Of the books we’ve read or reread this year, here are our favorites. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Inspirational Story of the Year

Jocelyne: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – A loveable dog comes into India Opal’s life and teaches her about compassion and letting go of those who have abandoned her.

Jane: Meet the Anzacs by Claire Saxby – A simple yet compelling account of bravery in WWI.

Jennifer: Created for Greatness, the Power of Magnanimity by Alexandre Havard – A short, insightful book that can give direction to the idealism of youth.


Ideal Read-Aloud Picture Book

Jocelyne: Will You Bless Me? By Neal Lozano- A young girl asks her father what it means to “bless” someone.

Jane: Mr. McGee Goes to Sea by Pamela Allen – The rhyming verse is a winner with adults and children alike.

Jennifer: The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle – Giggles abound in the latest from this picture book master.


Illustrations are Worth 1,000 Words Award

Jocleyne: Verdi by Janell Cannon – From the award-winning author/illustrator of Stellaluna, comes this vibrant story about a little yellow snake who wants to have fun and not grow up.

Jennifer: Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson  and Sydney Smith – The power of kindness brings color to life.


Most Endearing Hero(ine)

Jocleyne: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Bud’s faith in finding his father is heart-warming, heart-breaking, and endearing. Thoroughly enjoyed by my students in Gr. 5-6.

Jennifer: The Curse of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker – Young Ike Button learns what it means to be a man.


Favorite Re-discovered Classic

Jocelyne: The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis – I started The Silver Chair as a read-aloud to my students and found myself always looking forward to the next reading!

Jane: There was an old lady who swallowed a fly by Pam Adams – a delightful addition to the school or home library.

Jennifer: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – No matter how many times I read this book, I am taken with Stevenson’s genius and convinced that Long John Silver could have had a successful career as a politician.


Aesop Award for Valuable Lessons

Jocelyne: Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed – In the uncertainty and fear of a refugee camp, two girls learn the power of reaching out to others.

Jennifer: The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari – A young elf proves that compassion is stronger than any weapon.


LOL Award

Jocelyne: Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith – These hilarious short chapter books also teach about history, friendship, and how to get out of ridiculous situations.

Jane: The Treehouse Books by Andy Griffiths – There is more to this treehouse than meets the eye, so be ready for adventure.

Jennifer: Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater – This delightfully innocent classic is sure to bring a smile to any reader’s face.


Blood is Thicker than Water Award

Jocelyne: The Shadow of the Bear, Regina Doman – Two sisters, Blanche and Rose Brier, must work together to protect their family in this modern re-telling of the Grimm classic.

Jennifer: The Everlasting Embrace by Gabrielle Emanuel – Mother and toddler bond during ordinary, everyday activities.


Book I’m Most Likely to Read Again

Jocelyne: Redwall by Brian Jacques – In the Redwall books you will find war, adventure, great friendships, humour, mystery, and lots of exciting action.

Jennifer: The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera – A refreshing romantic alternative to the usual young adult fare.


Best Pick for Boys

Jocelyne:  Fish by Gregory Mone – I passed my 12-year-old brother 30 books to read over the summer and this was his favourite by far.

Jennifer:  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown – A great lesson in perseverance that speaks to the man in every boy.


Best Pick for Girls

Jocelyne: Smile by Raina Telgemeier – This book is so popular that it has gone “missing” several times from my library.

Jane: Our Australian Girl Series, various authors – With over 40 books in the series, there is a character with whom every girl can identify.

Jennifer: Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick – Truly is a genuine young lady who values family above everything else.


Christmas Book of the Year

Jocelyne:  Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman – Mortimer the mouse sees a manger under the Christmas tree and decides to make a new home for himself, when he overhears the nativity story and witnesses his own Christmas miracle.

Jane: Christmas at Grandma’s Beach House by Claire Saxby – Holiday fun written to be sung to the tune of The Twelve days of Christmas.

Jennifer:  An Angel Came to Nazareth by Maggie Kneen – The animals of Nazareth learn the value of humility amid stunning illustrations.