What is Digital Learning Day, you ask? Digital Learning Day celebrates the use of digital technology in learning and in particular, highlights innovative and forward-thinking uses of technology for learning in our classrooms.
One of the best aspects of the Teacher-Librarian role at Stonehaven, is the ability to introduce different technologies to students as part of the MakerSpace. Then I get to support classroom teachers who would like to integrate these technologies into daily classroom activities, to enhance curriculum delivery and student engagement.
Throughout January and February, teachers and students from Grade 1 to Grade 8 have been working to incorporate digital learning into their classroom activities.
Mrs. Hodgkin and I share her Grade 1’s. I see them daily, for Science and Media Literacy. The students have been learning about Objects, Materials and Structures, and discussing the properties of materials – especially plastic. While we agree that there are many properties that make plastic useful, the fact that it doesn’t break down and ends up in our landfills and oceans is problematic. Students worked in pairs to create animated Public Service Announcements, explaining how plastic bottles, straws and bags are harmful to the environment, using the ScratchJr app on our Hub ipads. The students chose appropriate backgrounds and characters, ‘drew’ plastic objects, coded movement, and added text and voice overs, to get their message across.
Ms Byer’s Gr 3/4 class has also been working on environmental PSA’s. This group of students worked on their scripts in class and then came down to the Hub for lessons in Green Screening, using the DoInk app. Students searched for appropriate images, on shareable sites, and added the images to their Google drives. When all backgrounds and photos were chosen, the students came back to the Hub to record their movies, using our green screen area. Students then worked with me to learn how to use Adobe Spark. They were able to upload their videos, add text, and chose a presentation format within Spark, to create their Single Use Plastic PSA’s.
Mrs. Mercer’s Grade 2’s have been researching Celebrations, as part of their Social Studies unit; Changing Family and Community Traditions. The culmination of their research is a presentation of their chosen celebration, using the Green Screen. Students worked with Mrs. Mercer and myself to collect a variety of photos that represented the food, dress and activities of each celebration. Then we used the photos as backgrounds in the DoInk app, while recording videos of each student explaining their celebration. When all “movies” are completed, Mrs. Mercer’s Grade 2’s will share them with other Grade 2 classes.
After reading their novels, Mrs Burton’s Gr 6 class also experimented with Adobe Spark to create personal book trailers to share with their classmates, in order to discover new authors, genres and series. The students had everything ready, in terms of scripts, photos and video clips and just needed a quick tutorial before creating their trailers. They especially enjoyed playing with the text, presentation formatting, and music choices, to enhance their trailers. The students found Adobe Spark much easier to use than iMovie, but it is a little more limiting in terms of themes, etc.
The Grade 7’s and 8’s have gone a different route, and have been working with our BBC micro:bits. These little handheld micro computers have a variety of uses, and the Intermediate students in Mr. Hutchinson’s and Mr. Michelis’ classes have been exploring a variety of tutorials to become familiar with the technology. When they begin their math unit on Probability, students will be using the BBC micro:bits to code dice games or Rock, Paper, Scissors or creating a Magic 8 ball.
Please check out our Twitter feed for photos of some of these digital learning activities.
The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy in the Hub! From the last week of November, our focus has been on our “Building a Better Community CANbyCAN” Construction event.
We kicked off our annual food drive with a school-wide assembly – to remind students of the need for food donations, especially at this time of year. Mrs. Hulse presented the information from the Newmarket Food Pantry: over 14, 000 clients served in 2019, 40% under the age of 18 and a 20% increase in clients this year. Mlle Kritikos and her Holiday Heroes shared last year’s photos and the winners of the the Food Drive Competition (Mrs. Burton-1st, Ms Potts-2nd and Mrs. Beech-3rd). Then we shared this year’s twist… a STEAM challenge based on Canstruction designs.
Canstruction is a nonprofit organization that has engineers, architects, contractors, designer, universities and colleges competing to build the best structure and at the end of the competition, the food used in the structures is donated to a local food bank. Check out https://www.canstruction.org/ and http://www.canstructiontoronto.org/
Over the three weeks, all classes coming into the MakerSpace worked with Mrs. Hulse to plan and design their own structures. As classrooms collected their donations, we worked together to find ways to incorporate the cans and packages into the designs, with Mrs. Hulse going into classes for their planning or pre-building periods.
Thursday Dec 12 was our Build Day. Tables were set up in the hallways outside of classrooms and Ms Snoddon and Mrs. Beech’s Gr 5’s and Mr. Correa’s Grade 5/6’s came into the Hub to construct. As soon as attendance was taken, the building began!
Students (and teachers) from Kindergarten to Grade 8 worked all morning to complete their CANbyCAN structures. The hallways were full of children working together – collaborating, problem solving, creating, building… it was quite the scene! As students finished their designs, they toured the school, checking out the other structures.
That morning Stonehaven ES also hosted Casey Daleman, YRDSB Science and Technology consultant, Andrew Guida, YRDSB Communications, Vickie Sparks from Snapd Newmarket, Greg Kim from YorkRegion Media and Judy Poulin, Executive Director of the Newmarket Food Pantry. Students (who had signed media release forms) were interviewed and had their photos taken with their structures.
Sadly, our structures could only stay on display until lunch time. After lunch, students began disassembling their structures and packing the cans into the crates and boxes provided by NFP and School Council. Everything was housed in the Hub until volunteers could take it to the Food Pantry.
Throughout the day on Monday Dec. 16, students loaded vehicles, and re-packed crates (we discovered that the Food Pantry has to pay to have the cardboard boxes taken away for recycling). Thanks to a couple of wonderful parent volunteers, our administrators and staff, all donations made it to the Pantry by 4pm. They stayed open just for us!
In total, Stonehaven E.S. donated 3, 783 lbs of food.
November starts out with Treaties Week, Holocaust Education Week and Remembrance Day. Students took part in a number of learning activities around these rather ‘serious’ topics.
The Lego wall became the spot where learning about Treaties transformed into Wampum belts and Remembrance Day read-alouds ‘grew’ into poppies. Later in the month, it reflected the theme of World Diabetes’ Day: “Hands of Hope” . All of their creations have been documented on our Twitter Feed, please check it out.
A variety of classes used the Hub space and technology to extend their classroom learning. Mrs Marleau’s Gr 4’s researched Turtles and created PSA’s using our Green Screen. All Grade 1 Science classes took part in Scientists in the Schools: Animal Adaptations activities. Mr. Oliver and Mr. Rutherford’s Gr 8 classes began their Picture Book Study, looking at a variety of books with Social Justice themes, with Mrs. Hulse and Ms Priggen’s Gr 8’s have started their Red Maple novels.
During the last week of November we have all been working on class CANbyCAN construction designs. After being inspired by the fantastic CANstuction buildings, students looked at a variety of design ideas, created by other students and schools. Many have worked in groups to come up with their own designs, voted for a class design and begun ‘practice’ builds to prepare for Build Day!
Can’t wait to see their structures on Thursday Dec. 12! Stay tuned!
As Hallowe’en approaches, the Hub transforms. Our Library Leadership Team helps Mrs. Hulse set up the Scary Book displays for Jr/Intermediate readers, and our Pumpkin and Hallowe’en picture books fly off the shelves!
Of course, students have been coming into the Hub with their classes, or using our VIP passes, for book exchange. Many Primary classes had their first “Book tasting”, to introduce our younger readers to a variety of new series and early chapter books, written at their grade level. Mrs. Marleau’s Grade 4’s have been working on their Turtle PSA’s using the Green Screen app DoInk, and Mr. Rutherford’s Gr 8 Science classes have been researching a variety of eco-systems. Posts to follow!
With Orientation over, the Book Fair packed up and book orders delivered, it’s time to get started on our Maker Activities in the Hub.
September seems to have flown by, along with the warmer weather. As Mrs. Hulse’s Gr 1 Science classes started to explore Seasonal Changes, it seemed fitting to reflect this season in the Hub.
Students were challenged to create, build and code. Autumn trees appeared on the Lego wall, and Fall scenes were built on our new base plates (however, it has been pointed out that we are running very low on orange and yellow pieces).
The Keva Planks and Q-BA Marble Maze were popular building materials. Trees and tree houses were designed, tested and re-built. Some students followed Step-by-Step instructions, while others used trial and error.
Primary students worked with Mrs. Hulse to animate a fall scene using the Scratch Jr app on an iPad, while older students logged into the Scratch Desktop editor. Both age groups were given a number of criteria for their animations – a fall background, a Sprite (character) dressed for the weather, a fall activity (e.g., jumping in leaves, picking apples, trick or treating, etc.) and students worked in pairs to complete the challenge.
Scratch was created by MIT, and allows students to code their own interactive stories, animations, and games. Check it out, here: https://scratch.mit.edu/parents
The Book Fair will start on Tuesday September 24th and run until Friday September 27th.
Students will be able to purchase books, during school hours, throughout the week. Please note that the fair will NOT be open during BBQ night, as Mrs. Hulse can’t be there that evening.
Thank you to all the families who came out to support the book fair, and to all those who sent their children to school with the money for their Wish List books! We made just over $6, 000.00 and have already purchased $550.00 worth of books for the Hub. We have an additional $1, 392.00 to spend on books and Maker materials, throughout the year. Thank you again for supporting the Hub!
Students were welcomed back into the Hub for Orientation, last week. As they entered, they noticed a few interesting additions to the space – Supply Drops, a Loot Llama and signposts for places like Fort Fiction and Maker Mountain.
Students were divided into Squads, “boarded” their battle buses and began a series of challenges to reacquaint them with the activities and expectations in this space.
Working collaboratively, Squads built their own LEGO llamas, recorded Fortnite dances with our Green Screen App and used QR codes to learn how to build a popsicle stick catapult or glider.
While Primary students used the PicCollage App to record their Book Scavenger Hunt, Jr and Intermediate students reviewed using the Hub website to find a non fiction book and then locate it on our shelves, using the Dewey Decimal System.
Mrs. Hulse even had suggestions for our Fortnite gamers, when it came to checking out books!
All That Was by Karen Rivers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))
Piper and Sloane were best friends. They grew up together, from childhood to first love, and in spite of how different they were, their friendship was supposed to last forever. That is, until Piper caught Sloane kissing her boyfriend—and just days later, Piper was found dead, washed ashore on a beach. Sloane was torn with grief and guilt. How do you make amends for hurting someone you love, if that person is no longer around? And how can you ever move on and love again?
Call of the Wraith (The Blackthorn Key #4) by Kevin Sands (Aladdin)
Christopher Rowe has no idea who he is. After being shipwrecked in Devonshire, he wakes up alone, his memories gone. Villagers tell him he was possessed by an unseen evil, and only became conscious after being visited by the local witch. As Christopher tries to get his bearings, he realizes his current state may be far from coincidence. Dark events have been happening in this corner of Britain—village children are disappearing without a trace. There are whispers that the malevolent ghost of the White Lady has returned to steal the children away, one by one, and consume their souls. Thankfully, friends Tom and Sally find Christopher and help him reconnect with his unique skills and talents, even as his memories elude him. But as motives and secrets are revealed, Christopher finds himself in a desperate race to reclaim his memories and discover the missing children before it’s too late.
Crush (Awkward #3) by Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)
Jorge seems to have it all together. He’s big enough that nobody really messes with him, but he’s also a genuinely sweet guy with a solid, reliable group of friends. The only time he ever really feels off his game is when he crosses paths with a certain girl… But when the group dynamic among the boys starts to shift, will Jorge be able to balance what his friends expect of him versus what he actually wants?
Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr (Pajama Press)
The little girl found under a bush has no name and cannot speak. Is she a miracle child who escaped the raiders, or is she a bad-luck child, the one who called the Bull King’s ship to the island? No one sees the mama-stone around her neck, with the sign of the dragonfly. And only Luki, in training to leap the bulls, knows that she charmed the viper who would have killed him. When the girl turns twelve, she discovers her name – Aissa – and she knows that her one chance to live freely is to become a bull dancer, and be taken away to the island of the Bull King.
FrostBlood (FrostBlood #1) by Elly Blake (Little, Brown and Company)
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge. Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible— Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her— and from the icy young man she has come to love. Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is first in an exhilarating series, followed by Fireblood and Nightblood, about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies…but together create a power that could change everything.
Innocent Heroes: Animals in War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge by Sigmund Brouwer (Tundra Books) Never before have the stories of animal war heroes been collected in such a special way. This book consists of eight connected fictional stories about a Canadian platoon in WW1. The Storming Normans have help from some very memorable animals: we meet a dog who warns soldiers in the trench of a gas attack, a donkey whose stubbornness saves the day, a cat who saves soldiers from rat bites, and many more. Each story is followed by nonfiction sections that tell the true story of these animals from around the world and of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge. Through the friendship that grows between three of these soldiers in particular, we get a close-up look at life in the trenches, the taking of Vimy Ridge, the bonds between soldiers and their animals and what it meant to be Canadian in WW1.
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Scholastic Press)
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali (Salaam Reads)
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are. But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s. Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books)
Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.
Oculum by Philippa Dowding (Dancing Cat Books)
As far as Miranda1 knows, there is one world: Oculum. Its dome, its walls and its garden are all there is. That’s what the residents have been taught since birth. But William1 shows her something: a door in Oculum’s wall. And if there is a door, there must be something on the other side…What they don’t know is that there is a shattered world outside where a ragged few, such as Mannfred, Cranker and their friends, struggle to survive among the ruins. These people have heard of a paradise within Oculum. And they, too, have found a door.
Payback (Masterminds #3) by Gordon Korman (HarperCollins)
After a serious betrayal from one of their former friends, the clones of Project Osiris are on the run again. Now, separated into pairs, Eli and Tori and Amber and Malik are fighting to survive in the real world. Amber and Malik track down the one person they think can help them prove the existence of Project Osiris, notorious mob boss Gus Alabaster, also known as Malik’s DNA donor. But as Malik gets pulled into the criminal world — tantalized by hints of a real family — his actions put him and Amber into greater danger. Eli and Tori get sucked into even bigger conspiracies as they hunt down Project Osiris’s most closely guarded secret — who does Eli’s DNA come from? With a surprising new ally, and another cross-country adventure, the four will have to work together and overcome the worst parts of themselves if they are going to end Project Osiris once and for all.
The Rise of Winter (Terra Protectorum #1) by Alex Lyttle (Central Avenue Publishing) Centuries ago, Terra, the world, was nearly destroyed by humans. In the wake of that destruction, Terra created the Guardians – a group sworn to protect Her. But humans have returned to their plundering ways and Terra needs the Guardians. The Guardians are now fractured, their leader murdered years before. They need a new leader – a new Terra Protectorum – but when a young girl is chosen, outrage ensues. Questions demand answers. Why has Terra selected a girl with no knowledge of the Guardians? Why has she chosen a human when it is the humans destroying the earth? And most importantly, why has she chosen the girl whose father murdered the last Terra Protectorum?
Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston, Illustrated by Toma Feizo Gas (Inhabit Media) This teen novel, written by Iqaluit-based Inuit author Aviaq Johnston, is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits. After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the world that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures—black wolves with red eyes, ravenous and constantly stalking him; water-dwelling creatures that want nothing more than to snatch him and pull him into the frigid ocean through an ice crack. As well as beings less frightening, but equally as incredible, such as a lone giant who can carry Pitu in the palm of her hand and keeps caribou and polar bears as pets. After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.
Trail of Crumbs by Lisa J. Lawrence (Orca Book Publishers)
After moving into a dank and drafty basement suite in West Edmonton with her truck- driving father, nasty stepmother and taciturn twin brother, Ash, seventeen-year-old Greta doesn’t have high expectations for her last year of high school. When she blacks out at a party and is told the next day that she’s had sex, she thinks things can’t get any worse. She’s wrong. While Greta deals with the confusion and shame of that night, her stepmother and father choose that moment to disappear, abandoning Ash and Greta to the mercy of their peculiar landlord, Elgin, who lives upstairs. Even as Greta struggles to make sense of what happened to her, she finds herself enjoying her new and very eccentric family, who provide the shelter and support that has long been absent from her life. Much to Greta’s surprise, she realizes there is still kindness in the world—andhope.
Every year, the Ontario Library Association announces the “2019 Kid Committee Summer Reading List” in the Forest of Reading program! These are the books that you should be reading over the summer – as recommended by seventeen avid readers!
Suggested Summer Reading List – Silver Birch readers (Grades 3-6)
The Band of Merry Kids by David Skuy (DCB) Pip is a 12-year-old boy who idolizes Robin Hood and bristles at the injustice he sees around him. He also considers his father a coward — a mere wool merchant who pales in comparison to Robin and his Merry Men. Pip and his two cousins accompany Pip’s father to a country fair. Pip makes some new friends — and fights some difficult battles — and it is here with his cousins and friends that he must face the greatest challenge of his life— saving an innocent family from the Sheriff’s dungeon. Along the way, Pip also learns a shocking secret about his father. The Robin Hood legend provides the over-arching morality for The Band of Merry Kids, which explores classic topics such as good vs. evil, father-son relationships, loyalty, friendship and bravery in a great historical adventure
Clara Voyant by Rachelle Delaney (Puffin Canada) Clara can’t believe her no-nonsense grandmother has just up and moved to Florida, leaving Clara and her mother on their own for the first time. This means her mother can finally “follow her bliss,” which involves moving to a tiny apartment in Kensington Market, working at a herbal remedy shop and trying to develop her so-called mystical powers. Clara tries to make the best of a bad situation by joining the newspaper staff at her new school, where she can sharpen her investigative skills. But the editor relegates her to boring news stories and worse…the horoscopes. Worse yet, her horoscopes come true, and soon everyone at school is talking about Clara Voyant, the talented fortune-teller. Clara is horrified—horoscopes and clairvoyance aren’t real, she insists, just like her grandmother always told her. But when a mystery unfolds at school, she finds herself in a strange situation: having an opportunity to prove herself as an investigative journalist…with the help of her own mystical powers.
Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How to Fight Back) by Andrea Curtis, Illustrated by Peggy Collins (Red Deer Press) A follow-up to What’s for Lunch?, Eat This! focuses on the impact on children of fast food advertising — an immense industry worth billions of dollars. Andrea Curtis shows how corporations who market to kids embed their sales pitches in all sorts of media to persuade young consumers that they have to have the foods they are manufacturing. Of course, most of this food has the potential to negatively impact the health and well being of children. The author explains what advertising is, discusses product placement, the use of video games to sell food, the use of cartoon characters to sell products as well as acting as agents for apparently charitable fundraising ventures. In each page spread, Andrea Curtis provides insights that come from research into all aspects of the fast food industry and in the end suggests ways in which young people can push back.
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel, Illustrated by Sydney Smith (HarperCollins Canada) Ethan’s dad is a comic artist whose greatest creation, the mutant superhero Kren, brought him fame and glory. But after his dad’s string of successful books, a tragedy strikes the family and now his dad is completely stuck. If only artistic talent were hereditary. Ethan is stuck on a graphic-novel project of his own at school and won’t own up to the fact that he can’t draw. When one night an ink-blot creation emerges from his father’s sketchbook, the family’s whole world begins to change. Featuring artwork by the beloved, award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith, Inkling is a timeless story that speaks to the creator in us all.
Jungle Land by Eric Walters (Orca Book Publishers) DJ is always thrilled to spend time with his grandfather, a person he idolizes. When his grandfather announces that he’s going to take all of his grandsons on individual adventures, it seems only fair that DJ, as the oldest grandchild, will get his adventure first. An adventure that sees his grandfather at the controls of a small plane as the two fly to Central America for a week. But when someone tries to kidnap him, DJ must flee through the jungle and down a crocodile-infested river, pursued by armed gunmen. When he isn’t busy trying to stay alive, DJ discovers things about himself he never suspected and uncovers information that leads him to believe his beloved grandfather is living a secret life. In this exciting prequel to Between Heaven and Earth and Sleeper, the responsible and athletically gifted DJ flies to Central America.
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence, Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard (Second Story Press) The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language, Cree, he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive, beautifully illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of Canada’s residential school system, which separated young Indigenous children from their families.
Megabat (Megabat #1) by Anna Humphrey, Illustrated by Kass Reich (Tundra Books) A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader. Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted… or is it? Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there. Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute. Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit. Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a light saber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (Puffin Books) For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys”—orphans owned by chimney sweeps—to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-yearold Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived—and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire. Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together—saving one another in the process.
Tank & Fizz: The Case of the Tentacle Terror by Liam O’Donnell, Illustrated by Mike Deas (Orca Book Publishers) When valuable cargo ships vanish from Rockfall Mountain’s busiest port, crime-fighting goblin detective Fizz Marlow and his troll sleuthing partner, Tank Wrenchlin, know Detective Hordish is going to need their help (whether he wants it or not). But it’s Tank’s mom, the harbor master who is really feeling the heat. It’s her responsibility to keep the harbor safe, and the lost ships quickly cost her her job. Determined to help, Tank, Fizz and their wizard pal, Aleetha, dive into this new mystery, only to get tangled up with a terror from below that takes the detectives far from home and puts them snout-to-snout with a band of vicious kobold pirates.
The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, Illustrated by Victoria Jamieson (Tundra Books) Eddie is a tiny green bug who loves to read and who lives behind the chalkboard in the fourth-grade classroom with his parents, his 53 brothers and sisters, and his aunt Min. But when Aunt Min goes to the school library to read a book and never returns, Eddie leaves the comfort of his home for the first time and makes the dangerous trek through Ferny Creek Elementary School to find her. After dodging running sneakers, falling books, and terrifying spiders, Eddie reaches the library, where he discovers Aunt Min stuck in a perilous situation! To top it all off, there’s a substitute librarian who aims to close the library for good and get rid of all the books! Encouraged by the brave deeds done by small creatures such as Stuart Little and Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, Eddie comes up with a plan to save the library—a plan that requires all the courage one little bug can muster.
The Unteachables by Gordon Korman (Scholastic Canada) The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117. Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables. The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.
Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family by Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Pajama Press) During the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Van wakes up one morning to find that her mother, sister, Loan, and brother, Tuan, are gone. They have escaped the new communist regime that has taken over Ho Chi Minh City for freedom in the West. Four-year-old Van is too young – and her grandmother is too old – for such a dangerous journey by boat, so the two have been left behind. Once settled in North America, her parents will eventually be able to sponsor them, and Van and her grandmother will fly away to safety. But in the meantime, Van is forced to work hard to satisfy her aunt and uncle, who treat her like an unwelcome guest. And at school she must learn that calling attention to herself is a mistake, especially when the bully who has been tormenting her turns out to be the son of a military policeman. Van Ho’s true story strikes at the heart and will resonate with so many families
Crimson by Arthur Slade (HarperCollins) For over a thousand years, Queen Servilia has ruled the world of Illium. Using magical red dust mined from the earth, she has enslaved her subjects, enforcing uniformity and sameness to maintain her absolute power. But in Village Twenty-One, wild magic is growing. Fen, a young girl whose hand has been cut off as punishment for theft, wakes one morning to discover that her hair has gone crimson: a sign that she has been invested with magic of her own, and is a threat to Servilia’s reign. For Fen, this is a death sentence. When her village is burned to the ground and her sister captured, Fen must make an impossible choice. Will she risk unleashing the most feared magical entity of all time—an ancient god who could overthrow Servilia, but whose power may be even more terrifying—in order to save the only family she has left?
Wings of Olympus (Wings of Olympus #1) by Kallie George, Illustrated by Fiona Hsieh (HarperCollins Canada) High on the slopes of mighty Mount Olympus glide the winged horses of the ancient gods. Here up high is normally no place for a lost, parentless girl like Pippa. But once every hundred years, the gods and goddesses descend to the mortal realm to choose jockeys for their winged horse race—and Pippa is one of the lucky children chosen to ride. With her undersized, impetuous winged steed, Zephyr, by her side, Pippa has to confront the greatest challenge of her life: achieving victory in a race across the sky. No one expects Pippa and Zephyr to win, or even finish, this death-defying race. A poor orphan who’s spent her life working in stables, Pippa doesn’t seem to belong in the world of the gods. And while she loves Zephyr with all her heart, he’s smaller than the other winged horses racing. But if Pippa and Zephyr don’t find a way to win, the gods will separate them—forever.
Whatshisface by Gordon Korman (Scholastic Press) When 12-year-old Cooper Vega moves for the third time in five years, he receives a state-of-the-art smartphone to help him stay in touch with old friends. He’s had phones before, but this one is buggy and unpredictable. When a boy named Roderick Northrop communicates with him through the phone, Cooper realizes that his phone isn’t buggy at all; the thing is haunted!
Local artist and illustrator, Gwen Petreman, visited Stonehaven to share her passion for story writing and art, with our Kindergarten and Grade 1 students.
Gwen retold some of her stories, orally, and discussed how she uses mixed media in all of her illustrations. She demonstrated some of her techniques and students participated in the creation process by working with Gwen, sketching along with her and working collaboratively to blend paint colours.
Gwen encouraged all the students to create, telling them about a young Canadian, Advait Kolarkar, who just loved to paint, and whose artwork ended up being displayed in a New York art gallery!
Many thanks to Gwen for spending the morning with us!