The Scotiabank Giller Prize, the 21st edition!

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is an award given to excellence in Canadian fiction, as chosen by a small yet award-winning group of jurists. The winner of the Prize, now in its 21th year, receives 100 grand and a whole bunch of publicity. The five finalists will be announced October 6 (the winner November 10), but until then, here is the full list of nominees, a handy list on what’s new to read during our long fall and winter seasons:

Arjun Basu’s Waiting for the Man9781770411777_1

“Joe, a 36-year-old advertising copywriter for a slick New York company, feels disillusioned with his life. He starts dreaming of a mysterious man, seeing him on the street, and hearing his voice. Joe decides to listen to the Man and so he waits on his stoop, day and night, for instructions. A local reporter takes notice, and soon Joe has become a story, a media sensation, the centre of a storm. When the Man tells Joe to “go west,” he does, in search of meaning.” (ECW Press)

bezmozgis-betrayersDavid Bezmozgis’ The Betrayers

“These incandescent pages give us one momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the West Bank settlements, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior. He and the fierce young Leora flee the scandal for Yalta, where he comes face to face with the former friend who denounced him to the KGB almost forty years earlier.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

galchen-americanRivka Galchen’s American Innovations

“In one of the intensely imaginative stories in Galchen’s American Innovations, a young woman’s furniture walks out on her. In another, the narrator feels compelled to promise to deliver a takeout order that has incorrectly been phoned to her. In a third, the petty details of a property transaction illuminate the complicated pains and loves of a family. The tales in this groundbreaking collection are secretly in conversation with canonical stories, reimagined from the perspective of female characters.” (Macmillan)

itani-tellFrances Itani’s Tell

“In 1919, only months after the end of the Great War, the men and women of Deseronto struggle to recover from wounds of the past, both visible and hidden. Kenan, a young soldier who has returned from the war damaged and disfigured, confines himself to his small house on the Bay of Quinte, wandering outside only under the cover of night. His wife, Tress, attempting to adjust to the trauma that overwhelms her husband and which has changed their marriage, seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. Maggie, along with her husband, Am, who cares for the town clock tower, have their own sorrows, which lie unacknowledged between them… As the decade draws to a close and the lives of these beautifully-drawn characters become more entwined, each of them must decide what to share and what to hide… [Itani] shows us how, ultimately, the very secrets we bury to protect ourselves can also be the cause of our undoing.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

lovegrove-watchJennifer Lovegrove’s Watch How We Walk

“Alternating between a woman’s childhood in a small town and as an adult in the city, this novel traces a Jehovah Witness family’s splintering belief system, their isolation, and the erosion of their relationships. As Emily becomes closer to her closeted Uncle Tyler, she begins to challenge her upbringing. Her questions about the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ insular lifestyle, rigid codes of conduct, and tenets of their faith haunt her older sister Lenora too. When Lenora disappears, everything changes and Emily becomes obsessed with taking on her sister’s identity, believing that Lenora is controlling her actions… The narrative offers a haunting, cutting exploration of the Jehovah’s Witness practice and practical impact of “disfellowshipping,” proselytization, and cultural abstinence, as well as their attitude toward the ‘worldlings’ outside of their faith.” (

michaels-conductorsSean Michaels’ Us Conductors

“In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Lev Termen, the Russian scientist, inventor, and spy, tells the story of his life to his ‘one true love,’ Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world… Us Conductors is steeped in beauty, wonder, and looping heartbreak, a sublime debut that inhabits the idea of invention on every level.” (GoodReads)

mootoo-crabShani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab

“Written in vibrant, supple prose that vividly conjures both the tropical landscape of Trinidad and the muted winter cityscape of Toronto, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab is a passionate eulogy to a beloved parent, and a nuanced, moving tale about the struggle to embrace the complex realities of love and family ties.” (GoodReads)

oneill-saturdayHeather O’Neil’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

“Nineteen years old, free of prospects, and inescapably famous, the twins Nicholas and Nouschka Tremblay are trying to outrun the notoriety of their father, a French-Canadian Serge Gainsbourg with a genius for the absurd and for winding up in prison….With all the wit and poignancy that made Baby such a beloved character in Lullabies for Little Criminals, O’Neill writes of an unusual family and what binds them together and tears them apart. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is classic, unforgettable Heather O’Neill.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

page-paradiseKathy Page’s Paradise and Elsewhere

“The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin… Paradise and Elsewhere is a collection of dark tables at once familiar and entirely strange, join Kathy Page as she notches a new path through the wild, lush, half-fantastic and half-real terrain of fairy tale and myth.” (

rothman-october Claire Holden Rothman’s My October

“My October examines issues of history, language, and cultural identity amid the ethnic and linguistic diversity of today’s Montreal. Inspired in part by two real-life figures from Quebec’s past – James Richard Cross, the British diplomat who was held captive by FLQ terrorists, and Jacques Lanctôt, the man who was Cross’s captor – this is also a story about the province’s turbulent history and ever-shifting role within the country at whose heart it lies.” (Facebook)

toews-punyMiriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows

All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.” (

viswanathan-raoPadma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao

“In 2004, almost 20 years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver, 2 suspects-finally- are on trial for the crime. Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist trained in Canada, comes back to do a “study of comparative grief,” interviewing people who lost loved ones in the attack. What he neglects to mention is that he, too, had family members who died on the plane. Then, to his delight and fear, he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family caught in the undertow of the tragedy, and privy to their secrets. This surprising emotional connection sparks him to confront his own losses. The Ever After of Ashwin Rao imagines the lasting emotional and political consequences of a real-life act of terror, confronting what we might learn to live with and what we can live without.” (

(Visit for retrospective coverage of the Giller Prize’s past two decades.)

- Lyle

And they’re off!

Story time Registration

If you’re reading this post the day it was posted, then you’re reading it on Friday, September 12. This also just happens to be “Fall Story Time Registration Day” at all the libraries. If the Kentucky Derby is known as the “most exciting 2 minutes in all of Sport”, then I think it’s fair to say that “Fall Storytime Registration Day” is the “most exciting 30 minutes in all of public librarianship”. At least it seems that way at our branch. Excited parents will often line up outside our library doors before we even open and make their way to our info desk in not quite a running gait but definitely more than a walking pace to make sure they are registered. Other parents wait at home with their fingers flexed waiting for the clock to flip from 9:59 am for them to press “send” on their smartphones. Our most popular programs seem to be Baby Rhyme Time, aimed for children anywhere from newborns to 2 years old, and Time for Twos, which is geared to children aged 2 to 3. For these programs, children and their caregivers sit in a semi-circle on comfy “floor chairs” that support their backs. The children usually sit in their caregiver’s laps, but sometimes a wander around the story-time room is more interesting for them. Each week, following a theme, the leader will sing songs, introduce rhymes and stories and maybe even incorporate puppets! (Disclaimer: not every session may have puppets. Let’s be reasonable here.) Our libraries also offer preschool story-times aimed at 3-5 year olds. Many libraries offer “family story times” that are open to caregivers and their children and aim to appeal to a wide age range.

The hope is that the caregivers will be given some ideas and inspiration to use at home with their children, and establish the roots of reading.

There are six early literacy skills that if learned early on will help create life-long readers.

  • Tell a Story! Learning to tell a story helps children develop thinking and comprehension skills.
  • Have Fun with Books! Children who enjoy books will want to learn to read.
  • Learn about Print! Being familiar with printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.
  • Learn about the Sounds of Speech! Being able to hear the small sounds in words helps children sound out printed words.
  • Learn your ABCs! Knowing the names and sounds of the letters helps children sound out printed words.
  • Learn your Words! Knowing many words helps children recognize printed words and understand what they read.

I say that “Fall Storytime Registration Day “is the most exciting 30 minutes in public librarianship” because the flurry usually dies down after the first half hour. But unlike the Kentucky Derby there are usually not as many fancy hats and we discourage the drinking of mint juleps before noon.


While some programs fill up immediately, there are other programs that still have space, depending on the program, the date/time and the location, so if you are interested in learning more about our fall story time offerings, please visit our website at or contact your local branch directly.


Human Rights and Civilization: the right way to civilize humans

These are exciting and perplexing times in of terms assessing and measuring human progress: few things provide a better example of this complexity than charting the history and evolution of human rights. There is always an arbitrary nature in measuring periods, but if we could reflect on the changes that have occurred in our world from say the opening of the Canadian Museum of Civilization on June 29, 1989 to the future opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on September 20, 2014 one cannot help but be taken by how far the link of living in a civilized world is connected to living in a world grounded by human rights.

Human Rights and the uses of history

For all the failures and set backs (Tiananmen Square, Rwanda, the Serb-Croat-Bosnian War, etc.), it has been the consistent call for human rights expressed by the people who have been left marginalized, excluded, exposed to violence, hatred and humiliation that has defined our modern era. Certainly since 1945 and even more intensely since the end of the Cold War. Looking back, this march of progress towards human rights seems so natural and obvious that it appears to be almost ‘second nature'; like many to all forms of human progress there was nothing natural or preordained about it, it was hard-won and hard-fought. A good sampling of these struggles is found the essays in Samuel Moyn’s, ‘Human Rights and the Uses of History’, and also Aryeh Neier’s, ‘The International Human Rights Movement’. An excellent source to find primary sources of key human rights documents and laws is Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman’s ‘International Human Rights: texts and materials’ and Jack Donnelly provides context of human rights and world politics.

An emerging and controversial concept in studying human rights is the question whether human rights are truly universal or merely a unique concept of the west? Books that explore these themes is John Headley ‘The Europeanization of the World: on the origins of human rights and democracy’, and David Kinley’s ‘Civilising Globalisation: human rights and the global economy’. Here Kinley makes the point that human rights and global economic growth should not be considered mutually exclusive and a more nuanced view of combing political and economic rights should be pursued.

Civilising Globalisation

The unifying factor in tracing the history of human rights is the fundamental idea of human dignity. This is represented by George Kateb’s ‘Human Dignity’, Ruti Teitel’s ‘Humanity’s Law’, and Charles Beitz’s ‘The Idea of Human Rights’. Part of that requirement for human dignity is to recognize and take appropriate responsibility for past injustices  committed against people either within and beyond our borders. Mark Gibney’s ‘The Age of Apology: facing up to the past’ and  Robert Rotberg and Dennis Thompson’s ‘Truth v. justice’ argue about the importance of providing a critical self-assessment of past injustices, but also the possible limitations of this approach.

We all have to share in this world and we also must interact with each other with respect, humility and toleration; whether it is trade, the environment, global or local politics living to the ideals of human rights and human dignity should be our beacon. Civilizing our impulses and desires by protecting our human rights is in my modest opinion civilizing humans done right.

Phil D.

2014 Hugo Awards, or How I Found My Next Read


The 2014 Hugo Awards were presented in London on Sunday, August 17th. This year’s winner for Best Novel went to Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice, which tells the story of One Esk – an electronic artificial intelligence – who once commanded an entire starship, the formidable Justice of Tore. Now confined to a mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts as the entity called “Breq,” the AI must survive as a multi-segmented, ancillary humanoid being in a galactic empire ruled by an oppressive government — without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators. I will definitely put this down on my reading list!

In fact, I’ve always strived to read as many Hugo-winning books as possible. When you’re as avid a reader as I am, it’s always exciting to discover a new author, along with her or his body of work. I thought I would share some of my favourite Hugo winners, in the hopes that you might also find someone new!

RedshirtsRedshirts, by John Scalzi, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. While familiar with the author, I’d never read any of his works previously. Redshirts was a great introduction – definitely recommended for any classic Star Trek fan! Follow Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned to the Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union, as he works in the xenobiology lab. He and the other new ensigns notice something weird about life aboard the Intrepid — on any away mission, at least one crew member dies. And each away mission seems to follow a bizarre set of rules. The crew of the Intrepid has become very superstitious and fearful about getting involved in the bridge crew’s missions. After meeting with a lost crewmember, the ensigns learn that they are characters in a TV show. As the new ensigns understand their lot, the story is similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, where the story tells what happens when its characters find out they are not in the “real” storyline. In what I see as inspired genius, Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook version.

SagaSaga, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Not only that, but the series also won the three Eisner Awards it was nominated for in 2013 (Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer), and won six 2013 Harvey Awards (Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Color, Best New Series, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Single Issue or Story). Brian K. Vaughan is one of my favourite comic writers – Pride of Baghdad holding a special place in my heart – so I was quite excited when this new series was announced. Not familiar with Fiona Staples’ work, I found myself blown away! In this first volume (collecting issues of Saga #1-6) bits of sf space opera and classic fantasy mesh in setting a sprawling stage for an intensely personal story of two lovers, cleverly narrated by their newborn daughter. Though recently soldiers from opposite sides of a massive intergalactic war, moth-winged Alana and ram-horned Marko simply want peace and anonymity to raise their daughter (an abomination to the powers that be) away from conflict and hatred. Action, adventure, love, sex, grief, and joy combine in one amazing book!

Among OthersAmong Others, by Jo Walton, won the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the British Fantasy Award, and was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Set in 1979 and 1980, this book tells the story of 15-year-old Morwenna. After engaging in a classic good-magic-versus-bad-magic battle with her mother that fatally wounds her twin sister, Morwenna leaves Wales and attempts to reconnect with her estranged father. Sent to a boarding school in England, her riveting backstory unfolds gradually as she records her thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a series of journal entries. An ominous sense of disquiet permeates the nonlinear plot as Morwenna attempts to avoid a final clash with her mother. In addition to casting an irresistible narrative spell, Walton also pays tribute to a host of science-fiction masters as she peppers Morwenna’s journal with the titles of the novels she devours in her book-fueled quest for self-discovery.

The Windup GirlThe Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi, won the 2010 Nebula Award and the 2010 Hugo Award (tied with The City & the City by China Miéville), both for best novel. This book also won the 2010 Compton Crook Award and the 2010 Locus Award for best first novel. This novel is set in a future Thailand where calories are the greatest commodity. Anderson is a calorie-man whose true objective is to discover new food sources that his company can exploit. His secretary, Hock Seng, is a refugee from China seeking to ensure his future. Jaidee is an officer of the Environmental Ministry known for upholding regulations rather than accepting bribes. His partner, Kanya, is torn between respect for Jaidee and hatred for the agency that destroyed her childhood home. Emiko is a windup, an engineered and despised creation, discarded by her master and now subject to brutality by her patron. The actions of these characters set in motion events that could destroy the country. Bacigalupi has created a compelling, if bleak, society in which corruption, betrayal, and despair are commonplace, and more positive behavior and emotions such as hope and love are regarded with great suspicion.

DiggerDigger, Volumes 1-6 by Ursula Vernon, was nominated for the Eisner Award and won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2012. Originally a webcomic, it has been released in 6 volumes, and features an anthropomorphic, no-nonsense wombat named Digger who finds herself stuck on the wrong end of a one-way tunnel in a strange land where nonsense seems to be the specialty. Now, with the help of a talking statue of a god, an outcast hyena, a shadow-being of indeterminate origin, and an oracular slug she seeks to find out where she is and how to go about getting back to her Warren. Vernon’s black and white illustrations are fantastic, and the story will stay with you for days after reading.

To Say Nothing of the DogTo Say Nothing of the Dog: or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last, by Connie Willis, won both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1999, and was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1998. This funny romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have you glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University’s time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940. In effect, she dragoons almost everyone in the program to make trips back in time to locate items–in particular, the bishop’s bird stump, an especially ghastly example of Victorian decorative excess. Time traveler Ned Henry is suffering from advanced time lag and has been sent, he thinks, for rest and relaxation to 1888, where he connects with fellow time traveler Verity Kindle and discovers that he is actually there to correct an incongruity created when Verity inadvertently brought something forward from the past. Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme “involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and pen wipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork.”

If you’re looking for more Hugo magic, please visit our catalogue for a listing of past winners.

– Barbara

Library apps on your Tablet – more than just eBooks!

You’ve got devices, we’ve got apps!


This fall, the Library is offering a new series of tech workshops designed to expand the range of “things we show you how to do” on your devices. We’ve focused on eBooks (and to some extent, eAudiobooks) in the past, but we’ve never covered the whole RANGE of options. This is partially because some of our services are newer than others – our eMagazines service has only been on offer since January, and our streaming movies and music service only since April.

The other major reason that the range has been limited is that to explain all the services on all of the various tablets that people bring in takes a lot of time and can be confusing (brain/information overload!). To deal with this, for our fall series we’re splitting the sessions by device type – iPads in one class, Android tablets in another – so that no one is presented with information that doesn’t apply to their device and everyone can follow along, step-by-step.

The drawback to this arrangement is that to cover the range of tablets available, we need to have more sessions, and our resources are limited. To start off, we’ll be offering sessions for iPad and Android only, but Windows 8 devices will be offered as an option in the near future. If you’re interested in having the Windows 8 session at a branch near you, please contact the branch directly and let them know!

A listing of when & where these sessions will take place can be found in the September/October issue of @ the Library (coming to a branch near you next week). Subscribe to our email newsletter to get it delivered the first day it’s available!

Because some people prefer the “Do-It-Yourself” method, here’s a rundown of the library services you can get on your device with links to our “visual guides” for setup and installation:

OverDrive Media Console App: for eBooks and eAudiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Overdrive

OverDrive is our most popular eBooks platform! To download books from OverDrive, you need to install the OverDrive Media Console app, even if you already have an app like iBooks or Kobo for your purchased eBooks. Library eBooks have “time-lock” software attached to them that controls the lending/returning of the books (the “library” part of the deal!), and you need an app that knows how to handle the library code. Luckily the OMC app is free and easy to use – just follow the steps in our visual guides:


Guide to OverDrive for your iPad


Guide to OverDrive for your Android Tablet


Guide to OverDrive  for Windows 8 tablets







Hoopla app: For streaming and downloading Movies, Music and Audiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Hoopla

Hoopla is the newest download service offered by WPL, but it’s quickly becoming one of our favourites! Hoopla allows you to stream movies, TV, music and audiobooks on any computer, and if you’ve got an iPad or Android tablet, you can download your items and save them for offline use (like road trips, plane rides or days at the cottage!). You can check out 10 items per month, per card.


Guide to Hoopla for iPad


Guide to Hoopla for Android







Zinio app: for downloading and reading eMagazines

Search your app store for the keyword: Zinio

Zinio eMagazines are great because they never expire! Once you’ve checked out an issue, you keep it for as long as you like. The only complication is that the account setup process can seem a bit confusing. If you read through our Zinio Account Setup Guide, though, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your accounts ready, download the Zinio app and start checking magazines out! Note that even though the eMagazines don’t need to be “returned” to the library like our eBooks do, you still need to use this specific library app to download the files. The eMagazines are in a proprietary file format that can only be opened in the Zinio app, so other apps like Newsstand can’t open them.

Guide to the Zinio App for iPad

Guide to the Zinio App for Android


Guide to the Zinio app for Windows 8







WPL to GO: the Library’s OWN App!

Search your app store for the keyword: Winnipeg

Last but not least, we have our own app – one that gives you quick access to the library catalogue, shows you holds you have available and when your items are due, all in a touch-friendly environment. For more details and links, head to our demo page where you can try the app live before you download it!



On The Same Page 2014-15: it’s time to choose your adventure

“On The Same Page” is the province’s biggest book club (now in its seventh year) during which we invite all Manitobans to read and talk about the same book at the same time.

Check out the four works on the shortlist below, and help decide which one every Manitoban should read! Once the title is selected – as voted on by youbook giveaways, author appearances, and other special events get underway in late 2014 and early 2015.

Voting continues until Monday, September 15. You can vote online at, or by paper ballot at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue) and any of our twenty Winnipeg Public Library branches.

Whenever you vote, be sure to enter your name to win a prize package of the four nominated books. You’ll also be able to meet the creators in person at a celebration of the shortlist titles at McNally Robinson on Thursday, September 11 at 7 pm.

footeImagining Winnipeg : history through the photographs of L.B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones.




northendNorth End love songs by Katherena Vermette





stuckStuck in the middle : dissenting views of Winnipeg by Bartley Kives & Bryan Scott




wittenbergsThe Wittenbergs by Sarah Klassen





iPad Apps We Love for Family Reading

Family with a tablet computerWe hear from lots of parents, caregivers and educators who would like to share digital content with young children and want to know the best way to do it.

A key component?  Sharing apps together.  Research shows that parent-child interaction plays a huge role in a child’s experience with an app. Make sure you take the time to experience an app with your child, just as you would sit down with a picture book.

It’s also important to incorporate a variety of media in your child’s experiences, just as you do in your child’s diet. Picture books, oral stories, rhymes, songs and play are all an important part of your child’s healthy development.

It’s true, the experience of flipping through a physical book can never be fully replicated in the digital world. But in many ways, reading apps are complementary to physical books, and they offer interactive benefits that simply cannot be conveyed via black ink on white pages. Whether you are looking for games that reinforce retention and comprehension, content that encourages letter recognition, or next generation “choose your own adventure” stories, there are tons of apps out there that can foster the development of literacy skills!

Of course, in this swiftly changing tech obsessed era, it’s tough to sort through which iPad apps are must-have.  Not to worry.  We’ve got you covered. Check out this list of nifty and distinctive reading apps to share with your kids.


snappAnimal SnApp Farm
Push the slider to snApp the correct halves of each animal together in order to launch these short, rhyming stories featuring Cuddly Cow, Diggity Dog, Gobbly Goat, Higgly Hen, Lucky Lamb or Portly Pig. Users may choose to read the stories alone, or have them read aloud; in the read aloud option text is highlighted as it is spoken. Includes music, animations, and silly sound effects that will intrigue even the youngest, who will easily intuit how to operate this app. Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review.

monsterThe Monster at the End of This Book….Starring Grover!
Grover narrates the book while kids are given the power, and the choice, to move the story forward by sabotaging his efforts to not turn the page.  Grover’s hilarious book-binding attempts bring an element of humour and playfulness to the more serious topic of facing fears, and provide an easy segue to more serious conversations between parents and children.

freighttrainFreight Train
Read Donald Crew’s popular picture book to learn more about colours, words, and numbers with great railway sounds. Each page features a different type of car; each car is specially designed to carry a certain type of cargo. Touch the cars to see what’s inside! Sing along to the catchy tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad as you read through the picture book and engage with the interactive features.

Ages 6-8

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This Apppigeon
With this hilarious app from award-winning children’s author/illustrator Mo Willems, children create their own stories. Kids start by answering the bus driver’s questions, and their answers blend into the storyline to create a unique narrative! Also includes a drawing feature that allows children to follow along with Mo and learn step-by-step how to draw the pigeon!

wild2Wild About Books
When a passionate librarian mistakenly sets up her bookmobile at the zoo, the animals discover a love of reading and pretty soon start penning their own stories! Filled with hilarious references to seminal works of children’s literature, Wild About Books captures the pure joy of reading and sharing stories as Molly the librarian finds the perfect book for each animal.

Cozmo’s Day Off  cozmo2
Follow Cozmo, a friendly little green alien, in this interactive e-book.  Read along with the narrator as Cozmo struggles to make it to work on time.  Kids will delight in the adjustable speed of the narrator’s voice, progressing from super fast to super slow with the swipe of a finger.  Hearing the story at different speeds encourages kids to record their own voices reading the story, an excellent activity for improving oral fluency and expression.

Ages 9-12

Based on the comic strip by Jason Shiga, Meanwhile is a choose-your-own-adventure app that puts kids in control of the storyline.  They must decide the fate of Jimmy, a young boy who stumbles upon a scientist’s lab where he must choose one of three objects:  a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (we don’t know what it is either!).  Each path includes puzzles and clues, and while most lead to certain DOOM, one path will lead to SUCCESS.  Kids will be hooked trying to find the right one!

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorefantastic
A unique blend of animation and storytelling, readers follow the heartfelt journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore as a hurricane causes him to start a new life among a household of books. The animation is spectacular and engaging, but the heart of the app is in the story that unfolds. There are some interactive features and games interspersed among the sea of animation.  Help the wind blow, make the books fly, play Pop Goes the Weasel on the piano, or create alphabet cereal messages.

Weird But True weird
Did you know that a bottle-nose dolphin has a brain bigger than a human?  After using this app, your kid will be able to cite weird facts like this all day long.  Brought to you by National Geographic, this app features obscure, yet interesting little nuggets of information about animals, the weather, outer space, geography, and science.

~ Lindsay