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An Elgin County Library column dedicated to introducing you to newly purchased library books that we think you’ll love!

I Wonder
by K. A. Holt, Illustrated by Kenard Pak

“What do clouds taste like?”
“Do my toys miss me when I’m gone?
I wonder if cars and trucks speak the same language?”

What: Children’s questions remind us of their unique point of view; nothing is more powerful than seeing something for the first time. In ‘I Wonder’ these whimsical questions will encourage all readers to take a fresh look around them.

Tone: Whimsical
Illustration: Delicate

Formats available: Book

Seven Letters
by J.P. Monninger

What: Kate Moreton travels to Ireland where she meets Ozzie, an Irish-American war veteran and recalcitrant fisherman. Their love affair is fast and intense but his stormy personality drives them apart and he sets off alone on a dangerous boat trip. Tragedy strikes — and leaves Kate unsure of where to turn next.

Genre: Contemporary love stories
Writing Style: Lyrical

Formats available: Book 

The Furies
by Katie Lowe

What: Four troubled teenagers study witchcraft, female rage, and revenge at a private girls high school on the outskirts of a seaside town in Britain. Murder and witchcraft mix with a heady cocktail of drugs, booze, and revenge in this elegant, pitch-perfect coming-of-age story.

Genre: Coming-of-age; Thrillers & suspense
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Atmospheric; Disturbing
Style: Compelling

Formats available: Book

The Other, Better Me
by Antony John

What: Lola and Momma have always been a team of two. It hasn’t always been easy for Lola, being one of the only kids she knows with just one parent around. And lately she’s been feeling incomplete, like there’s a part of herself that she can’t know until she knows her dad. But what will happen—to Lola, to Momma, to their team of two—if she finds him?

Genre: Realistic fiction
Character: Likeable; Well-developed

Formats available: Book

Adult

Seven Letters
by J.P. Monninger

What: Kate Moreton travels to Ireland where she meets Ozzie, an Irish-American war veteran and recalcitrant fisherman. Their love affair is fast and intense but his stormy personality drives them apart and he sets off alone on a dangerous boat trip. Tragedy strikes — and leaves Kate unsure of where to turn next.

Genre: Contemporary love stories
Writing Style: Lyrical

Formats available: Book 

How to Raise a Reader
by Pamela Paul & Maria Russo

“If you can instill a love of reading at an early age, then a commitment to lifelong learning is sure to follow.” -Children’s Bureau, 2017

What: Combining clear, practical advice with inspiration, wisdom, tips, and curated reading lists, How to Raise a Reader shows you how to instill the joy and time-stopping pleasure of reading.  Written by editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Genre: Arts and Entertainment; Family and Relationships
Writing Style: Accessible; Thoughtful

Formats available: BookeBook (Hoopla)

Someone We Know
by Shari Lapena

What: A teen has been sneaking into houses & causing a stir by learning & sharing the resident’s secrets.  When a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

Genre: Domestic fiction; Thrillers & suspense
Themes: Suburban malaise; Too good to be true
Character: Flawed
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Tone: High-drama; Suspenseful

Formats available: Book, Large Print, Playaway, eBook & eAudiobook (OverDrive/Libby)

The Most Fun We Ever Had
by Claire Lombardo

What: “A multi-generational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple–still madly in love after forty years–match wits, harbour grudges, and recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they’ve built.”

Genre: Family sagas; Literary fiction
Character: Well-developed
Storyline: Sweeping
Writing Style: Engaging; Stylistically complex

Formats available: Book, Large Print, eBook & eAudiobook (OverDrive/ Libby)

What: A memoir by the multifaceted pop culture icon discusses his experiences as a gay youth in a Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, his education at LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts, and the making of his documentary, “Unzipped.”

Genre: Adult books for young adults; Arts and Entertainment; Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories
Tone: Moving; Reflective; Upbeat
Writing Style: Candid; Engaging; Richly detailed; Witty

Formats available: Book, Book on CD, eAudiobook (OverDrive/Libby)

What: The dramatic, inspiring story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis, shore up the Resistance, and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II.

Genre: Collective biographies; History writing; Life stories
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Dramatic
Writing Style: Descriptive

Formats available: Book 

 

What: Can’t get enough Game of Thrones right now? Dive into the first volume of a four-part graphic novel adaptation.

Summary: “From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding walls of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.”

Try this: ECL has the Game of Thrones version of Catan if you’d like to take on the adventure of becoming the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch!

Formats available: Book 

What: Homes was the runner up for the 2019 Canada Reads and OverDrive’s Big Library Read choice.

Summary: Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this is the true story of a Syrian refugee; a young Iraqi boy that fled the war zone and found a home in Canada.

Try this: OverDrive has bonus material to explore including an author interview and discussion group. You can view the Canada Reads finale here

Formats available: Book & eBook (OverDrive/Libby & Hoopla)

What: The Skinner Siblings (Renee, Caroline, Joe & Fiona) grew up with an unbounding loyalty. Two decades later they are confronted with a family crisis that tests the limits of their love and devotion for one another.

Read it if you liked: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Try this: Conklin also wrote the bestseller The House Girl

Formats available: Book (Regular and Large Print) & eAudiobook (Hoopla)

What: A virus is spreading through a remote college town in Southern California, causing people to fall into a never ending sleep with vivid and strange dreams. 

Read it If you like: a compelling, beautifully written novel told through multiple perspectives.

For fans of: The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Formats available: Book, Book on CD, eBook & eAudio through OverDrive/Libby

Fun Fact: 80% of the New Year’s Resolutions made don’t make it past the second week of February.

What: Learn how to make your 2019 goals stick alongside one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation who preaches that “tiny changes can lead to remarkable results”.

Also try: Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Formats available: Book & eAudio through OverDrive/Libby

Young Adult

The Furies
by Katie Lowe

What: Four troubled teenagers study witchcraft, female rage, and revenge at a private girls high school on the outskirts of a seaside town in Britain. Murder and witchcraft mix with a heady cocktail of drugs, booze, and revenge in this elegant, pitch-perfect coming-of-age story.

Genre: Coming-of-age; Thrillers & suspense
Storyline: Intricately plotted
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Atmospheric; Disturbing
Style: Compelling

Formats available: Book

Wayward Son
by Rainbow Rowell

What: A follow up to Carry On, “Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first.”

Genre: Graphic novels; Fantasy; Love stories
Character: Awkward; Courageous; Diverse; Flawed; Sympathetic
Storyline: Character & Plot driven; World-building
Tone: Amusing; Bittersweet; Offbeat
Writing Style: Banter-filled; Engaging

Formats available: Book

Wilder Girls
by Rory Power

What: “An all girls’ island boarding school has been under quarantine ever since the deadly Tox swept across the island, taking all of the teachers and several students with it. When her friend goes missing, Hetty risks everything to search beyond the quarantine — and finds so much more than she anticipated.”

Genre: Thrillers and suspense
Themes: Band of survivors; Pandemic apocalypse
Character: LGBTQIA diverse
Tone: Haunting; Suspenseful
Writing Style: Gritty; Lush

Formats available: Book, Book on CD, eBook (Libby/OverDrive)

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love
Edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond

What: Told in interconnected short stories, ‘Hungry Hearts’ explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

Genre: Anthologies; Short stories
Character: Culturally diverse
Tone: Romantic

Formats available: Book

What: Born in the same hospital on the same day, Eric and Morgan grow up together as best friends. The story follows them through six years of birthdays as they discover who they are meant to be, and if they are meant to be together.

Genre: Coming-of-age stories; Love stories; Multiple perspectives
Themes: Coming out experiences; Falling for a friend; Life in small towns
Character: Authentic; LGBTQIA diverse; Likeable
Storyline: Character-driven; Own voices; Unconventional
Tone: Hopeful; Moving; Reflective
Writing Style: Engaging

Formats available: Book

What: When seventeen-year-old Jay Reguero learns his Filipino cousin and former best friend, Jun, was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, he flies to the Philippines to learn more.

Genre: Coming-of-age stories; First person narratives; Realistic fiction
Character: Culturally diverse; Relatable
Storyline: Character-driven; Own voices

Formats available: Book

What: A compelling debut fantasy novel with deep world-building, family secrets and complex, culturally diverse characters.

Summary: Princess Hesina of Yan is thrust into power when her beloved father is murdered, and she’s determined to find his killer. The future of her kingdom is at stake; will she find justice for her father or are the stakes too high?

For fans of: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Formats available: Book & eBook (Hoopla & OverDrive/Libby)

What: April is National Poetry Month!

Summary: A poetic memoir and urgent call-to-action; Anderson blends free-verse reflections with deeply personal stories from her life to rally today’s young people to stand up and fight the abuses, censorship and hatred of today’s world.

Try this: Anderson’s previous novel Speak (available through ECL as an eAudiobook or try the graphic novel (ILLO)).

Formats available: Book

What: A compelling & magical YA fantasy about the price of beauty that’s sure to keep you on your toes.

Summary: In the fictional world of Orléans beauty is the ultimate commodity. The elite Belles have been trained their whole lives to use magic to transform the looks of their drab customers into anything they desire. The ultimate dream for the Belles is to be named the Queen’s favourite; who are in charge of keeping the Royal Family satisfied. Things are not as they seem and there are dark and ugly secrets revealed within the palace walls.

For fans of: Scott Westerfeld’s series Uglies

Formats available: Book, eBook (Hoopla & OverDrive/Libby), eAudiobook (Hoopla)

What: A contemporary romance YA novel with depth and diverse characters

Summary: The beautiful and heartbreaking tale of Shirin, a 16-year-old Muslim girl who a year after 9/11 is feeling ostracized by her peers and retreats into her own bubble of music and break-dancing. That is until she meets Ocean James, who seems to take a genuine interest in her; will Shirin learn to open up and let love in?

Awards: Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Formats available: Book, Book on CD & eBook through OverDrive/Libby

Who: 19 year old Sadie runs away from her small town in search of her younger sister’s killer.

Why you might like it: Told from the alternating perspectives of Sadie and a true crime podcast exploring Sadie’s disappearance  (think ‘Serial’).  If you’d like to experience the podcast in the book, search for ‘The Girls’ on your podcast platform or go ahead and try the audiobook.

Notes on the Author: Summers is a Canadian girl, born in Belleville, Ontario

Formats available: Book & eBook & eAudio through OverDrive/Libby

Chapter Book

The Other, Better Me
by Antony John

What: Lola and Momma have always been a team of two. It hasn’t always been easy for Lola, being one of the only kids she knows with just one parent around. And lately she’s been feeling incomplete, like there’s a part of herself that she can’t know until she knows her dad. But what will happen—to Lola, to Momma, to their team of two—if she finds him?

Genre: Realistic fiction
Character: Likeable; Well-developed

Formats available: Book

The 117-Story Treehouse
by Andy Griffiths, Illustrated by Terry Denton

What: Andy and Terry’s treehouse now has 13 new storeys, including a tiny-horse level, a pajama-party room, an Underpants Museum, a photo-bombing booth, a waiting room, a Door of Doom, a circus, a giant-robot-fighting arena, a traffic school, a water-ski park filled with flesh-eating piranhas and a treehouse visitor centre…” Come on up for their next adventure

Genre: Australian fiction; Humorous stories; Metafiction
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Silly

Formats available: Book

Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter
by Joe Flood

What: Celebrate Science Literacy Week with us and learn about the world around you with our new ‘Science Comics’ series.  In ‘Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter’ you can learn about the ocean’s top predator and their importance to our ecosystem (despite that this can be overshadowed by our own fears!) 

Genre: Animal books; Comics & Graphic novels
Writing Style: Attention-grabbing
Illustration: Cartoony; Minimally colored

Formats available: Book

Shouting at the Rain
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

What: Delsie loves tracking the weather, living with her grandmother, and the support of friends and neighbours, but misses having a “regular family,” especially after her best friend outgrows her.

Genre: Coming-of-age stories; Realistic fiction
Themes: Being a friend
Character: Believable; Sympathetic
Storyline: Character-driven
Tone: Moving; Quiet

Formats available: Book

What: Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, twelve year old Bett and Avery eventually find common ground and a friendship. Told entirely through emails, they begin scheming to get their dads back together after a break-up.

Genre: Epistolary novels; Humorous stories; Realistic fiction
Character: Culturally diverse; LGBTQIA diverse; Religiously diverse
Tone: Amusing

Formats available: Book

What: When Mr. Lemoncello launches a library-inspired game show on the world-famous Kidzapalooza Television Network, Kyle Keeley, determined to become one of the game’s first live competitors, joins a team to solve puzzles that prove unexpectedly challenging.

Genre: Mysteries
Themes: Solve the puzzle
Storyline: Plot-driven
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Suspenseful
Writing Style: Attention-grabbing

Formats available: Book

What: Beloved picture book Ada Twist, Scientist gets a grown up version for older readers in the new chapter book series Questioneers.

Summary: When Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets a little carried away wearing his famous helium pants, it’s up to Ada and friends to chase him down. As Uncle Ned floats farther and farther away, Ada starts asking lots of questions: How high can a balloon float? Is it possible for Uncle Ned to float into outer space? And what’s the best plan for getting him down?

For readers that love: The Magic School Bus series.

Formats available: Book, eBook & eAudiobook (Hoopla)

What: Celebrate National Canadian Film Day (April 17) with one of Canada’s favourite characters! True to the beloved classic that has enchanted fans across the world for over a century, these two family films bring to life the story of the determined, spirited little girl who touches the lives of everyone she meets.

Try this: ECL has close to 70 Anne of Green Gables items available for your enjoyment!

Formats available: DVD

What: An empathic and emotional book about friendship and the power of being heard.

Summary: Six sixth-graders are chosen to participate in a weekly discussion group at school; given the freedom to talk about anything they choose among themselves (no adults allowed!). The students help one another through difficult personal and family challenges. A moving story about community, for children growing up and coming to terms with, tragic experiences.

About the author: Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Try this: Woodson’s new picture book The Day You Begin which is all about feeling different 

Formats available: Book

What: The best selling Wings of Fire series comes alive in the graphic novel version!

Summary: The lost heir to the throne is finally going home, only Tsunami’s return isn’t quite what she imagined.

Try this: Erin Hunter’s Warrior series

Formats available: Book (original story is available as a book or eAudiobook through Hoopla)

Who: Cassidy Blake goes with her parents and her best friend Jacob (who happens to be a ghost) to haunted Edinburgh, Scotland to film for their new TV show.  Cass meets Lara, who also shares her ‘gift’; the two girls explore the veil and are drawn into an action packed fight that bridges the living and the dead.

Series Alert: This is the first in the series ‘Cassidy Blake’. The second book, Tunnel of Bones is set to be published later this year.

Formats available: BookeBook through OverDrive/Libby & eAudio through Hoopla

Picture Book

I Wonder
by K. A. Holt, Illustrated by Kenard Pak

“What do clouds taste like?”
“Do my toys miss me when I’m gone?
I wonder if cars and trucks speak the same language?”

What: Children’s questions remind us of their unique point of view; nothing is more powerful than seeing something for the first time. In ‘I Wonder’ these whimsical questions will encourage all readers to take a fresh look around them.

Tone: Whimsical
Illustration: Delicate

Formats available: Book

Five Minutes (That’s a lot of time) (No, it’s not) (Yes, it is)
by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick, Illustrated by Olivier Tallec

What: “A one-of-a-kind, laugh-out-loud picture book, perfect for any kid who has ever begged or bemoaned, “Five more minutes?!”  Families everywhere will recognize themselves in this clever, hilarious, and completely irresistible picture book. Five minutes is a lot of time… or is it?”

Tone: Funny
Illustration: Cartoony

Formats available: Book

A Stone Sat Still
by Brendan Wenzel

What: “When is a stone more than a stone?  To some animals it’s a pebble.  To others it’s a hill, and to others, a home.”  The author of ‘They All Saw a Cat’ returns with this beautiful and empathetic picture book, which follows the many perspectives an observer can have of a stone over time. 

Genre: Stories in rhyme
Themes: Multiple perspectives
Tone: Moving

Try this: View the book trailer from Chronicle Books here

Formats available: Book & eBook (Hoopla)

Tomorrow Most Likely
by Dave Eggers, Illustrated by Lane Smith

What: Told in rhyme, a little boy tucked into his bed, thinks of all the wonderful and ordinary things he will see and do tomorrow.

Genre: Bedtime stories; Picture books for children; Stories in rhyme
Character: Culturally diverse
Tone: Whimsical
Illustration: Colorful; Fanciful; Textured

Formats available: Book, eBook (Hoopla)

What: “When Ogilvy moves to a new town, the possibilities feel endless. There are so many new bunny friends and fun things to do together! But in this town, bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks, and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks. Ogilvy wants to do everything—and won’t let a sweater or a dress get in the way.”

Genre: Picture books for children; Stories in rhyme
Character: Anthropomorphic
Tone: Upbeat
Illustration: Cartoony

Formats available: Book

What: Uncle Otto is a used car salesman, who, with the help of his niece and nephew, finds the perfect vehicles for his dinosaur customers.

Genre: Humorous stories; Picture books for children
Tone: Silly
Writing Style: Attention-grabbing
Illustration: Cartoony; Colourful; Detailed

Formats available: Book

What: Is it ever too early to start talking about managing money? This cartoony picture book will have young children excited to spend their allowance wisely.

Summary: Sonny’s mother teaches him that he cannot buy everything with his allowance, but must choose what is really important to him.

Series alert: Check out the first book in the Moneybunny series called ‘Earn it!’

Formats available: Book

What: Learn about life under the waves in this beautifully lyrical book told in rhyme. Peek-through pages reveal details about ocean life; keeping curious children engaged!

Try this: Keep the conversation going and talk to your little one about the importance of keeping our oceans clean and protecting those who live there! Happy Earth Day on April 22!

Want more? Learn about the moon or the 12 days of Christmas with more of these peek-through picture books!

Formats available: Book

What: A beautifully illustrated rhyming book that showcases animals of different colours, shapes and sizes; each one linked to the next by a common characteristic. An index of animals and note from the author promotes discussion of threatened and endangered animals.

Special touch: Download a free ‘Hello World’ poster from Chronicle Books’ website

Try this: Wenzel’s previous book They All Saw a Cat was a Caldecott medal winner. 

Formats available: Book, eBook (Hoopla & OverDrive/ Libby)

Summary: a cute and clever how-to book starring a little girl doing her darnedest to give the reader simple instructions on how to give a cat a bath… only the cat has no intentions of playing along 🙂

For more hilarious chaos try: A Particular Cow by Mem Fox

Formats available: Book

Especially wonderful for: Children with older siblings that say ‘Me too!”

What: A culturally diverse book for hopeful children with a moving storyline and colourful imagery.  

Summary: The best birthday gift Carmela gets is that she’s now old enough to accompany her brother to do the family errands.  While out, she finds a puffy white dandelion and tries to think of the perfect wish before blowing it away.

Also try: Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

Formats available: Book

Archived Editions: