"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.


Winterlude, Winter Sports

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Sue Townley from the Sunnyside Branch.


Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
Tacky the penguin is back to compete at the penguin winter Olympics. While the other penguins train and prepare Tacky is his usual lazy self and continues to sleep through the exercises and eat all his favourite foods, pizza, chips doughnuts. In the end Tacky saves the day and leads his team to victory in his fun and zany way. A fun read aloud, especially during winter Olympics years.


Pearl’s New Skates by Holly Keller
Pearl receives a pair of skates for her birthday and can’t wait to try them out. She practices her twirls and spins and dreams of how she will gracefully skate over the lake. When the lake finally freezes over she joyfully heads out to skate. She soon learns that it is not as easy as she thought, as she falls head over heels and soon wants to give up. With some encouragement from her Uncle Jack she learns about persistence and succeeds in enjoying herself skating.


Hans Brinker by Bruce Coville
A beautifully illustrated picture book version of the classic Mary Mapes Dodge tale. This version is much shortened but keeps the key elements of the original story. Hans bravely finds medical help for his father, finds his family’s missing money, and shows his strength of character during the famous skating race. The illustrations by Laurel Long contribute to the classic, nostalgic feel of the book. A magical wintery classic for the older reader.


Polar Skater by Sally Grindley
With charming, fanciful illustrations by Heli Hieta the reader is captured by the joy of a young girl learning to skate by herself for the first time. She slides off into an imaginary winter world filled with walrus’, polar bears, wolves and snow geese. Her happiness is contagious and the reader is swept up into the wonder of winter. With rhyming text this book makes a wonderful wintery read aloud for the preschool set.


The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
With talk of the Elfstadentocht taking place this year in Holland this is a perfect read to introduce young readers to the excitement of long distance skating. Set in 1941 in war torn Holland, we are introduced to ten year old Piet who must help his young neighbours escape from the Nazis, who have imprisoned their father for passing messages to the Allies. Piet, a strong skater, leads them along the canals the sixteen kilometres between Sluis and Brugge, Belgium, outwitting German soldiers. In the story we learn about Pim Mueller, the founder of the Elfstadentocht, the Eleven City race that takes place on the canals of Holland on winters the weather allows the 200 kilometre race to take place. Filled with action and tension this is a good read aloud for the older reader.


Sam the Zamboni Man by James Stevenson
Young Matt comes to visit his grandfather, a zamboni driver, in this charming intergenerational tale. Matt has never seen a hockey game or a zamboni and when his grandfather takes him to see his first game his gets to see how important his grandfather is. His grandfather, a former hockey player, awes Matt with not only his zamboni driving skills but his skating skills as well, when he takes Matt to visit the stadium on a quiet night. The highlight of the trip is when Matt gets an opportunity to drive the zamboni himself. His grandfather promises to teach him to skate and play hockey next time he comes for a visit. This combination of hockey and machinery will surely be a hit with younger hockey fans.


Just One Goal by Robert Munsch
Robert Munsch and hockey is a perfect combination. A fun filled story of a girl named Ciara who desperately wants a hockey rink on the river so that she does not have to go all the way across town to play hockey. With a bit of determination and some help from her father she builds that rink and everyone comes out to play. Somehow Ciara’s team cannot seem to win a game and by the final game Ciara is determined to score the winning goal. She is in a race with spring to get her goal before spring melts her rink. A rollicking, action filled tale by one of Canada’s great storytellers.


Sophie Skates by Rachael Isadora
Rachael Isadora, best known for her ballet stories, turns her attention to the world of figure skating. Sophie, age eight, is determined to become a professional figure skater. Sophie’s day begins at 5:00 a.m., with skating lessons and continues through school and then back to the rink to skate some more. This book is an excellent balance between story and information with details about how to properly tie skates and ice-skating moves. With action filled illustrations this is a nice introduction to the hard work and dedication required of a young athlete.

Ottawa Public Library: Treasures for the Little Ones in Orleans

by Isabelle I still remember going to the library with my mom as a preschooler. I don't know how often we went, but I do know that every time we did, I took out a huge stash of books, often the same ones over and over again. Now that I have my own preschooler, I love our library trips. We are huge readers, and going to the library means that we're getting a little variety in terms of bedtime stories. With four books every night, we go through them pretty quickly.

My local branch of the Ottawa Public Library  is on Orleans Boulevard. It has a good selection of books for preschoolers in both English and French. There's also a smaller section of board books, again in both languages, for babies and toddlers. The children's section at the Orleans branch has kid-sized tables and chairs as well as a rocking chair for moms and dads.

This particular branch offers a number of different programs for kids of all ages. For instance, it offers several sessions of Babytime and Toddler Time each week, with stories, songs and games for the tiniest library aficionados. For preschoolers, the Orleans branch offers Storytime sessions on weekdays, and older kids (6-9) are invited to special events at the library, such as the Springfun program in April, where kids will hear a story, do a craft and participate in other activities. All of these programs are identified as "bilingual" on the library site, although it is unclear whether the stories and activities will be presented in English and French to the same group, or whether groups will be divided up according to language. For kids who need a little bit of help with schoolwork, the Orleans branch also offers a homework club on Saturday mornings for grades 1-10.

My little guy loves the library and I look forward to bringing my daughter to the baby programs when she's a little bit older. No matter the season, a Saturday-morning trip to the library is always a treat for our family!

Isabelle is the mom of 3.5 year old Jay and two-month old Rosie. You can also find her at Dr. Peach’s Blog.