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Book Challenge: The Maze Runner

Book Challenge: The Maze Runner

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Maze Runner

The Maze Runner, By James Dashner

Imagine yourself as Thomas, an average 16 year old teen who wakes up in the lift. As the lift slowly ascends to the top, he can only remember one thing, his name.

As the giant steel door slides open, all he could see are the blank stares of other male teenagers his age staring back at him. Who were these people? Why were they sent there?

The Glade is what the rest of the teens call "home." It's a very bizarre place where no adults have stepped foot. The only way out of the Glade is to enter an ever-changing maze. However, no one has ever made it out alive. They have limited time to solve the puzzles before time runs out.

Will Thomas be able to unlock the mystery behind those stone walls? Time is ticking...

What's inside the maze will soon be set free...

Remember. Survive. Run.

After you read the book, come join us on November 5th for the Ultimate Book Challenge!

Questions? Email us at

Maze Runner

Picture Books that Spark Conversation

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Reading books to children can be a magical thing! Picture books can make you laugh, make you cry and make you marvel at their lovely illustrations. They can also be a starting point for fabulous conversations. Here’s a collection of fantastic picture books that can spark conversations with your preschool aged kids!

Otis and the Tornado

Otis and The Tornado (Loren Long)

Otis has quickly become one of my favorite picture book characters. Otis and the Tornado is the second book starring Otis, his pal the little calf, and all of their farm friends. What will Otis do when a tornado threatens his friends and his farm? Find out as your preschooler discovers the book’s beautiful vocabulary! This is a great book to start conversations about friendship and first impressions.

Willoughby and the Moon

Willoughby & The Moon (Greg Foley)

Willoughby & The Moon has marvelous illustrations. They're entirely black, white and shiny silver, which I love. Thankfully, the story is equally fantastic. Willoughby is scared of the dark and one night he ventures into his closet to find…the moon! There, Willoughby meets a giant snail and discovers that even when you're scared, you can still do something brave. This book can spark conversations about being adventurous, trying things when you're unsure, and of course, great imagination stories about the moon!

A Home for Bird

A Home For Bird (Philip C. Stead)

Vernon the toad meets a quiet blue bird and strives to help Bird find his way home. Philip C. Stead (author), and his wife Erin (illustrator), have a tendency to put out completely endearing children's books that I immediately fall in love with. A Sick Day For Amos McGee is incredibly sweet and won the 2011 Caldecott Medal. Bear Has A Story To Tell is just as charming! A Home For Bird, is, however, a solo effort by Philip and matches the loveliness of the collaborations he has had with his wife. A story of friendship that never gives up! Conversations about friendship and kindness are sure to follow this read.

Grumpy Goat

Grumpy Goat (Brett Helquist)

Brett Helquist tells the story of a grumpy goat who has never had a friend. The other animals on the farm try to befriend the goat, only to be rebuffed at every turn. After the goat discovers a bright and beautiful flower, he begins to soften. In the end, another story of friendship and opening up your heart! Grumpy Goat is great for talking with kids about patience with others and reaching out to those who may not be the friendliest.

Little Cub

Little Cub (Olivier Dunrea)
Little Cub tells us of a little cub living alone near the forest and an old bear living alone in the forest; both lonely and wishing for something more. One day, they stumble across each other's path and find their missing piece. A beautiful story for parents and children especially those who came together through adoption. This book can be a great starting point for talking about adoption!

Penguin and Pinecone

Penguin and Pinecone (Salina Yoon)

I see a pattern on my kids bookshelves at home. They're filled with sweet stories of friendship. Penguin and Pinecone is no different. Penguin and Pinecone's friendship spans the years and shows that, "When you give love, it grows." Simple illustrations and not too many words have made this a new favorite. Do your kids have friends that have moved away? This book is great to spark conversations about long distance friendships in a way that little ones will understand.

-Reviewed by Jenn

Adventures in urban food growing!

by Suzen - 0 Comment(s)

City Farmer by Lorraine JohnsonCity Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing

Author: Lorraine Johnson. Published by Greystone Books, 2010

In big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, ubran farming is a pretty hot trend and Calgary is jumping onto that farm-fresh wagon! With community gardens already in place and farmers' markets popping up throughout the city, it's pretty evident that as Calgarians we want a new relationship with our food. While the economic benefits of growing our own produce is a definite plus to starting your own edible garden, I think there's a much bigger issue taking place. We all want to get closer to our food.

In anticipation of the 2012 opening of Forest Lawn's own community garden located at Forest Lawn Library, I thought it's time we start thinking (and talking!) about growing food in our city. City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing is a recent non-fiction book from Canadian author Lorraine Johnson and gives excellent personal insight to the role urban farming has within a uniquely North American context. Johnson, based in Toronto, is a huge advocat of getting in "close contact" with food and believes that while we may not be the ones growing the produce we eat, it's really important to learn more about all the hows, wheres, whys, whats and whens about our food so we can "make informed decisions about how we sustain ourselves". And having a connection with food can't get any closer than putting our hands elbow-deep in dirt!

Johnson's book is much more than a celebration of eating locally - writes about the role of the community garden outside of food sustenance. Community gardens are "less about food production and more about social interaction and growth". Whether it is teaching kids the responsibility of starting and caring for a vegetable garden, or coming together as a community in a form of "socially supportive gardening", starting up a community garden is all about growing and maintaining relationships with each other - the good and the bad.

This book is filled with great personal and historical anecdotes, and is an excellent introduction to urban farming - whether you're planning on being a farmer or just the consumer.

How do you feel about urban farming? And what about starting a garden in your own community? Let's start the discussion!