Collections Librarian at the Ottawa Public Library  Here's part 2 of this year’s Summer Reading Club. The “Go – Bon Voyage” travel theme encourages children to go on their reading journey to places near and far and explore anywhere or anything.

Cocca-Leffler, Maryann: A Vacation for Pooch, Henry Holt, 2013

Untitled5Violet felt very sad. She can’t bring her dog with her on her vacation to Florida. Her dog has to stay behind on vacation at her grandfather’s farm. Before she leaves on her vacation, she packed two bags: one for her dog and the other for herself. But Violet accidentally takes her dog’s bag. Will Violet and her dog both be okay for their vacations? This book describes the emotions that come with separation from a loved one.  You could pair this with a book from the Toot & Puddle series by Holly Hobbie.

Smith, Mike: The Hundred Decker Bus, Macmillan, 2013

Untitled6You might have taken a ride on a double-decker bus in Ottawa. Can you imagine what would happen when you take a ride on a hundred-decker bus? The giant fold-out bus at the end of this book will give you a big surprise too!


Koolen Maayken: The Kidnapping of Mona Lisa,  Clavis, 2012

Untitled7Fans of Where’s Waldo will enjoy this super searchable book that has a great mystery detective plot. Five thieves have stolen Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting the Mona Lisa. Join officer Rat and officer Wolf who chase the thieves through the most beautiful cities in the Europe: Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. You’ll see lots of famous buildings and landmarks as you solve the mystery in this wordless giant book.

Gravett, Emily: Meerkat Mail, Macmillan, 2006 

Untitled8Sunny is a meerkat, a squirrel-size member of the mongoose family, who lives in the desert in Africa. Of course it’s very dry and very hot in the desert. Sunny’s family motto is “Stay safe, stay together." However, Sunny wishes he could live somewhere else. So he packs his suitcase and goes on a trip to visit his mongoose relatives - from Monday to Saturday - to search for the perfect home. He sends postcard to his parents every day during his trip. The text and illustrations on the postcards are full of humour and delight.  In the end, Sunny realizes that his own family is the best, and that there’s no place like home.Children will love how most of the story is told through flip-the-flap postcards featuring stamps and postmarks.

Falconer, Ian: Olivia goes to Venice, Atheneum Books, 2010

Untitled9In this book, Ian Falconer tells the story of a little pig, Olivia, and her family, and their travels to Venice. They enjoy gelato (ice-cream), taking a gondola ride, and looking for the perfect souvenir to remember Venice. Olivia takes a stone from the Bell Tower as her perfect souvenir, causing the monument to tumble down!

Familiar drawings of Olivia and family as well as photos of the real Venice are digitally combined to create a fresh illustration experience. Pair this one with Froggy goes to Hawaii to see how your favourite characters spend their vacations.

Come into one of the Ottawa Public Library’s 33 branches and bookmobiles to sign up for the TD Summer Reading Club all summer long. Pick up your “passport” and activity book as well as delightful stickers. You can also enter your sticker codes at www.tdsummerreadingclub.ca  to reveal rewards.


Let the children’s imagination soar with books this summer

Every month, we receive a selection of books recommended by the Ottawa Public Library for children. This month, they’ve provided us with audio book suggestions in the spirit of the coming summer months and inevitable travel. These are for the 8-12 year olds in your life. Enjoy! The TD Summer Reading Club is a free program for kids that is hosted at public libraries across Canada every year. Those who register for the club will receive a free poster, an activity book, and stickers with secret codes. These codes will unlock rewards online. This year’s theme is Imagine. And kids can sign up all summer long at 33 branches of Ottawa Public Library!

The children’s fun has just begun when they join the TD Summer Reading Club. There is also a ton of exciting library programs waiting for kids to practice their literacy imaginary power at Ottawa Public Libraries.

Let the children’s imagination soar with these exciting books throughout the summer!

Me and My Dragon

By: David Biedrzycki

Children will like this funny imaginative story of having a bright-red, not-too-scary dragon as a pet.  A boy shares ways to take proper care of it, such as going to the vet for a checkup, and what they’d do together to clear snow from neighbour’s driveway, or how to frighten away bullies. It also contains some comedy cautionary advice “But don’t give them broccoli. It gives them gas. And you don’t want a fire-breathing dragon with gas”.

Mr. Benn-Red Knight

By: David McKee

Mr. Benn searched the shops for something to wear for a fancy dress party. He found a tiny old shop which was packed with strange costumes.  After taking the red armour and going through the fitting room door, he found that he had travelled back in time to a medieval world. There he was as a real red knight, with a white horse, by a castle, along with and a poor dragon who had been banished from the castle by the King because of the matchmaker’s rumour. Mr. Benn soon finds himself on a quest-like endeavor and helps the dragon get back the kingdom to be King’s fire-lighter, and puts the evil matchmaker into the dungeon. When he walks through another door, he’s magically transported back to his real life again.

The story is full of time travel, knights and dragons, with great plots, wonderful characters, and charming narration.

Mitchell’s License

By: Hallie Durand Illustrated by Tony Fucile When three-year-old Mitchell is reluctant to go to bed, his father issues him a driver’s license and he gets to drive his father to bed. He cleans the windshield (his dad's glasses), kicks the tires (his slippers), shifts into reverse by pulling on his father’s ear, and beeps the horn by bonking his nose. But when Mitchell insists the tank is empty and cookies are the fuel, his dad takes control to ensure the road to sleep is safe and smooth, and an incredibly entertaining ride.

The woods

By Hoppe, Paul When a boy can't find his stuffed bunny at bedtime, he heads to the woods which are conveniently right next door to his bedroom. Along his journey he meets a number of strange creatures, from a three-headed dragon to giants, and even a monster. It turns out that they are just as frightened as he is and need a little help of their own. In the end, the creatures are eventually revealed to be the boy’s own stuffed animals scattered on his bedroom floor.

Sharks vs. Train

By: Chris Barton Illustrated by: Tom Lichtenheld Two young boys go to the toy box to select toys for playtime. One chooses a train and the other a shark. So begins a series of hilarious and imaginative contests on a seesaw, in hot air balloons, bowling, shooting baskets, and more. Who will win - shark or train? Well, the answer depends on the contest.  If it’s underwater, the shark will surely triumph. But who will win roasting marshmallows? The train will be winner every time. Neither the shark nor the train are very good at playing hide and seek or playing video games. "Sure would help if we had thumbs" one of them says. Just when the competitors can't bear it any longer,  Mom calls out, “boys, lunch!” it’s time to for a little break… until next time.

Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit

By Chris  Van Dusen, Randy likes space, robots, and baseball. But he is not very good at baseball at all. One night he sees a fireball that is headed right for his town! No one believes his warnings, so he utilizes all his science and mathematical skills to build a giant robot to hit the fireball back into space and saved his own town and the world.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

By: William Steig

One rainy day, Sylvester the donkey finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But in a moment of fright caused by a lion, he asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock. The trouble is, now he can’t hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again. This is a joyful story about a little monkey finally being reunited with his loving family and being changed back from rock to his own donkey self. The winner of the 1970 Caldecott Medal is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

By: Crockett Johnson One night after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. But there wasn’t any moon. So he uses his purple crayon to draw a moon. Then he draws a path, and then he sketches a boat, and then he finds himself in deep water! This story shows just how far your imagination can take you.


By Rossell, Judith Oliver likes to ask many questions. So when his mother cannot explain the gurgling in the tub drain, he builds a cardboard box submarine, goes down the drain to investigate what’s going on there. He finds a cruise ship filled with vacationing penguins that can fly. Oliver’s imaginary adventures finally take him back home where he decides to build a jet pack.

Winnie in Space

Thomas, Valerie Three, two, one ... whoosh! Winnie (The witch) and Wilbur (the cat) are on an amazing journey to zoom into outer space! Dodging satellites, shooting stars, and flying saucers, Winnie soon finds a lovely little planet for their picnic. But when some space rabbits nibble their magical rocket away, Winnie needs a wand-full of magic to save the day!

On My Way to the Bath

By Maizes, Sarah Baths are boring. Anything is more fun than a bath. That’s why on her way to the bath. Livi is a snake! Slinking and sliding. Or she’s a gymnast. See her perfect cartwheel? Now she’s a jungle cat, stalking her prey. The only thing Livi isn’t is in the bath … yet. Once Livi gets into the tub, she doesn’t want to get out. She suddenly sees that baths aren’t so boring after all: “I’m a shark …”

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E-books are not just for adults

by Karen I can't remember quite how I found them, but about a year and a half ago I ran across some iPod/iPad apps that are nothing short of brilliant. While I'm okay with Brandon playing games sometimes, I don't want these tools to become primarily a mode of entertainment. So, it made my day to see Sandra Boynton books listed in the iTunes App store. The first one I bought was Moo, Baa, La La La!

iTunes | Moo, Baa, La La La!

The book was so cute and interactive that I bought two other Boynton books practically right away. It was a no-brainer. The apps are less expensive than buying the books at Chapters.

iTunes | Blue Hat, Green Hat

iTunes | The Going to Bed Book

The Going to Bed Book is the cutest of the three Boynton books, in my humble opinion. My favourite part is when the bathroom steams up as the animals are running water to get ready for bed. Brandon wipes the "steam" off the iPad. It's brilliant, I tell you!

iTunes | Harold and the Purple Crayon

Last Christmas, I stumbled upon Harold and the Purple Crayon. I had to add it to our e-book collection for Brandon. The app really brings the drawing part of the book alive.

iTunes | the Monster at the end of this Book

Another favourite is the Monster at the end of this Book. That brick wall that Grover builds to keep you from turning the page? Brandon gets to knock it down with his finger. How fun is that!? Grover tells the story himself, getting more and more agitated with every turn of the page. It pulls you right in.

iTunes | The Very Cranky Bear

By far, Brandon's favourite of all (for now), is The Very Cranky Bear. He was introduced to it at daycare recently and this book has single-handedly changed his whole outlook on going to daycare. It's adorable. If you haven't read it to your child, you should. The app is not quite as interactive as some of the others, but adding any more would likely distract from the story which is too fun to miss. Brandon walks around the house roaring all the time now. :)

I think it's fantastic that book publishers are creating e-books for children like this. It gets them even more engaged with the story and it hasn't taken away from Brandon's enjoyment of a good, old-fashioned bound book either.

Have you ever bought e-books for your children? Does it enhance their reading experience like you expected?


Karen Wilson is a wife to Matt and mom to Brandon (4), who blogs about her life at Karen’s Chronicles. She can be found at Wellman Wilson, helping business use social media more effectively. Lately, she's also busy planning a little conference.