Tag Archives: Fantasy

Keep Kids Reading This Summer

Image of a cartoon dog reading a book

© 2020 TD Summer Reading Club

Summer is here! This is the season for outdoor activities such as beaches, splash pads, swimming, and camping. While it’s important for kids to get outside and safely enjoy the summer weather, especially after months of quarantine, it’s also important for children to read over the summer. Studies have shown that reading can help children avoid what is known as the “summer slide,” a loss of academic skills or knowledge over the summer months. So, what can you do to keep kids reading this summer?

Although Vaughan Public Libraries remains closed to the public, you can still get books for your children (and yourself!). VPL is now offering curbside pickup at all ten locations. Just fill out the form on our website to request an appointment at the location of your choice. You can arrange to pick up holds or have staff prepare a selection of materials for your family based on your interests. Please note that for now, we are unable to transfer items between branches and are limited to what is on the shelf at the pickup location. If you want to request specific items at your location, you can search the catalogue, then, on the search results page, click Available Now on the left side of the screen and check off the box for your pickup location.

Our digital collections are also here for you. VPL offers access to several online platforms with books for kids. OverDrive and Hoopla Digital have downloadable ebooks and e-audiobooks for all ages. Another great online resource is TumbleBook Library, which has books for kids of all ages that are available instantly, no downloading required. Many of the books have a read-along feature with an audio recording and highlighted text, which can help struggling readers. TumbleBookCloud Junior and Teen Book Cloud are similar. Cantook Station has ebooks and e-audiobooks in French.

T D Summer Reading Club logo

© 2020 TD Summer Reading Club

For many kids, participating in Summer Reading Club programs at the library is a summer highlight. This year, TD Summer Reading Club has gone virtual. This free program is for children ages 0-12. To sign up, parents or caregivers can create a free account online. You can then add your children to your account. Each week, sign in and let us know how many days your child read for 15 minutes or more. Every week that kids report reading, they will be entered in a draw for a weekly prize, and if they read in French, they will be entered in a draw for a French prize at the end of the summer.

If you need help finding books your child will enjoy, library staff are here for you. You can reach out to us by phone, email, or social media through our Ask Us service.

Here are a few reading recommendations to get you started, based on popular children’s titles.

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Mors Vincit Omnia: Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House

Image result for ninth house book coverIf you’ve ever read YA, you’re probably at least passingly familiar with Leigh Bardugo, author of the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows series (collectively called the Grishaverse). Ninth House, her newest book, is Bardugo’s first foray into the “adult” category—and boy, she was not playing around with that categorization. Readers might need a stronger stomach than they’re used to with her previous work, and should be aware that there are elements that some readers might find triggering (there was a whole online discussion about this before the book even came out). While Ninth House might be a little too “adult” for some of her younger readers, Bardugo is no stranger to dark subject matter. If any Six of Crows fans remember Kaz’s backstory (or any of their backstories, but Kaz’s was the worst), they’ll know what I mean. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms of Six of Crows was that the characters being teens made no sense at all. So really, one could argue that she’s been writing adult this whole time, just disguising it under the YA banner.  

With Ninth HouseBardugo relishes her opportunity to dig into the gritty, ugly real world with some magical touches. The story concerns the eight “ancient” secret societies of Yale—Lethe, our home base, is the extra secret, eponymous ninth. Lethe is tasked with overseeing the magic of the others, ensuring nothing goes astray. But of course, go astray things must. What’s interesting about Bardugo’s take on magic is that it patently does not make up for the ugliness of reality—it’s not an escape, it’s just another realm in which ugly things happen. In fact, Bardugo very purposefully crafted anti-heroine Alex—and the use of magic in general—as a “what if”. What if magic was real, and gifted only to a select group of already privileged people in New Haven? What if a trauma survivor was gifted this magic as well? The magic of Yale is used to explore very real topics, so that in the midst of all the ghosts and fantastical party drugs there are very real issues of assault, power plays, and murder. “You cannot write a story about magic, which is essentially going to operate as a commodity,” Barudgo said in a Time interview, “without exploring the kind of damage that we could do to each other if this were actually in play.”

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The Shape of Water (2017, Guillermo Del Toro)

“Unable to perceive the shape of You,

I find You all around me.

Your presence fills my eyes with Your love,

It humbles my heart,

For You are everywhere”

The Oscar winner for best picture, Monster storyteller Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie The Shape of Water (see trailer) is an otherworldly tale about the unlikely bond between Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and an Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) who is captured in a high security lab during the Cold War era.

I was not too familiar with del Toro and his work–I did not even know who he was when I caught a glimpse of him in person shooting this movie in Hamilton. But this beautiful, imaginative, and playful story really captured me. The color of this movie is mostly blue-greenish, and there are many elements of water throughout. This visual arrangement echoes with the theme of the movie very well, and I can almost smell the seaweed and feel the damp air. I saw the movie twice in theater and enjoyed it both times. I noticed many pleasant details the second time, which added more depth to the story and the experience. Another highlight, in my opinion, is the amazing performance the actors carried out, especially Sally Hawkins as a mute woman. There are not a lot of characters in this movie but each of them are well developed and has distinct qualities which makes this more even more efficient in storytelling. There were many little moments that made me feel deeply connected with the characters.

See the source imageThe concept of this movie might seem odd in some ways, but ultimately, it is a universal story about loneliness, friendship, heartbreaks and love. There is also a novel by del Toro of the same title, released earlier this month.  In the book, the characters are developed further for those who would like to delve more deeply into the story.

 

More by del Toro:

Pan’s Labyrinth

Crimson Peak

Hellboy

Trollhunters

The Strain