Exuberant life…

Cuevas, Michelle. Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2017.
Smoot’s tiresome life of being a shadow ends when he decides to leave his boy and strike out on his own. Running, dancing, singing, he embraces all the excitement of his new life. Other shadows watch him and bravely follow suit. What will happen? Smoot looks around and has an idea. Maybe all of them – all of the shadows – could go back where they came from and still live with excitement. Will it work? Can life hold joy even in ordinary circumstances? This marvellously designed picture book – illustrated by Canadian Sydney Smith – will appeal to readers of all ages of appreciate fables. 

More fables

“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost

More picture books

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How old is the earth?

McAnulty, Stacy. Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years. New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
Informative. Amusing. Amazing. The earth speaks for itself in this brilliant picture book that describes the early beginnings of our planet. The continents. The ice ages. The plants and animals and human beings. All are included in this magnificently designed autobiography illustrated by David Litchfield. Additional information – including a list of sources – is included at the end of the book. Wonderful as a read-aloud, and highly recommended for readers 5 years old and up. 

More books to expand your general knowledge

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Let’s go on an adventure…

Sis, Peter. Robinson. New York: Scholastic Press, 2017.
A softly beautiful picture book combining memories from the author’s childhood with the story of Robinson Crusoe. The softly detailed illustrations, complemented by the capital-letters font, will enchant readers 7 to 14 years old. Highly recommended!

Picture book memoirs

Stories of adventure

Write about your own memories

“When you have little children, you want to tell them about joy and happiness and hope. And then comes the time you want to tell them there are tough moments. I admire people who can do that.” Peter Sis 

Note: All of Peter Sis’s books are memorable. Here are some of my favourites:

  

“People think children’s books are about teddy bears and little flowers. I realize people sometimes don’t know what to do with my books because they say, ‘Is it a children’s book, and what age group?'” Peter Sis

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Observing nature…

Heckert, Barbara. A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White. New York: Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
Who was the author of the classic novel Charlotte’s Web? What was his childhood like?  What challenges did he overcome? What inspired him to write children’s stories? The design of this picture book – illustrated by Caldecott winner Lauren Castillo – is unfortunately weakened by the font, which does not match the style of the pictures. Nevertheless, this biography is still recommended for curious readers 8 years old and up. 

More biographies

“There’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.” – E.B. White

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Where do I belong?

Stevens, April. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2018.
Figrotten loves nature. And she loves spending time outdoors on a big rock on a hill behind her house. She feels safe up there. Like she can truly be herself when she is there alone. But over the course of her eleventh year, she starts to see life differently. Maybe she can find friends at school, after all. Maybe her sister doesn’t hate her, after all. Maybe she can find a balance between being along and being with people.
This 196-page novel is beautifully written. Like poetry in prose. Highly recommended for thoughtful readers 10 to 13 years old.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”  A.A Milne

More stories of individuality

More stories of strong female characters

More stories of grief

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What if…?

Balliett, Blue. Out of the Wild Night. New York: Scholastic Press, 2018.
The historic homes on Nantucket Island are being redeveloped to make modern homes for newcomers. The ghosts of the people who once lived in them are not happy. But what can they do? What if they call on children to help? What will happen?
Past and present mingle in this action-packed 291-page ghost story. Highly recommended for adventurous readers 11 to 14 years old.

More stories of mystery and suspense

More stories set in the U.S.A.

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