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Staff Reads: August 2020

What has the CBC been reading lately?


Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise, illus. M. Sarah Klise (Workman Publishing / Algonquin Young Readers, March 2020)

This book is clever and hilarious, and it’s all told by letters, emails, invoices, school demerits, newspaper clippings, and more on every page! In the small town of Appleton, scandals are afoot, starting with the new elementary school librarian Rita B. Danjerous (note the punny names) and her  “green dot” collection of books. However, these are just books meant to help kids find answers to their questions that may be too embarrassing or scary to ask others, so why are they seen as controversial to this town? The fifth graders are on the case, and their quest for answers was an enthralling read.


The Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, October 2019)

A wonderful retelling of the Minotaur myth, this book is a Grecian Hunger Games. Roberson does a fantastic job making the myth relevant and modern. A young princess is put in the middle when she decides she can’t take the pressure of being in a royal family any longer. Going against her country and family, she strives to find a way to put an end to the controversial Minotaur games.


Who Do You Think You Are?: Find out about yourself in 20 psychology tests, by Alice Harman, illus. Blok Magnaye (Quarto Group / Wide Eyed Editions, April 2020)

Are you a bit of a rebel? Do you ever shout or make a loud noise just for the sake of it? If you were in a race and the person just ahead of you fell over, what would you do? These and many more interesting questions give insight into ourselves in this quirky, colorful, and engaging book. Exploring ourselves has never been more fun!


I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal (Sourcebooks, August 2019)

This is a fantastic read, but especially considering the times. It addresses race issues by offering two different perspectives, two different upbringings, and two different lenses to view the world with. Filled with compromise, two unsuspecting people are thrown into a situation where they must rely on each other to survive the night, while having hardly spoken a few words to each other at school.


Flamer by Mike Curato (Henry Holt and Co. BYR, September 2019)

This debut graphic novel from award-winning author and illustrator Mike Curato, focuses on Aiden Navarro and the summer before high school starts. Aiden, like any close reader of the X-Men, navigates feeling unaccepted and in his case, discovering he’s gay at Boy Scout camp. But the story of self-discovery and finding a route of one’s own, is totally universal. This is an astonishing graphic novel for teens.


Queen: The Unauthorized Biography by Soledad Romero Mariño; illus. by Laura Castelló (Sourcebooks Explore, August 2020)

A bold and graphically stunning look at Queen and the man who made them legend, Freddie Mercury. This biography is told just as much through image as through text, like a deconstructed graphic novel. I particularly loved the use of direct quotes from the band which are highlighted perfectly by Castelló’s art.


Birdsong, by Julie Flett (Greystone, 2019) 

A beautiful picture book that induced an oasis of calm as I read it, all the while telling a story of friendship and loss. Flett is an award-winning Cree-Métis book creator. I will seek out snowdrop flower bulbs and never forget this book.

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