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Top Grade Fall 2016 Selections (K-8)
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Top Grade Fall 2016 Selections (K-8)

Created by Top Grade on November 25, 2016
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tagged: children's, Canadian, school, library, K-8
New titles for children published in fall 2016.
Batcat and the Seven Squirrels

Batcat and the Seven Squirrels

by Eric Walters, illustrated by Kasia Charko
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : squirrels, cats, baby animals

Nathan has always loved animals and longs for a pet. When a baby squirrel shows up at Nathan's door, he wonders what could have happened to its mother. It isn't long before his family discovers six more orphaned baby squirrels in need of food and shelter. With help from Batcat, a neighborhood cat who is fed by many but owned by no one, Nathan learns to care for the squirrels. But all babies must leave the nest eventually. Will Nathan finally find a pet to call his own?

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I Am Not a Number

I Am Not a Number

by Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
tagged : native canadian, post-confederation (1867-), prejudice & racism, native american

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where …

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Brilliant!

Brilliant!

Shining a light on sustainable energy
by Michelle Mulder
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
tagged : environmental conservation & protection

Did you know that cars can run on french-fry grease or that human poop can be used to provide power to classrooms? Kids in Mexico help light up their houses by playing soccer, and in the Philippines, pop-bottle skylights are improving the quality of life for thousands of families. Brilliant! is about what happens when you harness the power of imagination and innovation: the world changes for the better! Full of examples of unusual (and often peculiar) power sources, Brilliant! encourages kids to …

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To Burp or Not to Burp

To Burp or Not to Burp

A Guide to Your Body in Space
by Dave Williams & Loredana Cunti
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
tagged : aeronautics, astronautics & space science, aviation

An informative and humorous look at what happens to your body in space – by someone who has been there.

Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is "How do you go to the toilet in space?" This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body: How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA …

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What Milly Did

What Milly Did

The Remarkable Pioneer of Plastics Recycling
by Elise Moser, illustrated by Scot Ritchie
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : social activists, recycling & green living, environmental conservation & protection, women

The extraordinary story of the woman who made plastics recycling possible.

Milly Zantow wanted to solve the problem of her town’s full landfill and ended up creating a global recycling standard — the system of numbers you see inside the little triangle on plastics. This is the inspiring story of how she mobilized her community, creating sweeping change to help the environment.

On a trip to Japan in 1978, Milly noticed that people were putting little bundles out on the street each morning. They …

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The Mask That Sang

The Mask That Sang

by Susan Currie
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : native canadian, multigenerational, native american

Cass and her mom have always stood on their own against the world. Then Cass learns she had a grandmother, one who was never part of her life, one who has just died and left her and her mother the first house they could call their own. But with it comes more questions than answers: Why is her Mom so determined not to live there? Why was this relative kept so secret? And what is the unusual mask, forgotten in a drawer, trying to tell her? Strange dreams, strange voices, and strange incidents all …

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Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers

Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers

by Anna Humphrey, illustrated by Lisa Cinar
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : humorous stories, new experience, imagination & play

Clara Humble may seem like your average fourth-grader who doesn’t look before she leaps, but she has a secret: she thinks she might have superpowers. Which is convenient, because things aren’t going so well for Clara. Students from rival R. R. Reginald are moving into her school for the term, and Clara’s favorite neighbor, Momo, is moving to a faraway retirement home.

Together with her best friend, Bradley, the winsome and overconfident Clara becomes convinced that her knack for making liq …

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The Best Mistake Mystery

The Best Mistake Mystery

The Great Mistake Mysteries
by Sylvia McNicoll
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : mysteries & detective stories, dogs, self-esteem & self-reliance

Some people count their blessings, but dogwalker Stephen Nobel counts mistakes.

Dogwalker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel can get a little anxious, but his habit of counting the mistakes he and everyone else makes calms him. His need to analyze gets kicked into hyperdrive after two crazy events happen in one day at school: the bomb squad blows up a backpack and someone smashes a car into the building.

To make things worse, that someone thinks Stephen can identify them. Stephen receives a threatening …

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Excerpt

Day One, Mistake One
At three o’clock in the afternoon, the fire alarm jangles. Mrs. Worsley’s arms startle open like a bird’s wings, but she quickly folds them back down across her chest, hiding her hands in her armpits. Her woolly eyebrows knit and her mouth purls.
“I’ve taught here for thirty years,” she told us on the first day of school. “There is nothing you can do that will shock me.”
But on day thirty, this alarm takes her by surprise. Drills are always planned, which can only mean one thing.
I leap from my seat, wave my arms, and shout, “Fire! Fire!”
No one moves.
Mrs. Worsley’s left eye twitches as she reaches up to grab my shoulders — I’m taller than she is — and squeezes gently. “Stephen Noble, calm down.”
Everyone stares. My face turns hot. Mistake number one of the day.
My mother says I read too much into things. That’s what I’ve done with this fire alarm. Based on Mrs. Worsley’s body language, I decided it was a real-life emergency and jumped to warn everyone. Now they’re all snickering behind their hands or rolling their eyes at silly old Green Lantern, my nickname since grade four.
Back then at least I had a best friend, Jessie, who stood by me when I did goofy things, even when I dropped my jeans to change for gym and had boxers on instead of gym shorts. Of course, they were the Green Lantern specials that Mom brought back from England. Jessie told everyone that I had changed into my secret identity. None of the kids believed him.
“If that’s the worst mistake you made all day, Stephen, you’re rockin’,” Mom had said on her phone the morning after the underwear thing. She works as a flight attendant, so she’s away a lot. To make me feel better, she told me a story about how the pilot forgot to put the landing gear down that day and how that caused a belly landing and quite some damage.
“You could have been hurt,” I told her.
“True, but I wasn’t. Nobody was.” She sighed. “Don’t think so hard about things. By next week everyone will have forgotten about your Green Lantern incident.”
Shows you what she knows. The nickname lingers on. Also my fear of airplane travel.
Yelling out “Fire! Fire!” may not have been as bad as dropping my drawers three years ago, but it’s still the worst mistake for me today and I’m definitely not rockin’. On top of that, Jessie moved away over the summer. There will be no one to stick up for me later when everyone makes even more fun of me.
It started back in that grade four gym class and continues. It would be way easier to make a new friend if I were good at a team sport. If I were any good at soccer, Tyson and Bruno and me might be pals. Instead, I trip when I kick at the ball and let goals go by me. Because I’m tall and have long arms and legs, everyone expects me to be good at basketball, but I can’t sink a basket. Or spike a volleyball. What I excel at isn’t played at school: Wii bowling. I sigh. Jessie is a great Wii bowler, too.
Mrs. Worsley releases my shoulders and faces the rest of the kids. “Grade seven, line up quickly and quietly.”
Renée’s hand shoots up but Mrs. Worsley ignores her. I can’t blame her. Renée’s hand is always up. And if the teacher even looks her way, Renée’s glittery glasses or hairband might blind her. Renée will keep waving her hand until Mrs. Worsley becomes hypnotized into answering her. And the teacher can never answer just one question. There’s always another question and another till it turns into this big back and forth discussion. Which is why nobody wants Mrs. Worsley to call on Renée. It always slows everything down.
“Should we take our things?” Renée yells out when Mrs. Worsley continues to ignore her.
This time Princess Einstein has a point. In about fifteen minutes the final dismissal bell will ring.
Mrs. Worsley shakes her head. “No talking! Hurry!” She shoos us with her hands toward the door.
Everyone lines up.
“Renée, Stephen, you two go ahead and hold the doors.”
She’s pairing us up again like she’s done from the beginning of school, as though she wants to keep us out of her hair. I understand giving Renée keep-busy work; otherwise, she’ll question Mrs. Worsley to death. But me?
Of course, whenever we have to partner up, there’s no Jessie, so Renée’s pretty much my only choice, anyway, and where I’m super tall and bad at sports, Renée is super short and bad.
As we lead the way down the hall, I search for flames and sniff for smoke. Nothing.
“Hurry, Stephen!”
I hustle to catch up to Renée at our class’s set of exit doors and slam my back into the remaining one to open and hold it in place.
“Nice job, Green Lantern,” Tyson says as he passes through.
“Wearing your ring?” his friend Bruno asks.
“Sure is,” Tyson says. “He put out the fire while we weren’t looking.”
Har de har har, I think.
The whole school pours out through three exits. Long streams of students spill over from the blacktop to the field. Finally, when no one seems to be left inside the school, Renée and I let the doors shut behind us.
“Crazy to have a drill at the end of the day,” Renée says. “Something has to be up.”
Mrs. Worsley gives us the glare.
“Shh! We’ll get a detention.” Talking during a drill is a big no-no at our school. Still, I’m glad Renée thinks the same way I do. We walk together to the end of our line. I feel like a gawky giant next to shorty glitter girl.
Teachers begin to count the kids in their lines and, one by one, hold up their clipboards to signal to the principal, Mrs. Watier, that everyone is accounted for.
Mrs. Watier is new to our school and young and hip compared to Mrs. Worsley. She drives a black convertible TZX and wears tall black boots with everything, even jeans. Mrs. Worsley drives a beige, boxy car and wears white sneakers with all her clothes, skirts and dresses included. No jeans, not ever. Today, our cool principal paces and studies the rows of students, eyes narrowed. All the clipboards go up. No students lost in this disaster.
No sirens wail, no fire trucks pull up. Maybe it’s just a drill, after all. Mrs. Watier talks to each teacher, and after she chats with ours, our regular end-of-the-day bell rings and Mrs. Worsley dismisses us.
“But I don’t have my agenda!” Renée protests.
“Never mind. Forget your homework for one night. Go straight home, please.”
I squint at the school doors. If it’s not a real fire, then why can’t we go back in?
Mrs. Worsley is the queen of the agenda. Everything we do in class — tests, runs for cures, videos we watch, all the stuff we’re supposed to do for homework, books or chapters to read, websites to browse, things we need to bring in, every gym or crazy hat or hair day, everything — she wants us to write it down and have our parents sign it so they know about it. “Never-minding” us about the agenda is a weird thing for her to do. I can’t believe this is just a drill. She would make us write that in the agenda. Something way more serious has to be happening.
“Stephen, did you hear me?”
“Yes, Mrs. W.”
“Then be on your way.”
I have another important job starting today, so leaving right on time without homework would be very convenient if it weren’t so suspicious. At the edge of the schoolyard, I turn to look back at the school and scan the building. I’m looking for a sign, a clue, something to let me know why Mrs. Worsley was so anxious to get rid of us.

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