Each December, NWT Literacy Council staff share books we have enjoyed reading this year, books we will be giving as holiday gifts or books we look forward to reading in the next year. We are excited to share our 2022 book picks with you! Check back on Thursday December 22 for our second set of suggestions, and on January 5, 2023 to see what we will be reading in the new year.
Time is a Flower by Julie Morstad
I found this book while looking for resources to explain the concept of time for young readers. I was immediately drawn to the fun and colourful illustrations on the cover. As I flipped through the pages, I was delighted to find an equally whimsical and creative story inside!
Julie Morstad opens our eyes to different ways of measuring or experiencing the passage of time. Bright, bold drawings and short, carefully crafted sentences reveal how time can be so much more than just numbers on a clock or a calendar. Time is a Flower includes everyday scenarios that are relatable for children, like having a wiggly tooth, getting a haircut, or dancing. As an adult reader of this book, I felt inspired to reconsider time as something more exciting or beautiful than the appointments and deadlines I’ve become so familiar with.
Maybe time really is a flower! Maybe time is ice cream melting too fast on a hot day, or a lake that takes months to freeze solid. One thing is for certain, setting aside time to read this book is time well spent!
The Fourth Man by Lee Child
My Grandmother has always been an avid reader of spy novels. As a result, she has read nearly every Jack Reacher story written by Lee Child. For the holidays, I am planning to get her the most recent addition to the series, The Fourth Man. These stories follow a former military member who always finds a way to be involved in international spy shenanigans. They are fun, easy reading and a great way to a lose an afternoon in a book. With 26 books and counting, this series can keep you busy for quite some time.
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
One of the books I am recommending to give as a gift this year is Every Summer After by Carley Fortune.
The book’s main character, Percy, is living in Toronto as a magazine editor. A call about the death of an old family friend brings her back to Barry’s Bay, where she spent the summers of her childhood by the lake, and brings her back to her first love.
I think the reason I really connected to this book was because of the setting. The familiar description of landscape and summers spent at the cottage brought back warm and happy memories. The book takes place in Ontario cottage country. It reminded me of my summers growing up, which were mainly spent at my grandparents’ cottage in the Kawarthas. This is a great gift for anyone who loves a good romance novel or is looking for their next beach read.
50 Ways to Kill a Slug by Sarah Ford
This is a humourous book with cute slug cartoons. Although this book is really for the gardeners at heart, it also offers practical ways to “kill slugs” in one’s personal life. I would like to give this to my sons this Christmas because, not only do they like funny cartoons, but they will also value the numerous strategies for knocking down barriers that keep them from reaching their maximum potential in life. These hurdles could be limiting beliefs, procrastination, fear, negativity, poor time management, among many others. This book is a good read for everyone. By the last page your face and heart will be laughing and your thumbs will be greener.
When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson
I have read this book with my children as a way to begin conversations about the Indian Residential School system, and the cultural aspects that were taken from students. This book uses aspects of life that children can easily connect with, such as wearing their favourite clothes, keeping their hair how they would like, and connecting with their loved ones. Through David A. Robertson’s moving text and Julie Flett’s beautiful illustrations, children can explore how they would feel if they had those things taken away from them. The story is also a celebration of Nókom and Uncle’s ability to stay connected to each other and their culture while at Residential School, and their commitment to never lose those things again.
Anxious People by Swedish author Fredrick Backman
I haven’t laughed out loud so many times while reading a book in as long as I can remember. This book spoke to me as a parent with young children, so it would make a good gift for any parents or friends needing a literary change of pace. Fredrick Backman is the only author I know of that can take heavy topics and present them in a way that has you both snorting with laughter and feeling deep empathy within the same few lines. This intricate and interconnected story presents Stockholm Syndrome in a whole new light, taking you on a journey to learn about all the colourful sides and stages of the human condition. His modern-day characters come right off the page to greet you in a way that is comical and relatable.
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