Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Favourite Reads of 2009, Part IX. . .

We go west today to Edmonton and another great list of favourite children's reads from Tamsin Shute, Youth Services Librarian at Edmonton Public Library.

Tamsin's Favourite Reads:

Wave by Suzy Lee
This wordless picture book tells the story of a little girl’s encounter with a seaside wave and a few seagulls. The striking illustrations turn a simple story of an ordinary encounter in a detailed story filled with drama, expression and humour.

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, Illustrations by Rosana Faria, Translated by Elisa Amado
Imagining what it is like to be blind is a little bit easier for children, thanks to this amazing book. Though Thomas cannot see, he has a rich idea of the sounds, smells and feelings of colours. His descriptions are illustrated by raised black line drawings on black paper, which are meant to be touched. Braille accompanies the simple white text, so readers can imagine what it would be like to read with ones’ hands. The Black Book of Colors is a wonderful book to explore and discuss with young children.

The Manny Files by Christian Burch
Did you ever wonder what David Sedaris would be like as a third-grader? Meet Keats Dalinger, the smallest boy in his class, whose interest in style and celebrity birthdays doesn’t exactly make him popular with the class bully. Keats is thrilled when his parents hire a wild and unconventional male nanny whose mantra is “Be interesting!” The story is as hilarious as it is touching. Burch’s thoughtful celebration of unique personalities and self-acceptance will strike a chord in readers.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur
After losing her half her family in a car accident and being abandoned by her mother, 11-year-old Aubrey tries to live on her own, using her allowance money to buy food and a pet fish, whom she dubs “her new family.” When her grandmother discovers Aubrey’s mother has disappeared, Aubrey moves to her Grandmother’s home in Vermont, where they slowly try to rebuild what is left of their lives together. A sweet story that just may make you shed a few tears!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
12-year-old Miranda is having a confusing time—her best friend suddenly wants nothing to do with her, the emergency apartment key goes missing and she starts finding mysterious notes that contain information that no one could possible know. From the strangers on the street to her mom’s boyfriend, all the people in Miranda’s life converge into an intricate story involving time travel, science fiction, friends and a TV game show that will leave readers wanting to reread the book to figure out the details.

Swim the Fly by Don Calame
Every year, Matt and his friends set goals for themselves. This summer? The goal is to see an actual naked girl! The goal seems impossible, especially because they can barely talk to girls! To impress the most beautiful girl on the swim team, Matt volunteers to swim the 100-yard butterfly race—a feat far more challenging than seeing a naked girl! Filled with humour and ridiculous situations, this book will have great appeal for teen boys.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
When Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend, she doesn’t think twice about ignoring his call of “Audrey, wait!” as she leaves his house. The next thing she knows, her new ex-boyfriend’s band is on the radio, on TV and on the cover of all the magazines because of their new pop single called Audrey Wait. But it’s not just the song that became popular—the entire country is obsessed with Audrey! She goes from being a normal teenage girl to a media darling overnight and discovers how hard it is to go on a first date with the paparazzi hounding her. Audrey is a funny, current and clever character.

The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff
Faced with a lifetime of hard work and bearing children, Pell decides to slip away on her wedding day, with nothing but her horse Jack and her young brother Bean. Her hopes of finding some sort of job and life for herself are quickly dashed when she loses both of her traveling companions. Her road to finding those she lost is difficult and dangerous, but she finds help in unexpected places and unknowingly uncovers mysterious ties to her past. Rosoff’s beautiful language and rich characters make her take on historical fiction a pleasure to read!

Madapple by Christina Meldrum
Auslaug was raised in isolation from society; her mother taught her everything she needs to know about plants, language and survival, but not anything about who she is or where she came from. Only after her mother dies does Auslaug find other relatives and learn the strange story of her birth. Told in chapters that alternate between a present day trial—in which Auslaug has been charged with murder—and three years ago when her life away from her mother began, this story is thought-provoking, surprising and compelling.

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Told in verse, the story focuses on Anke, a freshman in high school whose father is horribly abusive. While his dominance and anger controls the entire family, the physical abuse is reserved for her brother and sister. Anke feels like she is no more worthy in her father’s eyes than a piece of furniture—at least he pays some attention to her siblings. Playing volleyball at school helps Anke find friends and her voice, but under every moment of happiness there is the knowledge that she has to go home. While the harsh subject matter could be overwhelming, Chaltas’ careful, sparse verse creates a tolerable and engaging story. Fans of Ellen Hopkins’ Crank will enjoy this book.

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