August 27, 2009


by Jorge Lujรก
illustrated by Manuel Monroy

El gallo abre su pico The rooster opens its beak
y sale el sol. and up comes the sun.

Bold, colourful pictures complement a beautiful fable. In English and Spanish.

by J. Patrick Lewis & Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Gary Lippincott

A day in the life of a small town told in a poetic form known as the renga, or linked verse. A renga is created by two or more poets who take turns adding verses (the first poet writes three lines, the second poet writes two lines, then three, two, three, and so on).

August 25, 2009

Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George's best known work is Julie of the Wolves, the story of an Inuit girl who is accepted by a pack of wolves when she gets lost on the Alaskan tundra. The winner of the 1973 Newbery Medal, the book is a perennial choice on school reading lists. But did you know that Ms. George has written other novels? Among them are two sequels to Julie of the Wolves.

Julie's decision to return to the modern world and live with her father is not an easy one. Her father has forsaken many of the Inuit ways, and worst of all, he will shoot Julie's wolves if they threaten the village industry, the musk ox. In this book, Julie tries to remind her father of the connection between animals and humans, the old ways and the new, and people with each other.

Kapu is the son of the wolf leader Amaroq, whose pack saved Julie's life. Amaroq was killed and Kapu became the new leader. In this captivating tale, Ms. George introduces the reader to the world of wolves.

Thirteen-year-old Billie Wind does not believe in the legends of her Seminole ancestors, especially their belief in talking animal gods. As punishment, she agrees to spend two days and a night alone in the Florida Everglades. When she is trapped by fire, the days turn into weeks. To survive, she befriends an otter, a baby panther, and a turtle and realizes that the animals do talk, in their own unique ways. More importantly, she learns to listen to the Earth. Published in 1983, Jean Craighead George's message of environmental awareness is still relevant today.

August 20, 2009

Survival Stories

by Felice Holman
Harassed by bullies and teachers, friendless and unloved, Aremis Slake takes refuge in the subway and stays for 121 days. A story about loneliness, fear, separation, poverty and hope; and how lives intersect.

Climb or Die      
by Edward Myers

Caught in a blizzard, the Darcy family is tense as they drive to their cabin in the Colorado mountains. When Mr. Darcy decides to take a short cut on a rarely used road, the car slides into a tree, injuring both parents. With no chance of rescue, Danielle and her brother Jake have only one choice: to climb to the manned weather station atop Mt. Remington. An exciting, well-written adventure. The bickering between the siblings is realistically portrayed, as are the improvised mountaineering techniques.

by Eric Walters

Will isn't looking forward to spending the day at his father's office. His father puts in a lot of hours at work, which means that Will hardly ever sees him. His father works on the 85th floor in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre. For those who remember the events of September 11, 2001, this will be an anxiety-filled read.

August 18, 2009

Aboriginal Stories

The Old Man with the Otter Medicine
by John Blondin

It is winter and the people are worried because there is no fish. They ask the medicine man for help. Written in English and Dogrib. The accompanying CD allows readers to hear the legend as well. For ages 3-5.

by Raquel Rivera

Tuk, a young Inuit boy, is excited when a giant sailing ship, bringing mysterious strangers, arrives on Baffin Island. The strangers are tall and pale and they bring amazing gifts. They also want to hunt whales. But are they friends or enemies? This simply told story raises interesting questions regarding whaling practices, communication between cultures, and possible problems to come. For ages 5-7.

by Armstrong Sperry

Determined to conquer his fear of the sea, Mafatu takes a canoe and strikes out on his own, with a dog as his only companion. A storm at sea is his first challenge. Landing on a desert island, the days that follow tests his resourcefulness and determination. With tautly written prose, Sperry allows the reader to experience Mafatu's growing confidence and courage. A battle with an octopus and an exciting pursuit by the eaters-of-men are among the story's highlights. For ages 7 - 10.

August 6, 2009

Cool Gifts for Kids

If you're looking for unique children's gifts, visit the shops in museums or art galleries. They have all kinds of educational toys, games, books and accessories. It's better than shopping at Toys R Us!

The Museum of Modern Art has a terrific store with all sorts of fascinating stuff. Visit their website at

Also take a look at the wide variety of merchandise from the New York Public Library: The library is also home to the original Winnie-the-Pooh.

Another great site is Washington D.C.'s Library of Congress. It's a little heavy on Americana, but they offer things that you won't find anywhere else.

Finally, the Art Gallery of Ontario has an interesting shop. You can shop online at; however selection is limited. It's best to shop in person.

August 4, 2009

Arlene Alda


Arlene Alda is a photographer who creates intelligent picture books for children. Visit her website - - to learn more about her.

Arlene Alda's A B C

A bedtime book.

A book about homonyms and homophones - words that sound alike, spelled the same or spelled differently, but with different meanings.

A book to stimulate the imagination.

A book about opposites.