What Have You Read?

Recently, we were going through a listing on the CBC website about the “Top 100 Young Adult Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian” in order to find the perfect book for our very first Bridging the Generation Gap Book Club. When you thindust-220k about YA books, Canadian authors aren’t immediately the first ones to come to mind, but I think it surprised us as to how many of these we’ve already read.

Our Generation Gap Book Club doesn’t begin until November, but we’ve already picked the first selection…DUST, by Canadian author Arthur Slade. This is an ambitious, dark tale that will be sure to stir up plenty of conversation between our young readers and their parents.

But there are plenty more Canadian YAaspyinthehouse-220 books on this list that we found ourselves discussing.  Books like A SPY IN THE HOUSE by Y.S. Lee, part of “The Agency” series that was one of the Red Maple® selections in Forest of Reading a few years back. This is a great historical mystery that readers have applauded. Don’t worry, there are several in the series, so you won’t have to make due with just one story.

One of my favourites is PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow, a magical tale of a young wood carver who loses her beloved father and is accplainkate-220used of witchery. I know that after reading this tale to several Grade 4 & 5 classes, it would be the perfect fit for a book club discussion (bring your kleenex!).

Why not look through the list to see how many books from this list you’ve read. My score? I’m sad to say it’s very, very low. Guess I have a lot to catch up on!

Are you Anticipating?

underI was slow to pick up Patrick deWitt’s award winning THE SISTERS BROTHERS, but loved it. Witt’s story was everything I thought as Western wouldn’t be–funny, full of endearing characters, and enlightening.

So, when I saw that his newest book UNDERMAJORDOMO MINOR is coming out this fall, I immediately put in on my to-be-read list. Points for weirdest title ever aside, this book is billed as a fable without a moral about a man named Lucy who becomes the Undermajordomo of the Castle von Aux. With adventure, a mystery, and a double murder,  I expect it to be as surprising as the last. deWitt will probably earn some more awards for his skillful writing, and creative characters, so if you haven’t read anything by this Canadian author, put this on hold now, or pick up THE SISTERS BROTHERS.  You won’t be disappointed.

The Winners are Announced!

Forest-of-Reading-LogoWhile we had our official Forest of Reading® Voting night back in April, the final totals were sent to Toronto to be tabulated along with results from other libraries and schools across the province. Last week, the final winners of each category were announced. And the winners are……………


kindergartenTHE DAY MY MOM CAME TO KINDERGARTEN by Maureen Fergus





gardenerTHE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier




threeTHE RULE OF THREE by Eric Walters

 Our library didn’t do too badly, picking a few of the overall winners. If only we didn’t have to wait until December to start reading next year’s nominees!

Forest of Reading®

Forest of Reading® will begin in December, and we’re looking forward to it! For those who have never participated, it’s a great reading program for kids that allows them to choose a winning book. And the best part? All of the books are by Canadian authors or illustrators.

bluespruce2015 Blue Spruce 2015

How does it work? Starting in December, kids can come in and register in their specific reading category (by grade or reading level), and pick up their first book. Then, they have almost five months to read the selections. Each category includes 10 books, and except for Blue Spruce, we ask that kids read at least 8 of the 10 books in order to be able to vote. Because the Blue Spruce category is comprised of picture books, we don’t think it’s too difficult to get through all 10.

express2015Silver Birch Express 2015

I’ll be visiting schools starting in January to talk about the program, but it’s so much fun, we like to get started in December. Once your reader registers at the front desk, they can choose a book to take home to start reading. We’ll give them a brochure to keep track of everything….because it’s a long way until April and voting night.

nonfic2015Silver Birch Non-Fiction 2015

Then, we’ll get ready for voting night! Everyone who has read enough books in their category can vote. We ask them to mark their finished books in our binder so we can keep track of everyone eligible…..just like a real voting night! But the best part? There’s a party, too!

 fiction2015Silver Birch Fiction 2015

Everyone who registers and starts Forest of Reading® can come to the party. There will be plenty of cake, a fun contest, and we’ll announce the winners from our library vote. After that, we send off our list to Toronto to be tabulated with the rest of the province. It’s so exciting!

redmaple2015Red Maple 2015

Once all of the votes are in, the winners will be announced.  This is the only award given to a Canadian author or illustrator that only kids to get vote on, so it’s a big deal for everyone nominated. We’ll be sure to post the final winners in the library as well. Drop in to find out more about this great reading program for kids.

Are You on the List?

Forest of Reading™  is wrapping up for another year. We’ve had 77 readers join us from December through to now, reading their little hearts out! While not everyone is finished, there are still a few weeks to try to catch up. Our voting night with be Thursday, April 24th from 6 – 7 pm.



Readers from Kindergarten to Grade 6 have been busy getting through 8 – 10 books in their respective categories. BLUE SPRUCE® readers must read all 10 books in order to be able to vote, but the selections were so good this year, I don’t think many kids will have a problem.  For SILVER BIRCH EXPRESS®,  SILVER BIRCH FICTION® and NON-FICTION, readers must complete at least eight books in order to be able to vote. So far, we have a good spattering of kids in all categories who have finished, and many who are doing their best to get there.


Sorry, they MUST read all the books required in their category. We do this so that they’ll have a better sense of all the books in order to make a good comparison. Plus, it’s a challenge, and we want them to try to meet it. But don’t worry, if they haven’t read enough books, they can still come to the party.


Of course! When the kids come to vote, we’ll give them a secret ballot, and they’ll be able to go to one of the confidential polling stations in the library to choose their favourite book. After, we’ll have a fun party in the back room!  There will be cake, prizes for those who have finished, and maybe even a special certificate or two. And once all the votes are in, we’ll do a special tabulation and announce the winners chosen in our library. This is the best part of the evening, usually!


No!  Once we have all our votes in here, we send our votes off to Toronto and they are compiled with the rest of the province. Sometime in May, the final winning books will be announced on the Forest of Reading page. Don’t worry, you don’t have to check back. We’ll post the winning books here on the blog and in the library. I wonder if we’ll pick all the winners this year? The winning author and/or illustrator are given a very special award. After all, the book was chosen as the best one by all the most important people reading it….the kids!


We’ve been posting a voting list in the library for the last few weeks. If your child has been coming in and marking off their books as they read, we’ll have them on the “almost ready to vote list”, or the “Vote List”. If they haven’t been marking off their books, there is still time!  And it’s the ONLY way I’ll know they’re ready. Otherwise, we won’t be on our voting list. So, come on by the library and see where your child is at. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing them on Voting Night, ready to choose!

We’re Heading into the Forest!

It’s December, and that means Forest of Reading® at the library. We run this fabulous program each year from December through April for all our young readers from Kindergarten to Grade 6. If you’ve had a child participate in past years, this year looks like it’s going to be even better, with tons of fabulous books in each category!

How does it work?

During Forest of Reading®, children read 8 – 10 books within their grade category. The books are all by a Canadian author or illustrator, and have been published within the last two years. Once the kids read the books, they will pick their favourites and then come to our voting night at the library in April 2014. It’s a secret ballot, and the tabulations from our library are then sent on to Toronto to be amalgamated with the province results. Once they calculate the votes, the authors will receive an award at a special ceremony in Toronto in May. It’s so much fun!

Who can participate?

Each year, we participate in a variety of categories.  This year, we’ve chosen Blue Spruce (K – Grade 2), Silver Birch Express (Gr. 3 & 4),  and Silver Birch Fiction and Non-Fiction (Gr. 5 & 6). We’ll go around to the schools in December and January to tell everyone about the program and hopefully sign up a bunch of young readers.  But anyone who comes to the library between now and then may be asked to participate, too!

What are the books this year?

Every category is based on the type of reader best suited for it.  Blue Spruce has more beginning readers, so there are picture books only. Silver Birch Express is aimed at more of a mix—advanced and beginning readers—so there are picture books, non-fiction and even a few chapter books. Silver Birch Fiction has wonderful novels, both thick and thin, for all readers. And Silver Birch Non-Fiction has a variety of fascinating reads for those who might not be interested in fiction.

Blue Spruce


Silver Birch Express


Silver Birch Fiction


Silver Birch Non-Fiction

nonficHow do we join?

Just come to the library and we’ll get your young reader all sorted out. It’s free and they can take home a book today and start reading.  This is a great opportunity to get ahead during the holidays. Come February and March, we’ll have a lot of readers trying hard to finish their required books, so it’s nice to get them done early.

If you want to know more about the program in general, you can visit the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Website for lots of information. We hope to see your readers at the library to sign up today!


Read Local

The 49th Shelf, a great website devoted to all books Canadian, has started a wonderful project called “Read Local : The 100-Mile Book Diet”.  It’s a little different than eating only foods within a 100-mile radius (you don’t have to read books written about Lanark County, for example), but it is aiming to document Canadian books on a fun map.

So, how does it work? You sign up for the website and then mark the position on their virtual map of any book that uses a Canadian location in its pages. For example, read something recently that took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia? Drop by the map and mark the position with a tag.  If it is already there, you’ll add your book to the others. ( So far, there are 4 books noted within the Halifax limits.)  It allows you to name the book so that duplications don’t take place, and even lets you make comments about certain books, tag the books with metatags for different search options and even post your reads on Facebook and Twitter.

This is an interesting project and it’ll be fun to see how it evolves.  Take a few minutes to drop by your favourite Canadian destinations to see if any books have been written about them!