By Jane Muller
Don’t Forget Dexter!
By Lindsay Ward
At any age, it’s upsetting to lose something. A child that forgets to bring along a favourite toy can be inconsolable. In this adorable tale, the tables are turned and Dexter, a toy dinosaur loses his best friend Jack in the doctor’s office waiting room. Dexter’s ensuing panic, followed by ways to solve his dilemma provide an entertaining and humorous story. The first of a new series, Dexter is sure to attract plenty of fans. Ages 4 to 7 – Publisher Two Lions – $17.99 US
I’m Going to Outer Space!
By Timothy Young
Children embark on frequent journeys of the imagination. This story follows Luis on his travels into outer space and all of his imagined experiences. Staring at the starry sky at bedtime and thinking about what’s out there sparks some out-of-this-world thoughts. This simple story is a great way to start a conversation about imagination and what’s on your child’s mind. Ages 4 to 6 – Publisher Schiffer Publishing – $16.99 US
Come with me
By Holly M. McGhee,
illustrator Pascal Lemaître
It’s hard to shield our kids from all that’s not right in the world. This story shows how to balance the incidents of hatred and violence that come to us in news reports with simple acts of kindness. A girl discovers, with the help of her papa and mama, how everyday experiences no matter how seemingly insignificant, can make the world a better place. This lyrical and timely story champions the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty. Ages 4 to 7 – Publisher Putnam – $23.99
By Adam Rapp
Some differences can be hidden but there is no disguising a seven-foot-tall body. Not only is Corinthia Bledsoe a giant, the teenager has recently discovered her ability to sense future events. This is a page-turner with some interesting twists, including the twister that, as Corinthia predicted, landed a cow on the Lugo Memorial playing field. Storms of another kind swirl around as the plot builds and things go from strange to stranger. This is a tall tale worth summiting. Ages 13 to 17 – Publisher Candlewick – $18.99 hardcover
Can I Touch Your Hair?
By Irene Latham and Charles Waters,
illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
You don’t need to be a fan of poetry to appreciate this wonderful book. This is not just an outstanding collection of poetry, it’s an extremely creative vehicle for a touching story of friendship that develops between a black boy and a white girl as they progress through a class poetry project. Not coincidentally, the authors are a white woman and a black man. The poems allow them to tackle real feelings and hurts and issues like racism that can be difficult to discuss.
Beautifully rendered in words and illustrations, this book should be on every child’s – and adult’s – reading list. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher Thomas Allen – $25.99 hardcover
The Spirit Trackers
By Jan Bourdeau Waboose,
illustrator Francois Thisdale
Sharing the story of the Windigo promotes an appreciation for traditions and legends of First Nations and will give young readers something to think about the next time they are out after dark in the winter. This atmospheric picture book features cousins Will and Tom who learn the Windigo story from their uncle. The boys aspire to be a tracker just like him and readers will also be able to improve their tracking skills as they find clues hidden in the illustrations. There is just the right amount of mystery and suspense, coupled with a wonderful surprise ending to make this a cautionary tale with staying power. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher Fifth House – $18.95 hardcover
Stink: Hamlet and Cheese
By Megan McDonald,
illustrator Peter H. Reynolds
Book series are a great way to keep kids engaged, especially series like this one that stars Stink Moody. Readers don’t need to be familiar with any of the previous 10 books to enjoy this fun seeking kid’s latest adventure. This is a great little beginner chapter book that features Stink’s experience at a Shakespeare themed March Break camp. His friend Sophie entices him to sign up with promises of sword-play and cursing, not realizing that Stink would be the only boy in attendance. It plays out as a fun read with just the right number of illustrations. Ages 6 to 9 – publisher Candlewick Press – $18.99
Yipee’s Gold Mountain
By Raquel Rivera
The wild west is the setting for an equally wild tale told by Yip Yee, an orphaned Chinese ex-railway labourer who dreams of being a cowboy, and Na-tio, an Apache warrior-apprentice who is recovering from his first botched raid. The two narrators tell their side of the story in alternating chapters, starting out suspicious of each other and then becoming friends. It’s a fast-paced plot and combined with the simple and engaging text, this is a great book for reluctant readers and voracious readers alike. Ages 13 to 17 – Publisher Red Deer Press – $14.95 paperback
The Radical Element
Edited by Jessica Sportswood
Subtitled “12 stories of Daredevils, Debutantes & Other Dauntless Girls”, this anthology features stories by 12 gifted writers and their interpretation of young women who must make radical decisions. They tell the stories of girls of all cultural backgrounds standing up for themselves and their beliefs — whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. The book delivers powerful messages in the context of their fictional yet historically correct lives. Ages 14 and up – Candlewick Press – $23.99 hardcover