Thursday, 27 July 2017


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by Jilly Gagnon

Rachel Ettinger and Kyle Bonham are seats away from each other in class but worlds away from each other in social standing. Rachel is pretty sure Kyle doesn't even know who she is but, one day, while she is at the mall, she "Flits" (read Tweets) a picture of Kyle to one of her friends. Her friend shares the picture and caption with a few other people and the whole things ends up going viral.

The flit goes so viral that a talk show host asks to have  Kyle come on the show to talk about his recent fame. The visit goes well and the show decides that they also want to meet Rachel. They decide that Kyle will ask her to go to a dance at their school and that they will film the whole thing.

Rachel and Kyle end up thrown into a Hollywood adventure where they have to learn to trust each other, let go of insecurities, value themselves and decide what really matters to them. This story read quickly and was, overall, a fun read that I really enjoyed.

The other part of this story is about social media and the mean behaviour of some students in their teen years. In this particular story, Rachel is treated very poorly by the virtual world, while Kyle is given Star Status. Over time, the "Flitterverse" changes its opinion about Rachel but she suffers through many rude comments and even death threats.

As a parent, I think this book could be a gateway to talk about the importance of being careful on social media. It also made me pause and think about what kind of person I may have been had my high school years been filled with social media. There is some drinking and talk about sex in this book but it is not central to the plot line. I would recommend this book for Grade 8 and up.

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics
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By Chris Grabenstein

This is the second book in the Lemoncello series. I read the first one with my boys a couple of times so we were excited about another one coming out.

In the second book, Kyle and his team must compete against students from all over America to prove that they deserved to win the first time. Unfortunately, there are people who do not want to see that happen and even some who do not want Mr. Lemoncello to have any control over the library he so lovingly created. In the end, all the kids have to work together to figure out who is sabotaging everything or their library may be lost forever!

I have enjoyed both of the Mr. Lemoncello books greatly. They have a lot of literary references, good clean fun, mystery and adventure. They are a wonderful family read-aloud and appeal to a wide age of students. I read the first one to my youngest when he was in Grade 2 and my son going into Grade 7 listened in on most of this second one as well.

Grabenstein also has a book out called The Island of Dr. Libris, which contains many literary references and adventure, but we definitely liked this one least. If you are looking for a book to read together with your kids, I would say the Lemoncello books would appeal to Grade 2-6.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Crown's Game

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by Evelyn Skye

Enchanters. A duel to the death. Mystery and intrigue. Russian royalty. Romance.  The Crown's Game has them all.

Russia is in turmoil and the tsar realizes he needs an Imperial Enchanter to help them through a difficult time. Two people have unknowingly spent their whole lives training to fill the role of Enchanter. Unfortunately, mystical law states that only one of them can reign; they must enter a magical duel to the death.

To complicate matters, one of the enchanters is Nikolai, the tsar's son's best friend and the other is Vika, the tsar's son's love interest. Not only is the heir to the throne interested in Vika, but Nikolai and Vika feel an undeniable bond to one another that can't be ignored. Needless to say, the game becomes very complicated for everyone involved.

I found out about this book on a list of new YA books that are getting lots of attention and I can see why this one would be on the list. While it isn't a book I would normally pick up on my own it has a lot to offer and I really enjoyed reading it. If you liked The Selection series you will probably like this book as well. I would recommend this book for Grade 6-8.


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by Sara Pennypacker

I was excited to see that Sara Pennypacker (think Clementine) had a new book out and, even better, to see that it was also illustrated by Jon Klassen (think This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back).

The story is much different that any of the other Sara Pennypacker books I have read. The tone is much more serious and the plot is more intricate. Pax is a wolf who grows up domesticated because he was abandoned by his family as a baby. After living for many years with his beloved boy Peter, Peter's dad is called to war and forces Peter to leave Pax alone in the wild.

Peter is filled with regret and realizes he should never have abandoned Pax. The rest of the novel is Peter's attempt to find Pax back and Pax's experience of being in the wild for the first time since he was a baby.

This book is a story of friendship, bonds, forgiveness and love. If you love animals, especially foxes, you will love all the chapters that explain about Pax's integration into the wild. In terms of age range,  I would say this book would be best suited for kids in Grade 4 or 5.  It is part of the Global Read Aloud as well so kids all over the world will be hearing or reading this story. Join the fun and read this book today!

Friday, 5 August 2016

A Post About Overdrive

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Overdrive is an online borrowing service that is used by the Halton District School Board as well as many public libraries including the OPL. Using Overdrive, you can download audio and e-books with the click of a mouse. You can read or listen to the books using a variety of devices and I just wanted to share what a lifesaver Overdrive was for us this summer!

My family went on a two-week road trip. My boys, aged 7 and 10, were happy and calm every time we had an audio book on. We were able to listen to the first two Harry Potter books, the first 39 Clues book and about half of Rick Riordan's new book The Trials of Apollo. The Trials of Apollo expired before we finished but both boys really liked it. When you have a lot of driving to do and four people in a small car any diversion or entertainment is welcome and our best times driving were when an audiobook was playing.

HDSB Library Services has catered their Overdrive selections for students in Grade 5-12 so I always give out student barcode information near the beginning of the year so that everyone in Grade 5-8 can access books online if they want. If you ever want your barcode again, I am happy to write it down for you. If you ever need help getting started on Overdrive I am also happy to do that.

Overdrive is a great way to take advantage of a ton of resources and you can never lose a book or incur late fees because everything is digital. If you haven't gotten started on Overdrive yet and would like to, come and see me in the Learning Commons and we will get going.

Say You Will

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by Eric Walters

One word. Promposal!!

This book is a great story of how Sam sets up an amazing promposal for the one girl in school he wants to go with. All through the book there are two possible people he might ask - Taylor - one of the most popular kids in school - or Brooke - one of his best friends.

Eric Walters does a great job of keeping us guessing and I LOVE the actual promposal that Sam comes up with! I also love that Eric Walters is such a diverse author - one minute he is writing about the end of the world and the next he puts out a light and fun book like Say You Will.

I would recommend this book for Grade 5-8 and would love to hear your thoughts on Sam's great promposal if you take the time to read this book!

Fish in a Tree

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by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I have been dying to read this book since one of our grade 3 students told me it was the best book she ever read and my son read it with his grade 5 class this year. I wasn't disappointed!

Ally has always felt that she is dumb and tries to hide the things she can't do, like read, from others. When her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, recognizes that Ally might have dyslexia and tries to help her she begins to see herself in a new light. She also starts to open herself up to the possibliity of having friends and letting people know about her struggles instead of hiding them all the time.

I would recommend this book for kids in Grade 3-7. Like some other books I've reviewed lately if you like Wonder or Mockingbird you will probably like this one as well.