Spring Reads

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With some unseasonably cold weather this spring, I was easily able to curl up with a book and get lots of Spring reading done these last few months including picture books, graphic novels, novels for 9-12 year olds and YA fiction.  Here is a brief snapshot of the titles I’ve read since February.  I highly recommend all of them.

Winter:Spring reads

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Winter/Spring in the BT Library

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After some bizarre winter weather in Spring, it seems warmer temperatures have finally arrived!  Lots has been happening in the BT Library so here is a quick look at some highlights over the last few months:

DECEMBER

  • Winter Scholastic Book Fair
  • Forest of Reading Class Previews

JANUARY

  • Forest of Reading program start-up
  • Family Literacy Day – Staff Picks on display
  • Family Literacy Day – “Dress as Your Favourite Book Character” Spirit Day

FEBRUARY

  • Black History Month bulletin board & books on display
  • Black History Month read alouds
  • Freedom to Read Week “Language Talks”
  • Intermediate Freedom to Read contest

MARCH

  • Lana Button Kindie Author Visit

April

  • Junior Battle of the Books
  • Senior Battle of the Books
  • Spring Scholastic Book Fair
  • Forest of Reading Voting

MAY

  • Charis Cotter Gr. 5&6 Author Visit
  • Mental Health Awareness Week books on display
  • Staff vs. Student Battle of the Books match (congrats to the Staff!)
  • Festival of Trees field trip

Stay tuned for end of year details and previews of what’s to come in the 2016/2017 school year.

– Miss Westbury

Fall & Winter Reads

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Yesterday a Gr. 8 student asked me what books I’ve read lately.  She explained that she checked the website but couldn’t find any recent posts.  And she’s right!  Even though I’ve done quite a bit of reading, the Fall and Winter have gone by so quickly and I never stopped to take a moment to update this section of our website.  My sincere apologies.  Unfortunately, I feel too much time has passed for me to thoroughly write about all the books I’ve read over the last few months.  So today, here is a brief snapshot of the YA and Youth titles I’ve read since November.  I promise to check in more often and keep you up to date with what I am reading more regularly as the rest of year progresses.

Forest of Reading 2016

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The Forest of Reading programs are underway once again here at Bruce Trail with participation in the Blue Spruce, Silver Birch Express, Silver Birch, and Red Maple programs.

Our Grade 1 and 2 students will hear the Blue Spruce nominated titles during their weekly Library visits and our Kindies will begin the program later this month.

Silver Birch Express runs as an extra-curricular program on Mondays at 1st Nutrition Break.  We had an AMAZING turn out this year with over 100 students involved.  This means not all students will have books each week but they are working hard to finish books quickly in order to share with each other.  Mr. Skinner will be hosting a “Lunch & Learn” session this upcoming week to show students how they can complete reading responses using Google Forms.

Silver Birch happens on Wednesdays at 1st Nutrition Break and many students are already on their 2nd and 3rd book!  With dedicated readers like this, Silver Birch is sure to be a success.  Students share their thoughts on the books using Edmodo as an on-line discussion conference moderating by Bruce Trail staff who have already read the nominated titles.  A great way to connect our learning community members and make a big school feel a little more intimate.

Our intermediate readers are involved in Red Maple which takes place on Fridays at 1st Nutrition Break.  We had are largest turn-out in years with over 90 Grade 7 & 8 students reading the 10 nominated fiction titles.  This again means that there is a wait for books, but students are encouraged to access titles at the Milton Public Library as well.  Edmodo responses have already started pouring in and the students are crafting superb reflections on the books they’ve read.

Be sure to check out the 2016 nominated titles on the Ontario Library Association website: OLA Forest_of_Reading Nominated_Lists

-Miss Westbury

 

Diego’s Crossing

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In Diego’s Crossing, seventeen-year-old Diego dreams of a brighter future in his small town near the Mexican-United States border. He tries to resist following the path of his criminal older brother but reality offers little hope. After a slow-paced opening, the novel quickly moves into high gear as the brutality of the Mexican drug trade begins to truly make a mark on the family as an unfortunate accident forces Diego’s hand as he must deliver drugs across the border in order to protect his family and save his brother’s life.

In his first young adult book, Robert Hough has done a solid job creating tension on the page with an ever-growing sense of danger from all angles of the story. The realities of the Mexican-United States border and the negative impact on those living near it are especially well examined. Readers will undoubtedly feel the heavy weight of the stress Diego carries on his shoulders: concern for his parents, anger at his brother, pressure from the drug cartel and the uncertain nature of his own future.  Teens readers will connect to themes of conflict, decision-making, and determining right from wrong. Yet the novel doesn’t preach a preferred solution to it’s audience nor does it attempt to identify the correct path for the main character to take. Instead, Diego’s Crossing offers an opportunity to view the rocky path of male adolescence as it climbs through new terrain and into the transition to manhood.

With it’s open-ended conclusion, Diego’s Crossing leaves it up to the reader to determine what direction Diego’s life path will take: will he follow in his brother’s footsteps and enter the drug trade for himself or will he find another way out of the shadows and away from the small-town and limited choices that confine him? This short but impactful novel is sure to engage all readers, including reluctant ones, and get them talking not only about Diego’s choices but also the decision they themselves face as they begin to cross into adulthood.  Recommended for our Gr. 7 & 8 students.

Fall 2015 in the BT Library

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Fall 2015 has been a beautiful and bustling time in the BT Library.  Here is a quick look at what’s being happening in our Library these past few months:

SEPTEMBER

  • Class Orientation Visits
  • Library Helpers Start-Up
  • Award-Winning Books bulletin board (spotlight on award-winning titles)

OCTOBER

  • Vicki Grant Intermediate Author Visit
  • “Secrets” Evening Author Event at P.L. Robertson
  • Library Helpers continue w/ training on library collection and order of shelving Fiction books
  • Forest of Reading nominated titles announced
  • Ghost Town Challenge – Who will be the quietest class in the Library? (Primary & Junior)
  • Spooktacular Reads bulletin board (BT staff share their favourite books to read in October

NOVEMBER

  • Lots of new books added to our Everyone, Fiction, & Graphic Novel collection
  • Diwali & Remembrance Day books on display in Library
  • Library Helpers continue w/ training on library collection and order of shelving Non-Fiction Books
  • Update to What Miss Westbury is Reading section of website
  • Novel November bulletin board (focus on our favourite fiction novels)

Stay tuned for details regarding our first Scholastic Fair, the start up of our Forest of Reading programs (Blue Spruce, Silver Birch Express, Silver Birch, & Red Maple), and other Library happenings as the winter season approaches.

– Miss Westbury

Hot Summer, Cool Reads

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One of my favourite parts of Summer Break is getting a chance to dig into the books on my ever-growing “To-Read” list. These titles often include books recommended during the school year by students, popular check-outs in the library, and items found on “Best Book” lists throughout the year.  During the heat waves of July and August, I stayed cool with some pretty spectacular reads.

Here’s a quick glance at some of the books I read this summer:

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Land of Stories #4 – Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer.

Fairy tales and classic stories collide in this fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms and into the literary lands of Camelot, Neverland, Oz, and Wonderland. Although this title was not my favourite in the series, it successfully leaves readers wanting more with yet another “Colfer cliffhanger”. A great choice for middle grade readers.

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Paper Towns by John Green.  

With an influx of YA books focusing on female protagonists (think Hunger Games, Divergent, and Cinder), it was refreshing to follow the journey of teen life, love and friendship from Quentin’s male perspective. I loved that this story is as much about the friendship between Quentin and his buddies Radar and Ben as it is about Quentin’s love for Margo, and his quest to find her after she disappears … yet again. So many great themes, so many memorable lines. Yet another phenomenal teen read from best-selling author John Green. Highly recommended for Gr. 7 & 8 students.

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Three Good Things by Lois Peterson

Not yet published, I was offered the opportunity to read an advanced copy and review this book for CM Magazine. Part of the Orca Currents series of high-interest novels with contemporary themes for reluctant readers, Lois Peterson’s short yet effective novel offers readers a glimpse into the experience of having a family member struggle with mental illness. A solid choice for students in Gr. 5 to 8 in helping to breaking down barriers and start up conversations around mental health.

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Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, Fat Angie is an emotional book about a high school students turbulent journey in finding herself and finding out the truth about the ones that matter most. There is A LOT going on in this book including issues of mental health, the tragedies of divorce and untimely death, and the nasty underbelly of high school popularity and social dynamics. Riddled with pop-culture references and inclusive to multi-dimensional LGBTQ characters, this is sure to be a book of great interest for our intermediate students.

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The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani

One of most popular middle grade books in our library last year, I finally had the opportunity to read the story of best friends Sophie and Agatha and the dazzling world of The School for Good & Evil.  A twist on the origin of fairytales, the book reveals that ordinary boys and girls are trained to be the heroes and villains of the stories children love to read. Told in alternating points of view, Sophie – the picture perfect of a true princess – fights against face warts and drab clothes in the School for Evil while her strange and dark-clothed friend Agatha is stuck in a perfect pink dress amongst the Cinderella-to-be’s in the School for Good. The unexpected role reversal is refreshing as it helps to demonstrate that what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect a person’s true self.  A highly recommended fantasy read for students in Grade 5 and 6.

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