Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) is the story of August, a boy born with extreme facial abnormalities who was not expected to survive infancy. Life changes for 11-year-old Auggie when his parents stop homeschooling him and put him into a public school where he endures taunting and bullying. Now he must figure out how to be accepted. Will the bullying ever stop? Will he ever be accepted? Read this inspiring novel to find out! (by Rabia in grade 6)
Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steven Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) describes animals that move in unexpected ways. Did you know that a red kangaroo cannot walk on its hind legs without the help of its tail? Did you know that a snake in India and other parts of southern Asia can fly? Did you know that some goats can climb trees, coconut crabs can climb palm trees, and black rat snakes can also climb trees? That’s a lot of climbing! I could go on for hours telling you amazing facts from this book, but I think you should read it for yourself! (Prabhdeep in grade 6)
Harshman, Marc and Anna Egan Smucker. Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
I like picture book biographies. They expand my general knowledge of history in little snippets that stay in my memory, unlike longer books that give me far more details than I will ever remember. And picture books are generally beautifully written with illustrations that bring history to life.
Fallingwater is no exception. It is written – using present tense – in an elegantly simple style and enhanced by LeUyn Pham’s sophisticated illustrations. The author’s and artist’s notes at the end of the story will be of interest to readers who want to learn more about the famous house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
“My favourite places on earth are the wild waterways where the forest opens its arms and a silver curve of river folds the traveller into its embrace.” – Rory MacLean, historian & writer
“I think the kind of landscape that you grew up in, it lives with you. I don’t think it’s true of people who’ve grown up in cities so much; you may love a building, but I don’t think that you can love it in the way that you love a tree or a river or the colour of the earth; it’s a different kind of love.” – Arundhati Roy, writer
Why do Sikhs remember 1897? Because of the extraordinary courage of some brave men. The Battle of Saragarhi, a graphic novel by Daljeet Singh Sidhu and Amarjit Virdi (Gyan Khand Media, 2012), tells the thrilling true tale of twenty-one riflemen who were stationed at a signalling post in northern India. They were attacked by Afghans and Pathans who greatly outnumbered them. On September 12th of that year, they boldly fought to the death to protect their post. Read this suspenseful story recommended for readers 11 years old and up. (Ramneek in grade 6)
McCully, Emily Arnold. Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros Who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone…While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016.
If Emily McCully writes and illustrates a book, pick it up. Everything she creates is good. And this almost-true biography is no exception. Clara – an orphaned rhinoceros – was adopted by a sea captain in 1741. The two of them travelled throughout Europe for 17 years, amazing audiences and becoming fast friends. While now we would never dream of exhibiting an animal in such a manner, this story of affectionate friendship between a person and an animal is nonetheless intriguingly heart-warming. Included is a map of Clara’s journeys and an author’s note with further information. Highly recommended for curious readers of all ages.
Malala Yousafzai, an inspiring activist, is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maslo, Lina. Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala. New York: Balzer & Bray an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
McCarney, Rosemary. Every Day is Malala Day. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2014.
Winter, Jeanette. Malala, A Brave Girl from Pakistan; Iqbal, A Brave boy from Pakistan. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2014.