I Just Finished Reading... Top Picks for December

December 21, 2015 | Diane

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Each month I share my favourite new books for 6 – 12 year-olds that have both kid AND parent appeal. I hope you enjoy them, too!


Elephant JourneyElephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity
By Rob Laidlaw
Ages 6 – 9

This picture book tells the true story of Toronto Zoo’s three elephants, Toka, Thika and Iringa, who were relocated to the PAWS sanctuary in California in 2013. The gorgeous oil paintings by Brian Deines show the beauty and intelligence of these wonderful animals, but also reflect the hardship they experienced living in captivity and in a climate so different from where they were born. Toronto readers may recognize local touches in the artwork, including landmarks at the Toronto Zoo and a Toronto police cruiser. This uplifting tale has a hopeful ending and is a great introduction to elephants and animal activism for younger kids.

Child Soldier - When Boys and Girls are Used in WarChild Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War
By Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanine
Ages 8 – 11

Michel Chikwanine was only five years old when he was abducted by rebel militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Forced to become a child soldier, he recounts the terror of capture, his escape from the militants and the longing for the childhood that was stolen from him. Set in graphic novel format, this moving memoir retells these events with sensitivity to young readers, while bringing this worldwide issue out into the open. It’s a useful resource for kids who are asking questions about what they see and hear in the news and a powerful example of human resiliency.

By Gordon Korman
Ages 9 – 12

Eli has the perfect life in Serenity – he lives in a peaceful community and doesn’t have to worry about anything. But the cracks start to show after he falls ill when trying to bike outside the town limits with his friend. Eli and the other kids in the town start to question the world they see around them and uncover a terrible secret about themselves that might make it impossible for them to ever live anywhere else. Worse still, there’s no one they can trust – especially not their parents. The fast-paced action, alternating narrators and complex plot will make it tough for readers to put this one down!

Coming in January...

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m reading for January's post… it’s a big stack, so I know what I’ll be doing during my vacation.

P.S. I'm almost done Full Cicada Moon and it is so, so good!

Pile of books to read for January