A remarkable reading opportunity!

October 21, 2011 | Peggy

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The Forest of Reading®   is a children’s choice award program run by the Ontario Library Association (OLA). It is the largest recreational reading program in Canada with more than 250,000 students registered in the program annually. Celebrating Canadian authors, illustrators and publishers, The Forest of Reading® is the program where reading and participating makes you a rock star. The program usually runs in the schools from January to May, when the winners are announced at the Festival of Trees in a two day celebration.  There are 5 school aged programs: Blue Spruce (Kindergarten to Grade 2), Silver Birch (Grades 3 to 6), Red Maple (Grades 7 & 8), White Pine (Grades 9 – 12) and Le Prix Tamarac (a French language program). Check out the video of children talking about The Forest of Reading® to get their perspective.

The books for 2012 have just recently been announced, and they constitute a blockbuster line up of Canadian talent.  All of these books are available from Toronto Public Library, but will be very popular once the programs get underway in January. You can help your child get a head start on reading them, placing holds on the books now ensures you will be able to read them in time. Be part of your child’s reading experience, children can read these books on their own, or have the books read aloud to them. It is an exciting and powerful program as the children know that their opinion of the best book on each list really counts.

Check with your school’s teacher-librarian to see if your school is participating in The Forest of Reading®. There is also the opportunity for individuals to register for the program should your school not be participating (or if you are homeschooling your children). There are 90 books on the lists, 10 books for every category, far too many to discuss here. A few of the titles are highlighted below.

A Flock of Shoes is nomintated on the Blue Spruce list. It is a whimsical look at how young children view the changes of the seasons along with the need to put away clothing that is no longer appropriate for the weather conditions. Abby loves her pink, brown and lime green sandals and fights taking them off in the fall. One day they take flight and she worries if she will ever see them again. Written with rich, evocative language and delicate pictures, this is will resonate with children.

DontTouchToadSilver Birch includes both fiction and non-fiction and Don't Touch That Toad is a non-fiction book that attempts to dispell the myths of youth. Can cracking your knuckles really lead to arthritis? Does eating fried food give you acne? Will your eyes freeze if you cross them? This delightful book examines all of these questions and many more.



Nominated for the Silver Birch Fiction list (aimed at grades 5 and 6), Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze is both a poignant and humourous look at loss and recovery. Milo, a 12 year old, is dealing with the death of his mother as well as all of the other angsts that being in grade 7 brings. This is truly one of those transformative books that will stay with you long after the last page is read.



Nominated for the Red Maple program (Grades 7 & 8), Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom introduces Violet who is dealing with the divorce of her parents and the resulting chaos of her mother's attempt to find love again. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that the perfect mate for Violet's mother is George Clooney.