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Alouette Library Learning Commons: Mrs. Waterman Recommends

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

First of all, thank you to Cara V. for recommending this book to me.  She obviously knows me.  I really liked this book and here are a few reasons why:

  • Julia is really funny.
  • You never know when your life will take a "dramatic" turn in a quiet non dramatic way.
  • I can always empathize with people who have had to grieve the loss of a pet.
  • I love all the quotes and references to famous people who all had to overcome something.
  • One of my favorite quotes is when Mrs. Chang says to Julia that people are often judged in life before they are ready.
  • I love how Julia calls Shawn, Shawn Barr all the time.  It's so funny.
  • My favorite quote from Shawn Barr is, "Young people need models, not critics"

So if you like books with humour and heart  then this book is for you. Maybe you feel insecure about the things you think you aren't good at, or maybe  you have had to say goodbye to someone you really loved.  Maybe you haven't found your "thing" yet.  Julia proves that when you give things a chance even when you don't want to  you might find  exactly what you need!.

"Sometimes the right book at the right time is the thing that you need"

I needed to read this book!  Thanks Cara!

Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Where’s Burgess? by Laurie Elmquist

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

The Night Gardener by Jonathon Auxier


First of all, it was Mrs. Rupert who told me about this book.  She was reading it aloud to her class and the kids kept coming into the library telling me about this book.  I had to read it even though I don't really love scary books.

Here's a little bit about what the book is like.  It's a New York Times bestseller.  The Night Gardener is a Victorian ghost story.  More than just a spooky tale, it's also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.  The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier's exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.   

Ok, here's what I wrote after I read it.  Yikes!  This was really scary!  It is a Grade 7 only read and I can see why.  The writing style was really good.  I can see how it would be a good read aloud.  It makes you think about spiritual things and makes you question if good and bad spirits exist.  By the end of the book, I liked it.  In the middle I was a bit unsure, but overall I liked it!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai


Oh my goodness!  I loved this book.  It is written in verse which means it is written as a free verse poem.  It is so simple and poetic and sad and funny and heartwarming.   I loved Ha from the first page.  Having lived in Vietnam (in the North) and having traveled to where Ha is from (in the South), this book was like going down a wonderful memory lane.  I knew many of the Vietnamese words and customs and could totally relate to where she came from and her beliefs.  Her story of fleeing her home in 1975 made me sad.  As I was starting my first day of kindergarten, many Vietnamese children were having to leave their homes and come to places they had never even knew existed.  I was fascinated at how different people reacted to Ha and her family.  I love the author's notes at the end!  I absolutely loved this book!  Historical fiction, verse and Vietnam!  Loved it!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis




Okay, here's a little bit about this book.  This is the first of a series.  Meet "detective" Timmy Failure.  He was created by New York Times best-selling cartoonist Stephan Pastis.    He's the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add to this, his impressively lazy business partner who happens to be a very large polar bear named Total.  Timmy wants to make money so his mom won't have to stress out about the bills anymore. He's an endearingly bumbling hero in a caper whose peerless hilarity is accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets you snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment.

Here is my first impression after just reading the book and I quote.  "Oh my goodness!  I thought this book was laugh out loud hilarious!  Timmy is so funny.  I can't remember a book where I actually laughed out loud reading it and I did this at least 15 times!  Adults will love this because there are so many funny little innuendos that could go over the younger readers' heads.  Grade 7s, try to read this before you leave here!"

Okay, so I wrote my impressions after reading it, and I thought it was super funny, laugh out loud funny and then I recommended it to Mr. Chiu as a read aloud and to Mrs. Wong just to read!  I'm pretty sure Mr. Chiu liked it and I think his kids thought it was funny!   Buuuuuut Mrs. Wong had a totally different take on it.  She really changed how I viewed Timmy!  I reread it and she was right.  She felt sorry for Timmy!  His life, his living conditions and how he struggled making friends!

I would really like to talk to you about this book!


A Whale in Paris by Claire Polders and Daniel Presley

The book “A Whale In Paris” is geared toward middle-grade students. How did this idea develop, and what made you decide to write for such a younger audience?

“A Whale in Paris” is a novel I co-wrote with my American husband, who is an author and screenwriter. We often pitch each other stories, sometimes for fun, sometimes to test whether an idea is worthwhile pursuing. One lazy morning in bed, he pretended being beached, and I played the girl who came to visit her sad little whale. Somehow the scene stuck, and over time, the story developed without premeditation—we were just having fun—until we realized that it could become a book. We began to write down everything we had imagined and soon settled on a voice. It was never a conscious decision to write this novel for a younger audience. The story made it happen.

The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

The Losers Club is a love letter to books and to reading, and reminds us that sometimes the best stories are the ones that happen off the page—our own!

Loot by Jude Watson

Judy Blundell
American author


Judy Blundell, pseudonym Jude Watson, is an American author of books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She won the annual National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2008 for the young adult novel What I Saw and How I Lied, published under her real name by Scholastic Books. Wikipedia
BornOctober 26, 1956 (age 63 years), Brooklyn, New York, United States

If you want to find out what happens next read....


No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen


Author Website

I really liked this book for a number of reasons. Number 1.  It is set in Vancouver so everything is familiar and I can totally picture everything Felix ( the main character) is talking about.  Number 2.  It touches on many social issues in a personal way.  Homelessness, poverty, mental health, immigration, and single parent families.  Number 3.  It is told from a 13 year old boy's perspective of what it's like having to grow up too fast.  Felix faces many challenges (the death of his grandmother, an absentee father and a mother who struggles to be a good mom) at the same time as trying to just be "normal".  Number 4.  It really made me think about how you never really know what is going on in peoples' lives and how easily it is to judge people when you don't know the whole story.

I REALLY want to talk to people about this book!