Book Reviews – October 2018

NetGalley Reviews

netgalley badgeI have started reviewing advanced reading copies of books for NetGalley! If you’re a librarian and you’re not part of this amazing service, I highly recommend joining. You can request copies of upcoming books and read them on your Kindle, computer, or phone. I will be using the ARCs to inform purchasing decisions and to enhance my reader’s advisory skills. Without future ado, here are my October reviews:

Ida and the Whale by Rebecca Gugger (pub date: 02 Apr 2019)

ida and the whaleAs soon as you open the first page of this book, you know you are about to dive into something special. A young girl lives in a house, high up in a birch tree. One day a giant flying whale floats to her door and asks if she wants to go on a journey. Of course she does. They travel to the world beyond, where everything is upside down. But can they both survive the impending storm?

Every page is covered with stunningly beautiful illustrations. I can see imaginative kids pouring over every page, taking it all in.

I cannot wait to add this to my library’s collection. I will be including this book in book talk presentations to grade 1 students.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Workout for Teens by Paula Nagel (pub date: March 21, 2019)

This is a well-rounded, well-researched, and approachable item on a difficult topic. It includes worksheets, mindfulness exercises, practical scientific information about mental health, and insights from real teens. It has a relaxed tone which many teens will appreciate. I would confidently hand this item to any parent or teen looking for a mindfulness or mental health resource. I believe it would be best received by ages 11 – 16.

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (pub date: Jan 15, 2019)

dreamers cover

A small college town in California is struck by an unheard of affliction. The victims fall asleep and never wake up. Clearly, this is no ordinary sleep. They all seem to have vivid streams of dreams before the pass on. The nature of the story is that a lot of characters die. But Walker makes sure you feel the driving force of the victims – even if it’s just told in a few lines. Walker takes the most compelling aspects of mystery, romance, dystopia, and horror, and weaves them into a story that is as terrifying as it is whimsi


The Dreamers has the same masterful flow of The Age of Miracles. It flits from moment to moment, never leaving too soon or too late. I have complete confidence in Karen Thompson Walker as an author. She doesn’t write for the sake of it. She writes because she is burning up with speculation.

Emotional Explorers by Maria Mercè Conangla and Jaume Soler (pub date: 28 Oct 2018)

This book is an experience. It is filled with metaphors between the natural world and natural emotions. The combination of these two things is organic, inspiring, and wholesome. It includes many opportunities for self reflection, and could be thought of as a Self Help book for children. I would probably shelve it in the “Growing Up” section near our picture books.

The art is wonderful. It’s comforting yet contemporary. Even if kids do not read every word of the book, they will gain a sense of the meaning from the pictures.

My favourite question from this book is “What can you do so that love, tenderness and compassion do not disapear from this world?”

Astro Pea by Amalia Hoffman (pub date: 28 Mar 2019)



I will definitely be purchasing this book to read at our pre-school storytime. It is adorable, laugh-out-loud funny, and great for vegetable recognition. My favourite part is when the pea opens his mushroom “parachute.” Kids will love naming the veggies, and turning each page to see what is next.


ANIMOSAICS: CAN YOU FIND IT? by Surya Sajnani (pub date: 14 Aug 2018)

Is this the most adorable search and find book out there? It might be! It’s geared towards a younger age than I expected – it’s only 10 pages long, it’s organized by colour, and finding the images is much easier than other search and find books (such as I Spy, Mamoko, The Lost House, Where’s Waldo, etc). I can see it being extremely popular with kids aged 2 – 4. I think the hidden items are expertly chosen: a combination of cartoon shapes, everyday objects (glasses, crayon, spade), and fun imaginative objects (magic wand, candy floss, duck).

I Love Birds! by Jennifer Ward (pub date: 12 Mar 2019)i love birds cover

This book aims to enhance and encourage children’s exploration of the natural world, and I believe it will achieve it. The art is fun yet realistic. The book is divided into unique categories, including topics and perspectives that other non-fiction bird books miss. My favourite part is the last section, which discusses New Year’s Bird Resolutions, and encourages parents / kids to create a list of achievable bird goals (learning to identify bird calls, attracting new species to your backyard, etc). Books like this one are books that kids will remember forever.

Book Haul from the LSC Children’s Fall Preview Day

I decided to dip my toe into book vlogging! I attended the Library Services Canada Fall Preview Day in October 2018, and scored a huge haul of ARCs and promotional materials. In this video I talk about what I’m most excited to read and add to my public library’s collection.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s