The Deakin Review of Children's Literature 2019-02-19T23:53:36-07:00 Robert Desmarais Open Journal Systems <p>The <em>Deakin Review of Children’s Literature</em> is an electronic quarterly review of contemporary English-language materials of interest to children and young adults.&nbsp; Of particular use to librarians, parents, teachers and anyone working with young people, we also publish news relevant to children’s literacy.</p> Please, Encourage Kids to Write! 2019-02-19T23:53:00-07:00 Robert Desmarais <p>Dear Readers,</p> <p>I recently browsed through numerous web pages for kids on and much to my delight I came across an article titled “<a href="">5 Books You Probably Didn’t Know Were Written by Kids</a>.” I discovered that Alec Greven published a successful book called <em>How to Talk to Girls&nbsp;</em>when he was only nine years old. The book was published back in 2008, so Graven would be close to twenty today, but the lessons on the back cover remain relevant for today: “Comb your hair and don’t wear sweats / Control your hyperness (cut down on the sugar if you have to) / Don’t act desperate.” Graven was interviewed on several popular television shows soon after the book was published, including <em>The Ellen DeGeneres Show</em>, the <em>Today&nbsp;</em>show, and <em>Good Morning America</em>, among others, and his publication became a media sensation.</p> <p>Graven’s accomplishment is certainly very impressive, but I was even more astounded to read about a four-year-old named Dorothy Straight, who, according to CBC, “holds the world record for being the youngest published author.” Her book titled <em>Who Made the World?&nbsp;</em>was published in 1964 and it included her own illustrations to depict her ideas about the possibility of Creation. These extraordinary stories of kids who write and publish books make inspiring reading, which is why I mention them here in my editorial, with the hope that you will encourage the children in your life to write, not necessarily for publication, but to help them read and understand stories written by other writers. There are lots of resources available to encourage children to write, including apps, websites, writers’ groups, blogs, magazines, books, and courses, so please consider doing an online search for writing materials or visit your local library to ask for help finding free writing resources for kids.</p> <p>Happy reading!</p> <p>Robert Desmarais,&nbsp;Managing Editor</p> 2018-12-16T19:59:41-07:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## ABC Ride by Avokiddo 2019-02-19T23:53:01-07:00 Kyla Lee <p>Avokiddo<em>. ABC Ride</em>. Vers. 1.3.5. Apple App Store, <a href=""></a></p> <p>Suggested age range: 3-6<br>Cost: $3.99</p> <p>The alphabet is a crucial building block for reading and writing so it is important to have a variety of tools for teaching it. <em>ABC Ride</em> can be one such tool as it turns learning about the alphabet into an exciting adventure.&nbsp;</p> <p>The game follows Avokiddo’s brother and sister duo, Beck and Bo, on a bike ride. Along the way, they come across puzzles which they must solve to unearth a particular letter. Instructions are delivered in creative alliteration such as “tie the tire to the tree”, which helps the child hear the sound the letter makes. After completing the puzzle, cheerful music plays to indicate success and the letter appears. To continue biking along, the player then must spell a word starting with that letter by dragging and dropping the letters into their correct spot. There is lots of repetition to deepen understanding as each letter is announced when picked up, and the final word is spelled out when completed. Again, the game uses sound very well to indicate success as there is plenty of encouraging cheering and music once the word is spelled.</p> <p>The game is extremely original in its non-traditional choice of words to be associated with each letter. It will have children and adults alike giggling with its silly puzzles such as scrubbing a dirty pig for P, blow drying an igloo for I, and jumping on jelly for J. The non-lingual interface is very intuitive which allows for even the youngest player to navigate it confidently. However, some challenges are a little hard to understand, which could be frustrating as you must complete each challenge before moving onto the next. For example, building the robot requires very precise placement of the pieces. Thankfully, after a short time, obvious hints are given such as the correct area shaking enticingly. This ensures that the player does not get stuck and give up on the game.</p> <p>In addition to the strategic use of sound, the graphics are stunning. The images are made of a patchwork of different textures such as cardboard and fabric, which is Avokiddo’s trademark style.</p> <p>One of the app’s greatest strengths is its customizability. For example, you can choose to turn off the spelling for younger players, or you can turn off the puzzle instructions for the added challenge of solving it independently. You can also choose to work on upper case or small case letters, and make the sound of each letter be announced rather than the letter when spelling. You can also decide if puzzles follow the order of the alphabet or arrive in random order.</p> <p>Overall, this app is a very good supplement for any young learner just starting out or well on their way to mastering the alphabet and simple spelling. Its inventive letter puzzles, well-used sound, superb graphics, and customizability make it a good choice for any school, library, or home.</p> <p>Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, recommended<br>Reviewer: Kyla Lee<br><br>Kyla Lee is a first year student in the Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta, and a Library Assistant at EPL. She is very interested in helping youth develop digital literacy skills from a young age, and incorporating creative apps into programming.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2018-11-02T17:04:08-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Alison's Asthma by W. J. Hall 2019-02-19T23:53:09-07:00 Madeline C. Crichton <p>Hall, Wendy J. <em>Alison's Asthma</em>. Mediwonderland, 2018.</p> <p>Part of the <em>Mediwonderland</em> series of works by author Wendy J. Hall, <em>Alison’s Asthma</em> tackles the common inflammatory disease, asthma.&nbsp; Beginning with listing some of the symptoms of asthma, as faced by the protagonist Alison, the book details the tests required in the process of asthma diagnosis, as well as the available treatments.&nbsp; Focusing also on positive aspects of the journey, such as Alison’s opportunity to choose a style of medical alert bracelet, as well her continued ability to run and play with her friends, Alison’s story comforts and informs readers who may be facing similar circumstances. The telling of Alison’s story is aided by the brightly coloured drawings, which accompany each page of text. Although these illustrations are simple, they establish flow within the text from one page to the next. These illustrations are also educational, such as the one comparing a normal airway to an asthmatic one.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly educational and written in accessible language, this book is intended to educate the masses, and breaks down a medical journey faced by many into simple, undaunting steps. However, because of its educational intent, the book tends to be less engaging. While Alison’s journey is realistic, it lacks the details required to engage the audience, instead presenting facts. With that being said, <em>Alison’s Asthma</em> is a perfect read for young children, who, with the help of an adult, will learn the ins and outs of the medical world.&nbsp; Therefore, <em>Alison’s Asthma</em> is a worthwhile read, which will leave its audience comforted and informed!</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>Reviewer: Madeline C. Crichton</p> <p>Madeline Crichton is a University of Alberta undergraduate student with a lifelong passion for reading. When she is not preoccupied with her studies, Madeline is busy volunteering in a variety of roles in her community.</p> 2018-11-02T16:59:22-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Dentists and What They Do by L. Slegers 2019-02-19T23:53:05-07:00 Madeline C. Crichton <p>Slegers, Liesbet. <em>Dentists and What They Do</em>. Clavis Publishing Inc., 2017.</p> <p>Intended to be read by parents with their toddlers, <em>Dentists and What They Do</em> is a fun, highly informative guide to a first visit to the dentist's office. Brightly-coloured images and diagrams occupy portions of every page of the story. These minimalist drawings are annotated with rhythmic phrases such as “shine, shine” for a mirror or “how funny!” for a dentist’s mask, making the book entertaining to read.<em>&nbsp;</em>Whereas the text of the story itself is small, the images are labelled in a larger font, and are therefore intended to be read by young children, introducing a variety of vocabulary. Further, Slegers accommodates for any fears that young children may have before their first visit to the dentist by demonstrating ways in which medical professionals act to entertain and accommodate children. For example, the dentist checks the teeth of a stuffed animal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, <em>Dentist’s and What They Do</em> is delightful, easy to read, and likely to be enjoyed even by older children because of its engaging format. In its demystification of the first trips to the dentist, the book is an excellent way to introduce normal checkups and appointments to young children and is effective in making the process entertaining.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4<br>Reviewer: Madeline C. Crichton</p> <p>Madeline Crichton is a University of Alberta undergraduate student with a lifelong passion for reading. When she is not preoccupied with her studies, Madeline is busy volunteering in a variety of roles in her community.</p> 2018-11-02T17:00:35-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Diana’s Diabetes by W. J. Hall 2019-02-19T23:53:03-07:00 Victoria Eke <p>Hall, Wendy J. <em>Diana’s Diabetes. </em>CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018.</p> <p>As part of the Mediwonderland book series designed to “guide children through common medical procedures and illnesses”, <em>Diana’s Diabetes</em> follows the journey of Diana, a young girl recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, as she learns about her condition and how it is managed.</p> <p>Following the identification of symptoms and her initial diagnosis, Diana and her mother return to the clinic for an information session and follow-up with Dr. Daniel and Nurse Nina. There, Diana and her mother learn about the mechanics of the illness, self-monitoring for blood glucose, and insulin injections. Diana is also given a journal in which she must record her food intake and insulin doses, as well as a medical identification bracelet.</p> <p>Major concepts are introduced through text and accompanying illustrations. The text, printed in large font, is easy to read. The content is rolled out logically, allowing for one concept to build upon the previous. Colourful illustrations by Ysha Morco serve to complement the text, providing visuals for the various concepts presented. However, in the case of the “Type 1 Diabetes” poster illustrated on pages 15 and 16, more detail and additional labels could have been added to better explain the biology behind the illness.</p> <p>In addition to providing an informative and factually sound overview of Type 1 diabetes in children, author Wendy J. Hall has successfully created characters and a scenario that will undoubtedly resonate with patients and family members alike, serving as both a source of information and comfort.</p> <p>This book is highly recommended for public, elementary school, and children’s hospital libraries.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Victoria Eke</p> 2018-11-02T17:02:11-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Dog by H. Mixter 2019-02-19T23:53:10-07:00 Sandy Campbell <p>Mixter, Helen. <em>The Dog</em>. Illustrated by Margarita Sada. Greystone Books, 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>In <em>The Dog</em>, Helen Mixter has kept her text brief and simple, and allowed the images to convey the story.&nbsp; It is a story about a boy who is ill and how much his quality of life is improved by the introduction of a therapy dog.&nbsp; Margarita Sada’s artwork easily shows the fatigue, sadness and illness of the boy and the unconditional affection of the dog. The dog, who looks like a young golden retriever, is never given a name, perhaps to keep her more generic. She is depicted as having boundless health and energy. She even has rosy cheeks, indicating health. The colours that Sada uses are bright and natural and the pictures will attract and hold the attention of small children. Inspired by a visit to a Vancouver children’s hospice the book gently presents how effective a therapy dog can be for very sick children.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Dog</em> would be a good addition to public and school libraries. It would also be an excellent addition to libraries in children’s hospitals.</p> <p>Highly recommended:&nbsp; 4 stars out of 4<br> Reviewer:&nbsp; Sandy Campbell</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2018-11-02T16:58:58-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Eve's Ekg and Echocardiogram by W.J. Hall 2019-02-19T23:53:08-07:00 Madeline C. Crichton <p>Hall, Wendy J. <em>Eve's Ekg and Echocardiogram</em>. Mediwonderland, 2018.</p> <p>Another installment in her <em>Mediwonderland</em> series of children’s books intended to provide accessible and comprehensible knowledge of medical afflictions and tests, Wendy J. Hall’s <em>Eve’s EKG and Echocardiogram</em> focuses on the world of cardiovascular health-related tests. Beginning the story with the protagonist, Eve, suffering chest pains, readers see Eve being rushed to the hospital and undergoing several tests. Ending with the doctor’s prognosis that Eve’s chest pains are likely caused by overuse, the reader is left better informed and comforted. Although Eve was initially scared to do the tests, she is comforted by the doctor’s excellent bedside manner, and inevitably enjoys the process and the exciting experiences such as getting to see her heart beating in an echocardiogram.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Written mostly as a dialogue between Eve, her mom, and the various doctors and nurses, the text flows believably and is very easy to read. Hall uses emotion to engage with the reader. The font is large, clear, and well-spaced so that many young readers will be able to read it independently, or with moderate assistance. Although the medical terminology included is complex, all the tests mentioned are explained simply enough for a child to understand. Colour images accompany each page of text, and represent an overview of what happens on each page of the story to increase comprehension. Overall, Hall’s <em>Eve’s EKG and Echocardiogram</em> is an entertaining, educational must read!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Madeline C. Crichton</p> <p>Madeline Crichton is a University of Alberta undergraduate student with a lifelong passion for reading. When she is not preoccupied with her studies, Madeline is busy volunteering in a variety of roles in her community.</p> 2018-11-02T17:00:08-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Finding Granny: We never really lose the people we love by K. Simpson 2019-02-19T23:53:35-07:00 Sandy Campbell <p>Simpson, Kate.&nbsp;<em>Finding Granny: We Never Really Lose the People We Love</em>. EK Books, 2018.</p> <p>This is an uplifting picture book about a child, Edie, whose beloved grandmother has a stroke and spends a long time recovering in hospital. At first, Edie does not accept that the woman in the bed, whose words do not make sense, is her grandmother. Through art therapy classes that Edie shares with her grandmother, she slowly rebuilds and reaffirms their close relationship. Edie comes to understand that while the colours in Granny’s painting are “all running into each other”, the painting is still beautiful.</p> <p>Gwyenneth Jones’ artwork is bright, exuberant and makes a sad and frightening subject engaging and entertaining. When the doctor, who has bright red glasses and a giant nose, explains that Granny’s “brain isn’t working the way it used to,” she points to a huge picture of a brain that has tiny eyes, a downturned mouth and huge adhesive bandages in an X across it.&nbsp;</p> <p>This book celebrates intergenerational love and the effectiveness of art therapy in healing both relationships and illness. It also offers a lesson of patience and hope for those whose loved ones are recovering from stroke. Finding Granny would be a good addition to public, school, and hospital libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sandy Campbell</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp;</p> 2018-11-02T16:57:35-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by D. Smith 2019-02-19T23:53:34-07:00 Arwen Thysse <p>Smith, Danna. <em>The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry. </em>Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Candlewick Press, 2017.</p> <p><em>The Hawk of the Castle </em>is a picture book that tells a story centered on the practice of medieval falconry, and it is told from the perspective of a young girl whose father is the falconer of a castle. Upon picking up the book, the reader will immediately be drawn into Bagram Ibatoulline’s beautiful acrylic gouache illustrations, which not only vividly portray the content of the story, but also complement the work by depicting technical aspects of falconry that a reader might not easily imagine without visual aids. The great attention to detail and realistic style of the illustrations lends itself to the historical setting of Danna Smith’s story—a vivid world that was once as real and familiar to its medieval inhabitants as our world is to us. The author’s note communicates the dedication of Smith to her story as it not only describes her own expertise as a falconer who was trained, like the girl in the story, by her father, but also gives insight into the history and sources she consulted to provide further understanding of the art of falconry as it was in the past and as it is now.</p> <p>The book is designed with two levels of reading in mind: the primary text, written in short rhyming verses, is one that a child might easily read on their own or with assistance. The secondary text, found in textboxes on each page, provides a more challenging and technical text which could be used at an adult’s discretion in order to provide a child with a more nuanced understanding of the aspects of falconry being described. This design is effective as it illuminates, in varying levels of complexity, a subject that is unlikely to be familiar to most readers. In addition to these two levels of reading, Smith also provides a list of resources for further information, allowing her book to become a gateway to even more complex and detailed understandings of falconry and the medieval period. In this way, <em>The Hawk of the Castle</em>, also becomes a means for readers to learn about an aspect of medieval life and society outside of more popular stories about princesses and knights in shining armour. Together Smith and Ibatoulline have created a beautiful book that allows readers to encounter an ancient pastime through a story about medieval falconry, and for that reason it would be a good addition to both school and public libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Arwen Thysse</p> <p>Arwen Thysse is a graduate of the University of Alberta Bachelor of Arts program and graduate of the University of Toronto’s Master of Medieval Studies program. She is also an avid musician, and enjoys children’s books.</p> 2018-11-02T16:58:17-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by D. Magras 2019-02-19T23:53:36-07:00 Arwen Thysse <p>Magras, Diane. <em>The Mad Wolf’s Daughter. </em>Kathy Dawson Books, 2018.</p> <p><em>The Mad Wolf’s Daughter </em>is a children’s novel set in thirteenth-century Scotland that tells the story of Drest, a young girl who goes on an adventure to save her father and brothers after they are captured by invading forces. Diane Magras tells an engaging adventure story that sweeps you along with Drest as she tries to navigate a frightening world without her family—learning whom she can and cannot trust, and coming into her own as a young girl who can best adults through both her strength and her intelligence. Written for children, particularly girls of around the same age as Drest (12 years old), this story provides many insights into life, family, and friendship that both children and adults might find extremely powerful. For example, over the course of the story, Drest comes to understand that “you can’t always control your legend”—an important lesson in our modern world where rumour can spread so fast. The story emphasizes that you have to be true to yourself despite what people may be saying around you, and that it is this belief in one’s own self that can guide you through the roughest of times. As details around the lives of Drest’s family and the families of Drest’s friends are revealed in the story, Magras builds another powerful message about how it is ok to differ from and, indeed, disagree with people you love.</p> <p>Magras, aware that certain aspects of the medieval world in which she places her story may be unfamiliar to her audience, includes a glossary of terms as well as an author’s note that discusses the historical setting in greater detail. In particular, Magras does a good job of indicating that gender roles were not as fixed in the Middle Ages as is often assumed, and introduces the reader to the great variety of roles and indeed agency that women could have in the medieval period.</p> <p>Despite these positive traits, Magras’ story does seem to lack some depth to its world and only scratches the surface of the medieval context that she researched for the story. However, the exciting plot and vivacious characters satisfactorily carry the novel’s interest. Overall, this is a good adventure book which also offers a point of departure for readers to explore the medieval world in more detail. Therefore, this book would be a good addition to school and public libraries.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Arwen Thysse</p> <p>Arwen Thysse is a graduate of the University of Alberta Bachelor of Arts program and graduate of the University of Toronto’s Master of Medieval Studies program. She is also an avid musician, and enjoys children’s books.</p> 2018-11-02T16:56:43-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## My Mom is Having Surgery (A Kidney Story) by B. E. Cortez 2019-02-19T23:53:08-07:00 Madeline C. Crichton <p>Cortez, Brenda E. <em>My Mom is Having Surgery (A Kidney Story)</em>. Donate Life, 2015.</p> <p>Based on the true story of author Brenda E. Cortez’s kidney transplant, <em>My Mom is Having Surgery (A Kidney Story)</em> describes the process of donating a kidney and offers encouragement for others to take steps and donate. In targeting her book at young readers, those who are just beginning to read independently, Cortez offers an educational overview of the process in the hopes of normalizing lifesaving procedures such as living organ donation. From reassuring her children, to explaining in detail why donating a kidney is the right choice, to the process of surgery, recovery, and returning home, <em>My Mom is Having Surgery (A Kidney Story)</em> offers a realistic look at the many stages of this procedure.</p> <p>Aimed at audiences who are skilled and capable of reading independently, <em>My Mom is Having Surgery </em>is written in paragraph format with a medium sized font. By following the mother's surgery through the eyes of her daughter, the book engages with children and shows them how to be both encouraging and how to cope with the difficulties faced by a parent undergoing this procedure. Each page of the book is accompanied by colour images which represent the activities described in the text. These images are aesthetically pleasing and would help solidify the message of the book for young readers. As a tool designed to change attitudes in an engaging way, this book is a must read for young children.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Madeline C. Crichton</p> <p>Madeline Crichton is a University of Alberta undergraduate student with a lifelong passion for reading. When she is not preoccupied with her studies, Madeline is busy volunteering in a variety of roles in her community.</p> 2018-11-02T16:59:46-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## On My Bike by K. Winters 2019-02-19T23:53:02-07:00 Kirk MacLeod <p>Winters, Kari-Lynn. <em>On My Bike</em>. Illustrated by Christina Leist. Tradewind Books, 2017.</p> <p>Following their award-winning 2009 book, <em>On My Bike</em>, Winters and Leist have created a delightful, easy to read story following a young child taking a bicycle ride with their parents. The book, clearly designed to be read aloud, establishes a simple rhyming pattern which allows both narrative and sound effects to connect with the reading experience.</p> <p>Much of the enjoyment of the story comes from the connected sound effects and the structure, wherein the protagonist, cleverly left both unnamed and without a defined gender, goes on a bicycle ride with one parent while the other stays behind with a younger child. The story follows the two on their bicycle ride and once they have made the end of their trip, follows them back through all of the previous story elements, allowing easier understanding and recognition for younger readers, and ending up back with both parents.</p> <p>A very simple story following a relatable event for young cyclists, as well as those getting ready to begin cycling, <em>On My Bike</em> has a warm and welcoming style that would work great for preschoolers aged three to five.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Kirk MacLeod</p> <p>Kirk is the Open Data Team Lead for the Government of Alberta’s Open Government Portal. A Life-Long reader, he moderates two book clubs and is constantly on the lookout for new great books!</p> 2018-11-02T17:03:23-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Pond by N. Davies 2019-02-19T23:53:03-07:00 Sean Borle <p>Davies, Nicola. <em>The Pond</em>. Illustrated by Cathy Fisher. Graffeg, 2017.</p> <p>In this picture book, a half-finished garden pond, “a muddy, messy hole that filled our garden,” becomes a metaphor for a family’s grief at the death of a father, “a muddy, messy hole that filled our hearts.” The story highlights the fact that when someone dies, the family loses not only the person, but also the activities that the family did with that person. Eventually, the mother in this story gets the pond lined and it starts to come to life with tadpoles, dragonflies and a water lily, mirroring the family’s progression through their grief.&nbsp;</p> <p>The artwork really carries the story forward, and accompanied by the simple text Nicola Davies depicts aquatic environments in a variety of ways. Her work is cinematic, capturing the movement and messiness of pond life. &nbsp;She uses dark colours, splatters, scribbles and fractures in lines to depict the family’s grief. Some of the images are beautiful. &nbsp;Her water lilies on solid black backgrounds are exceptional. The images in this book will engage all ages.</p> <p>This book would be good for children coping with loss or those preparing to cope with loss and should be a part of public and school library collections.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recommendation:&nbsp; 4 stars out of 4<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sean Borle</p> <p>Sean Borle is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who is an advocate for child health and safety.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2018-11-02T17:02:34-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by J. Kensky & P. Downes 2019-02-19T23:53:04-07:00 Sean Borle <p>Kensky, Jessica and Patrick Downes.&nbsp; <em>Rescue &amp; Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship</em>. Illustrated by Scott Magoon. Candlewick&nbsp;Press, 2018&nbsp;</p> <p>There are&nbsp;not many&nbsp;children’s books published about amputation, so a new book is always welcome. Jessica Kensky became a double leg amputee as a result of injuries sustained during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Rather than writing a children’s book about amputation, she has written an autobiographical work in the form of a picture book. As a result, this is a strange mix of fiction, where readers hear the service dog’s thoughts, and strict adherence to autobiographical detail that is unnecessary in a picture book. For example, Jessica is depicted as a teenager, closer to the real age of the author, rather than as a young child, to whom young readers could more easily relate. Jessica goes through two amputations in the course of the story, reflecting the experience of the author, but this process is unusual for amputees and unnecessarily complicates the story for early readers. The text is also at a reading level that is higher than one would expect in a picture book, so younger children will need an adult to read the book with them.</p> <p>However, while it has flaws, the book is a comforting and positive story that will give child amputees hope as they see Jessica learn to be active again on her prosthetic legs. Scott Magoon’s simple and realistic illustrations will help children enjoy the dog, Rescue, and his role in Jessica’s healing process. Magoon does a good job depicting the dog in many states:&nbsp; readiness, happiness, resting, helping, playing and swimming.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This book should be included in public and school library collections. It should also be included in hospital library collections, particularly those where children receive amputation care, such as pediatric cancer clinics and prosthetic clinics. It would be of interest to both children undergoing amputations and their families.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recommended:&nbsp;&nbsp;3&nbsp;out of 4 stars <br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sean&nbsp;Borle&nbsp;</p> <p>Sean Borle is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who is an advocate for child health and safety.</p> 2018-11-02T17:00:58-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Slug Days by S. Leach 2019-02-19T23:53:02-07:00 Victoria Eke <p>Leach, Sarah. <em>Slug Days.</em>&nbsp;Illustrated by Rebecca Bender. Pajama Press Inc., 2017.</p> <p>On slug days, Lauren feels “slow and slimy." Nothing seems to go her way. Her classmates yell at her. Her teachers are short with her. She feels like she has no friends, and that no one likes her. On butterfly days, however, everything is great; Lauren makes her classmates laugh, works on special project with her mother, and gets to eat her favourite ice cream. As a young girl with Asperger Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who has trouble understanding social cues and coping with change, Lauren has more slug days than butterfly days.</p> <p>Canadian author Sara Leach and illustrator Rebecca Bender provide invaluable insight into the daily struggles of children living with an ASD. As Lauren navigates through a regular week involving school and time at home, the reader is made aware of the difficulties she faces in effectively communicating with her parents, peers, and teachers. Often taking things literally, Lauren misunderstands directions and advice, which often gets her into trouble. At times, Lauren becomes frustrated and angry. While she recognizes the onset of such feelings, she has trouble controlling her behaviour. Without focusing on the disorder itself, this story provides for the reader a first-person perspective of a child on the spectrum. Bender’s lively illustrations complement the text, increasing comprehension for younger readers.</p> <p>While there are bouts of humour throughout the book, there is a general air of sadness that follows Lauren from the beginning of the story to the end. Apart from Ms. Lagorio who helps Lauren practice conversing with others, the adults in Lauren’s world have a seemingly poor understanding of her condition, as well as her “plan” for avoiding strong emotional reactions and conflict, a reality for many children living with an ASD.</p> <p>This chapter book is highly recommended for public and elementary school libraries, as well as parents and educators alike.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4<br>Reviewer: Victoria Eke</p> <p>Victoria is an Academic Library Resident at the University of Alberta’s John W. Scott Health Sciences Library. Victoria’s interest in health-related children’s literature was piqued during a field trip to the Family Resource Library at The Montreal Children’s Hospital.</p> 2018-11-02T17:03:47-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Smoot by M. Cuevas 2019-02-19T23:53:03-07:00 Lorisia MacLeod <p>Cuevas, Michelle. <em>Smoot. </em>Illustrated by Sydney Smith. Tundra Books, 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Smoot</em> is the story of an adventurous shadow that is attached to a rather unadventurous boy until one day Smoot finds himself detached and free to live out his wildest dreams. Even other shadows are inspired in this short but warm tale on the importance of childish joy in the simple things. Young readers will enjoy the 48 pages of colourful images that accompany the story though they would likely best enjoy the story read to them as some of the vocabulary may be tricky for young readers. The illustrations are similar to some of Tundra Book’s other publications such as <em>If a Horse Had Words</em> and will delight adults in addition to younger readers.</p> <p>This would be a lovely recommendation for any young reader who enjoys Peter Pan’s shadow since there are a number of similarities in the shadows’ demeanours. The slightly oversized size of the book makes this an excellent choice for classroom or library storytimes. In fact, this story could easily be used as part of a storytime program where children could be asked what brings them joy or even asked to act it out with their shadows. Overall, I would primarily recommend this book to parents and libraries though elementary teachers may find this work to be beneficial to start discussions about students’ hopes and dreams.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod</p> 2018-11-02T17:02:59-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sometimes I Feel Angry / Sometimes I Feel Nervous / Sometimes I Feel Jealous / Sometimes I Feel Lonely / Sometimes I Feel Sad Illus. A. Sandland. 2019-02-19T23:53:19-07:00 Sandy Campbell <p><em><a href="">Sometimes I Feel Angry / </a>&nbsp;<br> </em><em><a href="">Sometimes I Feel Nervous / </a></em><em><a href=""><br> Sometimes I Feel Jealous / </a>&nbsp;<br> </em><em><a href="">Sometimes I Feel Lonely / </a></em>&nbsp;<br> <em><a href="">Sometimes I Feel Sad. Illus. Amanda Sandland.</a></em> Iqaluit: Inhabit Education, 2017.</p> <p>The Nunavummi Reading Series from Inhabit Education situates emotional literacy learning in the Canadian Arctic. These books are part of a leveled reading series and are graded at Fountas &amp; Pinnell Text Level J (books designed to be read aloud to young children). Amanda Sandland’s illustrations are spare and uncluttered.&nbsp; Backgrounds are plain or contain simple landscapes. The characters developed by Ali Hinch are anthropomorphized animals representing small children.&nbsp; The nervous caribou has a hat and satchel and Aqi, the sometimes sad and lonely bird, has boots. Some of the characters appear in several books.</p> <p>One of the most helpful things about these books is that the resolutions are realistic. The characters display real emotions and reactions. These situations are resolved through talking with friends and recognizing which responses are healthy and which are not. There are none of the trite “quick-fixes” that so often appear in children’s books related to emotions.</p> <p>There are many children’s series that address emotions, but because these books are set in the Arctic and use Arctic animals, children in the North will be more comfortable with the content. The characters do things that Northern children would do: playing one-foot high kick, looking for fossils, picking berries, ice-fishing and going sliding. Children who do not live in Northern environments will be able to learn more about the North, as well as about emotions. This is a high-quality, relatively inexpensive series that is highly recommended for elementary school libraries and public libraries.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Sandy Campbell</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp;</p> 2018-11-02T16:58:37-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sukaq and the Raven by R. Goose & K. McCluskey 2019-02-19T23:53:04-07:00 Lorisia MacLeod <p>Goose, Roy &amp; McCluskey, Kerry. <em>Sukaq and the Raven</em>. Illustrated by Soyeon Kim. Inhabit Media, 2017.</p> <p>Inhabit Media is a quality publisher and <em>Sukaq and the Raven</em> matches their usual exemplary quality of story and imagery. The story is a traditional legend from Inuit storyteller Roy Goose illustrated using Kim’s beautiful three-dimensional dioramas. This wondrous illustration style previously earned Kim the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award for her work <em>You Are Stardust</em> and it is easy to see how her artwork is award-winning. The depth created by the illustrations perfectly complements the story which follows Sukaq as he falls into his favourite bedtime story—how the raven created the world. As with many of Inhabit Media’s works, this story is distinctly Inuit while remaining understandable to everyone which makes it extremely useful in classrooms and libraries.</p> <p>The audience for this piece could range from pre-reading children to later elementary students as the full-page illustrations provide enough interest to any reader. Most young readers will need a reading buddy due to the amount of text and the complexity of some words. Artistically-minded readers may be intrigued by the three-dimensional diorama illustration style though educators or librarians may find this story to be a great introduction to a craft program involving dioramas. Parents may also find this story works well as a bedtime story due to the flow and lack of interrupting onomatopoeias (boom, beep, etc.). I highly recommend this book given how the illustrations and story combine to create a book that is pleasing to readers of many ages.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 stars out of 4<br> Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod</p> <p>Lorisia MacLeod is an Instruction Librarian at NorQuest College Library and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.</p> 2018-11-02T17:01:23-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## West Coast ABCs by J. Asnong 2019-02-19T23:53:34-07:00 Lorisia MacLeod <p>Asnong, Jocey. <em>West Coast ABCs.</em> Rocky Mountain Books, 2018.</p> <p>Jocey Asnong returns with a new ABC book similar to her <em>Rocky Mountain ABCs </em>but this time highlights the beautiful west coast of Canada. Each page of this board book features one or two letters from the alphabet, a west coast place starting with one of those letters, a full colour illustration relating to that place, and a short phrase using words beginning with the alphabet letter(s) of the page. The target audience for this work would include toddlers, pre-K, and early primary students. Some of the words might be difficult for younger readers so this is a book best read with an adult though even the youngest readers will love the bright colours of the illustrations.</p> <p>Since most of the letters have more than one word, this book better represents some of the different sounds that each letter can make, for example the sounds in paddle versus porpoises which makes this book particularly attractive for anyone working on phonetics with a reader. I would especially recommend this for anyone on the west coast as having familiar places featured in the book would only increase the enjoyment already provided by the wonderful art showcased in this work.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 stars out of 4<br> Lorisia MacLeod</p> <p>Lorisia MacLeod is an Instruction Librarian at NorQuest College Library and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.</p> 2018-11-02T16:57:57-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Where Will I Live? by R. A. McCarney 2019-02-19T23:53:35-07:00 Leslie Aitken <p>McCarney, Rosemary A. <em>Where Will I Live?&nbsp; </em>Second Story Press, 2017.</p> <p>In <em>Where Will I Live, </em>Rosemary McCarney uses 23 pages of images captured by a host of skilled photographers to convey the plight of the world’s refugee children. These images were provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They depict children and their families as they flee in fear, cross hostile landscapes, live in tents and makeshift shelters, and dream of hope. In them, we sense the threat of violence, but we do not see violence itself. Neither do we see death. The lines of text with which McCarney captions the photographs are brief, pointed, sometimes sobering, always thought provoking.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;“But where will <em>I</em> live? Will it be down this road…beyond this hill…past this fence…across this sea?”&nbsp; [pp.7-10]</p> <p>McCarney&nbsp; is uniquely qualified to write on the global refugee crisis. As Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Geneva office of the United Nations and its Conference on Disarmament, and Past President of Plan International, she speaks with authority on the topic. This book is evidence of her ability to convey her message to child audiences. An accomplished author, her previously published works for children include the international bestseller, <em>Every Day is Malala Day.</em></p> <p>The global refugee question is a grim subject; this book, however, is not grim—partly because McCarney focuses not on the miseries of the refugees’ flight, but on their hopes for the future. This she accomplishes by means of a child’s question, “Where will I live?” Looking at the images the author has arrayed, reading her words, thinking of the work to which she has dedicated her life, we may venture a guess at the answer that lies in her heart: “Our doors are open.”</p> <p><em>Where Will I live?</em> could be read and understood by most children in grade three. Its subject matter, however, is also completely appropriate for discussion with older students—certainly, those in grades four to six. Finally, in classes where adult students of English as a Second Language have experienced the hardships depicted in the book’s pages, it could prove very successful in prompting dialogue.</p> <p>Reviewer:&nbsp; Leslie Aitken<br> Highly recommended: 4 stars out of 4</p> <p>Leslie Aitken’s long career in librarianship involved selection of children’s literature for school, public, special, and university collections. She is a former Curriculum Librarian at the University of Alberta.</p> 2018-11-02T16:57:15-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## News and Announcements 2019-02-19T23:53:00-07:00 Hanne Pearce <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Happy fall and early winter everyone! It seems most of the book festivals and meetings have passed for the year but there are certainly award announcements worth noting. </span></p> <p><strong>TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards</strong></p> <ul> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>Town Is by the Sea</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">, written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>When the Moon Comes</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">, written by Paul Harbridge and illustrated by Matt James, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>The Assassin’s Curse</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Kevin Sands won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>The Hanging Girl</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Eileen Cook won the John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><strong><em>The Marrow Thieves</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Cherie Dimaline won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000) </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Young readers were asked to pick their favourite book from the shortlisted TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards titles in an online poll. This year, Barbara Reid took home the $5,000 award for </span><strong><em>Picture the Sky</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></li> </ul> <p><strong>2018 Governor General’s Literary Award Winners Announced </strong></p> <ul> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Young people’s literature — text (English): </span><strong><em>Sweep</em></strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">by Jonathan Auxier </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Young people’s literature — illustrated books (English): </span><strong><em>They Say Blue</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Jillian Tamaki </span></li> <li class="show" style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Young people’s literature — text (French):</span> <strong><em>Le chemin de la montagne</em></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Marianne Dubuc </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">See full list of Governor General Literary Award winners here: </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR)</strong></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is hosting an event to celebrate Award-Winning BC Children’s Authors and Illustrators 2019</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">January 30, 2019, 7 – 9 pm</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">UBC Golf Club - see the website for more details</span></p> <p><br><span style="font-weight: 400;">I will leave you with a nice summary of the best illustrated children’s books of 2018 selected by </span><a href=""><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times</span></em></a><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p> 2018-11-23T00:00:00-07:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##