Claire's Picks

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Rules of Summer Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780545639125
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - April 29th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): When school is out and you have all day to play – who makes the rules? Is it mom, or dad? NO! It is your older brother. Maybe you get into trouble, maybe you get left behind… and only he can save you.

The incredible pictures bring feelings of anxiety, happiness, sorrow and delight. I love the emotion of the images paired with a single sentence. Shaun Tan pulls you in to the magical freedom of summer while tugging at heartstrings. “Rules of Summer” might not be so appropriate for young children, but more a memoir for adults.


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When Rain Falls Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781561454389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Peachtree Publishers - August 5th, 2011

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): When the rain starts to fall, and you run inside to hide, don’t you wonder where the animals go? Do they head to the library or their living room and hunker down with a book? Not a chance! But animals have instinct and cleverness to help stay warm and dry.
Different landscapes – wetlands, desert, meadows, forests- have unique challenges that make for unique solutions. Children will delight in learning the lifestyles found in nature, and can imagine what it might be like to hide under a leaf!


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Planting the Wild Garden Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781561455638
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Peachtree Publishers - April 1st, 2011

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): Who plants the seeds in a meadow? Where do wildflowers come from? In a wild garden, nature works together with plants and animals to ensure seeds find a home. Sometimes, animals do it on purpose, like the squirrels burying acorns. And sometimes, animals (and people!) carry seeds without knowing it, like the cockleburs sticking to furry bellies.

Halperin’s illustrations are soft and warm, but detailed to show off the intricate patterns of seeds.

I love how this book connects the wild world to our every day life.


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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763665661
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 25th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): Just as the title suggests, Ava Lavender’s life has not been easy – love, heartbreak and sorrow run deep within her family’s history. And Ava was born with wings…

“I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life’s ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn’t want to hurt you eventually would.”

Walton’s prose is beautiful and complex, filled with magical realism that perks the imagination but doesn’t push too far. It is a sad, difficult story that is also filled with love.

I absolutely loved this story – it is some of the best prose I have read in a very long time.


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Stella's Starliner Cover Image
By Rosemary Wells, Rosemary Wells (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780763614959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 25th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): Stella lives in a trailer, filled with hiding places and special buttons – but she is embarrased! Her friends tease her that she must be poor, but a little adventure helps Stella see how special her tiny home really is.

This book hits close to the heart as my husband and I are currently living in an airstream just like Stella! We too are learning the joy of a simple and mobile life.


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E-I-E-I-O Cover Image
By Judy Sierra, Matthew Myers (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763660437
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - February 25th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (May 2014): A farm needs more than a farmer to work – and Old MacDonald has a very helpful hen! Starting with poop, some worms and seeds – the magic begins.

It doesn’t take long for the neighbors to get curious, and soon enough a little farm market springs up!

Colourful and bright, this tale shines on the power of TEAMWORK!


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A Thousand Mornings: Poems Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143124054
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (April 2014):
Every spring
I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
Then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.

Mary Olivers’ words sing to the soul, tell stories of the ocean and the forest creatures and dogs and childhood and love. These are simple poems that make your heart smile, and inspire to slow down and notice the magic of life.


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Mama Built a Little Nest Cover Image
By Jennifer Ward, Steve Jenkins (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442421165
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - March 18th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (April 2014): Just like people have different houses, so do birds! Some birds build new nests, some birds use old ones, some steal nests, some build them out of spit!
Each page tells a little story of how different birds live in nature. Illustrated by the Caldecott winner Steve Jenkins, this is a fun and educational picture book sure to turn on your curiosity!


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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781565126053
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - April 22nd, 2008

Claire's Staff Pick (April 2014): “Our society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. Our institutions, urban/suburban design, and cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with doom—while disassociating the outdoors from joy and solitude.”

The concept of nature deficit disorder connects to each one of us, as more and more of our lives are spent inside. This fascinating book thoroughly investigates the importance of nature in child development, and how the natural world nurtures creativity within all of us.

Louv leaves you inspired rather than despairing through stories of positive changes taking place across the country, and provides support for parents and educators to encourage outdoor exploration.


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Living Beautifully: With Uncertainty and Change Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781611800760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - October 8th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (April 2014): Whether or not you practice meditation or any other Buddhist principles to your life does not matter… Chodron is the master of writing in our every day language, and does so in a beautiful and simple way.

Living Beautifully is broken down into three basic commitments – not to cause harm, to take care of one another, and to embrace the world just as it is. She provides simple practices to incorporate into modern life, so that we can live beautifully!


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Some Bugs Cover Image
By Angela Diterlizzi, Brendan Wenzel (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442458802
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - March 4th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (March 2014): Do you love bugs? Have you ever been curious about the amazing world of bugs? This bright coloured and beautifully illustrated book shows the crazy wild world of creepy crawlies. There is even a bug ID list to learn their names!

What a wonderful way to learn about the world on a smaller scale – I think this book is perfect for kids to get curious and get outside!


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Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale Cover Image
By Charles de Lint, Charles Vess (Illustrator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316053563
Availability: Special Order
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - February 4th, 2014

Claire's Staff Pick (March 2014): First published in 2002 as a limited edition press, this modern fairy tale is sure to blow your socks off.

Sarah-Jane and her dog Root adventure into the Tanglewoods where they meet Aunt Lillian, a old homesteading woman thought to be a witch! But, as Sarah-Jane soon finds out, Aunt Lillian is anything but a witch. She takes Sarah-Jane under her wing, teaching about the magical fairies and plant spirits that live in the forest.

I think this story is suitable to any age – it sparks imagination and curiosity about those shadowy places in the forest. The illustrations are AMAZING! Reading this made me wish I was Sarah-Jane learning the old ways of living!


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The Day the Crayons Quit Cover Image
By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399255373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - June 27th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (February 2014): When Duncan’s box of crayons get fed up with their jobs, they quit! Mr. Red Crayon is tired and works way more than all the other colours, and Purple demands that Duncan colour within the lines!

I love the perspective of these crazyons… this charming picture book took me back to the days of colouring, where beige is not brown, and the white crayon gets no use. What a wonderful story.


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The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo: A Child, an Elder, and the Light from an Ancient Sky Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781608680153
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New World Library - November 5th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (February 2014): In this third installment of Nerburn’s exploration of the native world with Dan, a Lakota elder, we are taken deep into the world of mystery and magic, spirit and history. We are taken into a foreign world of dreams and the interconnection of all life. This story explores the connection of a magical little girl to the gruesome “Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians” that stood from 1899-1933. We are taken into a place where “there is a deeper spiritual knowledge in this land than we know.”

Nerburn’s story took my breath away, challenged my ideas about dreams and exposed me to many beautiful teachings of the Lakota. We can all learn more from listening than from talking. I truly loved this book.


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A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781771003216
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greystone Books - November 12th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (February 2014): This story unfolds slowly, first unraveling the personal history of Candace Savage that led her to the town of Eastend, Saskachewan, near to the Cypress Hills. Her exploration of the prairies leads to unexpected, and haunting, findings as she wanders the historical geography of this landscape, one that tells of epic destruction of the natural world. With expanding colonialism, the massive buffalo herds were slaughtered within a decade, forcing native communities become refugees to an expanding empire of intolerance and greed.

Savage writes about our colonial history from a different perspective, one of ecology and the natural world. I was humbled by this story, feeling grief and guilt for the actions of my ancestors that resulted in the collapse of the prairie ecosystems that thrived like the grasslands in Africa. Stories like this are ones we all need to read, difficult though they may be, to truly understand our relationship to this land. And, Savage is Canadian!


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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly Cover Image
By Sun-Mi Hwang, Chi-Young Kim (Translator), Nomoco (Illustrator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143123200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 26th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (December 2013): Sprout has spent her entire life as an egg-laying hen, and just can’t lay another. Determined to escape the coop and hatch her own chick, Sprout challenges the hierarchy of the barnyard and sets out to fulfill her dreams. This is a delightful tale of a mother’s loyalty, courage and perseverance against the “way things are.”

I loved thinking about life from the perspective of a tired old hen looking to awaken her true life’s purpose.


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Dog Songs: Poems Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781594204784
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 8th, 2013

Claire's Staff Pick (December 2013): Some dogs make us laugh, some teach us patience, some console us through the trials of life… Mary Oliver’s poems speak to each of these relationships in this collection of “Dog Songs.”

Simple, hilarious, touching!

A Thousand Mornings
By Mary Oliver

“Every spring
I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
Then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.”

Mary Olivers’ words sing to the soul, tell stories of the ocean and the forest creatures, of dogs and childhood and love. These are simple poems that make your heart smile, and inspire us to slow down and notice the magic of life.


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Midnight's Children (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812976533
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - April 4th, 2006

Claire's Staff Pick (December 2013): This is a truly fantastic story, brimming with complex characters and relationships, and told with captivating style.

Saleem Sinai is born at the moment of India’s independence, along with one thousand other children born within the midnight hour, and endowed with magical powers. Through alternations of the present moment and flash-backs to the past, Rushdie connects the struggles of post-colonial independence in this Booker Prize winning classic.

It is a difficult and demanding story, but worth every effort.