Another great site with Online Books for Kids

This is another site where you can read picture books online.  It is for the beginner reader.

Check it out!

Picture Books to Read Online

This is a great website to find beautiful books to read to your kids or that they can read themselves.  You might have to sign up (free) to use all the tools, but it is a fun website.  You can even write you own books as well.

Do check in out!!

Earth Day

This is not a book recommendation or a book review, but only a reminder that we have to treasure the earth and it all starts at home.

Celebrate Earth Day!

Crafts is the Class

Ten Ways to Teach Kids about Earth Day

Recycle and Reuse at Home

By Diane Peters

No Safe Harbour by Julie Lawson

Amanda’s (10 years) book review of “No Safe Harbor” by Julie Lawson

The book I read is about a very gruesome and devastating event; the explosion that took place in the Halifax harbor in 1917 when two ships collided. It is written in diary form so it is from one girl, Charlotte Blackburn’s, point of view.
The book starts off with a letter from her brother, Luke, who is off fighting in the war in France. He is the one who sent her the diary. Then Charlotte begins her entries. She has a pretty normal life, with a mom and a dad, one older brother (Luke), two older sisters (Edith and Ruth), a twin brother (Duncan), and a dog (Kristy). She does the milk run every Thursday with an elderly man named Haggarty. She receives a letter from her brother almost monthly about his horrific life in the trenches.
Then the explosion occurred killing her mom, dad, and two older sisters. Charlotte’s twin was found alive and was healed. Her mother’s last words, “father……young” allowed her to find her long lost grandparents. Charlotte’s brother came home from the war as he was injured in a road side bomb, although he must return when he is healed.
So in the end she lives a good life with her twin and grandparents. I love how she described how the state of the pages helped tell the story in her dairy, so I will quote:
At the very beginning a few blotches of mud
from the trenches in France. Then nine
weeks or so of crisp, buff-colored pages marching
along in an orderly way, one day at a time.
For a month after that the pages are streaked with tears and
horribly marked with blood and soot. Little by little they begin to clear up, and in
the last few entries the pages are clean.
But the cover is scarred, like me.

From the Blog Administrator: Thanks for sending me this beautiful review. I put it in post form so many other 10 year old kids can see it and might be inspired to read it too.

Something for the festive season!

The Little Crooked Christmas Tree by Michael Cutting

All around us we see so many things that reminds us of that special time of year – CHRISTMAS! Lights and decorations are being put up and the shops are getting busier by the day. There are so many beautiful Christmas stories to read and tonight we read a very special one. My son loved it and even though he is only 7, he understood what the story behind the story is. It tells about how you can give just by helping somebody else and some day when you least expect it, it might be returned in your favour.

From the book: Among the rows and rows of little trees growing on Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm, there is one little tree that is not like the others. This little spruce asks the same two questions of every creature he meets: “What is Christmas? What is a Christmas tree?”

He gets no reply, until the day he shelters a white dove from a storm. Through that friendship, the little tree learns the meaning of love, sacrifice — and Christmas.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Review by Karen McKinnon 

What Grade Seven or Eight student hasn’t spent time imagining what it would be like to live in Korea during the 12th century (perhaps that’s a stretch). The Newberry Award winning book, A Single Shard takes us to this simpler time and place – to a small village called Ch-ulp’o. There we meet two main characters with peculiar names: Tree-Ear, an orphan boy, and his elderly guardian, Crane-man, a cripple, who does his best to look after the boy. The pair live under a bridge, and spend their days foraging for food. This seems to provide purpose enough in their lives, until Tree-ear discovers a potter named Min, who works magic with a potter’s wheel in his backyard studio.

In no time, Tree-ear becomes entranced as he silently watches the potter from behind a bush. He has never seen such a thing as a man who makes works of art by lumping clay on a spinning wheel. The more moments that Tree-Ear quietly watches the craftsman at work, the hungrier he gets to feel the clay between his own fingers. It is not long before yearning wins over reason and Tree-ear enters the studio so that he can touch one of the pots. When he is caught trespassing by Min, he drops the pot, and so becomes indebted to the potter. The unfortunate accident leads to a most fortunate apprenticeship, as the potter decides that Tree-ear must work for him for many days to re-pay his debt.

It is a thing of pride to watch Tree-ear discover a meaning to life so much larger than a bowl of food. It is a thing of beauty to watch the author take us deftly from Tree-ear’s small, base world to one much larger where Tree-ear flourishes as he develops his love of clay.

A Single Shard offers the reader a window into a world where a boy has no choice but to live by his wits. And just as Tree-ear learned to survive under the guidance of Crane-man, he learns to be useful under the tutelage of Min. Watch Tree-ear grow still further as chooses to take a long journey alone to the royal Korean court. When the journey proves to be dangerous and disastrous, find out how Tree-ear finds a way to make it worthwhile.
The subject material in a Single Shard is unique. It must be, or Grade Seven and Eight students might truly have spent time imagining it.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Review by Karen McKinnon

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

I expect that every student in grade seven and eight indulges in some confidence-bashing statements in front of the mirror from time to time. “I know my friends like me, but why do I feel like I’m so different from them … How did those kids end up so popular … Why can’t I be that popular… Why does everyone think he’s so cool … I wish I were taller … What is that little freckle doing on the end of my nose…
Stargirl is a story about ‘the new girl’ at school. But where most new girls would kill to fit in, Stargirl really doesn’t seem to care about fitting in. In fact, this new student is so self-assured that she dares to be herself. She wears her hair the way she likes, dresses the way she likes, and does not bother with make-up. To a typically homogeneous group of students, Stargirl stands out. Her confidence confounds the rest of the students, and they become mesmerized not only by her uniqueness, but by her guts.
Stargirl is an intriguing read because, here, we have a girl who is willing to ‘throw out the rule book.’ To any student, Stargirl’s attitude is utterly refreshing. But the really interesting thing about this book is the question it poses – how long can she pull it off. This story challenges each of us to think about our own identity. An identity that may not be so apparent in a blended mass of students in board shoes, blue jeans and hoodies. Stargirl also challenges us to accept that people ought to have the right to be different. In the middle years, it is easy to succumb to peer pressure but this book gives the student a chance to glimpse a character who is willing to fight that pressure. And that, my peers, is a satisfying thing!

Read an excerpt of  “Stargirl”

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