I Just Finished Reading...Top Picks for February

February 16, 2016 | Diane

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Image from The Story of Diva and Flea
Flea makes off with a tasty morsel in "The Story of Diva and Flea"

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!


Urgency Emergency - Humpty's FallUrgency Emergency! Humpty’s Fall
By Dosh Archer
Ages 6 – 8

Doctor Glenda and Nurse Percy are busy treating a patient when Humpty Dumpty is rushed to the City Hospital with a crack in his head (delivered there by all the king’s men, of course). Part of the Urgency Emergency series, featuring fairytale and nursery rhyme characters as well as life lessons (in this case, to never move an injured person without medical assistance), Humpty’s Fall is an ideal pick for emerging readers. The familiar characters and plot lines, large text, use of familiar sight words and natural language make this an engaging read-aloud or independent read for more confident readers.


The Kids' Book of Simple MachinesThe Kids’ Book of Simple Machines: Cool Projects & Activities That Make Science Fun
By Kelly Doudna
Ages 6 – 8

Incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in the classroom is common these days, but I was still surprised when my kindergartner casually informed me at the playground that a slide is an example of an inclined plane. Kids enjoy learning about the world around them, but when it comes to simple machines, it can be tough to find a resource that’s age appropriate and fun. This book totally fits the bill – it explores six, simple machines and the everyday examples we see all around us. Filled with photographs, it explains a bit about the history, design and use of these machines, and includes easy activities to make at home.


The Story of Diva and FleaThe Story of Diva and Flea
By Mo Willems
Ages 7 - 9

Based on Willems’ time spent living and writing in Paris, and featuring lovely artwork by Tony DiTerlizzi, this is a tale of unlikely friendship sure to enchant kids and parents alike. Diva is a neat and tidy dog who thrives on predictability and fears the unknown, while Flea is a flâneur, a seasoned city wanderer who explores for the love of exploring. After they meet in Diva’s front garden (she’s too afraid to go beyond the gate), they come to appreciate the other's lifestyle, with happy results for both.

The Big DarkThe Big Dark
By Rodman Philbrick
Ages 9 – 12

This is a riveting story about what happens when the lights go out – and don’t come back on.
On New Year’s Eve, in a remote New Hampshire town, Charlie and his family are gathered with their neighbours to watch the northern lights. Instead, they are blinded by a massive solar flare that causes everything using electricity – phones, computers, lights, refrigerators, heaters, cars – to stop working. Panic, desperation and fear quickly creep in, and the very best and worst of humanity is revealed. Reminiscent of Hatchet, there is a lot of potential for family discussion with this page-turner - it will spark interest in learning more about electricity, disasters and survival techniques, but may also prompt debate about the importance of doing the right thing.


Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m reading for March… just in time to make some recommendations for March Break reading!

Pile of books to read for March