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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Descriptive Language

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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These beautiful books exemplify descriptive language for Grades 1–6.

Once Upon a Northern Night, by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is the perfect mentor text for descriptive language. While a little boy sleeps, a snowy night scene is painted for both the boy and the reader.

“Once upon a northern night/pine trees held out prickly hands/to catch the falling flakes/that gathered into puffs of creamy white,/settling like balls of cotton,/waiting.” Check out Pendziwol’s description of deer: “They nuzzled the sleeping garden/with memories of summer.” And “... a great gray owl gazed down/with his great yellow eyes/on the milky-white bowl of your yard.” There are also some beautiful examples of alliteration.

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Another go-to text for vivid language, When the Moon Comes, by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James, captures a nighttime hockey game in the woods.

“End to end and around we fly, the long black stripes of our …

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Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, and we've got recommendations for gorgeous books that make great gifts. 

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Out of Old Ontario Kitchens, by Lindy Mechefske

About the book: Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is a window into the past, exploring the stories of the First Peoples and settlers. It pays homage to all those who trapped and fished and hunted; to those who cleared the land and planted crops; and most importantly to all those women — our mothers and aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers — who got up and lit the fire; who toiled and stirred and cooked and baked and who kept families alive through long hard winters, through plagues and depressions, famines and wars. Work every bit as important as agriculture, commerce, mining, politics, and the development of infrastructure.

With over a hundred historically sourced recipes as well as scores of old photographs, early artworks, botanical prints, and illustrations, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is both a visual and virtual feast. If you want to know what life was really like in early Ontario, come to the table with us. Food stories are, after all, the real stories of our lives.

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Beautiful Books in the Buff

Dust Jacket Studio Saint Ex

As an absolute sucker for fine book design and sweet surprises, I couldn't help swooning the first time I peeled back the dust jacket on Ania Szado's new novel Studio Saint-Ex. The dust jacket itself was lovely enough, retro-glam as befits this novel about New York City society in the 1940s, decorated with the whimsy of silver stars for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who was both a pilot and author of The Little Prince.

But the dust jacket was only the beginning. I removed the dust jacket to discover not the dull hardback I'd been expecting, but instead even more silver stars embossed upon the book itself.

Hardback Studio Saint-Ex

The effect was as magical as it was meant to be, and it got me thinking about other books in my library that hide fantastic surprises underneath their sometimes staid dust jacket coverings.

Book Cover The Book of Marvels

It's most appropriate that Lorna Crozier's The Book o …

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