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Read Across Canada — Saskatchewan

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

We've now made it to our next stop on our country wide road trip. We've made it into Saskatchewan, where rumour has it, you can see your dog running away from home for days. Saskatchewan, like Alberta has many great authors to celebrate, so, we've narrowed it down to 3.

Far from her farm roots near Regina, Melanie Schnell takes us to civil war-torn Sudan with her multiple award winning first novel, While the Sun is Above Us. Melanie lived and researched for this book in South Sudan for 7 months, and her dedication to her writing shows. Through powerful and emotional prose, Melanie gives us two intertwined characters, Adut and Sandra. These women, of vastly different circumstance, experience a violent local conflict that changes their lives forever. While Melanie has written for television and has had fiction, poetry and non-fiction published, While the Sun is Above Us is her first novel. It has been shortlisted for four Saskatchewan book awards, Book of the Year, Regina Book Award, Fiction Award and the First Book award. She is currently working on her second novel.

Alice Kuipers, currently living in Saskatoon, has written several YA novels, including her first award winner, Life on the Refrigerator Door . It has been published in 28 countries and was named as a New York Times best book for teens. Her second novel, The Worst Thing She Ever Did, has won an Arthur Ellise Award. Her most recent and third young adult novel, 40 Things I Want to Tell You was a 2013 CLA Young Adult Book Award Honour Book. She will also have a picture book, The Best-ever Bookworm Book by Violet and Victor Small, will be published in 2014. All of her works have been published in 29 countries.

In 40 Things I Want to Tell You, Alice’s main character Amy, a.k.a. Bird, writes an advice column for teens called Top Tips that I imagine she really wishes she had followed. Self-searching and filled with inner turmoil, Alice Kuipers’ latest book shares with readers much more than just 40 Things.

Arthur Slade was born in Moose Jaw, but currently lives in Saskatoon. He has written severl YA novels, including the novel Dust, which won the 2001 Govenor General's Award as well as the 2001 Saskatchewan Book Award. His most recent work is Island of Doom, which is the fourth and final book in The Hunchback Assignments. The other titles in this series include The Hunchback Assignments, The Dark Deeps, and Empire of Ruins.

In, Island of Doom, Modo, a shape shifting, masked spy is on a personal quest....to find his biological parents. Along with some characters from the previous novels, some good and some not so good, Modo and a fellow spy, Octavia, make a thrilling dash towards the conclusion of this series.

Read Across Canada: Alberta

by Patricia - 1 Comment(s)

Time to continue on our cross-country road trip!!! Get out the chips and pop, and keep the donuts coming.

We've made it over the Rockies to the prairies: beautiful skies as far as the eye can see, wheat fields stretching on and on and on... What DO Albertans do on those long winter nights? Apparently write, because there are lots of great authors in this province. But I've had to narrow it down to just three:

Monica Hughes wasn't born in Canada, but we're proud to have lured her in. After doing things like, oh, CRACKING CODES during WW II, she ended up living in good ol' Alberta. Although she was almost fifty when her first book was published, she ended up writing over 35 books and became known as one of Canada's best writers of science fiction for children and young adults.

Invitation to the Game is a dystopian novel set on Earth in the year 2154. Lisse and her friends struggle to survive until they are chosen to partipate in 'the Game', a virtual reality surival experience which leaves them unsure of the line between real life and fantasy. The Story Box is set on the island of Ariban, where imagination is forbidden. Then Colin discovers a young woman from a different land, who holds a beautiful chest in her hands she calls 'the story box'. And in her last book, The Maze, Andrea and two of her 'girl gang' tormentors are magically placed in a maze, where they all depend on Andrea for rescue.

But The Isis Trilogy is maybe her most well known work. In The Keeper of the Isis Light, Olwen Pendennis lives on the planet Isis, with Guardian as her only companion after her settler parents die. When colonists from an overpopulated and polluted Earth come to live in the valleys, Olwen fears her world will be changed forever. The Guardian of Isis takes place decades later, after the settlers have replaced their technological knowledge with myth. When a natural disaster threatens the colony, the overly-curious Jody N'Kumo goes searching for the truth. And finally, in The Isis Pedlar, Moira's father Michael Joseph Flynn brings great new stuff to Isis, like his magic firestone, delicious ambrosia, and mysterious Forever Machine. Only Moira knows what a charlatan he really is, and it's up to her to expose him before it's too late!

David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, actor, and of course, writer. But his coolest and most Albertan activity is - rodeo announcer! Last year, when he wasn't at rodeos, he was busy being Writer in Residence at the Chinook Arch Library System in southern Alberta.

David Poulsen's first work was the award winning short story The Welcomin’. He's written twenty books since. You could check out Last Sam's Cage, in which Eddie runs away from his abusive stepfather to live at the Calgary zoo. He's also written lots of 'jock' stories, like Wild Thing, Blind Date, and Cowboy Cool, set (mostly) in Lawrence 'Jock Joint' High . And in Numbers, misfit Andy Crocket finds out his cool Social teacher Mr. Retzlaff is giving his class a skewed look at history, especially WW II.

His latest, Old Man, is about a road trip (ha! see how that ties in?) involving 16- year-old Casey and his 'old man' - NEVER 'dad', since he left when Casey was five. Casey has plans for the summer: get fit, get some money, and get the girl. But when the 'old man' calls unexpectedly, he's forced into giving up all his plans, to go who knows where, for who knows what reason, with this dude that he doesn't know at all. Not to give anything away, but they end up in Vietnam, hoofing it through the jungle. Casey has an ironic sense of humour which makes his first-person account really enjoyable.

Martine Leavitt was born in Alberta, went to the University of Calgary, and raised her seven children (whew!) here. She still lives here when she's not working a the University of Vermont. She writes contemporary and fantasy novels.

You'll find her first three novels, Dragon's Tapestry, Prism Moon, and The Taker's Key - aka the Marmawell Trilogy - under the name of her 'alter ego', Martine Bates. Many of her books are award winners, like Keturah and Lord Death, Tom Finder - which is set in Calgary - and Heck Superhero.

My book of life by Angel is her latest book. There are a few reasons why it's of special interest. First, it's a 'novel in verse'. If that worries you, don't let it. It's a quick read, but the story and writing are still amazing. And you think 'poems' are all about daffodils and kittens? Think again! This one is about a 16-year-old drug-addicted prostitute living with her pimp, 'Call', in downtown Vancouver (yes, we've gone back over the Rockies, but it's all still Canada, right?) When Call brings home a 13-year-old girl, Angel knows she has to do something to get her out of there, especially since there are rumours of a serial killer preying on the 'girls.' This story tells it like it is, without any preachy 'after school special' moments. The Canadian Library Association just named this their winner for the Young Adult Book Award for 2013!

Well, that should give you lots of stuff to read, when you're not checking out the Badlands or hitting the Stampede. Next stop - Saskatchewan!

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Read Across Canada — B.C.

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

OK, we all know Canadians have a lot to be proud about - great actors and musicians, beautiful natural spaces, and of course, our ability to survive even the coldest of Canadian winters. We also have a ton of super talented Canadian authors! The snow is melting now and if you're already dreaming of (or dreading) your summer vacation, come along on our virtual reading road trip - this week, we're starting off in B.C.

susin nielsenSusin Nielsen lives in Vancouver and used to write scripts for TV shows including Degrassi High. These days, she writes funny, realistic novels with characters you'll wish you knew in real life!

In Word Nerd, Ambrose is being homeschooled after a near-fatal run in with bullies, and he is B-O-R-E-D. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Cosmo, his landlord's ex-con son, and they bond over the strangest of things - competitive Scrabble.dear george clooney book cover

Dear George Clooney, Please Marry my Mom - that's what Violet decides is the only answer after her father trades in his life for a seemingly better one and leaves her mom behind. Violet is disgusted when her mom starts dating the terribly named Dudley Wiener, the latest in a long line of awful relationships, and decides it's time to take matters into her own hands.

Henry K. Larsen is only writing this journal because his therapist says he has reluctant journal book coverto. He's seeing a therapist because something terrible has happened to his family, and they have moved to a new town to start fresh. Despite the tragedy, Henry's story is full of humour and hope, and you'll wish you could reach into this book and give him a hug. Also of note - this book just won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award!

hunt of the unicorn cover

author cc humphreysAuthor, actor, and swordsman (yes, swordsman!) C.C. Humphreys lives on Salt Spring Island, B.C., and has written a swashbuckling YA novel called The Hunt of the Unicorn. Elayne's family tells stories about stepping through a tapestry into a world of mythical creatures, stories that she has always loved. Stories that could never happen in the real world, in modern day New York, where she lives. Until one day, she visits The Cloisters, a medieval art museum in New York, and sees her own initials woven into an ancient tapestry. Then she hears the unicorn calling her - and falls into the world her family always warned her about.

I could go on, of course, but I think that's enough for one excursion - next stop: Alberta!

CLA Award Winners!!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

My Book of Life by Angel, What Happened to Ivy, and 40 Things I Want to Tell You. What do these three books have in common? They are all awesome, all deal with tough, tough things and all are winners or honour books for the 2013 Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Book Award!

My Book of Life by Angel, by local author Martine Leavitt, takes the cake (aka is the winner). Angel, a teen prostitute in love with her pimp Call, decides to keep a diary when her friend becomes one of the many girls who are mysteriously going "missing" (being murdered), however when 11 year old Melli shows up she realizes she has to do more than that, preserving what innocence a dark and hardened teen can have. My Book of Life by Angel is also a verse novel so it's appropriate that this award was annouced during International Poetry Month!

In 40 Things I Want to Tell You, by Alice Kuipers, Amy has it all - great parents, a sexy boyfriend, and an amazing best friend. In fact, she's so together that she writes an online advice column to help other teens. This all changes when Pete enters her life. He is exactly the opposite of Amy, yet she is drawn to him, and it might just be that losing control of one thing could make her lose everything.

Kathy Stinson offers a summer seaside workshop for kids and teens, and also wrote What Happened to Ivy. David's sister, Ivy, was born with multiple serious disabilities, and she needs constant attention, usually from him. He loves Ivy, but sometimes he hates that she always seems to be the center of his parents attention, and that his parents only see him as her helper. That changes when girl-next-door Hannah enters his life; she makes him feel special. Then Ivy has an accident, and suddenly everything is different. David must confront his feelings of guilt and wrestle with the idea of forgivenss as he struggles with the questions surrounding Ivy's death.

All of the finalists are excellent books by great Canadian authors so be sure to check out the rest of the short list:

cover of the callingcover of bright's lightcover of yesterdaycover of henry k. larsencover of such wicked intentcover of the last song

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

by Alexandra - 2 Comment(s)

It’s rare that a book comes along that we consider so good we are willing to dedicate an entire blog post to it. Usually we talk about books within a genre, like dystopian or horror, and list our favourites from the collection for you to check out! It’s even rarer that we would feature a book from the high-fantasy realm, as those kind of books tend to be niche-reads… not everyone can get behind goblins and orcs and princesses and evil kings…

But what about dragons?

There is just something about dragons that really sparks our imaginations and gets people fired up (har har). Maybe it’s the fact that there are dragon mythologies in just about every part of the world, seriously pre-dating any form of world travel – most legends of magical creatures are fairly geographically isolated… Ever heard of a Canadian Kappa or an African Leprechaun? But there are stories of dragons from Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America… even way down in Australia and New Zealand!

Or what about the fact that we know dinosaurs once walked the earth… is it so hard to believe in some straggling survivors? We see lizards and komodos, birds and beasts all over the planet that really get us thinking…

Dragons are a staple of fantasy stories, and their popularity in kids and teen fiction is nothing new… (see Harry Potter, Eragon, How to Train Your Dragon, anything by Mercedes Lackey, loads of stuff from Chris d’Lacey, Emily Rodda, Jane Yolen… this list is too massive to even begin here), but as we said previously, not everyone can get through all the other high-fantasy stuff just to get to the dragons. If YOU can’t, check this out:


Seraphina is a young musician working in the palace courts (okay, so there are Royals too, but that’s the ONLY other fantasy-y thing, I promise), trying to keep her head down and just play her instruments. She is very, very talented, but promised her father she would not draw unnecessary attention to herself – you can’t be too careful when you’re an adolescent lady alone in the palace. You ESPECIALLY can’t be too careful when this particular castle is rocked by the suspected assassination of a beloved prince, the heir to their throne. Cause of death? Beheading by dragon-bite. Motive behind death? To destroy the already weak peace established between humans and dragons. You see, in this world, Dragons and Humans live side-by-side, though far from in harmony (it’s hard to do when one half of society is constantly eating the other half…). A tenuous peace was established by the previously-mentioned (and currently dead) prince’s mother and the Ardmagar, the leader of dragons. For the last 40 years, dragons have been perfecting the ability to take human form, to walk about in human company and to live and learn in human society. The only problem is, they are not human. And everyone knows it. They are cold, calculating, scientifically-inclined, unemotional (think Vulcans, but with the ability to shed their skin and pop scales and fangs in an instant) – they are hard to befriend and no one really wants to anyways. Except for Seraphina, who has a secret that could very well save the kingdom from a brutal, interspecies-war and imminent destruction…

Readers and critics alike do not have enough good things to say about this book, and its sequel Drachomachia is due out in the new year. You’ll want to get into this series as soon as possible, even if you’re NOT usually into fantasy. It is WELL WORTH the read! And (drumroll please) we here at CPL have a copy of this fantastic book to give away - just leave your name & contact info in the comments to be entered in the draw.

Other dragons in the news? Well... we just left the Zodiac's year of the dragon, but Benedict Cumberbatch is up for an Oscar for Voicing SMAUG in the Hobbit Series... he studied Komodo Dragons at the London Zoo to prepare for the role... There are also these great titles:

    

Young Readers Choice Awards continued... continued!

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

For those of you who have been waiting for this final category of YRCA nominees, the Senior books (Gr. 10-12) here it is!!

And, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, welcome to the Young Readers Choice Awards! We want YOU to read at least two books from one of these lists, and then vote for your fave. I've already written about the YRCA in general and the whole voting thing on a previous blog, so I won't repeat myself, just go there. You'll also see the write-up about the Junior & Intermediate YRCA nominees in previous blogs.

So without further ado, here are the Senior nominees:

Book coverBefore I Fall, by Lauren Oliver: Samantha is a popular 17 year old, who thinks she's perfect. Then.. she is killed in a car accident, and relives the same day over, and over, and over, trying to fix all of the not-so-perfect things she did so she can, well, move on. Think Groundhog Day, in a gut-wrenching sort of way.

Book coverBruiser, by Neil Shusterman: Bronte can’t understand why her family, and especially her twin brother Tennyson, dislikes her new boyfriend Brewster so much. Even though he looks a little rough, he’s kind and gentle with her. Then one day she hurts herself, and when he touches her the wound disappears and she feels wonderful, but he looks worse than ever… There’s a lot of intense family violence in this book, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Book coverCrazy, by Han Nolan: 15-year-old Jason has a pile of friends... but they're all imaginary. And his father is mentally ill. And his mother has just died. And he's responsible for keeping everything together! Good thing he has the help of Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show, Sexy Lady, and a "laugh track" - although they're all in his head... Read this book and you get to be one of his internal characters as well!

Book coverMatched, by Ally Condie: In a highly controlled society, a 16-year-old girl is ecstatic to find out she has been ‘matched’ with not only someone she actually knows, but her best friend! However, she discovers cracks in the perfect system when the picture of a different boy, also someone she knows, shows up on her true love’s profile page. Interested in what caused this glitch, and wanting to know more about the much more mysterious, dangerous Kai, she strays further and further from her chosen path and ideal romance. The first in what is likely to be the next great dystopian series.

Book coverThe Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff: Mackie lives in a small town with big secrets. Every seven years, a baby is 'replaced' by a fairy child from the underworld. When his strange allergies – to iron, blood, and consecrated ground – get worse and threaten his life, he teams up with Tate, whose baby sister has just gone missing, to uncover the truth. This is a dark gothic tale of the paranormal, with gruesomely thrilling imagery.

Book coverShip Breaker, by Paula Bacigalupi: Another dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, BUT this time from a male point of view (about time!) The main character ekes out a living by stripping wrecked ships with a band of thieves. But one ship isn’t deserted; they discover a girl, barely alive, who promises to show them a dream-world, a utopia, if they let her live. Interesting use of language makes up for – or adds to, depending on your point of view – the more violent scenes in this fast-paced read.

Book coverWill Grayson, Will Grayson, by David Levithan and John Green: Will Grayson has the biggest gayest friend ever! will grayson (the other one = yes there's two... with the same name, hence the lack of capitals) is sad and depressed. When the two W/will G/graysons happen to meet, all their lives are changed. And a great high school musical is produced! Hilarious and interesting, with lots of unexpected twists, and over-the-line language and scenarios. Not to be missed!

Book coverWinter Shadows, by Margaret Buffie: Cass is living in modern-day Selkirk, Manitoba when she finds an old brooch which becomes a gateway into the world of Beatrice, who lived in the house in the 1850's. They communicate through Beatrice's diary, and bond over difficulties with their respective step-mothers. A great 'time slip' story, with some real insight into the Metis history and way of life.

Okay, that's it for the YRCA selections. Now it's your turn - read, ponder, then VOTE! And may the best book win...

Young Readers Choice Awards continued...

by Patricia - 0 Comment(s)

YRCA logo

Young Readers Choice Awards: Junior Category

As promised, here's the next installment in the Young Readers Choice Awards.

We're asking you to read at least two books from one of the categories, then choose your favourite. For more info on the YRCA and how to cast your ballot, please look at my previous blog, which also talked about the Intermediate books.

This time we're looking at the Junior Category Nominees, those geared for about Gr. 4-6.

Book coverfatty legs, by Christy Jordan-Feton: Margaret is a young Inuit girl who desperately wants to go to school, like her older sister, so she can learn how to read. This means leaving her family to go to residential school. When she finally gets her wish, however, it’s not exactly what she had dreamed… This book is autobiographical, and there is a sequel, called A Stranger At Home. A shortened version of fatty legs has been made into a picture book, called When I Was Eight. A great introduction for a younger audience.

Book coverThe Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger: This book is written in the form of a 'case file' by Tommy and his friends in middle school. Dwight, the biggest nerd of them all (which is saying a lot) creates an Origami Yoda finger puppet which appears to be amazingly wise and prescient - unlike Dwight! Very funny. If you like the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, you'll like this too. There is also a sequel, called Darth Paper Strikes Back - worth reading if only for the title.

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Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham: Do you see that? JOHN GRISHAM! The king of adult crime novels has crossed over into the Kid Zone with this story about a 13-year-old boy who knows everything there is to know about the justice system, but can't keep himself out of trouble when a grisly murder needs to be solved. Read it to see if Grisham can handle the critical readers in the shallow end of the pool...

Big Nate: In a Class By Himself, by Lincoln Peirce: The only graphic novel candidate in this bunch. Big Nate has been seen before, in a comic strip, as the less-than-straight-A middle school kid who wisecracks his way into a lot of detentions. A great alternative if you've read all of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' books, or want to get into graphics with something new!

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The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood: This is the first in the series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. 15-year-old Penelope becomes a governess at a children’s school, only to discover that the mysterious howling she has been hearing is being made by two children who were found in the forest and have obviously been raised by wolves. She must teach them not only Latin and Algebra but how to act like humans instead of wolves. 'Howlingly' funny (hee hee).

13 Treasures13 Treasures, by Michelle Harrison: The main character is Tanya, and Tanya is ‘trouble’. Tanya sees fairies, but if she talks about this, people think she’s crazy! Blamed for all of the things the fairies get into, she is shipped off to her grandmother's ancient old house - which happens to be infested with, you guessed it, fairies. Then children in the area go missing, and Tanya wants to find out what’s going on. If you like the Spiderwick Chronicles, you’ll love this book.

Book coverThe Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan: Really sad that the Percy Jackson series ended? Well, don't be! This new spin-off series has appearances by all your favourite characters, while introducing Jason, Piper, and Leo as the offspring of some new gods - this time in their Roman persona's. Another rollicking ride through Camp Half-Blood, with a satyr masquerading as a bus, Medusa working in a chic New York department store, and a race against the clock to keep the world from terrible danger.

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Lone Wolf, by Kathryn Lasky: This is the beginning of Lasky’s new series The Wolves of Beyond, which takes place in the same world as her ‘Guardians of Ga’hoole’ books. In this one, a young wolf pup is born, despite many problems for his mother, with a twisted leg and a strange mark on his paw, marking him as.. well, either deformed, or special. He survives against all odds, is raised by a mother bear, and eventually makes his way to ‘the Beyond’, a place on the edge of this world where the socially outcast wolves reside... and back again to some new surprises!

Okay, that's it for the Junior YRCA nominees. Look for the next and final posting, about the Senior choices, coming soon.. and don't forget to read & vote!

Young Readers Choice Awards

by Patricia - 1 Comment(s)

YRCA logo

It's Young Reader's Choice Awards time again! The time when the books that YOU select as being the most awesome will get to put those stickers on their jackets saying, 'I'm the BEST and everyone should read me!'

This award is given out by the Pacific Northwest Library Association, which is not only bi-national - including Canada's western provinces AND America's western states - but also the oldest children's choice award in both countries.

Get ready to cast a ballot by reading at least two books from one of the categories, Junior (Gr. 4-6), Intermediate (Gr. 7-9), or Senior (Gr. 10-12). Then, fill out a ballot at your neighbourhood library branch between March 15 - April 15. (For details on the whole voting process, go here.) I'll give a quick teaser of each book, then leave it up to you!

As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth, by Lynne Rae Perkins: Ry, on his way to summer camp in Oregon, manages to miss the train when it stops in the middle of nowhere - and then suddenly takes off again - when he briefly nips out to find cell phone service. He sets off on his own with a dying cell phone and little else, meeting interesting people who help him find his way back home. This is a very funny book, with simple but hilarious sketch drawings showing certain .. important.. moments in Ry's 'adventure', as well as what's going on with his two dogs... hmmmm....

The Card Turner, by Louis Sachar: So this is a book about a 17-year-old boy and how he learns bridge. But wait! Before you skip on to the next title, remember this is Louis Sachar, who also wrote ‘Holes’ and other award-winning stories. In this book, Alton is forced to read and play the cards for his super-rich but very blind and sick uncle, who is an ace at duplicate bridge tournaments, but might also be connected with the mob... If you would love to learn how to play bridge, detailed explanations are provided for every card game. BUT, if you couldn’t care less, the author has helpfully put these parts between asterisks, so you can skip over them and get on with the plot!

Heist Society, by Ally Carter: Katarina tries to leave the family business - thieving - but is lured back when her father becomes the only suspect in the theft of a mobster’s art collection, and the only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier: This autobiography tells the story of a girl whose front teeth get knocked out accidentally, forcing her to learn how to take the teasing and abuse and throw it back in a goodhearted fashion. This is a graphic novel, which aside from adding visual appeal, makes it a quick read.

The Second Trial, by Rosemarie Boll: 13-year-old Danny starts to fall apart after his mother goes to court against his father, charging him with domestic abuse, and they need to go into Witness Protection. Confused about his dad and hostile towards his mother, Danny starts to act out at school and home. Published by Second Story press, it’s an accessible story for anyone looking for an easier read, but be warned, it’s a pretty ‘gritty’ scenario, no sweetness and light in this one.

Sorta Like A Rock Star, by Matthew Quick: Amber, known as the ‘Princess of Hope’, has a pretty sucky life, living with her man-huntin’ mom in a school bus. But Amber always manages to keep that hope alive, until one day tragedy occurs. Good for teens who can handle the rough side of life. And sometimes really funny!

Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto: In this book, Bethany, an angel new to the trade, is sent down to earth with two more experienced compatriots, including the Archangel Gabriel, to fight the forces of darkness. While here, she meets and falls in love with a human, and learns that good and evil are not always easy to identify.

The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan: The first in another series by the author of the Percy Jackson books, focused this time on ancient Egypt. Carter and Sadie Kane watch as their father accidentally releases five ancient Egyptian gods from the Rosetta Stone and is then sucked into the ‘Duat’. While trying to rescue their father, they must also stop the evil god Set from building his pyramid of power and destroying the world. Along the way they discover much about themselves, their family, and the hidden world of ancient Egyptian magic. Tons of action, and, hey, you might learn something too... like what the 'Duat' is!

Okay, gotta wrap it up here. Look for 'sister' blogs about the Junior and Senior categories in the same spot, coming soon....

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful cont... Genius = Kids Books for Adults

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, in addition to Alex's latest blog Poke a Little Fun, in my time here I have noticed that there are many stellar picture books out there that are almost more suitable for an adult audience, in both their stunning content and maturity. The true genius of these books lies in the fact that they manage to span the ages and appeal to all ages. TRUE genius at heart. Here are 4 offerings in that vein.

Three Ladies Beside The Sea by Rhoda Levine illustrated by Edward Gorey who is famous for his darker art and pictures books for adults is a fun tale of 3 sisters with rhyme and metaphor that younger readers may miss and older ones appreciate. Also not to be missed is his humourous, The Epileptic Bicycle.

Elliott, written and illustrated by Tobin Sprout features bleak and beautiful surrealistic paintings accompanying a cute story about finding your calling... when your old life is over. Sprout is also a musician (best know as a former member of the indie rock band Guided by Voices) in addition to being an an artist and writer!

Where in the World by Marie-Francine Hebert and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a heart-string pulling tale of what a young girl decides to do and to take with her when her life is all of a sudden usurped by war. Originally written in French, this book's illustrations won the Governor General’s Award for French language picture books. The dedication aptly reads, "For all of you, little or tall, who are working hard to add more soul into the great jar of life."

In the Heart of the Bottle written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers reminds me of the heart imagery in Christina's Perri's video Jar of Hearts ... but as a children's book. A poignant story of how your heart can get into and out of ... a bottle.

Enjoy!

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

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