New Books at the Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their new fall books for children with us. This month’s post is by Ann-Marie Miller, Supervising Librarian, Children’s Dept., Ruth E. Dickinson Library.

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

This is a new release from the much-loved author of Goodnight Moon and many more well-known picture books.  The text begins and ends with a memorable rhyme and the story takes us through a day in the cozy barn while the winter wind rattles outside.  Pinkney’s illustrations here are scrumptious, as always.

Take Your Turn and Time to Share by Nancy Parent; illustrated by Luigi Aimé

In large format suitable for the 3-5 year old crowd, the classic stories by Rev. Awdry are adapted in a new series: Thomas & Friends Really Useful Stories.  The stories focus on those gentle life lessons which all children must learn. 

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How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read? By Jane Yolen

How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read? By Jane Yolen; illustrated by Mark Teague

This is the new entry in the entertaining How Do Dinosaurs… series.  With big, bold, mischievous dinosaurs romping through every page and rhyming text  printed  in big well-spaced fonts, this one is sure to engage.  The end pieces provide tips for parents on teaching the alphabet and encouraging reading. 

The Bunny Band

The Bunny Band by Bill Richardson; illustrated by Roxanna Bikadoroff

A bunny caught looting badger’s garden promises to help the garden grow if he is released.  The bunny returns nightly after that with his bunny band to serenade the garden.  Magically, the harvest is grand and all share in the abundance.  A wonderful fable, well-told in rhyming text 

Where is robin

Where is Robin? by Maggie Testa; illustrated by Patrick Spaziante

This is an early reader that is sure to appeal to even the most reluctant beginner.  The story of Robin’s disappearance is told in only 100 words making it an excellent choice for starting your child’s lifelong reading adventures. 


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Unlimited Squirrels in I Lost My Tooth by Mo Willems

The creator of Elephant & Piggie, now gives us Unlimited Squirrels.  In I Lost My Tooth! , Zoom Squirrel has lost a front tooth! The Squirrels leap into action when they discover the missing tooth is a baby tooth! The book features a funny, furry adventure, bonus jokes, quirky quizzes and nutty facts. Great for the grade 1 crowd.

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Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi; illustrated by Hatem Aly

This is the first in a series of early readers featuring Yasmin Ahmad. Yasmin is a spirited second-grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers. 

Bear country: Bearly a Misadventure by Doreen Cronin

Bear country: Bearly a Misadventure by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

The chicken squad is hungry but the caretaker who feeds them is missing and there is a bear in the neighbourhood.  Doreen Cronin provides another amusing adventure for second graders.  The large fonts and many illustrations make this an easily accessible first novel. 

Magic School bus rides Again: Sink or Swim by Judy Katschke

Magic School bus rides Again: Sink or Swim by Judy Katschke

The Magic School Bus Rides Again with new chapter books for the grade 2-3 crowd to explore.  Here science facts are wrapped up in just the right amount of adventure to keep those new readers engaged.  In Sink or Swim Ms. Frizzle takes the bus under the sea and the class is sent off in their own mini-subs to explore. Will there be sharks? 

Babymouse Tales from the Locker: Lights, Camera, Middle School!

Babymouse Tales from the Locker: Lights, Camera, Middle School! By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Babymouse is back in a new series, Tales from the Locker.   The new series is in the very popular illustrated novel format.  This gives you a chance to transition your graphic novel reader to a more text-rich format while still providing plenty of visual appeal.   In this first story, Babymouse joins the middle school film club with hopes of directing a masterpiece.

Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World
by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone; illustrated by Nicholas Iluzada

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Jack and the Geniuses is a new series from Bill Nye, yes - the Science Guy.  In At the Bottom of the World, Jack and the geniuses, who are two foster children living with Jack’s family, take off to Antarctica with their neighbour, Dr. Hank, for a science competition.  When an old colleague of Dr. Hank’s goes missing on the ice, the intrigue and adventure begins.  Bill Nye makes sure that all scientific facts are accurate and there is more information about the Antarctic at the end of the book.

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel.jpg

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

This is the story of an ink blot that leaps off the page. The Rylance family is stuck. Dad's got writer's block. Ethan is troubled by a school project and Sarah pines for a puppy. One night the ink from Mr. Rylance’s drawings runs together--and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything. Kenneth Oppel is the much acclaimed author of Firewing, Sunwing and Silverwing as well as many other prizewinning novels.  Suitable for grade 4 or 5 students.

Chase: Get Ready to Run and Escape: Don’t Stop Running  by Linwood Barclay

Once your child has read Chase, they will be asking for Escape just to find out what happens to Chipper and Jeff.  Chipper is a dog that has been implanted with a computer and Jeff is the orphan son of the scientists working on the project.  Both are being chased by The Institute for the secrets they know.  Jeff and Chipper both know they will never be safe if they are captured.  Linwood Barclay is a well-known author of adult adventure.  Suitable for grade 6 to 8 students.

Chase Get Ready to Run and Escape Don’t Stop Running  by Linwood Barclay .jpg

Summer Vacation Reads from the Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Kristina Roudiy, Children’s Program Assistant at the Ottawa Public Library.

Clicking on the title will hyperlink you to the OPL Catalogue page where you can see if the book is available at your local branch, or you can put it on hold and then pick it up at your home branch when it is ready for you!

Picture book : And then Then comes Comes Summer / Tom Brenner 

For the whole family. This picture book, with colourful acrylic paint illustrations and great vocabulary, is a celebration of the Summer summer season and of all its outdoor fun : biking, trips to the lake, ice cream treats, games of hide-and-seek, lemonade stand, bugs, fireworks, and more!

 

Picture book : How to code a sandcastle / Josh Funk

For ages 4-6. Pearl is spending her Summer summer at the beach. Her attempts to build a sandcastle have, so far, been unsuccessful, so she decides to involve her robot Pascal, giving him step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately, the incoming tide gets in the way of their perfect castle... but all the better chance for the pair to repeat the sequences and to end up building a whole kingdom instead! A smart introduction to coding and programming basics, through a funny story.

Chapter book : Amelia Bedelia Makes a Splash / Herman Parish

For ages 6-9. In this 11th book in the series, Amelia finds herself attending an all-girls camp that her mother also used to go to. Even though the camp is old-fashioned and can't compete with the computer camp that her cousin Jason is attending on the other side of the lake, Amelia is determined to have a good time. She will take on the challenge of swimming in freezing water and learn survival skills! Amelia Bedelia's adventures will surely appeal to fans of "Judy Moody" and "Ivy & Bean.".

 

Graphic novel : Mighty Jack / Ben Hatke

For ages 9-12. This is volume 1... theThe sequel is called "Mighty Jack and the Goblin King." In this modern-day reimagining of "Jack and the Beanstalk,", Jack is the oldest child of a divorced single mom doing her best to keep the family fed. Contrary to most children, Jack does not look forward to Summer summertime, because that's when he has to look after his autistic sister, Maddy, while their mother juggles two jobs. Maddy never speaks...that is, until the day they visit a flea market and she insists on buying some mysterious seeds. What starts as a normal garden behind the house quickly grows into a wild, magical jungle with biting pumpkins and... a dragon! Soon, Jack has to involve their home-schooled neighbour Lilly, whose sword-wielding hobby might come in handy.

Chapter book : Dingus / Andrew Larson

For middle-grade readers. Soon-to-be-6th-grader Henry lives with his stay-at-home father and his toddler brother Sam. When school ends, Henry's best friend Max goes away to chess camp, while Henry stays home for a "staycation.". Henry thinks his Summer summer vacation will be quite boring, until he finds out that he gets to dog-sit his grandfather's dog daily. But will Henry manage not to make a fool (or dingus) of himself? A believable story about growing up and becoming responsible... a fun Summer summer read.

Graphic novel : The Time Museum / Matthew Loux

For ages 10-13. In this graphic novel packed with time-travel adventures and goofiness, we meet Delia Bean, a girl who loves science and history. When Uncle Lyndon invites Delia's family over for a Summer summer visit, she discovers that he's actually a curator at the Earth Time Museum and that she could apply for a prestigious Summer job there if she wins the internship competition. Little does she know that she will get to meet to young people from all of human history, including a girl from 23rd-century Japan and a boy from the Roman era, and will have to defend the Time Museum itself!

Be Who You Are with Todd Parr

If you're not familiar with children's book author and illustrator, Todd Parr then this post will introduce you to a colourful way to educate and entertain young children who love books. Todd has written and published over 30 colourful children's books that teach children about kindness, acceptance and feeling good about themselves.

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I first discovered Todd's books when a friend gave my daughter The Daddy Book as a third birthday gift. Like his other books, this story is told through simple yet colourful illustrations and easy to read and understand sentences. In The Daddy Book he tells the story of different dads, including how some "daddies work at home" and "some daddies work far away." 

All of Todd's books celebrate what makes someone special, whether that person be a parent, a family or a child - including the reader themselves! The books also encourage early literacy, multiculturalism, promote character growth and strengthen friendships and relationships. Every book is cheerful and leaves the reader feeling good about themselves - and who doesn't love that? 

Although my daughter reads chapter books on her own now, she still loves Todd Parr's books and we plan on passing on our love of his books to other young children in our family. It was with this in mind that I was excited to hear Todd will be publishing a new children's book in October called, Be Who You Are.

Be old. Be young.
Speak your language. Be proud of where you’re from.

Just BE WHO YOU ARE!

I reached out to Todd and asked him a few questions about where he gets his inspiration from and what his new book is all about. Here is what he had to say:

Q. What is your inspiration for writing so many books about situations and lives that impact so many children? 

A. A lot of this stems from my childhood. I struggled with so many issues I write about. I was always trying to be like everyone else instead of just being who I was. I think the more you can help build children’s confidence and teach them about kindness, difference, and being different will make them better human beings. 

Q. Your messages for kids are so powerful! My daughter and I own several of your books, including The Family Book, The Daddy Book, The Mommy Book and It’s Okay to be Different - and just when I think you have run out of ideas you come out with another topical book! What is the inspiration behind your newest book, Be Who You Are

A. Thank you. This is something that took me years to learn when I was growing up. Finally, I realized that I needed to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be myself. Things got a lot easier after that. 

Todd Parr - Be who you are

Q. I love your use of humour and your colourful art style to get your message across - where does it come from? 

A. My dad, he was always doing stuff to make me laugh. I rely on humour as well as my simple art style to better help me deliver the messages I write about given that some are hard for younger children to understand. And the word underwear makes every kid laugh. 

Q. What is one of your favourite books from those you have written so far? 

A. "The Goodbye Book." It took me so long to come up with a way to help deal with loss. This book is so simple and matter of fact. I’ve seen how it’s helped kids deal with “goodbye” but also every year old adults. 

Q. Growing up, did you find it hard to be who you are? 

A. Yes, I did not fit in. I was not interested in most things that the rest of the kids were. I grew up in a very small town which did not make things any easier. 

Q. Who was your favourite children’s author growing up? 

A. Dr. Suess.

Q. Any chance of coming to Canada (Ottawa in particular) to speak to a few local schools who I know would love to hear you?

A. I love Canada! I’ve been to several cities there. In November I will be speaking at a teachers conference in Edmonton. Hopefully, I can make it to Ottawa one day soon. 

Special thanks to Todd for answering my questions!

I'd love to know if any of our readers are Todd Parr fans and if so, what's your favourite Todd Parr book? You can add Be Who You Are to your book shelves on October 26th.

10 Classic Kids Books for Summer Reading

My daughter is now reading on her own, but before she insisted on reading herself to sleep we would read chapter books together, many of which I read as a child. I find the school year a busy time for kids to read books outside of those needed for school. Summer is the perfect time to break out classic books and share them with a new generation of young minds.

You don't have to break the bank purchasing these books either! The Ottawa Public Library is a great resource and even if a book is not available at your local branch, you can request it and have it transferred to your branch (which usually only takes a couple of days if the book is already available).

Besides the traditional 19th century classics such as Little Women, Black Beauty and The Swiss Family Robinson there are many contemporary children’s books that have also made the classics list, including:

1) Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

Ramona and Beezus

Can you believe Beverly Cleary turned 100 years old this year? Her Ramona books, however are as timeless as ever. Ramona and Beezus is the first in the series of Ramona books and starts when Ramona is only 4 years old. Ramona is a great reminder of how important it is for kids to have the run of their neighbourhoods and also get into a little mischief sometimes. Ramona is a perfect book to start reading with emerging readers or as a first chapter book for more independent readers.

2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

With the release of the movie version of The BFG this summer, why not introduce your kids to Roald Dahl’s other classics including Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the first novel read by my daughter’s second grade class and she couldn’t put it down (and I often had to remove it from her bed at night). It was THE book that made my daughter love reading.

3) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web

What’s not to love in this beautiful story of true friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte A. Cavatica, his spider saviour. Although the ending may draw tears, the power of friendship plays an important part in this book and is a story any child will carry with them for a long time to come.

4) Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

 My daughter and I started reading this one together when she was five – she was instantly engrossed in the magic and possibility of Harry Potter. She immediately cheered for the underdog (in this case, Harry) and loved seeing him so confident doing what he does best – magic! She hasn’t read the others yet, but we have them in the house and she says when she’s ready for more “magic” she knows where to find them. I like the Harry Potter books because they are enjoyable for readers of all ages and because it’s fun to use the word “muggles” and have your children know what you are referring to.

5) Holes by Louis Sachar

 A great book about building self-confidence told through a mysterious and engaging story of Stanley who is sent to Camp Green Lake where he and the other campers are forced to dig holes every day. Holes is a fun book for kids heading to camp (even though Stanley’s is a juvenile detention camp, but don’t worry he didn’t commit a crime). I read this book in university for a children’s literature course and finished it in one sitting – not because of its length so much as the interesting story.

6) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables

 An undeniable Canadian classic, Anne of Green Gables is a lighthearted read at any age; not to mention it’s the perfect accompaniment if you are planning a family vacation to Prince Edward Island this summer. Anne is an outgoing girl who is sure to win the hearts of anyone who reads her triumphant story of convincing her adoptive parents that they need her and how she makes everyone fall in love with her partly due to all of the humorous situations she finds herself in.

7) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

If you have a strong reader in the house then The Secret Garden may be of interest. It’s about young Mary Lennox who’s lonely beginning make her appear rude, but thanks to a good-natured maid, Mary discovers a secret walled garden and unlocks all its mysteries. This story teaches the value of friendship and the healing power of being surrounded by nature and living things. It’s a beautifully told story that will have children looking for secret gardens of their own!

8) Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

This book was my absolute favourite growing up! Pollyanna is an optimistic young orphan who lives with her wealthy but strict Aunt Polly. Pollyanna finds the positive in everything – including being locked up in an attic and even after an accident causes her to lose the use of both of her legs. Although it sounds a bit dark, the story of Pollyanna teaches children to look for the good in any situation and cannot help but make you feel happy, even at the end of a hard day.

9) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Narnia

For many kids The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is their introduction to the fantasy novel. It’s the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series and is sure to hold the attention of even the most reluctant of readers. Four children discover the magic land of Narnia through a wardrobe in an old country house. Once there they discover talking animals, a witch and a seemingly permanent winter world... what ensues is an adventure sure to lastingly stick in the minds of anyone who reads it.

10) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Remember the first time you travelled down the Yellow Brick Road? Why not share the girl with ruby red shoes, her little dog, and her magical friends with a new generation of inquisitive readers?  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is full of timeless humour, wisdom and, of course, mystery and adventure!

Bonus: 

11) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

 Although Lemony Snicket is a pen name, this harried writer tells the story of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire who lost their parents in a fire. Through a series of 13 books, Lemony shares how, following the fire, the children are placed with a murderous relative who is trying to steal their inheritance and the adventures that soon develop because of it. Throughout it all, Snicket tries to dissuade the reader from continuing… but of course he fails because the story is too engaging to not continue reading!

Do you have a classic children’s book we should know about? Share it in the comments!

YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD LOVES TO READ WHEN... :)

YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD LOVES TO READ WHEN... :)

 

Flash Back: Kindness Week

Kindness Week 2012 starts today, so we're republishing this post from last year. What do you have planned to teach your children about being kind to others next week? by Rebecca

This week is Kindness Week in Ottawa and a great time to talk about being kind with your children.  The Kindness Week website has a list of some ideas and ways to be kind and there are events throughout the week that your family can participate in.

One of the events that can happen at any time is Stop, Drop and Read.  The Ottawa Public Library has partnered with the United Way Ottawa to support this literacy program.  You are encouraged to stop and read to anyone, at anytime – at a play group, at a seniors home and especially with your children.

What will you do this week to be kind?

Below are some children’s books and videos about kindness that you can find at Chapters or possibly your local library.

Rebecca blogs at A Little bit of Momsense and A Little bit of Foodsense.  She is once again blogging for Kindness Week and hopes to encourage kindness year round.