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Staff Picks: Finding Jack

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Finding Jack

Author Gareth Crocker, New York: St. Martin’s Press (2011)

This story is set in 1970s around the Vietnam War. After losing his wife and daughter in a tragic accident, Fletcher Carson joins the war in hopes that he will die in the war. However upon arrival at the camp, he meets a yellow Labrador retriever who was severely injured and nurses it back to health. He never knew that this little companion helped him regain his will to live.

The story then takes another turn where the war has ended, and now it’s time for the troops to return home. However, due to cost of withdrawal, all dogs serving the war was considered “surplus military equipment,” and will not be transported back home. Fletcher cannot leave his new found friend behind, and so their journey begins…

Be sure to have a box of tissues near by! *sniff sniff*

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

Staff Picks: Time Keeper

Staff Picks: Time Keeper

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Time Keeper Novel

By Mitch Albom, Published 2012

Who is the first person to track time? The Time keeper and for his efforts his is banished to a inescapable cave. He has to listen to people’s concerns about time and after centuries alone in “his cave” he is allowed a special opportunity to leave the cave to provide help for two individuals who live in the modern world. A teenage girl who wants to end her life and a senior citizen who wants to live forever. The Timekeeper mission is to teach them the “true meaning of time.” Does he succeed?

-Vicki

Staff Pick: One Pot, One Bowl

Staff Pick: One Pot, One Bowl

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

One Pot, One Bowl

By Kim McCosker, published by Meymott Enterprises, 2012

When people ask me do you cook? I say yes... but my type of cooking is all in one pot and then forget about it.

I'm the type of cook who likes things simple. Anything that requires over five ingredients and all those extravagant herbs (some I don't even know how to pronounce) are asking too much from me.

Just the other day I stumbled upon this new book: One Pot, One Bowl. It was just calling for me. All the recipes requires four or less ingredients, which is an added bonus! The instructions are simple, and easy to follow. Also, there are beautiful color pictures along each side of the recipe. I actually like to see how it looks before I make it, just like the saying "you eat with your eyes."

The recipe book covers different kind of meals from brunches, to soup and desserts. There's bound to be something that will work!

Bon Appetite!

Before I Fall

Before I Fall

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Before I Fall

By Lauren Oliver, published by HarperCollins, 2010

Sam and her friends rule the school. They have it all – looks, popularity, boyfriends, and they don’t hesitate to lord it over everyone. They are bullies, mean girls, and won’t have anyone stand in their way. After a night of hard drinking and partying, Sam gets into the car of a drunk driver. With a blinding crash, she loses her life. Instead of being permanently dead, Sam wakes up on the morning of her last day. She proceeds to relive her last day over and over. Each day is the same, but only Sam has the power to change what happens…

Written by Lauren Oliver, who is better known for the debut novel in her dystopian trilogy, “Delirium”, “Before I Fall” was chosen as the YASLA Best Fiction for Young Adults in 2010. Combining elements of fantasy with the very real concept of teenage bullying in a fast-paced, introspective, and engrossing story, this novel causes readers to question what they know. Oliver writes about familiar themes in a fascinating, original way. Prepare to be left wanting more!

-Reviewed by Liz

The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Story of Beautiful Girl

By Rachel Simon, Published by Grand Central Pub, 2011

Lynnie, a beautiful white female who was born with a developmental disability and Homan, a black man who is deaf are on the run with the baby that Lynnie just delivered. Together they escaped from the Intellectual Developmental Disorder Institution, and were taken in by Martha, a widow and retired schoolteacher. Before they were able to settle down, the police arrived and caught Lynnie, but Homan managed to escape. The only words that Lynnie said to Martha was “Hide her.” And it is from this point where the story unfolds about the lives of Lynnie, Homan, Martha and the baby over the course of 40 years.

The book is set up into chapters that corresponded to a year and a character. The set up is similar to Time Traveler’s Wife, but it’s in chronological order.

This book isn’t like a typical love story. It explored the lives of those who are less fortunate and let the reader sense what’s it’s like to be in their shoes. There are many themes portrayed in this novel such as freedom, hope, and dignity.

The Room

The Room

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

Room Book Cover

By Emma Donoghue, Published By HarperCollins, 2010.

This book was recommended by the librarian from one our local schools and I reluctantly placed the book on hold. I say reluctantly as the topic of the book frightened me. Sure enough, I started reading in the evening and had difficulty putting it down but I also trouble sleeping!

The book is narrated by 5 year old Jack who has spend is whole life living inside a small room where he and his mother are held prisoner. There is a frequent night visitor named "Old Nick". Jack and his Ma live in "Room" where is she tries to protect and entertain him from the realities of their situation. This is a quick read that keeps you turning the pages.

WARNING: DO NOT START THIS BOOK AT NIGHT!

Staff Picks: A Mother's Spirit

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By Anne Bennett, Published Long Preston : Magna,2008

A MotherGloria and Joe were the golden couple, until tragedy left them with nothing. Yet even poverty could not spoil the joy when their son is born. World War 11 rages and Joe labours on the docks by day and fights fires by night. When Joe is terribly injured, Gloria decides to take him home to his brother's farm in Ireland hoping that we will recover there. But in the remote countryside she faces her greatest challeng yet ....

Check-out our catalogue for information!

Staff Picks: The Cat's Table

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Cat

Author: Michael Ondaatje, Published by McClelland and Stewart, 2011

In the early 1950's, 11 year old Mynah is on board a liner travelling from Ceylon to London. At mealtimes he is sat at the lowly cat’s table with two other boys his age and an eccentric group of adults. Left unsupervised the boys become involved in the world and stories of the adults and move from one adventure to another. If the story doesn’t amaze you, Ondaatje prose certainly will.

To find out more about this novel, check out our Catalogue!

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!

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