#IMWAYR – Sept 12, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

Fall is here with a vengeance! Shorts and flip flops have already been traded for jeans and boots, and I for one couldn’t be happier. I am a pasty northern flower who wilts in the heat and turns fire engine red at the first sign of sunshine, so I am definitely more comfortable in autumn/winter!


This week I shared my love of Japanese animation (anime) with a Top Ten Tuesday list dedicated to ten of my all-time favourite programs, many of which are available onNetflix!


For Nonfiction Wednesday I featured a fascinating title celebrating female fashion trailblazers who changed the world by changing their clothes. Fashion Rebels is a perfect nonfiction choice for any budding fashionista, but it could really appeal to just about any tween/teen history buff – I’m the least stylish person imaginable, but even I was drawn in by these stories of pioneering women who used fashion as a means of expressing themselves, fighting societal conventions and turning assumptions on their heads.

Image result for paper bag princess

On Thursday I took a walk down memory lane and shared an old university essay dedicated to one of my favourite children’s books of all time, the Canadian classic The Paper Bag Princess. If you haven’t read this one yet, hop to your nearest library on the double – it’s the original girl power picture book, and it’s pretty darn fantastic.


Friday was my first foray into Poetry Friday! As a student I was convinced that poetry was TERRIBLE, and I HATED it. My academic interactions with poetry consisted primarily of “interpreting” poems by long-dead Englishmen, which inevitably meant memorizing the correct interpretations and repeating them on demand. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, I swore to the moon and stars that I would never set eyes on another poem for the rest of my days. This, of course, was a terrible shame, and as a librarian and book lover I’m hoping to do my part to help connect young readers with poetry that speaks to them, and to help future generations avoid my unpleasant experience. How better to kickstart this project than with a collection of poems about dinosaurs?

Image result for spark kaillie george

Saturday saw the continuing of my B.C.-themed Reading Staycation project with Spark, a sweet little story about a young dragon who just can’t seem to control his flame! Author Kallie George is a successful author, editor, instructor and speaker who is based in Vancouver.

Image result for book off

Finally, I capped off the week with an ode to one of my favourite book stores – the wonderful Japanese second-hand book store chain Book Off, which sadly doesn’t have a location in my home city. Though considering the stack of books my partner brought back from a recent trip to New York, our wallets might benefit from the distance between ourselves and the nearest Book Off!

Over on The Book Wars we celebrated the launch of our brand-new website, and we couldn’t be more excited!!

September is “space month” over on The Book Wars, so I let my feminist/geek flags fly and shared two great nonfiction titles all about female astronauts! Women In Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures features the incredible stories of 23 pioneering women from a variety of different countries, cultures, backgrounds and decades who  triumphed over prejudice to pave the way for future generations.

One of these women in particular is the focus of the second space-themed book I shared this past week. Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman in space, which is an incredible accomplishment in itself, but she’s also a successful physician, entrepreneur, Star Trek fan and all-around awesome roll model. This engaging early reader introduces children to this inspiring, trail-blazing woman, a true embodiment of girl power.

It’s been a great week so far – bring on the sweaters and the pumpkin spice lattes! 🙂


September Book Photo Challenge

Looking for a challenge to shake things up a bit as we move into September? Why not join the children’s literature fanatics at The Book Wars for a September Instagram Challenge?


I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a traditional “bookstagrammer” – those overly-contrived photos, replete with candles and quirky mugs and flowers and perfectly-placed books kind of drive me a little bonkers. Why would I want to spend precious time taking pictures of books when I could be spending that time reading?

BUT I am definitely looking forward to participating in the #TBWSeptReads16 challenge (and not just because I’m a Book Warrior), if only because I’m really looking forward to discovering some great new books to add to my wish list and connecting with fellow book lovers from around the world.

As always, we’re pretty laid-back group here at The Book Wars, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Skip a day, interpret the prompt in your own way, it’s all good – as long as you’re having fun, that’s what it’s all about!

Be sure to check out The Book Wars on Instagram (@thebookwars) if you haven’t already – we’re in the process of shaking things up and giving ourselves a bit of a refresh, and we’ve got some great new content coming down the pipeline. Can’t wait to share it with you!


Happy September, everybody!

#IMWAYR – August 21, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

Hot…hot hot hot hot hot….It has been HOT. It was 30 degrees yesterday. THIRTY DEGREES. (That’s 86 degrees for you Yankees). Sure, compared to the East Coast heat wave that might not sound all that impressive (actually I was surprised when I did the conversion,it feels so much hotter than a measly little 86 degrees….), but here in the air conditioning-less Pacific Northwest, 30 is HOT.

OK, weather-related rant over and done with, on to the books!

This week I…..

Shared some ways to use Shaun Tan’s wonderfully weird picture book Rules of Summer  in a class or library group setting.

rules of summer cover

  • Talked about some of my favourite book settings, and completely forgot to mention others (I blame it on my melting brain….).

TTT Top Ten Tuesday The Book Wars

I participated in another edition of Nonfiction Wednesday, talking about The Toad, another edition in one of my favourite nonfiction series for young reader, Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters!

I co-hosted another Diverse Kids Lit roundup – be sure to check it out for some fantastic titles and inspiring posts!


My British Columbia-based Reading Staycation experience continues with one of my favourite story time books, the very funny Grumpy Bird by Vancouver-based Jeremy Tankard. Who can’t relate to this grumpy bird who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed?

I shook my Reading Staycation series up a bit with an interview with the fantastic, super-talented and super-duper nice Vancouver-based illustrator Dawn Lo. I love being able to support local, independent artists and creative entrepreneurs – the artistic life is a rewarding one, but it can also be pretty challenging, so let’s all support each other!


I’m currently enjoying a new-to-me Stephen King novel, The Cell.  The premise is pretty cheesy – a mysterious event dubbed “the pulse” has turned cell phone users into terrifying zombie-like creatures. Cell phone usage = zombification. Not really the most imaginative (or subtle….) premise there (tell me what you really think about young people, Mr. King…), but if you can overlook that aspect of the novel it really it quite enjoyable (so far anyway).  King is a thoughtful, clever writer who balances shocking horror and character-drive story to create very readable experiences.  But oh MAN is this novel done a major disservice by its unintentionally HILARIOUS back copy…

From international bestseller Stephen King, a high-concept, ingenious and terrifying story about the mayhem unleashed when a pulse from a mysterious source transforms all cell phone users into homicidal maniacs. There’s a reason cell rhymes with hell.

Cell: A Novel by [King, Stephen]

So, there’s my week in a nutshell! Hope everyone has been having an AMAZING week – stay cool and hydrated everybody (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you lucky duckies)!

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag!

Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Book Wars I’m tackling the Harry Potter Spells Book Tag, which was first developed by Kimberley Faye Reads.


Confession: I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books, I’ve watched the films, and they were OK, but nothing spectacular. I honestly have no clue what any of these spells mean, or what they do. I’m a children’s librarian who’s not a Harry Potter fan. There, I said it. Whew, that’s a weight off my shoulders.

And away we go!

1 - Accio

An upcoming release you can’t wait to get your hands on.

Ada Twist, Scientist / Andrea Beaty

This title, coming September 2016, is from the same creative team that brought us Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect, great picture books about kids pursuing their passions, even when no one around them seems to understand. Bonus points for featuring a girl obsessed with science!

2 - Alohomora

Favourite series starter.

The Black Company / Glen Cook

Glen Cook’s The Black Company is fantasy like you’ve probably never read it before – dark, gritty, violent, bleak, and pretty darn amazing. Undoubtedly the finest book in the series, this title served as inspiration for countless “dark fantasy” novels in the years that followed.

3 - Cheering Charm

A book that gave you all the fuzzy/warm feels.

George / Alex Gino

Words cannot describe how much feels this book gave me. While a lot of the book made me angry (mostly at a society that forces children to suppress their true identities and live in fear simply because they do not fit into the boxes that other people have assigned them), the ending made me all warm and fuzzy and hopeful. Feels.

4 - Aguamenti

A book that made you ugly cry.

See You At Harry’s / Jo Knowles

OK, so I’m bonafide sap who cries at credit card commercials, so take this for what you will, but whoo boy, this book made me cry. I don’t know about ugly crying, but there were definitely more than a few tears shed during the reading of this story. This is a fantastic book filled with fantastic characters, but be warned, you will likely need a tissue at the ready to deal with the sadness.

5 - Expecto Patronum

A character you’d consider to be your patronus.

OK, I don’t know if this is necessarily a patronus so much as a book incarnation, but I’m going with it. Junie B. Jones, the spirited kindergartener who just can’t seem to control her mouth and who calls it like she sees it, even when it gets her into trouble is like a little motor-mouth Jane. The parallels are eery. It’s like Junie and I are kindred spirits.

6 - Lumos

A book you intentionally spoiled for yourself.

The Terminal Man

The suspense! I was starting to get a little too stressed out by this thriller, so I skipped ahead just a couple of pages to make sure a character was going to be alright.

By the way, the tradition of the terrible book cover synopsis is a long and proud one (something the team at The Book Wars discusses in their Cover Wars series). “Watch this man become a homicidal maniac!” says the cover. “Ugh,” says the reader, “this book is full of math, computer science, psychology, medical ethics and history! Where’s the homicidal maniac alread?y” A fantastic book with an absolutely terrible and completely misleading cover.

7 - Imperio

A book you wish you could make everyone read.

George / Alex Gino

I wouldn’t want to make anyone read anything, but I do wish more people would take a look at George, or really any book featuring a trans* character. There’s still far too much ignorance, fear and hatred in our world, and not enough awareness and understanding around trans issues.

8 - Engorgio

A book/series you wish never ended.

Discworld / Terry Pratchett

Thankfully Terry Pratchett was a prolific writer, so there’s at least a good number of Discworld books available,  but there’s not nearly as many as I would happily devour.

9 - Wingardium Leviosa

An uplifting book.

Brown Girl Dreaming / Jacqueline Woodson

This elegant verse novel is a story of hope, determination, and the power of words to change a life. I think I would perhaps call this inspiring, rather than uplifting, and Woodson’s perfectly chosen words will touch readers deeply and profoundly. It’s particularly inspiring for educators, as it’s an ode to the power of the written word, and the impact an educator can have on a child’s life.

10 - Obliviate

A book you wish you could forget

I honestly think I’m going to skip this one, because I’m a serial DNF-er, and if I don’t like I book I simply don’t finish it.

11 - Anapneo

A book/series that got you out of a slump.

Sphere / Michael Crichton

I recently found myself in a terrible reading slump. My brain was a scattered mess, and I just couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything. Every book I picked up seemed overly complicated, too deep, too preachy, to hip, too everything. Out of desperation I decided to go back to basics and revisit one of my all-time favourite writers, whose books read like a blend of movie script and college text book – Michael Crichton.

Well, this definitely did the trick. Fast-paced and cleverly written, I devoured this title on a single commute, and the reading spark was lit once again.

12 - Jelly-Legs Jinx

A swoon worthy character.

I’m going to cheat here, and instead share…..

A swoon worthy author.



Steven Johnson is the absolute swoon worthiest author I can think of. Not only is he cute as a button with those stunning blue eyes, he also plays the guitar (swoon), and writes fantastic narrative non-fiction (mega swoon), including one of my all-time favourite non-fiction titles, The Ghost Map. He is also a married father of three, but oh well, a girl can still dream….

13 - Aresto Momentum

A book that made you drop everything in order to finish it.

Ummm….OK, I was going to try and pick a book that wasn’t by Michael Crichton, but dang it, I just love me some Michael Crichton.

The Andromeda Strain

Holy crap, the suspense! Not the biggest fan of the ending (no spoilers, I promise), but the build up, holy smokes! I’ve actually reread this book a couple of times because I love it so much. It plays out like a movie in your brain. Awesome.

14 - Crucio

A book that was painful to read/a book that broke you.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe / Benjamin Alire Saenz

This novel about two young Mexican-American men is heart-rendingly beautiful and at times painful to read, but so very worth it. Life can just be so hard for some people sometimes, especially young people. Let’s all try to remember to choose kindness, because we can never know what other people are going through.

15 - Rictumsempra

A book that made you laugh out loud.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams

The original madcap, zany, side-splitting British science fiction classic. Have you read this series yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s insane, but in the best possible way.

16 - Expelliarmus

A book you wanted to fling away.

The Exorcist / William Peter Blatty

I read this book as a teenager, and was so freaked out at one point that I threw the book to the floor, just to get it away from me. Seriously, seriously creepy stuff.

17 - Portus

A fictional world you wish you could visit.

Middle Earth! I’d love to sit in Hobbiton and have a pint with the hobbits, or lounge around at The Last Homely House. I have been to New Zealand several times, though, which for some reason looks remarkably similar to Middle Earth…

18 - Stupefy

A plot twist you did not see coming.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Agatha Christie

Twisty and turny but not overly-complicated or too assured of its own cleverness, this is the epitome of a classic who-dunnit by one of the masters of the genre.

19 - Avada Kedavra

A character death that destroyed you.

It’s remarkably hard to do this one without giving away unwanted spoilers….

Chaos Walking / Patrick Ness

Somewhere in this trilogy is an incredibly brutal and painful and seemingly unnecessary death. You’ll know it when you find it.

20 - Finite Incantatem

Best concluding book in a series.

A Memory of Light / Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The death of Robert Jordan before the conclusion of his Wheel of Time series left many fans in a tizzy, wondering what would happen to the characters that we had all put so much bloody time into reading about (seriously, these books are massive). Hearing that the series would be finished by a different author I was sceptical, but holy smokes, was this ever a fitting end to the series! Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic fantasy author, and he stayed true to Jordan’s vision while bringing in his own unique style. Definitely a satisfying conclusion.

Whew, that was quite the post, thanks for tagging me, The Book Wars! This is actually the first thing I’ve ever been tagged in, so I feel like I’ve finally made it in the world of book / library blogging – I’m one of the cool kids now! 😉

The Book Wars!



I’m on The Book Wars today, talking about the important of valuing and respecting kids’ reading interests. If you’re not already following  The Book Wars what are you waiting for? It’s moderated by four of the smartest children’s literature professionals you’ll ever meet, and it’s chock-full of great book reviews and children’s literature love.

Have you followed them yet? Why not follow them right now? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.


Excellent! You can thank me later. After you’ve checked out and commented on my blog post, of course. And if you liked it, you’re in for a treat – it’s going to be a regular feature on the blog, and I couldn’t be more excited.

See you soon!