Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Best of the Best: 2016 Lit Picks for K-12

So, yesterday I attended the Alberta School Library Council’s Best of the Best Lit Picks for 2016. Basically what happens is that United Library Service (ULS) sends preview copies of tons and tons of newly published books to the ASLC and then those books are reviewed by Alberta teachers-librarians and teachers.

Hundreds and hundreds of 2016 shiny new books were on display. 100 of them were book talked. The two hour session whizzed by and those several hundred books that could not be book talked within in the 2 hours have online reviews that are worth checking out. The highly entertaining book-talkers were informative, witty and super knowledgeable. As a listener I found the book talks to be all of the following:

  • fun to listen to (anyone wanting to see book talking in action should attend the next event in October)
  • tied books to Alberta curriculum outcomes
  • exemplars of  how to use certain books in Alberta classrooms (and students' reactions to the books)

Below are some of my favorites from yesterday, spanning  K-12. The links with more info will take you to the ASLC website where you can find out a lot more about the books listed here...and many, MANY, more (organized by grade & genre). You will need to register on the ASLC website to access the links.

Create a free account on the Alberta School Library Council website so that you will have full access to the links below. You  will want full access! Just saying…

A Caldecott 2016 winner about the real life inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. For the full book talk click here.

The story of Anne Frank told from the perspective of a tree. A great story on perspective, has real-life connections and a teacher guide. Fascinating. Amazing review here.

From the ASLC website, “this book is highly recommended as a read-aloud for grades three and four, as a book that focuses on Character Education qualities: Caring/Kindness/Compassion or Kindness  and Alberta’s Health unit: Understanding and Expressing Feelings/Interactions...more

Need a new Christmas book? This is it! More

From The ASLC website writes, “Kami, a thirteen-year-old Japanese-Canadian girl suddenly finds her life upside down when she must move to Edmonton. Lonely and upset, Kami discovers a family journal with newspaper clippings that send her hurtling back in time to 1929, where she meets the heroic World War I flying ace Wop May as he embarks on a dangerous mission to the North, as well as Judge Emily Murphy of the Famous Five fighting for womens’ rights. Kami is shocked more

From the ASLC website: “often, we are at a loss when we talk with children about death. Cry Heart, But Never Break broaches the taboo subject of death in a gentle, reaffirming way. The opening spread shows a cottage in the more

This book is great for new to Canada students, ELL, and possibly for use with peer tutors who will be working with ELL students. From the ASLC website, ”What does it feel like to come to a new country where you know nothing of the culture or the language? Cartwheel, a young girl in a war-torn African country, moves to another country to be safe. Her new country is strange and everything is different from what she knows. Most telling, she and her aunt are separated from people by the language. More

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! From the ASLC website, “Tallec has created a puzzle game, inquiry book and social story all rolled into one. On the top of each page of this sideways book is the only text on the spread – a question starting with Who.  Underneath there are nine to ten characters, some human, some animal, who are lined up, police style, on a white background. While some of the characters look like they are lined up to find a culprit...more

...a little creepy, a little steam punk,a suspense and thriller for junior high students….more

Kahlen defies the rules of her service in order to follow her heart in this mythical story of many kinds of love – sisterly love, friendship, parental love, romantic love, and learning to love yourself. Fans of the author, young adult female readers, will be enticed by the intrigue and romance in the fascinating siren world….more

Great read for high school boys with current event tie-ins and short chapters. Writes the ASLC reviewer, “high school senior Kamran Smith goes from the triumph of the football field, dating the most popular girl, and feeling 100% American, to being labeled as the brother of a terrorist when his big brother Darius, an army hero, is filmed making threats against his country, hinting about an upcoming deadly terrorist attack….more

Yesterday, the book reviewer stated that this was the “best book [she had] read all year.” The online review writes that this is a “novel in memorable free verse to share the true story of two Jewish girls enslaved in Auschwitz during World War II. Using alternating entries, Zlatka and Fania give the reader intimate glimpses...more

Apache legends in a post apocalyptic world. Dystopian novel for mature readers. From the ASLC website: “In this sequel to the award-winning “Killer of Enemies,” master aboriginal story-teller Joseph Bruchac continues to weave a tapestry of intriguing Apache legends and myths, following fearless teen warrior Lozen as she leads her family and allies to a place of refuge from evil technically augmented human rulers in a terrifying post-apocalyptic world...more”.

Stephen King’s Misery, but for teens….more

Debut author Alex Gino states “this is their first novel”, approaching the subject of trans-identity in an insightful, clear, positive, and relatable way. While the world interacts with ten-year-old George as if she is a boy, the third person narration uses feminine pronouns throughout the story, validating her struggles for acknowledgment and acceptance of her gender identity….more

Graphic novel format. This honest and touching graphic memoir reflects debut author Maggie Thrash’s journey through self -discovery  and her realization of her lesbianism during one monumental summer at Camp Bellflower, ...more

Space Pirates. Science Fiction. Male and female POVs, first in a series. Engaging...more

"..the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, will appeal to all mystery fans. Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited more

The list of books above is a very small sample of yesterday’s book-talking event. I strongly urge you to check out the ASLC website for more great reads for kids or every age. It is amazing.

Happy reading!

If you are not yet a member of an ATA specialist council, I’d highly recommend you join the ASLC. That way you get access to free things like yesterday’s Best of the Best 2016 Lit Picks event. If you're interested here is the link to join.

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