Children’s Lit

NVCL Reads: Number in the Title

To help with another one of our trickier categories in the #NVCLreads Canada 150 bingo contest, here are some selections you could use for the #NVCLreadsNumber slot!

15dogsFifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis

In this 2015 Giller Prize winner, the gods Apollo and Hermes make a bet  in a bar:  Apollo claims that if they grant human consciousness to 15 dogs each and every one of them will be even more unhappy than humans are. If even one of the dogs dies happy then Hermes wins.  So of course you have to steel yourself for the fact that all these dogs are going to die, but it’s a brilliant, moving read and completely worth it. Just make sure you have some tissues handy!

This could alternately be used in the #NVCLreadsWinner category!

playeronePlayer One, by Douglas Coupland

In his 2010 CBC Massey Lectures acclaimed novelist and visual artist Douglas Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and macroeconomics and the afterlife in the form of a novel – a 5-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster.*

 

numberofthings

A Number of Things, by Jane Urquhart

Ok, I know I’m obeying the letter of the law more than the spirit here, but technically I think this counts as it literally has “A Number” in its title, and for good measure it does have an actual number in the sub-title. (Ok, Patricia is rolling her eyes at me now, so moving on…). Anyway, I think this title was made for this contest – it was written by Urquhart in celebration of Canada’s 150, and in it she chooses 50 uniquely Canadian objects and tells their stories.

For Teens…

ruleof3The Rule of Thre3, by Eric Walters

The first of a trilogy about one suburban neighbourhood’s existence after a global blackout, which has shut down everything from cell phones to basic utilities to computer-chip dependent vehicles. As resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends, sixteen-year-old Adam’s neighbourhood must band together for protection, and having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door suddenly become keys to survival.*

moonatnineMoon at Nine, by Deborah Ellis

From the award-winning author of Parvana’s Journey, this 2016 title is based on interviews with a young woman forced to flee Iran because of her sexual orientation. It follows fifteen-year-old Farrin who has grown up with secrets: ten years after the overthrow of the Shah, her aristocratic mother is still working against Iran’s conservative revolutionary government. But when Farrin befriends Sadira, the intriguing and outgoing new student at her school for gifted girls, her own new secret is even more dangerous. Because the girls discover their relationship is more than just a friendship—and in Iran, being gay is punishable by death.*

juvie3

The Juvie Three, by Gordon Korman

Gecko, Terence, and Ajay are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance. Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent himself, takes them into his halfway house, hoping to make a difference in their lives. One night there is a scuffle, and Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious. When he awakes in the hospital, he has no memory of them or of the halfway house. Afraid of being sent back to Juvie, the guys hatch a crazy scheme to continue on as if the group leader never left.*  Korman does an excellent job in this novel of balancing what could otherwise be weighty topics with his trademark humour and amusing antics.

 

 

And for the Tweens and Kids, 

sevenmagpiesThe Seven Magpies, by Monica Hughes (novel)

In somewhat of a departure for Hughes, who usually writes science fiction, this novel blends mystery, fantasy, Celtic mythology, and boarding school stories.  Set during World War II, Maureen Frazer’s father has been sent to the front, her mother is helping with the war effort, and Maureen is shipped off to the Logan Academy for Young Ladies, a remote but safe boarding school in Scotland. There she finds that the girls have a secret society, called the Seven Magpies. When Maureen herself falls under the spell of a strange standing stone, she begins to understand what’s making her schoolmates seem so strange and then she discovers what the real danger is. A magical story of what may happen when teenagers tamper with the ancient power of the Celts.*

 

myarctic123My Arctic 1, 2, 3, by Michael Kusugak (picture book)

Explore Michael Kusugak’s world of animals and adventure in the Arctic Circle! Discover counting and creatures, and learn who’s predator and who’s prey. Witness five Arctic foxes hunting six furry siksiks. Then watch seven fishermen catch eight Arctic char. Numbers explored include 1 to 10, 20, 100 and even 1,000,000 (millions of berries ripen in the fall). Each scene, rendered in Vladyana Krykorka’s breathtaking paintings, is awash in Arctic colors and includes the depicted number in English and Inuktitut.*

This could alternately be used in the #NVCLreadsFirstNations or #NVCLreadsArctic categories!

 

* Description from publisher

NVCL Reads: Canadian Graphic Novels for Children

The great part of graphic novels is that all levels of readers can enjoy them. Listed below are some of these novels by Canadian authors worth a read and exploration. Did you know that graphic novels are great for reinforcing language, memory sequencing and creative writing skills? Not only that but they are fun to read. Stay calm and read on with some our recommendations for the #NVCLreadsGraphicNovel category in our Canada 150 #NVCLreads bingo contest!

toweroftreasureThe Tower of Treasure, by Scott Chantler

As an acrobat in a traveling circus, 14-year-old orphan Dessa Redd flies through the air with ease. Still, she is weighed down by troubling memories. But when her ragtag circus troupe pulls into the city of Kingsbridge, Dessa feels a tickle of hope. Maybe here in the royal city she will finally find her twin brother — or the mysterious man who snatched him away when they were just children.  Meanwhile, Topper, the circus juggler, recruits Dessa and the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the three thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa’s long-lost brother. Scott Chantler’s fast-paced story will engage readers while his bold-lined art with richly detailed backgrounds is a tribute to classic comic books.*


luzmakesasplashLuz Makes a Splash
, by Claudia Davila

Residents of the city of Petroville are suffering through the hottest and driest summer on record. Desperate for a way to cool off, Luz and her friends head out to Spring Pond to go swimming. But when they arrive, they’re shocked to discover the pond has virtually disappeared! It turns out a multinational company has purchased the nearby land and is using the water from the spring to make their soda. Meanwhile, back in the city, the gardens in Friendship Park are withering and at risk of dying because of the lack of rain. And now the city has imposed water restrictions in order to conserve. Luz and her friends are just kids, but is there anything they can do to help save two of Luz’s favorite places?*

claireandthewaterwishClaire and the Water Wish, by Jessica Poon

Summer’s over and Claire’s a bit nervous about starting at a new school. She doesn’t care about being popular — she just wants to fit in. Claire is thankful to have her best friend, Jet. But the girls quickly grow apart when Jet wins a digital camera. Jet’s bitten by the shutterbug and seems only interested in snapping photos with the cool kids. Tired of Jet’s antics, Claire strikes up a friendship with Sky, a girl from the local Lovesick Lake community. She learns that the water in Sky’s lake is undrinkable. The community suspects someone’s been secretly dumping waste in it for years. But when the three friends stumble across the polluters’ trail, will they be able to put their differences aside in time to save Lovesick Lake? The Claire graphic novels are built on stories of strong friendships and action-packed fun. Young girls will love to share the adventures of Claire and her friends — and then try the activities at the end of each book!*

thatonespookynightThat One Spooky Night, by Dan Bare-el

This collection of graphic short stories written by Dan Bar-el contains three separate tales of strange and surprising events that all happen one Halloween night. In Broom with a View, a girl’s broom for her witch costume mistakenly gets switched with a broom belonging to a real witch. Featured in 10 000 Tentacles under the Tub are two rambunctious boys who fight sea monsters while trick-or-treating as aqua-heroes, only to discover that their biggest challenge still awaits — in the bathtub. In The Fang Gang, everything gets turned around for four wannabe vampire girls when they meet up with the real thing. Naturally, all the parents are clueless about what’s going on (though in one, the pet dog is in on things!). The stories are just spooky enough and tempered with a touch of silly humor.*

hideandshriekHide and Shriek, by Sean O’Reilly

In this installment from the Mighty Mighty Monsters series, the monsters need to make some rules before they play Hide and Seek:  No flying like a vampire bat, no sniffing like a werewolf, and absolutely no magic!*

 

 
-Linda

* Descriptions from the publishers

 

NVCL Reads: Indigenous Canadian Authors

Is it Canada 150, or 15,000? Let’s take time to sit with this question and consider the knowledge that the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada goes back so much farther than 150 years on this land. There are many titles I would love to share with you to celebrate Indigenous Canadian authors. I hope you are inspired to continue searching for more amazing titles and share your favourite authors in the comments section. Below you will find work by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors. Pick up a book of poetry by Métis author, Marilyn Dumont, an adventurous Young Adult historical fiction novel based on traditional Inuit knowledge, by authors Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, read to your kids about dipnetting in the Cariboo Chilcotin region in Willie Sellar’s children’s picture book, or delve into challenging coming of age novels by Richard Van Camp and Eden Robinson for the #NVCLreadsFirstNations category in our #NVCLreads Canada 150 Bingo game.

Leading off this list is the work of award winning author, Richard Wagamese, who passed in March this year:

medicinewalkMedicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He’s sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they’ve shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son’s duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner. What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon’s end.

 

skraelingsSkraelings, by Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Young Adult)

In this adventurous novel–set in the ancient Arctic, but told by an inquisitive and entertaining contemporary narrator–a wandering Inuit hunter named Kannujaq happens upon a camp in grave peril. The inhabitants of the camp are Tuniit, a race of ancient Inuit ancestors known for their strength and shyness. The tranquility of this Tuniit camp has been shaken by a group of murderous, pale, bearded strangers who have arrived on a huge boat shaped like a loon. Unbeknownst to Kannujaq, he has stumbled upon a battle between the Tuniit and a group of Viking warriors.

Could alternately be used for #NVCLreads200 or #NVCLreadsArtic!

 

areallygoodbrowngirlA Really Good Brown Girl, by Marilyn Dumont (Poetry)

Marilyn Dumont’s Métis heritage offers her challenges that few of us welcome. Here she turns them to opportunities: in a voice that is fierce, direct, and true, she explores and transcends the multiple boundaries imposed by society on the self. She celebrates the person, clearly observing, who defines her own life.

Could alternately be used for #NVCLreadsPoetry

 

dipnettingwithdadDipnetting with Dad, by Willie Sellars (Picture Book)

BUMP, BUMP – SLAP, river sockeye salmon are pulled onto shore! Set in the beautiful landscape of the Cariboo Chilcotin region, Dipnetting With Dad, is a delightful and colourful story of a father teaching his son the Secwepemc method of fishing known as dipnetting. Together they visit the sweat lodge, mend the nets, select the best fishing spot and catch and pack their fish through rugged bush back to the family home for traditional preparation. Willie Sellars captures family values, the importance of storytelling, community living and coming of age in one of BC’s oldest cultures.

monkeybeachMonkey Beach, by Eden Robinson

The story grips the reader from the beginning. It is the morning after the narrator’s brother has gone missing at sea; the mood is tense in the family house, as speculations remain unspoken. Jimmy is a prospective Olympic swimmer, seventeen years old and on the edge of proposing to his beautiful girlfriend Karaoke. As his elder sister, Lisa, faces possible disaster, she chain-smokes and drifts into thoughts of their lives so far. She recalls the time when she and Jimmy saw the sasquatch, or b’gwus – and this sighting introduces the novel’s fascinating undercurrent of characters from the spirit world. These ghostly presences may strike the reader as mysterious or frightening, but they provide Lisa with guidance through a difficult coming of age.

 

lesserblessedThe Lesser Blessed, by Richard Van Camp

The Lesser Blessed tracks the exploits of Larry Sole, a Dogrib teenager living in the small Northern town of Fort Simmer. After losing much of his memory in a violent accident, what he loves more than anything is reading, hearing and collecting stories. With no interest in booze or sports, he floats on the edges of high school life, sustained by his love of Iron Maiden and a hopeless passion for school hottie Juliet Hope. When good-looking, trouble-seeking Johnny Beck moves into town, he shakes up Larry’s dreamy existence, bringing him face to face with memories that he’s done his best to lose.

 

This list is in no way comprehensive, so I hope that each of these titles will be a jumping off point for you to continue to explore and enjoy the work of Indigenous Canadian authors.

-Kate

NVCL Reads: Pets

Being a pet owner is one of life’s greatest joys. Although it’s a big commitment and a lot of work, the experience teaches you a lot of good and beneficial things. A loving pet has the ability to convert even the most anti-animal person into an animal lover; be it dog, cat, bird, or even a moose.  The bond between people and pets can be just as powerful as a bond between family members.  Here are some pet books by Canadians to share with your child as you play #NVCLreads bingo or just for fun.

DogDayA Dog Day for Susan by Maureen Fergus

Spencer and Barney decide to teach Susan how to be a real dog. With Barney as a role model, they take her to the off-leash dog park to develop skills like barking at buses, cyclists and squirrels, eating garbage, resisting grooming, and refusing to come when she’s called. Susan returns from the park covered in burrs, having shed her dignity and grace enough to fully embrace her inner dog.

DogsinCarsDogs in Cars by Felix Massie

Join these canine critters as they zoom around town in their dogmobiles. Count to one hundred through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to great danes, while they wreak havoc on the streets in some pretty recognizable locomotives.

NobodysCatsNobody’s Cats by Valerie Ingram

Based on the true story of how one little black kitty came in from the cold by a project that was started to help community cats in the small town of Burns Lake in rural northern British Columbia.

 

EmilyCarrEmily Carr & her dogs: Flirt, Punk & Loo by Emily Carr

This delightful book combines 25 stories about dogs with 16 playful drawings by famous Canadian writer, artist, and animal lover Emily Carr. She tells of her joys and tribulations raising Old English sheepdogs, from her decision to start a kennel to the sad day when she had to close it. With each story Carr brings the affectionate and loyal nature of her canine companions to life, making this book an ideal choice for any dog lover, child, or adult.

FarleyFarley and the Lost Bone by Lynn Franks Johnston

This children’s tale features fan favorite sheepdog Farley as he digs in Elly’s flowerbed, under Michael’s model railway set, and inside Lizzie’s sandbox until he remembers the special spot where he buried his tasty bone.

**This title also works for Author Has Spoken at North Shore Writers Fest #NVCLreadsNSWF

MooseMaking the Moose out of Life by Nicholas Oldland

Why not a moose for a pet? Here is a comic-adventure story of a mild-mannered moose who learns how to take life by the antlers. This moose may live in the wild, but he doesn’t act it — he watches from the sidelines as his friends have fun. Every now and then, he wonders if he’s missing out on anything. When the moose finally takes a chance and goes on a solo sailing trip, a raging storm carries him far from everything he knows. Will he curl up in a ball and cry, or make the most of it? The moose’s unlikely hero-journey is a lighthearted, contemporary fable that celebrates living life to the fullest

So what pet will you get, eh?

-Diane

Our Favourite Canadian Reads II

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you. If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

DeniseDenise, our Senior Public Services Assistant, loves Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery.  She says, “I love Anne; her perseverance in the face of adversity inspires, her creative spirit is a source of motivation and her tenacity should be modeled at all times.”

 

curveoftimeOne of our pages Janet is a big fan of The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchett.  She loves “the images of summer vacations on the BC coast in the 1930s – a story of a strong young widow with five young children – packed them all up and spent quality time exploring the coast.”  Janet adds, “We give a copy of this book to all our BC visitors and people always comment afterwards about how much they enjoyed the book.  I own at least two copies at all times.”

davidDavid, our Web Specialist, says his favourite Canadian novel is What’s Bred in the Bone, the 2nd novel in Robertson Davies’ Cornish Trilogy. “Set in part in Germany during the Second World War, it’s an engrossing tale of one Frank Cornish’s journey from childhood in rural Ontario – and from a family with a dark secret – to greatness as an artist, art forger … and spy. Davies’ inimitable novels combine witty, erudite, and elegant prose with highly imaginative and entertaining stories. A great summer read!”

mikale_HayBlogger and Community Librarian Mikale loves Late Nights on Air“Set in 1975, Elizabeth Hay’s story of the lives of the employees of a small CBC radio outpost in Yellowknife, and their accompanying summer canoe trip into the Artic is perfection. It reads like a role of 35mm film, with loons calling over the lake as a soundtrack.”

And finally, the always succinct Sandy, one of our Auxiliary Librarians, recommends “Bonnie Burnard’s A Good House for its clarity, conciseness, honesty and wit.”

We’d love to hear your favourites.  Please share in the comments!

-Patricia

 

 

 

Our Favourite Canadian Reads

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you.  If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

Fereshteh 22Our Multicultural Services Librarian, Fereshteh, raves about Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.   Why? “After so many years,  I can still remember the story  vividly, this book transports the reader to a  world filled with colour , taste, smell and unforgettable characters challenged by their human condition and unpredictable destiny.”

Audrey AdminAudrey, our Administrative Assistant’s all-time favourite Canadian book is The Diviners by Margaret Laurence.  “This classic book, part of the Manawaka series, is not only well written and engrossing, it also accurately depicts small town Canadian life which is familiar to me, being from a small town myself.  I have also visited her homestead in Neepawa, Manitoba!”

Timothy StewartOne of our Auxiliary Public Service Assistants, Timothy, chose a non-fic pick: “My most recent favourite is The NHL: A Centennial History by D’Arcy Jenish. It is well written book with plenty of stories of  how the NHL grew from a struggling league based out of Montreal and Toronto into the predominant hockey league of the modern era.”

Wiedmann, Margaret1As did Margarete, our Special Services Coordinator, who chose 52 best day trips from Vancouver by Jack Christie as her pick. “Jump in your car and go out and explore this great area.  It has so much to offer.  Many of these places can be reached by bus too.  Jack gives some great short adventures usually within ½ hour of the North Shore.  Once you are at you location, you can walk or hike the location, and see its many sight or just sit and enjoy your surroundings.  The book also allows you to plan side trips on the way to your destination.

Why not a new location every day for the summer, or at least a weekend getaway, without the coast of lodging.  Staycation at its best.”

Bear 150And finally our beloved Bear wanted to share his favourite book, Winston of Churchill, though he was pretty quiet on what made it a favourite.  (I wonder why…)

Have a 5-star Canadian read you’d like to share?  Sound off in the comments below!

-Patricia

 

NVCL Reads: Folk and Fairy Tales

If you’re doing #NVCLreads this summer with the kids, they might want to read some Canadian folk and fairy tales for #NVCLreadsFairyTales. (And you may want to read some for #NVCLreadsIllustrated or #NVCLreads200.)  Homa from our fabulous Children’s Department has some ideas about where to start:

Our collection of folk & fairy tales aims to engage children in timeless stories and help them to discover diversity.  This collection represents a range of traditions from various cultures and countries.  Here are some of the Canadian authors that have written fables, fairy tales, legends and myths.

fingerlingLittle Fingerling by Monica Hughes

This familiar Japanese folktale, a cross between Tom Thumb and David and Goliath, is given sophisticated treatment in this attractive picture book. Hughes’s telling is leisurely and formal, with a traditional tone that suits the material. In ancient Japan, a tiny son is born to an elderly couple. As he grows older — but no larger — his courage and resourcefulness see him through many exciting adventures.

41Q+Z8fVfsLThe Nervous Prince and other stories by Michael B. Kerr   

What was Cinderella’s prince really like? Was Red Riding Hood rescued by a woodsman, or not? Was Jack’s beanstalk genetically modified? Why were Hansel and Gretel searching for carbohydrate treats in the forest? And who styled Rapunzel’s hair? These updated versions of popular folk and fairy tales answer all these burning questions and more.

The-King-and-the-Tortoise-1200x972The King and The Tortoise by Tololwa M. Mollel

Who is the cleverest creature of all? In order to find out, the king has issued a challenge: who can make him a robe of smoke? The swift hare, the sly fox, the fierce leopard, and the mighty elephant try but each one fails.  It is up to the tortoise, patient and slow, to win the day through wit alone.  In this gentle traditional story from Cameroon, master story teller Tolowa Mollel has woven a tale of humor and wisdom as magical as a robe of smoke.

mermaid's museThe Mermaid’s Muse: The Legend of the Dragon Boats by David Bouchard 

History meets myth in this dramatic re-telling of the story of Qu Yuan, celebrated poet-in-exile of ancient China. In Bouchard’s tale the poet and a sea dragon, in the appearance of a mermaid, develop a mutually inspiring friendship that drives them to sail away together, to the mistaken alarm of Qu Yuan’s neighbors. The surprising climax illustrates the traditional Chinese origin of dragon boats. Spectacularly illustrated, this book is truly amazing — you should read it!

TwoSistersThe Two Sisters by E. Pauline Johnson

Many thousands of years ago, two little girl with eyes of spring and hearts of summer had the courage to ask their father to stop a war. He does as they ask, and this brings about a lasting peace in the land. This book will lead you on your own adventure through the rich history of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest.  I highly recommend it. It is a book for all ages with a valuable message and fabulous illustrations.

 

howsummerHow Summer Came to Canada Pictures by Elizabeth Cleaver Retold by William Toye

When the giant Winter came down from the North to live in Eastern Canada the land became frozen and white. Glooskap, mythical lord and creator of the Micmac Indians, saves his people from endless cold when he brings a beautiful Queen to his country. Her name is Summer and she persuades Winter to relax his icy grip every Spring while she awakens the land from its deep sleep and gives life to everything that grows. The beautiful illustrations of this book feature scenes of icy desolation and sunny flowering greenness.

Let’s read more folk and fairy tales this summer to better understand ourselves and others.

-Homa