Seven Wonders: Books to Spark Curiosity in Middle Childhood

July 30, 2018 | Andrea

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How do planes stay up there? Are there aliens in the universe? How do fish talk to each other? Is there technology to make cars fly? Those are just some of the questions that have been posted on Wonder Walls by kids in different libraries around the city. Visit your local Toronto Public Library branch to check out a thought-provoking and unique display, a collaborative message board where children can share what they're wondering about and reply to the musings of other kids. The Wonder Wall is a fun and interactive part of TPL's Summer Wonder activities, celebrating and stimulating children's natural curiosity about the world.

Just a few of the wonderful questions we've gotten:

Wonder Wall - Clouds

Question from child: Can you jump on clouds?
Answer from librarian: Great question, Jordan! Unfortunately, we can't jump on clouds because they are made up of water vapour. However, we can go through a cloud; for example, skydiving! Depending on the volume and density of the cloud you could come out wet or dry! Check out 551.576!


Wonder Wall question: I am wondering about why do we have a dream?

Q: I am wondering about how the brain works.
Q: I am wondering about why do we have a dream?
A: Brain activity changes during sleep, resulting in (sometimes very strange) images, ideas and feelings. Scientists continue to study the amazing human mind and how it works - check out 612.82 to learn more!


Wonder Wall question: How did people come up with different languages?

Q: How did people come up with different languages?
A: Whoa! Good question! We have some books about the origins of language at 302.2. There are many theories about how languages developed!


What's your child wondering about this summer? Post it on the Wonder Wall together during your next library visit! Kids love trivia and writing on Post-It notes, and grown-ups don't have to be a fan of Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit or Oasis to explore the world with their child. Use the questions as a springboard for learning and discovering new facts and ideas about nature and science, history and technology. Here are seven books filled with curiosities and wonders:


The Curious Guide to Things That Aren't by John D. Fixx and James F. Fixx

The Curious Guide to Things That Aren't by John D. Fixx and James F. Fixx

Put your guessing cap on for this book of riddles about amorphous, intangible things — one for each letter of the alphabet! This philosophical little book is a quick way for young readers to wrap their minds around concepts we can't always see or touch, such as an echo, an itch, time and zero.


History's Mysteries - Curious Clues  Cold Cases  and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka

History's Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka 

What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? Who stole the Irish Crown Jewels? And what's the deal with yetis and krakens? From the legend of Atlantis to UFO sightings, this book offers possible answers to history's most head-scratching questions. Explore the heady mystery of the Easter Island moai, decode the Voynich Manuscript, hunt for lost treasure and more!


Remarkable Plants by Jeff Probst

Remarkable Plants by Jeff Probst 

Packed with weird trivia and unbelievable facts, this book in the Challenge Yourself series (written by, yes, the host of Survivor) introduces readers to the world's most remarkable plants! Read all about record-breaking fruits and vegetables, carnivorous fungi, poisonous berries and super-stinky flowers.


Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating

Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating 

The first book in Canadian author and zoologist Jess Keating's World of Weird Animals series, this is a funny, engaging ode to cotton candy-coloured creatures such as the naked mole rat and pink fairy armadillo. Can't get enough of strangely adorable creatures? You don't want to miss Cute as an Axolotl — place a hold today!



Two Truths and a Lie - Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

Three tall tales too wild to be believed... but two are true and one is not! Can you separate fact from fiction? Practice your information literacy skills as you read astonishing anecdotes about a dog elected as mayor, Benjamin Franklin's farts and other bizarre stories! Need a crash course on how to spot fake news? The library has got you covered. 


Who Would Win - Tyrannosaurus rex vs. velociraptor by Jerry Pallotta

Who Would Win? Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Velociraptor by Jerry Pallotta

Settle the debate once and for all: who would win in a fight? Komodo dragon or king cobra? Tarantula or scorpion? Check out the rest of the books in the series. 


Behind the Legend - Unicorns by Erin Peabody

Behind the Legend: Unicorns by Erin Peabody 

Did you know that unicorn horns were prized for healing powers in medieval times? This fascinating book in the Behind the Legend series delves into the stories surrounding the mysterious creature. Investigate other mythical creatures such as dragons, werewolves and the Loch Ness Monster! 


For more inspiration, visit Wonderopolis, a cool website that challenges the whole family to share wonders and find possible solutions. Encourage divergent thinking by being open when asking and answering questions. Browse the library's collection for more curiosities and wonders, including but not limited to the perennially popular Guinness World Records, Ripley's Believe It or Not and Uncle John's Bathroom Readers! ​