Wednesday, December 25, 2013

wEIRD wORD wEDNESDAY





Nullibicity - A situation where something doesn't exist  (or can't be found) 

Desultory - lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm


Ombrifuge - A shelter from rain




What wEIRD wORDS do you know?  Share in the comments.



Friday, December 20, 2013

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?



A Jazzy little Christmas mood music




Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald



Baby it's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan 



 Christmas Song - Ella Fitzgerald



Silent Night - Dinah Washington



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!!













Wednesday, December 18, 2013

wEIRD wORD wEDNESDAY





Wabbit:  Exhausted, tired, worn out


Widdershins:   In a contrary or counterclockwise direction

Skullduggery:  No good, underhanded dealing






What wEIRD wORDS do you know?  Share in the comments.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Learning Skills: Responsibility

The Ontario Government has identified and targeted six key learning skills for student success. Libraries can help teachers and students to understand and develop these skills by providing picture books that model these behaviours and the issues surrounding them.

Learning Skills and Work Habits Sample Behaviours: Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative, Self Regulation.

The student:
• fulfils responsibilities and commitments within the learning environment;
• completes and submits class work, homework, and assignments according to agreed-upon timelines;
• takes responsibility for and manages own behaviour.

Uses an advice-column format to define responsibility as a character value. The "letters" demonstrate how being responsible in daily situations.







This book introduces readers to the idea of "cause and effect," by asking what would happen if everybody did things like...make tracks? ...spill tacks? ...pull off a bud? ...jump in mud? ...slam the door? ...stomp and roar? The book explores personal responsibility and introduces a sense of community.


Arthur's computer disaster Marc Brown
Arthur's in charge Emily Dodi
Arthur's Pet Business Marc Brown
Basketball player roch carrier
Busy Beaver Nicholas Oldland
Chicken Sunday Patricia Polacco
Children make terrible pets Peter Brown
Clean your room, Harvey Moon! Pat Cummings
Clifford's Good Deeds Norman Bridwell
Franklin Forgets Sharon Jennings
Have Courage My Love Lisa Hewitt-Savelli
I just forgot Mercer Mayer
if everybody did Jo Ann Stover
Ish Peter H. Reynolds
Just Kidding Tracy Ludwig
Little Beauty  Antony Browne
Miss Rumphius Barbara Cooney
Noni Says No Hether Hartt-Sussman
Officer Buckle and Gloria Peggy Rathman
Olivia and the missing Toy Ian Falconer
Olympig! Victoria Jamieson
One   Kathryn Otoshi
Pigeon wants a puppy Mo Willems
Pigsty Marc Teague
Say Something Peggy Moss
The Paper Boy Dave Pilkey

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Gift Idea







Friday, December 13, 2013

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?



Time to hear from the Ladies




Sunday Girl - Blondie



Because the Night - Patti Smith


 Don't Get Me Wrong - Chrissie Hynde 




Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen


11688123

Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive.
Mason isn't supposed to know about the Greenhouse. He isn't supposed to meet the beautiful girl who is part of the experiment, and who doesn't need food or water to survive.

Now, Mason is on the run with the girl. And the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener, wants them both, dead or alive.


-----
The Gardener explores themes of world hunger, the ethics of scientific experimentation, social responsibility and the power of the individual. I wasn't able to make much of a connection with the characters in the book.  The themes and plot took up most of the writing, leaving the characters merely as a thin way to transport the story.  Mason falls for Laila much too quickly and is entirely too eager to look past her oddness, strange history and risk his life for her. The villain of the book was non-existent for most of the chapters and thr confrontation came about rather easily, especially after such a long build up.   More time needed to be spent on this introduction so that, as readers, we could become invested in Mason and care about his quest and his well being. Without this, I was interested in what had happened to Laila and how Mason was connected to her story, but I found myself skimming rather than reading.  I am coming to discover that as unique as a plot or setting may be, without excellent characters to hold me inside a story I quickly lose interest. I need to feel for my characters and become involved in their journey.   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

wEIRD wORD wEDNESDAY





Carriwitchet - A pun or conundrum

nudiustertian– the day before yesterday

xertz – to gulp down quickly and greedily




What wEIRD wORDS do you know?  Share in the comments.



RED MAPLE FICTION 2014 NOMINATED TITLES LIST


The Red Maple Award reading program is offered for the enjoyment of students ages 12 to 13, in Grades 7 and 8. This program includes a Fiction list every year and every other year Red Maple also offers a Non-Fiction list. This program aims to get readers engaging in conversation around the books and encourages them to use critical thinking while reading.  Readers are encouraged to chat about books they are reading, share their reviews, find out what their peers are reading, and begin to compile their own Top Ten book lists. For Red Maple:  http://www.maple.bibliocommons.com/dashboard

The Nominees for 2014:

     


Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters

DJ is David McLean's eldest grandson, so it stands to reason that he be the one to scatter his beloved grandfather's ashes. At least that's how DJ sees it. He's always been the best at everything--sports, school, looking after his fatherless family--so climbing Kilimanjaro is just another thing he'll accomplish almost effortlessly. Or so he thinks, until he arrives in Tanzania and everything starts to go wrong. He's detained at immigration, he gets robbed, his climbing group includes an old lady and he gets stuck with the first ever female porter. Forced to go polepole (slowly), DJ finds out the hard way that youth, fitness level and drive have nothing to do with success on the mountain--or in life.


    
Counting Back from Nine by Valerie Sherrard

Laren Olivier knows the rules, but her attraction to a friend's ex-boyfriend is strong. She tells herself that if she and Scott can keep their new romance a secret, no one will get hurt. But Laren is not the only one with something to hide.
Thus begins a year-long journey through secrets, lies, exposures and betrayals. Somehow, Laren must find a way to reconcile who she is with what she's done. And when tragedy strikes, she finds herself struggling with a discovery so shocking it rocks the very foundation of her world.

A novel in free verse


    
Devil’s Pass by Sigmund Brouwer

Seventeen-year-old Webb's abusive stepfather has made it impossible for him to live at home, so Webb survives on the streets of Toronto by busking with his guitar and working as a dishwasher. When Webb's grandfather dies, his will stipulates that his grandsons fulfill specific requests. Webb's task takes him to the Canol Trail in Canada's Far North, where he finds out that there are much scarier things than the cold and the occasional grizzly bear. With a Native guide, two German tourists and his guitar for company, Webb is forced to confront terrible events in his grandfather's past and somehow deal with the pain and confusion of his own life.


    
Jump Cut by Ted Staunton

Spencer loves movies, but real life is boring, right? When his late grandfather's will reveals the tasks he wants his grandsons to undertake, Spencer thinks he got screwed. He's not going to France or Spain or Africa. He's not even getting a cool tattoo, like his younger brother. No, he's going to Buffalo to get a kiss from an ancient movie star. Gross. And he's supposed to film it. Grosser. But Spencer hasn't bargained on Gloria Lorraine, star of the silver screen back in the day. Gloria has big plans--plans that involve her granddaughter AmberLea, a gun, a baker who might be a gangster, some real gangsters and a road trip to Nowheresville, Ontario. After being shot at, jumping into an icy lake and confronting some angry bikers, Spencer finally realizes that real life can be as exciting (and dangerous) as reel life.


    
Loki’s Wolves: The Blackwell Pages by K.L Armstong & M.A Marr

"The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."

Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.

While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendent of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.



    
My Name is Parvana by Deborah Ellis

On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan -- and Parvana.

In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.


    
Oak Island Revenge by Cynthia d’Entremont

Jonah is fourteen and lives on the Western Shore of Nova Scotia in 1958. He and his best friend, Beaz, have figured out a way to get to the forbidden Oak Island to seek treasure. They find a gold locket down one of the treasure shafts and can’t believe their luck—until they realize that the locket is not pirate’s booty but possibly evidence in a current murder investigation, one which Jonah already knows more about than he can handle. Beaz is in danger from his abusive mother if she finds out he’s gone to Oak Island, so Jonah keeps the secret even though there is a killer at large in his small community.

Oak Island Revenge is a coming-of-age story, with much higher stakes than most teenagers have to contend with.


    
Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy

After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she can hear dead people. Among them, there’s her overopinionated Bubby Dora; a prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a séance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one big fear: talking to—and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with—her crush, Andrew Finkel.


    
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library and vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed.

If only these things were not so tempting.


    
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen

Darker than her previous novels, Susin peoples this novel about the ultimate cost of bullying with a cast of fabulous characters, dark humour, and a lovable, difficult protagonist struggling to come to terms with the horrible crime his brother has committed.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SILVER BIRCH NON-FICTION 2014 NOMINATED TITLES LIST

The Silver Birch Award is comprised of three separate lists: Fiction, Non-fiction and Express.  The Silver Birch program is meant for readers aged 8 to 12, (grades 3-6,) .
Readers are encouraged to chat about books they are reading, share their reviews, find out what their peers are reading, and begin to compile their own Top Ten book lists. For Silver Birch: http://www.silverbirchonline.ca

The Nominees for 2014 are:



     
Animal Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers: Saving Lives & Changing Hearts by Rob Laidlaw

Enraptured with raptors? Love lions? Protective of pelicans? Rob Laidlaw's latest has something for everyone. Having exposed the cruel treatment of animals in zoos and the entertainment industry with his previous two books, Rob Laidlaw sets out in Animal Sanctuaries and Rescue Centres to show a more positive side of the human-animal relationship: animal sanctuaries. From a donkey sanctuary in Canada to a bear rescue centre in China, this book examines numerous efforts around the world to rescue and care for animals in need.


     
Draw Out The Story: Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics by Brian McLachlan

From single-panel comics to full-blown graphic novels, there are dozens of ways to use comics to tell a story. And whether kids want to write or draw something funny or scary, long or short, made-up or true-to-life, cartoonist and author Brian McLachlan maintains there are just ten crucial things they need to know to get started.

Using colloquial text, images, and examples, each chapter hones in on a different secret to creating great comics. Budding comic artists will learn how to make text and illustrations work together, how to give characters personality, how to choose the right tool for each project, and much more.

A worthy addition to the how-to comics canon, Draw Out the Story simplifies advanced concepts for younger readers, providing invaluable lessons and pointers for kids who want to learn to write and draw — and imagine — great stories.


     
Learn to Speak Film: A Guide to Creating, Promoting, and Screening Your Movies by Michael Glassbourg, Jeff Kulak

"Seen any good movies lately?" is a question almost as commonly asked as "How are you?" We all love watching movies, as much today as when film began. But with all the information and technology that's readily available, today's filmgoers know that making a movie isn't an act of magic!

By starting with the most basic formula (images + motion = film), Learn to Speak Film does away with the special effects and gets to the heart of what makes movies so much more than just something to watch on a Friday night. The lessons within these pages range from choosing a camera to writing dialogue, from handling criticism to preparing a press kit. Whether young readers just love Oscar Night or want to pursue a career as a screenwriter, set designer, or director, Learn to Speak Film will appeal to the inner film buff in all of us.


     
Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World by Susan Hughes

When North American kids picture a school, odds are they see rows of desks, stacks of textbooks, and linoleum hallways. They probably don’t picture caves, boats, or train platforms — but there are schools in caves, and on boats and on train platforms. There are green schools, mobile schools, and even treehouse schools. There’s a whole world of unusual schools out there!

But the most amazing thing about these schools isn’t their location or what they look like. It’s that they provide a place for students who face some of the toughest environmental and cultural challenges, and live some of the most unique lifestyles, to learn. Education is not readily available for kids everywhere, and many communities are strapped for the resources that would make it easier for kids to go to school. In short, it’s not always easy getting kids off to class — but people around the world are finding creative ways to do it.

In Off to Class, readers will travel to India, Burkina Faso, and Brazil; to Russia, China, Uganda, and a dozen other countries, to visit some of these incredible schools, and, through personal interviews conducted by author Susan Hughes, meet the students who attend them too. And their stories aren’t just inspiring; they’ll also get you to think about school and the world in a whole new way.


     
One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

A seven-year-old Vietnamese refugee, newly arrived in Canada and unable to understand the language, faces a painful operation to straighten an ankle bent by polio. Tuyet’s poignant story was begun in Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War (2012) but readers don’t have to have read that to enjoy this story of healing


     
Our Rights: How Kids Are Changing the World by Janet Wilson

A girl who spoke out against her government for the rights of aboriginal children, a boy who walked across his country to raise awareness of homelessness, and a former child soldier who wants to make music not war. Here are true stories of kids just like you who are standing up for their rights. Read about how they have made a difference. Dylan Mahalingam from the USA started an online charity to raise money to fight child poverty. The bravery of Nujood Ali Mohammed from Yemen inspired other girls who were being forced to marry too young. Anita Khushwaha from India became a beekeeper to pay for school, even though it was considered a job only men could do. All of them are making a difference for children’s rights.


     
Robbers!: True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves by Andreas Schroeder, Rémy Simard

Determined to beat the odds, professional thieves spend their lives figuring out ingenious ways to steal other people’s possessions.

In Robbers! you’ll uncover the dirt on eight cunning master thieves, including:

• Master-of-disguise Willie Sutton, who robbed banks in costume
• D. B. Cooper, who hijacked a plane, demanded $200,000, and parachuted to safety
• London’s Great Train Robbers, who held up a moving train to pull off one of the largest ever hauls of banknotes

Each story offers a glimpse into the high-octane underworld of the boldest of robbers. The writer’s fascination with criminal masterminds and the illustrator’s action-packed graphic depictions of real-life thievery make this a compelling read for fans of mischief, mayhem, and bad guys on the run.


     
The World In Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods by Claire Eamer, Sa Boothroyd

A ham sandwich on white bread. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut-butter-and-banana roll-ups. They may sound like ordinary items, but they take us on an amazing journey through the rich history and astonishing science of food.
Explore a week of lunches—from apples to pizza—by taking a romp through thousands of years of extraordinary events. Some are amusing, like the accidental invention of potato chips. Others are tragic, such as the Spice Wars, which killed thousands of people.

Consider that ham sandwich: Ancient Romans first made ham by curing meat with salt and smoke to kill microbes, while yeast (which burps gas) produces the fluffy texture of bread.

Aztec farmers bred tomatoes from small, bitter berries into plump, sweet fruit, and watermelons sustained travelers 10,000 years ago in the Kalahari Desert.


     
Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled by Sarah Tsiang, Martha Newbigging 

China was one of the most advanced societies in the ancient world. Whether in medicine, the arts, or education, the Chinese far outpaced the Europeans. Although most people were peasants, society included a myriad of other jobs.

It may sound like a great position, but being emperor had its downside. If you displeased the gods, you could be put to death. As a silk maker, you would be sworn to secrecy so foreigners wouldn’t learn how to spin the precious thread. Other jobs included wailer (yes, you’ll cry whether you want to or not), noodle maker (noodles were not only delicious, but also a symbol of long life), or Shaolin warrior monk (if you were really good, you could break stone slabs with your fists).

A fact-filled introduction, index, and timeline make this book—the sixth in the series—perfect for research projects, while the humorous illustrations keep it fun. 


     
Weird Zone: Sports by Maria Birmingham, Jaime Bennett

We love sports at Owlkids. We don’t discriminate — hockey, baseball, chessboxing, soccer…we love them all! yep, that’s right, we sneaked chessboxing in there.

What’s chessboxing, you wonder? We’re glad you asked! Everything you might want to know about this odd sport is in Weird Zone: Sports, a new book by OWL contributor Maria Birmingham. In fact, this backpack-sized book is full of everything you might want to know about over 50 of the strangest, funniest, just plain weirdestsports in existence!


Kid Snippets: Christmas

Listening to the conversations happening during 3 Kindergarten book exchanges, I'm reminded why I love this job.    Counting the days left until Christmas, with kid-logic math, had the staff in near-hysterics.

Here are some views on the holidays from the wise, short ones:

CATCHING SANTA


GIFT WRAPPING

What is Christmas?

KID HISTORY: The Story of Christmas

Monday, December 9, 2013

SILVER BIRCH FICTION 2014 NOMINATED TITLES LIST

The Silver Birch Award is comprised of three separate lists: Fiction, Non-fiction and Express. The Silver Birch program is meant for readers aged 8 to 12, (grades 3-6,) .
Readers are encouraged to chat about books they are reading, share their reviews, find out what their peers are reading, and begin to compile their own Top Ten book lists. For Silver Birch:http://www.silverbirchonline.ca

The Nominees for 2014 are:



Curse Of The Dream Witch by Allan Stratton

The captivating story of a young princess cursed by powerful and vindictive witch, and forced to live a virtual prisoner of her parents' fears until, at last, she realizes that she must confront those fears head on.  With the help of a peasant boy and her pet mouse, she faces challenges that range from a nasty prince intent upon forcing her into marriage, and a giant mole determined to consume her for dinner to the Dream Witch herself!


     
Eldritch Manor by Kim Thompson

Twelve-year-old Willa Fuller is convinced that the old folks in the shabby boarding house down the street are prisoners of their sinister landlady, Miss Trang. Only when Willa is hired on as housekeeper does she discover the truth, which is far more fascinating.
  
Eldritch Manor is a retirement home for some very strange beings indeed. All have stories to tell — and petty grievances with one another and the world at large.
  
Storm clouds are on the horizon, however, and when Miss Trang departs on urgent business, Willa is left to babysit the cantankerous bunch. Can she keep the oldsters in line, stitch up unraveling time, and repel an all-out attack from the forces of darkness ... all while keeping the nosy neighbours out of their business and uncovering a startling secret about her own past?


     
Neil Flambé And The Tokyo Treasure by Kevin Sylvester

Something smells fishy—and it’s not the sushi—in this addition to the culinary mystery series celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey calls “good fun.”
  
World-class chef Neil Flambé isn’t thrilled when his cousin Larry moves to Japan to work on an online manga comic book. Now who’ll help him in the kitchen? But he finds a replacement in Gary the bike courier, and life, and the restaurant, moves on without Larry. That is, until the news that life may have really left Larry behind—he’s been lost at sea.
  
Neil is devastated. But then he checks Larry’s online manga. There’s a subtle change in the plot, something Neil and Larry had discussed—something only Neil would notice. Is this a cryptic message from beyond the grave—or is Larry still alive? Determined to find out, Neil heads to Japan to solve his next mystery.


     
Nobody’s Dog  by Ria Voros

For thirteen-year-old Jakob, the summer is looking pretty bleak. His only friend has moved away and no one else seems to have any time for him — except the girl who lives downstairs. But she's a little weird. Then again, so is Jakob. A few months ago, he was in a car accident that killed both his parents, and though he can't remember exactly what happened, he can't stop turning it over in his mind. No wonder people leave him alone.

Then out of nowhere, a stray dog befriends Jakob. Together they begin to roam the city streets by night, discovering an exhilarating secret world where they can both taste a new kind of freedom. But as their nocturnal adventures take Jakob farther and farther away from the safety of home, the truth of that awful night begins to emerge.
  
Will he be strong enough to face it — and who will be there for him when he does?
Exploring the heartbreaking loneliness of grief with sensitive assurance, Nobody's Dog is a powerful and uplifting tale about family, love and survival, and finding friendship in the most unexpected places.


     
Record Breaker by Robin Stevenson

There is no shelter from some kinds of fallout.
  
It's 1963, and Jack's family is still reeling from the SIDS death of his baby sister. Adrift in his own life, Jack is convinced that setting a world record will bring his father back to his senses and his mother back to life. But world events, including President Kennedy's assassination, threaten to overshadow any record Jack tries to beat—from sausage eating to face slapping. Nothing works, and Jack is about to give up when a new friend suggests a different approach that involves listening to, not breaking, records.


     
The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures Of Matt & Craz by Alan Silberberg

A magical pen causes creative chaos in this quirky, comic-style story from the Sid Fleischman Award–winning author of Milo.
  
Best friends Matt and Larry “Craz” Crazinski couldn’t be more different. Matt loves order, while Craz lives on the edge. The boys share a passion for cartooning, but thanks to the school paper gatekeeper (and kind-of bully), Skip Turkle, it seems their cartoons will never be published.
  
But then the boys discover a pen that promises to help them DRAW BETTER NOW!—and quickly realize it’s no ordinary pen: Whatever they draw comes to life!
  
They start small with their drawings—bags of cash, cool gadgets. Next, they get their pesky English teacher to take a unique and extended vacation. But when the boys get a little bolder in their magical drawings, they realize that things don’t always end up as perfect as the art they create...
    


     
The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman

Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute — but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government.


     
The Metro Dogs Of Moscow by Rachelle Delaney

JR (short for Jack Russell) is an embassy dog. His human, George, is a diplomat who has to travel for work. A lot. Now George is working at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow. And while he fancies himself an adventurous globetrotter, he doesn't see why JR needs any more excitement than hanging out at the park with the other embassy dogs.

JR, however, has had quite enough of leashes and perfectly manicured parks—not to mention the boring embassy dogs. He decides to explore Moscow himself, and soon meets some wily Russian strays. JR is convinced that this is the life he’s been looking for. Amazing city smells! Mouthwatering stuffed potatoes! And best of all, the freedom to travel on the Moscow metro!
  
Meanwhile, George has found himself a new girlfriend: the ravishingly beautiful Katerina, who JR suspects is too good to be true. And if that weren’t trouble enough, JR's new friends are starting to mysteriously disappear.
  
When an embassy dog goes missing as well, JR knows he must use everything he’s learned about his new home to solve the mystery of Moscow’s missing dogs.


     
Ultra by David Carroll

A young ultra-marathon runner is pushed to the breaking point and beyond in this gripping tale of physical endurance and emotional healing.

Quinn has been called a superhero and a freak of nature. At age 13, he’s an amazing distance runner. He takes on the second-hardest challenge of his life when he enters his first ultra-marathon: a grueling 100-mile, 24-hour-long race that will push him to the very limit of his endurance.
  
While Quinn struggles to go on — up a mountain and through the night, as his muscles break down and he begins to hallucinate — we learn why the ultra-marathon is only the second-hardest thing he has endured in his young life. And maybe this devastating event from his past is exactly what Quinn has been running from . . .
  
Framed as an interview with a media commentator after Quinn’s news-making finish, this remarkable debut novel from ultra-marathon runner David Carroll reminds us that when we challenge what is possible, the word impossible loses its meaning.


     
Yesterday’s Dead by Pat Bourke

Meredith struggles to cope during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918...
  
Thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher but must leave school to help support her family. To find the best paying job for a young girl of her class, she travels to the city to work as household help in a doctor’s home. From the start, her life is made difficult by the cantankerous and prickly butler, and confrontations with Maggie, the doctor’s spoiled thirteen-year-old daughter.


As the deadly Spanish Flu sweeps across the city, members of the household fall ill one by one. With the doctor working night and day at the hospital, only Meredith, Maggie, and Jack, Maggie's handsome older brother, are left to care for them. Every day the newspapers’ lists of “Yesterday’s Dead” add to Meredith’s growing fears.


When Jack becomes gravely ill, Meredith must stop fighting with Maggie so they can work together to save him. As Meredith wrestles with questions of duty and responsibility, she opens the door to a future that she thought had been closed forever.