Summer Reading for Kids

Even on the most organized and exciting day, it is great to schedule some down/quiet/pre-sleep/snuggle time with a book. Looking for ideas? Check out TPL or the TDSB Virtual Library ebooks.

On July 5th, CBC Radio Metro Morning interviewed the children’s specialist, Serah-Marie for Type Bookstore and CBC  podcasted it. Listen to the 7 minute podcast and check out the book recommendations.  You can also see Type’s summer list for kids here .

Happy summer reading!

July 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List: Bent Not Broken

From Natalie C., Reference & Digital Resources Librarian

The fourth in our blog series on the OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List. Selected by kids for kids, the list has 20 great books for students grades 5 through 8. Follow along on the blog as I attempt to profile as many books on the list as I can before the school year starts up again.

Today I’m profiling Bent Not Broken by Lorna Schultz-Nicholson.

The Haiku Review


problems seen, unseen / writing poems, riding horses / bend like the willow

Major Players:

  • Madeline, who suffered a brain injury when she was 8.
  • Justin, Madeline’s partner in the Best Buddies program who has experienced a tragedy of his own: the death of his sister, Faith who had autism
  • Becky, Madeline’s identical twin sister who is becoming less like Madeline by the day

One-Sentence Summary

Part of the Best Buddies program, which pairs students with intellectual disabilities with a volunteer, Justin helps Madeline manage her emotions when dealing with her difficult twin sister Becky while Madeline helps Justin cope with the death of his sister.

Authorial Anecdote

Lorna Schultz-Nicholson has written other novels in the One-2-One series, each one profiling a different Best Buddies pair. These include Fragile Bones: Harrison and Anna and Born With: Erika and Gianni.

Tough Topics

Bent Not Broken deals with issues facing youth with disabilities, divorce, depression, suicide, eating disorders, and alcohol and tobacco use.

Kids List Connections

Bent Not Broken is the third book from the Kid Committee Summer Reading List to be told in alternating perspectives. Like Month of Mondays, this book features a pair of feuding sisters and discusses issues related to divorce. Madeline & Becky’s parents split up after Madeline’s accident and the two shuttle back and forth between their parents’ homes.

Quick Quotes

Madeline: “Sometimes I think I should just wear a sign. I fell off my bike. I hurt my brain. Words get stuck in my brain. And I talk slowly. I know that. I almost picture the words and see them first, before they travel to my mouth. I think it’s when they start to move that they slow down, like an old train screeching to a stop.”

Justin: “I nodded, staring at the photo. She had been pretty. And Faith had been the spitting image of her. They’d had a deep bond and my mother had done everything to help her with her autism and support her. She never tried to change her and I had liked that.”

What’d I think?

7.5/10 willow branches that bend but never break
I really appreciated this lovely and moving story about friendship and resilience. Nicholson offers a refreshing and honest depiction of young people with disabilities. Scenes of the Best Buddies program events and meetings were my favourite. I’ve recently started volunteering with an organization that also supports youth with developmental disabilities and Nicholson was definitely able to capture the inspiring fun of our events. I also liked that Justin and Madeline were able to support each other — each learning from the other. Shifting between Madeline and Justin’s perspectives worked well in giving readers a sense of how the pair’s experiences are the same and how they differ. An inspiring story that teaches readers to believe in themselves.

Check out the other blog posts in our series:


And stay tuned for more posts on the OLA Kid Committee books.

July 13, 2017 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

Readers save the world infographic

The Canadian National Reading Campaign site includes an infographic titled Readers Save the World [jpeg].  Didja know that:

  • reading for as little as 6 minutes can reduce stress by as much as 60 %
  • 61% of Canadians have library cards

Join the movement – it is good for your health!

Check it out, Rowan

July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List: Every Hidden Thing

From Natalie C., Reference & Digital Resources Librarian

#3 in our blog series on the OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List. Selected by kids for kids, the list has 20 great books for students grades 5 through 8. Follow along on the blog as I attempt to profile as many books on the list as I can before the school year starts up again.

Next up: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

The Haiku Review


hidden underneath / hills and rocks, stones and quarrels / more than bones: true love

Major Players:

  • Confident, charismatic Samuel Bolt whose temper prevents him from staying in school
  • Budding paleontologist Rachel Cartland whose dream is to go to university
  • Their stubborn, egomaniacal fathers Professors Cartland & Bolt who take them on an ambitious paleontological dig after which their lives will never be the same

One-Sentence Summary
Samuel & Rachel accompany their feuding paleontologist fathers as they each try to become the first to discover a new species of dinosaur, all the while contending with thieves, rattlesnakes and the prospect of true love.

Authorial Anecdote
Kenneth Oppel has written a number of well-known books for young adults, including The Silverwing Saga, The Airborn Trilogy, and most recently The Nest.

Tough Topics
Every Hidden Thing features characters of Indigenous descent and discusses cultural appropriation. It also includes depictions of sex.

Kids List Connection
Like We Are All Made of Molecules, Every Hidden Thing is told from alternating perspectives. The book highlights the shift from Samuel’s voice to Rachel’s by changing the typeface. A sans-serif font is used for Rachel, reflective of her no-nonsense personality, and a more traditional serif font is used for the romantic Samuel.

Quick Quotes
Samuel: “I could barely tear my gaze away. Neither could Father. It was a fossil hunter’s paradise. All that stone with its deep secrets. You could look and dig for years and discover only a fraction. I wanted to get down there and start right away.

Rachel: “I leaned against the stone until my breathing slowed — and then stopped altogether for a second as I stared. And suddenly I was a young girl again, standing at dawn on a farmer’s field, gazing at something miraculous and ancient in the earth.”

What’d I think?
8/10 Giant Black Teeth
From the first page, you can tell that Every Hidden Thing is going to be a different kind of book. Kenneth Oppel’s language takes you back to nineteenth-century America when people still spoke in “sirs” and “ma’ams” and the land was as rough as the people living on it. Alternating between the voices of protagonists Samuel and Rachel, Oppel really let’s you live inside their colourful minds. Rachel’s intelligence and quick wit — including her ability to manipulate Samuel — make her a compelling, and somewhat tragic character. Despite her passion and drive, she’s still dependent on the men in the life — her overbearing father, and new love, Samuel — to make her dream of going to university a reality. Oppel also does a nice job depicting the joys and pitfalls of young love, highlighting the heartbreaking challenges his Romeo-and-Juliet couple face, while also conveying the fun and romance. It’s a nice acknowledgement that relationships are hard work, and that tensions can flare when the honeymoon’s over.

In addition to all this love and adventure, however, Oppel is sure to acknowledge the negative aspects of the explorers’ discoveries including the displacement of the Plains Indians. Yet, even though the Lakota Sioux and Pawnee characters in the novel play an important role, they ultimately end up serving the novel’s white protagonists. Definitely an important point for discussion if you end up using this novel in class.

In the end, however, I really enjoyed Oppel’s Western romance, which calls on its readers to dig below the surface.

Check out our other blog posts in the series and stay tuned for more book profiles in the coming weeks!
A Month of Mondays
We Are All Made of Molecules



July 11, 2017 at 10:00 am 2 comments

Video on Blended learning and LD students in the regular classroom

Blended Learning: Levelling the Playing Field for Students with Learning Disabilities, available on Youtube and the LDAO site, and see how students at St. Ambrose School in HPCDSB are using technology, how its building their confidence, and the difference educators and administrators are seeing in their school board.

July 10, 2017 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List: We Are All Made of Molecules

From Natalie C., Reference & Digital Resources Librarian

This is the second in our blog series on the OLA Forest Kid Committee Summer Reading List. Selected by kids for kids, the list has 20 great books for students grades 5 through 8. Follow along on the blog as I attempt to profile as many books on the list as I can before the school year starts up again.

Second on the list: We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

The Haiku Review


Ashley and Stewart / opposite but the same / stripped to molecules

Major Players:

  • Anxious but thoughtful self-proclaimed smart guy Stewart
  • Stewart’s new almost-step-sister, the self-absorbed Ashley
  • The couple who are so cute they make you wanna puke: Stewart’s dad Stanley & Ashley’s mom Caroline
  • Ashley’s stylish dad Phil
  • A cat named Schrodinger

One-Sentence Summary

When nerdy Stewart’s dad & too-cool-for-school Ashley’s mom decide to blend their families, these two teens from opposite sides of the school cafeteria must find a way to live together.

Tough Topics

We Are All Made of Molecules tackles death, anxiety, bullying, sexual assault, homophobia, divorce, blended families & integrity

Kids List Connections

Both Month of Mondays & We Are All Made of Molecules feature moms named Caroline.

Quick Quotes

Ashley: “As I strode down the corridor to my locker, I felt full of confidence and joie de beaver (that’s French for just basically loving life)” (p. 122)

Stewart: “We’re bringing a lot of stuff with us, but we can’t bring the mosaic stepping-stones my mom made that line the path in the backyard, or the flowers she planted, or her molecules, which I know still float through the air, because why else can I feel her presence all the time?” (p. 5)

What’d I think?

8/10 Stewarts not Spewarts

I zoomed through We Are All Made of Molecules — definitely a great read. It tackles tough topics with humour and heart. Told in alternating voices, Stewart and Ashley make compelling narrators. While Stewart is slightly more developed than his female counterpart, both characters get the opportunity to grow and shine. I appreciated that the book didn’t shy away from difficult ideas and that it presented its characters grappling with tricky emotions. A trojan horse of a novel that sneaks important messages in with accessible prose, characters you want to be friends with and a touch of funny. A great book to highlight the importance of standing up for what you believe in.

Check out our first post in the series on A Month of Mondays, and stay tuned for more book profiles in the coming weeks!

July 7, 2017 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

EdCan Network is  NEW from CEA

So this is going to take some time to get to know, EdCan Network is the new website recently released from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) .

From About Us: “The Canadian Education Association proudly launches the EdCan Network to support the thousands of courageous educators working tirelessly to ensure that all students discover their place, purpose and path. The EdCan Network is more than a new logo – it embodies a reinvigorated position of the CEA to amplify how teachers, principals, superintendents, researchers and other education leaders are boldly challenging the status quo.”

It provides access to issues of Education Canada (and the bummer is … no longer free access to older issues), and the Facts on Education series (searchable; the newest title asks the question How Equitable is Canada’s Education System), as well as research (searchable) and a professional learning pages. CEA want you to join the network

It is going to take some time to review the site and figure it all out. On first glance it looks newer, more substantial; more sophisticated (love the searching feature). What do you think?


July 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

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