Living in New York City

Raschka, Chris. The Doorman’s Repose. New York: New York Review Books, 2017.

What goes on in a New York City apartment building? What secrets are hiding behind all the doors? What goes on in the lives of little creatures – such as mice? How do the machines that keep the building running feel? This collection of 10 interconnected short stories – by an astonishingly talented storyteller –  will amaze and amuse readers 10 years old and up. 

More stories told from different points of view

More humorous stories

More stories set in the U.S.A.

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The comfort of trees…

Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2017.
Red is an oak tree who has seen a lot of changes. Provided a home for countless little creatures. And comforted many children. But now someone wants to get rid of Red. What will happen to this venerable neighbourhood tree?
A wonderful read-aloud novel for children 7 to 9 years old. A wonderful story for imaginative readers who enjoy seeing life from a wider perspective.

P.S. Any book published by Fiewel and Friends is worth picking up. The quality is invariably superb.

More stories celebrating the wonders of nature

More novels for young readers

“Friendship is a sheltering tree.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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The great achievement…

Almond, David. Harry Miller’s Run. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick, 2017, c2008.
Eleven-year-old Liam wants to get outside and start training for the big race coming up. But his mother wants him to help an elderly neighbour move into a nursing home. What starts out as a frustrating day turns into an amazing adventure as Liam listens to Harry tell about the great race he ran from Newcastle to South Shields when he was a young lad himself.
This joyous novella – by a multiple award winning author – reads like a true story. I kept checking the flyleaf to find out more about the background. There was nothing.  But this heart-warming story by a masterful writer will live in readers’ memories as if it really happened to someone we ourselves must have met somewhere. Whimsical illustrations by Salvatore Rubbino – creator of picture books about London and Paris – add to the charm of this unpaged book highly recommended for readers 9 years old and up.  

A serious David Almond novel about refugees

A humorous David Almond novel about a runaway

Stories of summer

P.S. Always check out the books published by Candlewick. They’re reliably beautiful. 

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“Life is simple.”

MacLachlan, Patricia. Just Dance. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017.
Ten-year-old Sylvie and eight-year-old Nate live on a farm in Wyoming with their father – a cowboy with a love of poetry- and their mother – a former opera singer who now sings in the shower. Sylvie worries. Does her mother miss her glamorous life travelling the world? Might she leave them all and return to life on the stage?  Sylvie worries and thinks about love and writes poems about local events. And finally realizes that what seems ordinary is precious. An easy-to-read reflective novel that will encourage conversation. Highly recommended for readers 7 years old and up.

More stories about country life

More novels for younger readers

More stories about music and musicians

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World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day!

‘World Oceans Day’ was officially recognized, in 2008, by the United Nations General Assembly after a proposal, in 1992, by the Government of Canada.

 “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau, oceanographic explorer

Gerstein, Mordecai. The Boy and the Whale. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
A young boy and his father rescue a whale tangled in their net in this life-affirming story based on a real-life event. The expressive illustrations, well-designed pages, and  smoothly flowing text combine to make this a wonderful picture book for children and young teenagers. 

“I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen, Caught by the Sea 

More ocean books

 Learn more about World Oceans Day!

Marino, Gianna. Following Papa’s Song. New York: Viking, 2014.  
Full-page illustrations colourfully illustrate this story about the migration of humpback whales. Recommended for children up to seven years of age.

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, poet

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Longing for freedom…

Stratton, Allan. The Way Back Home. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2017.
Zoe does not want her grandmother to be moved into a care home. But Alzheimer’s disease is making it increasingly unsafe for her grandmother to live on her own. What can Zoe’s parents do to cope with the situation? What can Zoe do to help?
She decides to take her grandmother on a road trip to Toronto to find a long-lost uncle. But more surprises and more difficulties are in store than she anticipated. Now how will Zoe cope?
A modern tale of family relationships and gender identity. While the frequent colloquialisms will make this book sound dated within a few years, it is a quickly paced story that will appeal to many readers 13 to 17 years old.

More LGBT stories

More stories of modern social problems

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Reaching the stars…

McCully, Emily Arnold. Caroline’s Comets: A True Story. New York: Holiday House, 2017.
Caroline Herschel was born in Germany in 1750. Her father and brothers were musicians but she – being a girl – was kept busy doing housework. Everything changed when she was 22 years old. She joined her older brother in England and became a professional singer and then an assistant to her brother, who had become an astronomer for King George III. Later, she also earned a salary as an astronomer for the king.  Before she died in 1848, she had discovered 8 comets and become a star among scientists.
Quotations from Caroline’s diary are embedded in this incredible story of the first woman to discover a comet. The gently old-fashioned pen, ink, and watercolour illustrations enhance this picture book biography for readers 9 years old and up.

More biographies

More stories with strong female characters

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