Forest of Reading 2018: Read, Vote, Celebrate!

October 25, 2017 | Laurie

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The Forest of Reading is ready to rock reading for 2018. The lists of nominated titles have been announced and you and your children can be part of the excitement.

What is the Forest of Reading?

The Forest of Reading, run by the Ontario Library Association (OLA), is Canada’s largest recreational reading program. Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators are celebrated as readers vote for their favourite books of 2018. 

Eight lists of nominated titles are announced each October during Ontario Public Library Week. The lists are intended for all English-language age groups from preschoolers to seniors, for people learning to read, and for those reading French-language texts.

More than 250,000 readers participate annually through schools, public libraries, or individually at home. Books are read, votes are cast, and the top favourites are announced at the Festival of Trees, a two-day 'rock concert' for reading held in May in Toronto. Each year, more than 10,000 people attend the Festival to meet authors and illustrators and celebrate the joy of reading.

Your child’s school might be participating when the program begins in January, but borrow the books now for a head start.

Below are the books nominated in the Blue Spruce Award (Kindergarten-Grade 2) category. Check TPL’s Award Winners page for more Forest of Reading nominated books, available for borrowing from Toronto Public Library!

A Squiggly Story

A Squiggly Story, by Andrew Larsen

A young boy cannot read or write like his big sister, but with her encouragement, he frees his imagination and his squiggles to write a story. The tale that emerges tells of soccer and shark-infested waters and will encourage young children to tell their own stories through squiggles.

Even superheroes have bad days

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, by Shelly Becker

Beastie, Zing, Thrash and Laserman are just some of the superheroes that storm across the pages of this book with force and superhero emotion. Told in rhyme, this book features superheroes who get mad and may be sad, but do they punch and pound? Oh no, they do not. Discover how superheroes handle their emotions and encourage your child to find their inner superhero, too.

French Toast

French Toast, by Kari-Lynn Winters

Nicknames can hurt, especially when they come from classmates. Phoebe is half Jamaican, half French-Canadian and the children call her “French Toast.” Phoebe explains to her blind grandmother, Nan-ma, that the children call her this because of her skin colour. Nan-ma has Phoebe describe skin colour for her. Phoebe describes her mother’s skin as “stirred peach yogurt” and a friend’s skin as “chocolate hazelnut spread”. In the end, she comes to accept her own beautiful skin colour.  


Great, by Glen Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky states in the foreword to this book that, “Every child should know that they’re Great. Every kid deserves a shot.” Taylor has the made the hockey team and he’s playing with a young Wayne Gretzky, who is already exhibiting his greatness. How can Taylor be great, too? He must learn that there is greatness in everyone; he just needs to find it.

Milo and Georgie

Milo and Georgie, by Bree Balbraith

Milo doesn’t want to move, but his sister Georgie doesn’t mind. Milo declares that he will “never smile again, never laugh, and never eat ice cream,” and he doesn’t until Georgie changes his mind as she enthusiastically embraces their new home. Follow Georgie as she wanders through town with a string tied to her waist so that Milo can call her home before Mom returns.

Shark Lady

Shark Lady, by Jess Keating

This picture book biography of world-famous scientist Eugenie Clark (nicknamed Shark Lady) tells of her exciting and adventurous life beneath the sea. Her interest began at age nine upon a trip to Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. Following that first encounter with sharks, she visited the aquarium weekly, proceeded to become an Ichthyologist (fish researcher) and devoted her life to studying these feared creatures of the sea.

The Branch

The Branch, by Mireille Messier

Ice storms leave behind a shimmering beauty, but also downed branches and damaged trees. A little girl’s favourite branch, the one she sat on, jumped from, and played under, lies broken on the ground. Her mother has no time to think about branches, but Mr. Frank, the neighbour, sees potential in this broken limb. Together, he and the girl create something new to replace what was lost.

The darkest dark

The Darkest Dark, by Chris Hadfield

The Darkest Dark tells the story of Chris, who dreams of being an astronaut, but is dreadfully afraid of the dark, the “kind of dark that attracts the worst sort of aliens.” That is until he watches the Apollo 11 moon landing and comes to realize that the dark is powerful, mysterious and beautiful. This story is inspired by the childhood of world-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield.

The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain

The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain, by Carolyn Huizinga Mills

Sally wants to know why there is a little boy living down the drain after she hears her mother singing the Baa Baa Black Sheep rhyme to her younger brother. This humorous twist on a tale has Sally peering down the drain hole, talking to the little boy who she imagines lives there. This boy is a good listener and through her talk Sally finds new ways to connect with her busy, preoccupied family members.

The owl and the lemming

The Owl and the Lemming, by Roselynn Akulukjuk

Young Owl is hungry. He spies Lemming eating moss outside and blocks the entrance to Lemming’s den. Lemming must use his wits if he is going to avoid being Owl’s supper. A humorous tale that is based on a short film written and directed by the author in 2015.