Archive for the ‘Storytime Standouts Shares Early Literacy News and Commentary’ Category

Encouraging Boys to Read – The Male Perspective

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by E.R. Yatscoff

Encouraging Boys to Read - The Male Perspective A Guest Post on

Back when I was a firefighter, the chief discovered I was a writer with a short story published.  He volunteered me for a children’s reading week at a district school.  I walked in the school gym and mingled with several other neighborhood people who had volunteered.  Since I was in full dress uniform I got all the attention from the elementary students.  What surprised me were the comments of the children regarding firefighters: “Firemen can read?”  “Is that really your name in that book?”  Apparently firefighters were illiterate sorts, Neanderthals, who couldn’t read or write.  Most of the children told me their fathers didn’t read books; “only the paper.”  Many of my male friends and ex-colleagues have rarely cracked a book.  Could it be they never found anything interesting to read while growing up?

Few firefighters write books.  There’s plenty of non-fiction in Canada written by them but no fiction.  I’m the only one in Canada writing eBook mysteries featuring a firefighter.  Unfortunately it’s an adult book.

Whenever school and children’s groups toured my fire station there was always a definite level of excitement.  The older the group, such as Boy Scouts, the higher the interest.  To keep this interest going, with regards to books, there was little around, save for picture books.  A chapter book/juvenile novel with firefighters and fire trucks could continue to build on the excitement.  Literary books are a tough sell for boys.  In my situation, I’ve written several juvenile/middle grade novels yet it’s never occurred to me to write one about firefighters.  The high interest angle is essential to attract children, especially boys, to books.  Perhaps a few firefighter novels in the genre would turn on more boy readers and therefore more men readers.

I was at a provincial park in Saskatchewan several years ago and watched a mixed group of tweens goofing around near the beach on a hot day.  One boy sat on the grass reading.  What kind of book could keep a boy away out of the sun and water?  I walked over to him and saw it was a Harry Potter novel.  That’s when I realized the power of attraction in those books.  Thank you J.K. Rowling.

The Male Perspective – Encouraging Boys to Read was written by Edward Yatscoff.
Archie's Gold by E. R. YatscoffHe describes himself as follows…
Retired fire captain with Edmonton Fire Rescue. Widely traveled. Have won several writing competitions and awards for short stories. My writing credits include travel articles, short stories, non-fiction, and mystery novels ranging from juvenile/middle grade to adult. I’ve written the very first firefighter mystery in Canada in an eBook. For this momentous achievement I can hear one hand clapping. I manage a writers group in Beaumont, AB. Hobbies include fishing and camping, boating, home renos, and writing.

Archie’s Gold at

Archie’s Gold at

Visit Ed’s website

You may be interested in our page about reluctant readers.

Really reading – Effective Reading Strategies for Your Child

Posted on August 30th, 2011 by Jody

What Does Reading Involve - Effective Reading Strategies for Your Child

Looking at effective reading strategies for your child

Being able to read encompasses more than you think. With your child getting ready to go back to school, it’s good for parents to know exactly what it means to be a ‘good reader’

The benefit of being a ‘good reader’ is that you don’t even think about all of the actual strategies and tools you are employing to make sense of the words on the page.

When I ask my students “What do good readers do?” they can state any or all of the following: Read ahead, Read back, Look at the pictures, Ask questions, Make Predictions, Summarize, and Re-Read. All of these are powerful strategies that ‘good readers’ use naturally. For a student that doesn’t naturally use these tools, reading is more difficult.

Each of these strategies is taught both independently and with the other strategies until students don’t even realize they are using them. You can reinforce your child’s reading by supporting these tools at home. Reading is the ultimate example of multitasking. For the child that is missing certain tools however, they will feel overwhelmed. Obviously, this is addressed at the classroom level, but at home, reading every day is essential to helping your child become a solid, fluent reader. Ask your child to summarize what is happening, pose questions of your own about what you are wondering, and make guesses with your child about what could happen and why you think that.

You can make these book talks fun and brief; basically just a check in that your child understands what they have read. These strategies can be applied at any reading level, including pre-kindergarten books with no words. When looking at books like these, I’ll ask my youngest daughter what she thinks is happening or if the character seems happy or sad. Start these talks young so your child feels comfortable talking about what they are reading. Oral language is a huge part of reading successfully.

You should be able to tell if your child has picked a book within their reading range by asking them to read aloud to you. Can they read the words without getting stuck on more than five on a page? Do they self-correct when they make mistakes? Do they seem engaged and curious about what they are reading? Do they want to know more? Do they ask questions and make predictions?

Reading is more than identifying words on a page. Books are meant to be read, enjoyed, and understood. Working with your child’s teacher, you can make reading more than acquiring information; you can make it a journey, an adventure, an escape and a lifelong pleasure.

Dads Reading to Boys – Raising Young Men Who Will Want to Read

Posted on August 29th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Dads Reading to Boys - Raising Young Men Who Will Want to Read

Dads reading to boys – making the difference between reluctant male readers and voracious readers

I’d really like to take credit for the fact that both my boys love a good book. My almost-twelve-year-old is a enthusiastic reader. He is currently reading one of the Lord of the Rings books. He is especially fond of history and knows far more about World War II than I do. Most of the information has been gained through reading; fiction, non fiction, magazines and newspapers.

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel a great book for Dads reading to boysMy younger boy (9 years) is more of a “doer” than a “reader” but he knows a great story when he hears one and we still make time to share a book or a puzzle at bedtime.

I read books aloud to the boys from the time they were six months old. We trekked to storytime at the library and were constantly borrowing books “about trucks.” There is little doubt that I was the one who planted the reading seed and carried enough stacks of books back and forth, to and from the library, to nourish it.

I’ve always had an interest in children’s literature and read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter for myself when the boys were toddlers.

Harry Potter is a great book for dads to read to boysJust a few years later, reading the first Harry Potter book to the boys was truly magical. We all loved the experience as a family but there was one particular moment I will always remember. My husband was headed out of town for a week and was most concerned that he might miss hearing part of the story read aloud. He cautioned us that we were not “allowed” to read ahead while he was away – he couldn’t bear the thought that he might miss even one minute of the read aloud experience.

The boys and I solved the problem by rereading four or five chapters of Harry Potter and then we all charged ahead when my husband returned.

I will always be grateful for the message my husband gave his boys; he has always been eager to enjoy a good book with them (another favorite series was Kenneth Oppel’s Silverwing). But that particular incident was evidence of just how important reading with the boys is to him.Storytime Standouts recommends getting Dad involved in reading to children. #parenting #reluctantreaders

It is not at all unusual for parents of preteens to be frustrated by their boys’ lack of interest in reading. To those parents, I would say, get Dad involved in reading aloud and find wonderful books you can enjoy together. In some families, mom always reads the bedtime stories from a very young age. It can be very beneficial to change this up and for boys to observe men reading and enjoying great books. After all, we’d like our sons to choose to sit down with a great book from time to time.

Additional information about Dads Reading to Children from Brigham Young University.

Jim Trelease has inspired many, many adults to ramp up the read aloud experience for their children and students.

You may be interested in our page about reluctant readers.

Harry Potter at

Harry Potter at

Silverwing at

Silverwing at

Making Motherhood Fun… Mommy Really Can Be Amazing!

Posted on August 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at an enjoyable motherhood resource: Mama's Book of Tricks by Lynn Brunelle Mama’s Book of Tricks by Lynn Brunelle
Motherhood book published by Chronicle Books

When my two boys were very young, I often told them that I was amazing! I always said it in a laughing way. I was not trying to be arrogant but rather thought that sooner or later they would both decide I was an idiot so perhaps if I referred to myself as ‘amazing‘ I could delay the almost inevitable ‘my mom is an idiot‘ phase for a month or two.

Actually, so far, my strategy has worked quite well. Now, I rarely have to remind my family that I’m amazing. Instead, when I find something that was assumed lost or if I manage to do something notable, it is not at all unusual to have one of the boys or my husband refer to me as, Mommy Amazing. Not bad, eh? My devious plan appears to be working.

Imagine my surprise last night when I discovered, Mama’s Little Book of Tricks by Lynn Brunelle. She’s put together, ‘fun games, cool feats, & nifty knowledge’ to ‘keep the kids entertained’ and make motherhood fun.

The publisher thinks it will work for kids ages 2-7 but I’m pretty sure there is more than one idea that will impress preteens.

At midnight last night, much to my husband’s chagrin, I was quoting the Nine Cool Bug Facts and contemplating the Four Impossible Kid Challenges. This book is great fun and might just lengthen my ‘Mommy Amazing’ status for awhile longer. Who could ask for more than that?

Lynn Brunelle’s Website: Tabletop Science

Mama’s Little Book of Tricks at

Mama’s Little Book of Tricks at

Beginning to Read – Day 5

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Day 5 of community centre program, Beginning to Read includes reading How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?Beginning to Read Day 5 included a delightful, rhyming picture book How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. The children enjoyed lots of laughs as they watched dinosaurs join a carpool, race through a school hallway, have fun at recess and try to behave properly in a classroom. This is a great book to read at this time of year. It provides gentle reminders about appropriate (and inappropriate) classroom behavior. Children love to watch enormous dinosaurs struggle to manage their manners – just as some children struggle in a classroom/school setting.

Day 5 also introduced the “Ot” word family – cot, dot, got, hot, lot, not, pot, rot plus three “tricky words” spot, slot and knot. Our Bingo game today reviewed all of the word families we’ve looked at this week.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School at

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? at

Beginning to Read – Day 2

Posted on August 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Today was our second Beginning to Read class and our theme today was “Shoes.” During our storytime, I used felt pieces to tell the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker. This is a traditional story and it has been retold many times. The version that I used was written by Paul Galdone. I explained to the children that, if they visit the library, they might find as many as ten different versions of this story (filed in the Fairy Tale section, J398). If you have a chance, it would be great to find the story at the library and share it with your children. If you can find two different versions, ask them which they prefer. The illustrations and the storytelling will vary. Reading different versions of a familiar story is a great way to encourage your children to think about and compare authors and illustrators.

By the way, in each of the classes, the children responded very enthusiastically to the felt story format. They love watching the story unfold and touching the pieces of felt. Using felt pieces is a great way to encourage children to be creative and invent their own stories.

Today’s word family was the “it” family – bit, fit, hit, pit, sit, split and quit. In today’s class, we made a word family flip book. These easily made books are very helpful for young readers. They help children to notice that “bit”, “fit” and “hit” are related and, once you manage to decode/read “bit”, it is quite easy to decode/read “fit” and “hit”. Today our tricky words were split and quit. Here is a picture of a Dairy Queen Banana Split.

We have many word family printables on this website, follow the link for more information.

Today we also did a page about colours. Some of the children are able to read the words, some are not. Just as a gentle reminder, some of early ‘reading’ is actually memorizing. When children offer to ‘read’ a story that they have heard many time, we may be tempted to dismiss their ‘reading’ as ‘memorizing.’ Keep in mind that we want to encourage reading behaviours (holding a book, turning the pages, etc.) and picture clues are very helpful to young readers. Be sure to celebrate your young reader’s success – even when you suspect that s/he has memorized a story.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Elves and Shoemaker

Elves and Shoemaker theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Just for fun, here is The Muppet’s version of The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker at

The Elves and the Shoemaker Book & Cassette at

Left Neglected – terrific adult fiction by Lisa Genova

Posted on August 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standout's review of adult fiction, Left Neglected by Lisa GenovaLeft Neglected by Lisa Genova
Adult fiction published by Gallery Books an Imprint of Simon and Schuster

I’m taking a break from routine this week and, for the first time in months, I managed to read an adult novel in one day. This is quite an accomplishment and is a testament to Lisa Genova’s captivating Left Neglected. Not a children’s book, Left Neglected is adult fiction. It is an exploration of how a brain injury impacts a career-oriented young mother of three. Sarah Nickerson and her husband are barely juggling face-paced careers and parenthood when Sarah is critically injured in a car accident. Following surgery, Sarah is diagnosed with a neurological syndrome referred to as Left Neglect. Individuals with this syndome have damage to the right hemisphere of their brains and, as a result, do not properly process information about the left side of their bodies and ‘the left side of the world.’

A fascinating exploration of what it means to suffer brain damage, Left Neglected will be enjoyed by anyone who struggles to manage family and career – especially those who are interested in self exploration.

Left Neglected at

Left Neglected at

Adult Non-Fiction: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother A.K.A. Ambitious Bully

Posted on August 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Adult Non-Fiction: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother A.K.A. Ambitious BullyBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother written by Amy Chua
Non fiction parenting book published by Penguin Press

My husband and I are “Western parents” to two adolescent boys. We live in a very diverse community where the most commonly reported ethnic origin is Chinese. In fact, in 2006, 45% of the citizens in my city reported having a Chinese background. When Ms. Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was making headlines earlier this year, I decided to make time to read it over the summer months…

“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they are capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”

Ms. Chua is a law professor at Yale University. She grew up in the United States, married an American and had two daughters. As evidenced by the foregoing quote from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, she is compelled to make broad generalizations about “Western” parents and the Chinese. She characterizes herself as a Chinese mother although “ambitious bully” would be a more apt description.

Relentlessly demanding (and proud of it), Chua expects her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, to earn consistently high marks and master either the piano or the violin while shunning sleepovers, extracurricular activities and socializing with their peers. Chua’s firstborn, Sophia, is compliant but her second child offers resistance. She does not want to devote every waking hour to school work and violin lessons; she objects to outrageous harrying by music teachers and she wants to learn to play tennis well.

If Ms. Chua’s depiction of their family life is accurate, one wonders what would drive her and her husband to foresake spending enjoyable, leisure time with their girls. It seems to me that there are many, many parents of Chinese origin who are able to find balance and moderation in their parenting. They may demand academic focus and want their child to study music but they do not spend hours yelling and screaming at their children and then write a sensational book cheerfully detailing the experience.

“The truth is I’m not good at enjoying life. It’s not one of my strengths…The girls barely had time as it was to do their homework, speak Chinese with their tutor, and practice their instruments.”

Whether your approach is “Western” or “Chinese”, parenting is never an easy road. All parents need to be prepared to look themselves in the mirror on a regular basis and evaluate and adjust. What works with one child, won’t necessarily suit another circumstance. It is important to remember that, while on a parent-chosen path to academic and musical “success”, children can miss the opportunity to discover other talents and interests and to make social connections.

It would be interesting to revisit this family in twenty years, when Ms. Chua is no longer dictating to her daughters. What will she do with her strong opinions and ambition? What will her daughters do when given freedom and choice? Will they be good at enjoying life?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother at

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother at

Finding a Balance – Looking at a Child’s Reading Level and Maturity When Selecting Books

Posted on August 3rd, 2011 by Jody

Finding a Balance - Looking at a Child's Reading Level and Maturity When Selecting Books

As a teacher and a mom, I want to see kids succeed. I want to see them achieve success and push past it to the next level, particularly in reading. When getting kids to fall in love with reading you have to keep a couple things in mind:
a) You have to (help them) find books that interest and appeal to them
b) You need books that they can read and understand independently without frustration

Once you have done both of these things, the chances of success in reading, and in turn, the love of reading, increase greatly. My favourite moment is when it clicks~ they understand what they are reading and they want to read more. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch our eight year old develop not only a love of reading and books, but to become a strong reader. However, she is now reaching a difficult stage; one I didn’t expect to encounter even though I have watched her excel in reading. What happens when children know what interests them but what they are capable of reading academically and independently surpasses what they should be reading emotionally?

Striving for independence, my daughter recently convinced me to let her go to our school book fair alone, with her own money to make her own choices (By on her own, I mean I didn’t go into the book fair with her but since I work there, I was close by). When she showed me what she had chosen, I knew I was stuck with a dilemma. She had chosen a book that dealt with adolescent friendship, middle school, and a crush on a boy. She used my ‘a/b’ theory and found something that appealed to her and was within her reading range. For some kids though, like my daughter, what she is able to read and what she should be reading are two entirely different things.

While we are ecstatically proud that she is reading at a grade six level in grade two, it does present some problems, even if the grade level and ability level gap is smaller. An author’s goal is to speak to their audience; to engage and captivate them. They build their plots and characters based on their (anticipated) audience. Therefore, an author writing books for the typical grade two/three student would appeal to their developmental stage. Some great books in this age range (at least for my girls) are the Daisy Meadows Rainbow Fairies collections, the Nancy Drew Clue Crew series, or the Bailey School Kids. These books appeal to this audience with their age appropriate characters solving problems, working on mysteries, and going up against mythical or magical figures. In grades two and three, the problems our kids are facing (hopefully) include getting out for recess fast enough, snagging one of the three skipping ropes available, or not being it for tag. It’d be nice if problems could stay this simple, but they don’t and as kids mature, so do the books that appeal to them.

A grade six student, by contrast, is caught up in an entirely different world that includes best friends that come and go, crushes on boys, and dealing with self-image. Accordingly, books that appeal to this age range deal with these issues. Coming of age classics like Little Women by Louisa May Alcott or Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume perfectly highlight some of the trials girls this age face. And while I truly want my daughter to read these books, or even the one she chose from the book fair, I’m not ready for her to wonder about these ‘issues’. So, I’m faced with deciding whether or not to let her read books past her maturity level to accommodate her ability level.

I suppose it’s like anything else with parenting; I take a look at her choices and make the best judgement call I can. For me, I’m hoping that keeping the conversation doorway open is the answer to finding balance. Discussing what your child is reading is a key to helping them develop as fluid readers. So, while I don’t want her to have a crush on a boy, I’m fine (so far) with explaining what it means and talking to her about the issues her characters are facing. Perhaps it’s a plus that right now she’s hooked on the Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about any boys from the Underworld popping up with their three headed dog any time soon.

Welcoming a New Guest Contributor to

Posted on August 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I am absolutely delighted to introduce readers to a new guest contributor to the website. Jody describes herself as follows, I am a happily married mom of two little girls ages 8 and 5. I am an elementary school teacher. I love books and feel very fortunate to be able to read so many different genres and authors as both a mom and a teacher. It is great to add Jody’s fresh and enthusiastic voice to our community. You can read her first post here.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success – A Great Beach Read

Posted on July 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts takes a look at Outliers The Story of SuccessOutliers: The Story of Success written by Malcolm Gladwell
Adult nonfiction published by Little, Brown and Company

We’ve just returned from a camping trip and I am still feeling somewhat lazy. I have a number of projects that I ought to tackle but am not very motivated to knuckle down. While camping, I managed to read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. It was a perfect pick – I found his ideas fascinating and thought-provoking. Gladwell’s comments regarding the selection of “star” hockey players at a young age touched a nerve – I am a hockey mom and my left winger was born in October (shudder!). A remarkably good “beach read” from my perspective. Now, back to work!

Outliers: The Story of Success at

Outliers: The Story of Success at

Getting Ready to Read Plus – Day Five

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Our story today was one of my favourite alphabet books. Alphabet Adventure written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Bruce Wood

Alphabet Adventure is the story of Charley’s alphabet. The little letters are getting ready for Charley’s first day of school when Little I stumbles and falls. Although not immedicately noticed, Little I’s dot is missing. All the little letters scour Alphabet Island as they try to find the missing dot. An excellent choice for children who will soon be attending kindergarten, Alphabet Adventure’s bright, bold illustrations are great in a group setting but the hidden dot makes the book equally special for sharing one on one.

Once you’ve enjoyed Alphabet Adventure, be sure to look for the equally engaging Alphabet Mystery and Alphabet Rescue.

Alphabet Adventure at

Alphabet Adventure at

Our final Getting Ready to Read class featured many different letters. The children personalized Alphabet Tic Tac Toe games (made using True Type 3000 Fonts)

This week our featured songs were

image of PDF icon  The Bear Went Over the Mountain

Add actions when you sing this song

image of PDF icon  Over in the Meadow

Can be adapted for a felt board story

Getting Ready to Read Plus – Day Three

Posted on July 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Today’s letter was ‘F’ and the theme was “Fun in the Forest.” In addition to talking about letter ‘F,’ I used characters made of felt to tell the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. After I began the story, some of the children recognized it – I was so pleased. We want young children to become familiar with traditional fables such as this one.

At the end of today’s class, we played an active game that involved “delivering mail” to Rabbit, Bear, Deer and Squirrel. It was essentially a matching activity but it drew the children’s attention to how words are alike and different and it gave them a chance to move around the room.

Today’s story was a favourite of mine:Stella, Fairy of the Forest – written & illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Marie-Louise Gay’s books about Sam and Stella are marvelous. This, their third adventure, Stella, Fairy of the Forest begins when Sam asks Stella about fairies. Stella knows just where to find some. She leads Sam through meadows, across a stream and into a magical forest.

This story is truly lovely especially in its treatment of the siblings’ relationship. Ms. Gay’s illustrations have a luminous quality particularly her depictions of the delightful red-head, Stella. Don’t miss it!

32 pages, Ages 2 to 5

Marie Louise Gay’s website includes printable stickers, colouring sheets, posters and bookmarks

Stella, Fairy of the Forest at

Stella, Fairy of the Forest at

Watch for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s 2011 Best Books for Kids and Teens

Posted on July 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Canadian Children's Book Centre's 2011 Best Books for KidsThe Canadian Children’s Book Centre has just published their 35th annual guide to the best books for children and young adults. Best Books for Kids & Teens 2011 will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, librarians and caregivers. The guide highlights more than 325 titles for young readers (toddler to teen).

All of the titles in Best Books for Kids & Teens have been handpicked by expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada. The reviewed materials include picture books, audio books, graphic novels, and teen fiction.

I was privileged to chair a CCBC Best Books committee in 2010 and know that committee members show great care in selecting the best new titles. I can recommend this publication without hesitation.

Best Books for Kids and Teens can be purchased at select bookstores and online.

Canadian Picturebook Authors and Illustrators – A Patriotic Crossword Puzzle

Posted on June 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here’s a fun way to celebrate Canada Day – check out our Canadian Picture Book crossword puzzle.

image of PDF icon  Canadian Picture Book Crossword

Quotes About Social Responsibility

Posted on June 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I’ve started to pull together some quotes about Social Responsibility and have created a new page for them. I’ve also included cover art from some of the titles I include in my Supporting Social Responsibility with Read Alouds workshop. Please take a look I would love to hear your suggestions for quotes. Please let me know your ideas.

Canadian Children’s Book Centre Announces 2011 Finalists

Posted on June 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has announced the finalists for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the John Spray Mystery Award.


Written by Alma Fullerton (Midland, ON)
Dancing Cat Books

Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Written by Gordon Lightfoot (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Ian Wallace (Brookline, MA)

The Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books

Plain Kate
Written by Erin Bow (Kitchener, ON)
Scholastic Canada


Le chasseur de loups-marins
Written by Claire Vigneau (Sherbrooke, QC)
Illustrated by Bruce Roberts (Westmount, QC)
Éditions Les 400 coups

Devant ma maison
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Éditions La courte échelle

La fille d’en face
Written by Linda Amyot (St-Charles-Boromée, QC)
Éditions Leméac

Oh ! la vache !
Written by Alain M. Bergeron (Victoriaville, QC), Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, NB),Colombe Labonté (Saint-Lambert, QC) and Guy Marchamps (Trois-Rivières, QC)
Illustrated by Caroline Merola (Montreal, QC)
Soulières éditeur

Written by Martine Audet (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Luc Melanson (Laval, QC)
Éditions Dominique et compagnie

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000) – Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

I Know HereWritten by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books

In Front of My House
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Translated by Yvette Ghione (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press

Singing Away the Dark
Written by Caroline Woodward (Victoria, BC)
Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Vancouver, BC)
Simply Read Books

Written by Kyo Maclear (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press

Stanley’s Little Sister
Written by Linda Bailey (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Bill Slavin (Millbrook, ON)
Kids Can Press

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION ($10,000) – Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be
Written and illustrated by Daniel Loxton (Victoria, BC)
Kids Can Press

Not Your Typical Book About the Environment
Written by Elin Kelsey (Pacific Grove, CA)
Illustrated by Clayton Hanmer (Toronto, ON)

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged
Written by Jody Nyasha Warner (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki (Halifax, NS)
Groundwood Books

Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces
Written by Hadley Dyer (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marc Ngui (Cambridge, ON)
Kids Can Press

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ($5,000) – Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

Exiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss(Dear Canada)
Written by Jean Little (Guelph, ON)
Scholastic Canada

Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books

The Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Queen of Hearts
Written by Martha Brooks (Winnipeg, MB)
Groundwood Books

Wild Geese
Written by Caroline Pignat (Kanata, ON)
Red Deer Press

JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD ($5,000) – Sponsored by John Spray

Written by Allan Stratton (Toronto, ON)

Dead Bird Through the Cat Door(Megabyte Mystery)
Written by Jan Markley (Calgary, AB)
Gumboot Books

The Mystery of the Cyber Bully(Marty Chan Mystery)
Written by Marty Chan (Edmonton, AB)
Thistledown Press

A Spy in the House(The Agency)
Written by Y.S. Lee (Kingston, ON)
Candlewick Press

Victim Rights(Ryan Dooley Mystery)
Written by Norah McClintock (Toronto, ON)
Red Deer Press

Library Thing is a Great Online Resource for Booklovers

Posted on June 7th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

For almost four years, I have enjoyed using Library Thing to catalogue many of my children’s books. I say, “many of my books” because I don’t have everything catalogued. Every now and then I come across a book that I’ve not yet added to my catalogued library.

I love Library Thing because it allows me to catalogue my books, relatively easily (using ISBN codes), it allows me to attach tags and reviews to books and, best of all, it allows me to produce an attractive print out of some or all of my titles. I use Library Thing nearly every day. Whenever I receive a new title, the first thing I do is add it to my online library. When I am developing a workshop, I search for and tag books (i.e. “Green” or “Social Responsibility”) and, once I have presented a workshop, I prepare a list of the books (including title, author, tags, publisher, ISBN code) and create a PDF for distribution to workshop attendees.

Here is an example of a typical “Ready for Reading” Book List developed using Library Thing.

For me, the $25.00 fee for a lifetime membership has been a marvelous investment. I can’t imagine managing my workload without Library Thing.

You can view my Library Thing profile here

You can check out my Library Thing catalogue here.

Dazzling Felt Stories, Puppets and an Amazing Feel-Good Opportunity

Posted on June 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Craftworks offers Dazzling Felt Stories, Puppets and an Amazing Feel-Good Opportunity Last Friday morning, I spent well over an hour exploring a wonderful shop in Vancouver that is both inspiring and uplifting. I rediscovered the delightful items available for purchase at 4th Avenue’s Craftworks.

Since 1966, 3H Craftworks Society has provided a craft-therapy program for adults with physical disabilities and/or mental health challenges. Member clients gain confidence and self esteem while participating, creating, and socializing with other members of the community. Member clients are renumerated monthly for the projects they complete. Products are then sold through a store at 2208 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition, products are available through mail order and via email: [email protected]

For teachers, the array of colourful and high quality felt board stories and (finger and hand) puppets is absolutely dazzling. What a selection! Parents, grandparents, and friends will find all sorts of beautiful gifts and toys. Don’t miss The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly – she’s absolutely great.

Be sure to “like” 3H Craftworks: Creations by Artisans with Disabilities on Facebook, check out their Twitter feed as well @craftworkson4th Best of all, investigate their wonderful products for yourself. I guarantee, you will leave with a smile on your face.

Getting to Know Twitter @StoryStandouts

Posted on June 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I have been playing around with Twitter for awhile and am starting to feel reasonably comfortable with it. My user name is @StoryStandouts and I’d love to have you “follow me” . I’ve added my Twitterfeed to this site and you’ll find a link to it in the column to the left of this post.

I’d also be really interested in feedback – what sort of news would you like me to share?

If you “Tweet”, please let me know your user name…

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