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Yar maties! Walk the plank with a mighty tome o' the sea!

Yar maties! Walk the plank with a mighty tome o' the sea!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Ahoy and avast ye lily-livered lubbers!

Did you know that September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? I remember this day every year because it coincides with my sister's birthday. I also happen to love pirates. Coincidence? I think not.

A common complaint we hear at Saddletowne is that parents are often stuck re-reading similar books to their children over and over and over again, and while we are glad that children have their favourites, we completely understand that sometimes things just need to be shaken up. Our September solution? Talking like a pirate. Seriously. Many studies and articles indicate that children learn best when they play - and that includes playing with language. Pirate speak is a lot of fun, and will help shake up the monotonous routine! So from us to you, here are some excellent piratical reads that Saddletowne has to offer you this week.

1. Twenty Six Pirates
by Dave Horowitz

Have fun with your kids while they practice and learn the alphabet....in the most scurvy of ways! Horowitz creates twenty-six different pirates for your kids to laugh at and learn from, with passages like "Pirate Brad. Born to be bad!" For any parent familiar with Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, this is a more cheerful, hilarious, and age appropriate book...but chances are good you'll laugh too.

Twenty-Six Pirates by Dave Horowitz

2. Pirate vs. Pirate
by Mary Quattlebaum and Alexandra Boiger

Bad Bart is the "biggest, burliest pirate this side of the Atlantic". Mean Mo is the "Maddest, mightiest pirate this side of the Pacific." So obviously when they run into each other (because the world is round after all, and that's just bound to happen), a competition must take place to see who the badest pirate actually is. A beautifully illustrated and creative book full of pirate jargon and rivalry, Pirate vs. Pirate won't disappoint!

Pirate vs. Pirate by Mary Qauttlebaum

3. Pajama Pirates
by Andrew Kramer

The perfect book for little adventurers who don't like to go to sleep, Pajama Pirates traces the night-time adventures of three siblings who set sail on the seas of their imaginations...and in their imaginations, their mother is "Mama Nature", who tries to keep them on task for bedtime. The perfect book for right before bed, check out Pajama Pirates.

Pajama Pirates

4. Pirateria: The Wonderful, Plunderful Pirate Emorium
by Calef Brown

Pirateria is the ultimate book for delicious pirate lingo! I cannot accurately convey the feel of this book to you in the Queen's English, so here is an excerpt from the book itself: "So climb that rigging and dig for ingots hidden on deserted beaches! You can't beat our breeches! They'll last a lifetime, and the pockets will hold all the gold you can carry. (Though it must be told: Pirates' lifetimes may vary)"

Pirateria by Calef Brown

5. Pirates of the Sea!
by Brandon Dorman

A wonderfully colourful and dynamically classic pirate tale, follow characters like Cap'n Bones, Gunpowder Gus, and Lookout Lee as they spit at sea monsters, search for buried treasure, hangout with mermaids, and take the pirate pledge! This rag-tag crew will make your kids say yo-ho-ho!

Pirates of the Sea! by Brandon Dorman

So g'wan, ye bilge rats! Read some new plunder to yer tiny sailors!! YAR!

Here are a few more articles to read about children, play, and learning:
Different Types of Play Help Children Learn
Learning Through Play - A Child's Job
Building Language and Literacy through Play

Saddletowne presents: Adult Book Club!

Saddletowne presents: Adult Book Club!

by Alyssa - 2 Comment(s)

The Saddletowne Library is very pleased to present our newest program.....an adult reading club!

The reading club's first meeting will begin on Friday, September 19th. You do need to register for this program with your library card, but once you do, you will be able to pick up our first reading club book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. The reading club will be a great way to meet new people, share your love of reading, and listen to different ideas about books and literature.

thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield

At reading club meetings, we will be:

  • discussing the book
  • choosing a book for our next meeting
  • sharing our love of reading!

To register for this program, you can register online at the Calgary Public Library website, drop by the Saddletowne Library in person, or call us at 403-260-2620. Come join us!

Back to School!

Back to School!

by Alyssa - 1 Comment(s)

When I was very young (oh-so-long-ago), every August I would begin dreading school. A new grade, bigger kids, harder school work - was I prepared? Could I handle it? Would I fail? My mother would have to sit me down and remind me that everyone else in my class would be in the same boat as me, and that learning was part of growing, and though it could be scary, it was not insurmountable. And every year during the month of September I would dread going to school...until November. When, after a few assignments and a few tests were under my belt, I would see that my mother was right.

What my mother didn't have during my August school blues were materials to help convince me that it was going to be okay, and that I was not the only one feeling scared, inadequate, and small.

So, as an homage to my mother during this month of pre-school preparation, here are some books to help you and your little one transition to a bigger, scarier, more difficult school year...that won't be so big, scary, or difficult afterall. As always, stop by the Saddletowne Library and pick one of these, or any other books!

1. I am Absolutely Too Small for School
by Lauren Child

A wonderful book for children entering school for the first time, like pre-school or Kindergarten. Lola is absolutely convinced that she is absolutely too small to go to school. But her older brother Charlie knows better, and offers sage (and hilarious) words of advice to his younger sister.

I am Absolutely Too Small for School!

2. First Grade Jitters
by Robert M. Quackenbush

Moving up the scary scale to Grade One, this would be an excellent choice for any child going into....Grade One. In First Grade Jitters, Aidan freely shares his fears about staring "real school", and seeks solace from his friends and family.

First Grade Jitters

3. Chu's First Day of School
By Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex

Fantasy, fiction, and graphic novel superstar Neil Gaiman lends his humour and imagination to a creative story about the first day of school. A wonderful option for any first day of school, whether for a new year, a new student, or a brand new school!

Chu's First Day of School

4. Back to School, Weird Kids Rule!
by Dan Gutman

A funny story for older children (7-10) and part of the Weird School series, AJ and Andrea are sent to a back-to-school camp after a hurricane ruins their summer vacation. But in typical Andrea & AJ fashion, they are determined to make the last days of summer the best they've ever had!

back to school, weird kids rule!

5. It's Back to School We Go: first day stories from around the world!
by Ellen B. Jackson

The ultimate source in expanding your child's perspective, It's Back to School We Go has eleven true stories from children all over the world. Whether it's a child in Kazakhstan, China, or Kenya, your young person can share in back to school stories and gain an empathetic understanding that everyone from anywhere has back-to-school fears!

It's back to school we go!

Additional reading for parents:

Helping your child cope with back to school anxiety

Back to school blues

Kid's Health: Back to school

5 tips to get your kids up for school

Help your child prepare for back to school

Cowtown Concert Reads

Cowtown Concert Reads

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary is one of the absolutely best cities to be in during the summer. Not just because of the (mostly) nice weather, and not just because our general populace is receiving tons of greatly needed vitamin D from the big yellow thing in the sky "they" call the sun, thereby increasing happy-making chemicals in our bodies. I will assert that Calgary's summer greatness is primarily due to one simple phenomenon: music concerts.

Calgary has a rich musical culture. We seem to get everyone from major headliners playing stadium shows (Queen, Arcade Fire, Cher), to Indie Music power houses (Modest Mouse, The Weakerthans, Neko Case), to brand new baby bands clawing their way out of obscurity (your best friend's brother's band with the weird name you can never remember). But one thing is vitally true - if you want to hear it, Calgary will have it....most likely during the summer.

Folk Festival kicks off tonight ( where I'll be after I leave the Saddletowne Library) and I have packed my backpack full of festival going essentials: bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain coat, ipod, towel, and a book. Yes, you read that correctly. I bring books with me to music festivals. This is maybe not so much a novelty as you would expect - waiting happens a lot at concerts. In particular, I like to read biographies and autobiographies. I don't want a book that I get so engrossed in I won't want to put it down, but I do want to keep myself in the feel of my surroundings - trees, birds, people, sun, grass. Sometimes books of poetry written by musicians (afterall, lyrics are just poetry put to music). I'm also fond of reading short story collections as well. But the books I read at concerts have to be three things: brief, interesting, and somehow musically inclined (whatever you take that to mean).

Here are some book recommendations for you or the concert go-er in your life. As always, you can pick them up here at Saddletowne.

1. Stranger Music: Selected poems and songs
by Leonard Cohen

A prolific collection of some of Cohen's most beautiful, honest, and simple wordsmithing. Truly wonderful poems to ponder in the sun, while waiting to discover your next favourite band.

Leonard Cohen

2. This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
by David J. Levitin

An interesting, thought-provoking exploration on our relationship with music, and how music shapes our every day lives - both positively and negatively. If you're interested in the technical, brain-related data of music, this is your book.

This is Your Brain on Music

3. Love is a Mix-Tape
By Rob Sheffield

Before I wanted to work in a library, I wanted to write for Rolling Stone. No joke. Rob Sheffield is, in essence, the marriage of my two loves: books and music. Sheffield recalls his tragic first marriage through the mix tapes he and his wife made throughout their marriage (and her life). From washing the dishes, to folding laundry - they made mix tapes for everything. This book will make you want to take out your tape deck and craft someone a musical interpretation of your soul. For any occasion.

Rob Sheffield

4. Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up
by Pamela Des Barres

A sequel to her first book, I'm With the Band, this is the more mature, down-to-earth Pamela Des Barres. Accounting her life after groupie-hood, Des Barres writes about marriage, motherhood, and inspiration. But don't worry, there's still plenty of Rock N' Roll gossip to recount at your next dinner party.

Pamela Des Barres

5. Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics
by Loretta Lynn

Chances are, if you've made it to the bottom of this blog, you have enough of an interest in music to have read (or seen) Coal Miner's Daughter. This book, dare I say it, is even better. Here, Loretta Lynn explains her artistic process song by song. With beautiful photos, heartbreaking honesty, and a glorious sense of humour, Loretta Lynn tells the stories behind her lyrics, as life was happening to her. This ain't your mom's autobiography.

Loretta Lynn

Saddletowne thinks teens are great!!

Saddletowne thinks teens are great!!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Youth Read has been in full swing, and the Saddletowne teens have created some amazing, wonderful things!! Come check out what's happening for teens in our library!!

  • We have a new display featuring Saddletowne Youth Read artwork over by the checkout machines:

Youth Read Art

  • We also have a Youth Read Recommendation display located at the front of the library, right next to our staff picks!

    Youth Read recommendations


  • If you are inteterested in Youth Read Challenge events, come to the Saddletowne Library every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m.!!

Youth Read Challenges!

Books and Blockbusters!

Books and Blockbusters!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Summer is just around the corner, which means summer blockbuster movie season is almost here! Here is a list of books we love, and can't wait to see on the big screen (and not just superheros, either!):

The Million Dollar Arm by JB Bernstein

The Million Dollar Arm by J.B. Bernstein
In Theatres: May 23
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiC8o7i_ZqE

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
In Theatres: June 6
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Crowell

How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Crowell
How to Train Your Dragon 2 in Theatres: June 13
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9a4PvzlqoQ

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
In Theatres: July 11
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyhfZZupU7c

Guardians of the Galaxy by Marvel Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy by Marvel Comics

In Theatres: August 1
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89q_HH-3ghk

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
In Theatres: August 8
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8yVhwNS0i0

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry
In Theatres: August 15
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYZxZups06w

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places & Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places In Theatres: September 1
Gone Girl In Theatres: October 3
Gone Girl Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1INjRchY69A

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze Runner by James Dashner
In Theatres: September 19th
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjQROqddxiY

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow
"Boxtrolls" In Theatres: September 26
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg

Come to the Saddletowne Library and check any of these books out!
And while we know The Fault in Our Stars has a hold list the size of North America, you never know what could be lurking in the paperback sections...

To check out more Books-to-Movie gems, check out these links!
EarlyWord: Books to Movies & TV
BuzzFeed: 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres

Children's Books and Emotional Development

Children's Books and Emotional Development

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Earlier this week, someone posed a really interesting question to us: "How can I help my child deal with anger?"

Emotional development is extremely important, particularly between the ages of 2-7. As children learn about the world around them, (as well as their brain development), their feelings grow. In fact, around 2-3 years old, they start to discover that they have feelings at all - this is what is often referred to as the "Terrible twos" or "Terrible threes" - simply because children have so many feelings, but don't quite know what to do with them yet. Children's emotional life grows leaps and bounds during these years, just like their bodies and brains.

So how do you compensate? How do you help your little person realize that feelings are okay? In short, children's story books.

The world of children's books is a vast and highly evolved field. There are books depicting almost anything: manners, loneliness, fear, humility, embracing the uniqueness of self, the importance of saying "I'm sorry". If there is a lesson or a feeling you want to teach your child, there is a book that can help you do it.

Here are a few book recommendations to help with a variety of emotional and social issues:

1. Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse & Tom Lichtenheld is a fun, clever book about an exclamation mark in a world of periods, who tries desperately to fit in, but just can't seem to make it work. However, he learns to embrace himself and "leave his mark" - a wonderful book to help your child embrace their own unique strangeness.

exclamation by amy krouse & tom lichtenheld

2. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear & Isabelle Arsenault is a beautifully illustrated book based on the real-life sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, this book imagines the sisters as children, though Virginia wakes up "feeling wolfish" and she doesn't want to play; she yells at Vanessa to leave her alone! But Vanessa has a few tricks up her sleeve to help her sister feel better. A unique and beautiful book about the power of sibling relationships and that sometimes feeling "wolfish" is perfectly natural.

virginia wolf by kyo maclear



3. Love is Real by Janet Lawler & Anna Brown is an awesomely cute book about unconditional love, and the small, every day ways in which love can show itself. The last lines of the book say: "Love is real the whole day through. It's always there - from me to you."

love is real by janet lawler & anna brown

4. How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague, this book is part of a book series by Yolen & Teague where giant dinosaurs act, perhaps, like kids might in various situations. However the book is told not in story form, but by the asking of questions - a wonderful tool in which to engage your child about behaviour and feelings, and how one can inform the other. Instead of destroying houses or yelling loudly, the dinosaurs learn to count to ten, or have a time out in order to feel the feelings safely and calmly. Other books in this serious include: How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight, How Does a Dinosaur Eat Their Food, and How Does a Dinosaur Say I Love You.

how do dinosaurs say i'm mad? by jane yolen & mark teague

Check out these, and many other wonderful children's books at the Saddletowne Library. You can also use NoveList K-8 Plus to look up books similar to these titles through our E-Library!

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

by Alyssa - 1 Comment(s)

This might be an obvious statement to make, but we are really big fans of reading here at the Saddletowne Library.

And because we are such cheerleaders of the written word, we have created multiple ways to help you find your new favourite book. From our Staff Picks display, to Novelist Plus, to looking up suggestions on Good Reads; if you are stuck for a new great book suggestion, we can find you that new book to love. We have the power!

However, the subject we don't spend a lot of time talking about are books you hated. Whether they were boring, poorly written, or offended your sensibilities, we don't often get the opportunity to discuss the books you really didn't like. Sometimes, the books you hate can be even more informative than the books you loved. And let's face it - sometimes hating something is just so much fun!

The first book I remember really hating - and I mean truly hating: I couldn't find any redeemable value in whatsoever - was The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. It was 2003, and I had just seen the movie. I liked the movie well enough, and knew that it was based on Well's New York Time's Best-selling novel. I assumed that the book (as is usually the case) would be better than the movie; that it would go more in-depth into the story of these endearing, if somewhat misguided, characters. On top of that, every woman I knew seemed to be recommending this book to me! So I read it. And I hated it. I thought the writing was trite and cliched, the plot-line just seemed to meander in multiple spots to no apparent point, and in this case, I can safely say that I thought the movie actually made the book better - and I can't remember ever saying that before or since! I am sure there are many people in the world who will adamantly disagree with me, but I stand by my disgust!

So come on, everybody - jump in! What are your most hated books?? Leave your comments for us below!!

If you get stuck and can't remember your most reviled reads, here is a link to a bunch of Good Reads user lists entitled "The Worst".

Twilight ? Fifty Shades of Grey ? The DaVinci Code ?

Book Recommendation: The Most Magnificent Thing

Book Recommendation: The Most Magnificent Thing

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

The Most Magnificent Thing by Saskatoon author/illustrator Ashley Spires tells the story of a young girl who gets an idea - but not just any idea. The girl gets an idea to make the most magnificent thing! But she doesn't make it on the first try. In fact, it takes a lot of trial and error. A beautifully illustrated book about the power of preserverence (and taking a step back), The Most Magnificent Thing is sure to delight!

Watch the book trailer, and then check out the book from the Saddletowne Library!

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

by Alyssa Bradac - 1 Comment(s)

Sometimes recommending books to 9-12 year olds is a tricky task, especially when the power of a book series like Harry Potter holds so much captivation and influence. Are there any other series on our library shelves beyond Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Geronimo Stilton? The answer is a resounding yes.

Here are some book series recommendations available at the Saddletowne Library, fit for the choosiest of pre-teens:

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: The first book in a series about the demi-god son of Poseidon. Weaving Ancient Greek mythology and characters in an upgraded, 21st Century story. Magic, mystery, adventure, loyalty, and betrayal are all tested and explored in this fun, captivating book. The books in this series are also available in graphic novels, and are great for both boys and girls!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini: The first book in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle about coming of age and the embracing of both legacy and responsibility, Eragon must decide to not only save his family, but an entire kingdom...with the help of a dragon. Great book for boys!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: The first book in Pullman's His Dark Materials series, The Golden Compass follows Lyra Belacqua as she tries desperately to search for and rescue her playmate Roger - a captive of the mysterious and treacherous "Gobblers". Why are children being taken? What is the magical and mysterious substance called Dust? A tale of courage, daring, and friendship. Great book for girls!

The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: A twist on our expectations of what Good vs. Evil is and more importantly what it looks like, The School for Good and Evil finds two girls, Sophie and Agatha, in a mixed-up situation; Sophie, beautiful and "good", is taken to the school for evil, where Agatha, misshapen and dark, to the school for good. Has there been a mistake? Or are appearances really only skin deep? This is a brand-new series, and sure to be a big hit!

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy: The first book in the League of Princes series, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the boy's answer to fairytales. The book tracks the stories of various and imperfect Prince Charmings (Princes Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav) after saving their respective princesses, they must also cope with their own imperfections, various kingdoms in danger, and perhaps hardest of all, truly living up to the title of "Hero". Read this book before the movie comes out!

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins: The first major series from acclaimed author Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Gregor the Overlander is the story of a quiet boy who goes in search of his father, and discovers a strange world beneath the streets of New York City. The first book in The Underland Chronicles, Gregor must embrace his role in a vital prophecy, or risk losing his father and his world forever.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: The first book in The Maze Runner series, Thomas wakes up in a lift, with no memory other than his name. Outside the walls of The Glade lies an ever-changing maze - the only escape is through the giant knot - and no one has ever made it out alive. Read this book before the movie comes out!

Here are some more recommendations for your preteen:
Popular Chapter Books for Pre-Teens

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