Spring break is right around the corner! In our district, the kids get the last two weeks of March off. I’m pretty sure spring break was only a week long when I was a kid and I’m not sure when it became longer, but with Easter Monday and Tuesday off too, it’s actually closer to two and a half weeks this year. That’s a lot of hours to fill! Tee has karate camp one of those weeks, and we have more fun planned like ice skating with Uncle Adam and playground time, but we will most definitely be spending some of our time off reading as well.
This is our first spring break where Kay is reading too, so I was especially looking forward to putting together a reading list this year for both my girls. Here are some of the books they’ll be reading with me this spring break, courtesy of our friends at Raincoast Books. Scroll all the way down to enter to win two of these for your own young reader!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
At first glance, the pages in this deceptively simple picture book appear to hold just a collection of colourful animals. But pay attention and you’ll soon realize that each animal has at least one characteristic in common with the animals on either side. Each is connected to the next by colour, shape, or more abstract associations, illustrating both the diversity and celebrating the connections between them all.
The last few pages include an index of all the animals introduced in the book plus their endangered status – Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered.
Hello, Hello boasts big, bright colourful illustrations that my kids love to pore over, and we have lots of fun coming up with creative ways to link each animal beyond the obvious. “This bird’s name is Jack, and the frog’s name is Julie. They both start with J!” It’s an exercise in creativity and lateral thinking as well as inspiring children to learn more about conservation.
The Boy and the Blue Moon by Sara O’Leary
“On the night of the blue moon, anything can happen.” In this gentle picture book, a boy and his cat set out for a walk past a field of musical bluebells, through a magical forest, and discover a deep, deep blue lake. The two friends make a wish and find themselves on the moon. But the boy soon realizes how lonely it is away from home and they must return to their own comfortable bed.
Illustrated almost entirely in dreamy shades of blue, the lyrical and comforting text is perfect for reading quietly together just before bed.
The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan
I bet most parents will recognize the toddler in this cute picture book by Bunmi Laditan, creator of the well-known blog The Honest Toddler. Bunmi’s precocious little protagonist wants to sleep with Mommy in the big bed so she marshals her best arguments to try to convince Daddy to sleep somewhere else. She’s afraid of the dark, Mommy smells like fresh bread, and besides, doesn’t Daddy already have his own mommy? Daddy will sleep better on a cot.
My little one thinks this is really funny, and she likes to joke that she and her Daddy ought to trade beds so she can sleep in the big bed. Sorry kid, no dice!
Lola Dutch by Kenneth Wright
Lola Dutch is a wonderfully imaginative and expressive little girl who lives in a big house with a menagerie of animal friends and supervised by her best friend and voice of reason, Bear. Lola never does things small. A simple breakfast turns into a grand feast and mountains of dishes. A visit to the library results in teetering piles of borrowed books and inspires Lola to paint her version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Bedtime starts with a bubble bath and builds up to a majestic pillow fort. Everything is bigger and fancier, but in the end, all Lola needs is Bear.
After reading the story, open the dust jacket to find Lola’s house and two paper cutouts of Lola and Bear to play with.
Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
Ellie is an engineer in training. She keeps a special notebook for all her designs and builds her creations in her playhouse/workshop with her best friend Kit’s help. But with Kit’s birthday looming, Ellie decides to build her a surprise dog house. What starts out as a typical dog house grows into a dog mansion with a sundeck, pool, water slide, and walk-in closet. Ellie’s going to need help from all the neighbourhood kids to finish it in time, but the boys and girls don’t get along. Can she convince them to work together and pull off her biggest project yet? Illustrated with black and white sketches of Ellie’s engineering designs.
Ellie is a delightfully relatable character. She does her best to be a good friend to everyone and comes up with clever inventions to get around sticky situations. Roles are deliberately non-gendered – girls can like dresses and hammers, boys can like soccer and tea parties – and the story encourages creative problem-solving. I foresee lots of “engineering” notebooks and designs in our future when my STEM- loving 8-year-old reads this one!
Olympians: Hermes: Tales of the Trickster by George O’Connor
When I was a kid I loved Greek and Roman mythology. I read everything I could find in my school library, and Hermes was always a bit of a favourite, mostly for his winged feet. A slightly lesser known aspect of Hermes is his reputation as a trickster god. Tales of the Trickster is the tenth volume in George O’Connor’s series of graphic novels featuring the adventures of Greek deities. This book follows Hermes the trickster from infancy when he steals a herd of Apollo’s prize cattle and invents the lyre from a tortoise shell, to adulthood when he fathers Pan and helps to retrieve Zeus’s stolen sinews (eww).
Tee has recently discovered the joy of graphic novels and loves reading them out loud to me. She hasn’t finished this one yet, but she sure gets a kick out of the drawing of Argus, the 100-eyed watchman (get it?).
At the back of the book, kids can find more info about Hermes, Pan, Argus, Pan, and Typhus, as well as a bibliography and recommended reading list. A G(r)eek Notes section contains annotations on many of the panels for readers interested in more details.
Geeked Out: A Lame New World by Obert Skye
The dystopian town of Piggsburg may be under siege by hordes of raving, selfie-taking teenagers, but middle school must still go on. Tip is a student at Otto Waddle Jr. High Government Outpost populated by your typical cliques – the Jocks, Goths, Loners, and AV Geeks (plus some lesser known groups like the Sox who have stopped wearing shoes) – and dealing with typical issues like bullying and standardized testing between learning new subjects like Dystopian Baking and Antisocial Studies.
When Tip and his friends are bitten by mysterious spiders, they acquire some oddly specific superpowers. They decide to form the League of Average Mediocre Entities (also known as LAME) to fight bullies, protect the (not so) innocent, and save the school from the evil school secretary.
Kids will enjoy this first book in the Geeked Up series full of sly, tongue-in-cheek humour and peppered with hilarious cartoons. I did!
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tam
It’s rare to run across a literary protagonist who reflects someone like me. Half Chinese and half Caucasian, Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins lives halfway between two worlds. There is a lot to relate to here: the vaguely icky “What are you?” question so many Asian and biracial kids face, other kids giving you the side eye for your “weird” food, the awkwardness between sets of grandparents, and the awareness that you don’t quite fit in anywhere.
With a new baby sister on the way, Cilla hits on the perfect plan to keep her family from forgetting about her – she’ll write a bestselling memoir! This budding author begins with her first days in kindergarten, her struggle learning to read, and the best Halloween costume ever. For many interracial families, it’s the grandchildren who end up bringing extended families together. Unfortunately, there’s not enough attention paid to this family dynamic and to Cilla’s poignant realization that the birth of her little sister unites her family when hers didn’t. Despite this, Cilla’s first volume ends on an uplifting note with both sides of her family joining forces to give Cilla the best birthday present ever.
Cilla definitely has a way with words, though like many kids she often struggles with saying them in person. Likable, funny, imaginative, and warm-hearted, Cilla is a joy to read. I can’t wait to introduce Tee to her this spring break!
Win Books for Spring Break!
One of my readers will win two books from any of the ones listed here. Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you. This income helps pay for the operating costs of my website – thank you for your support!