As Children and Youth Services Librarian at the Gerrard/ Ashdale Branch of Toronto Public Library, I see first-hand which books kids and teens get excited about. Stories that are humorous and include relatable situations are most popular, as are books with quirky illustrations and a sense of interactivity that stimulate a reader’s imagination. Classic books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Curious George, the Harry Potter series and The Catcher in the Rye incorporate these qualities and can never be replaced, but they are continuously joined by newer publications that may prove to be just as valuable and memorable. Here are a few great new books for children and teens that are available for you to borrow at Toronto Public Library.
Children’s picture books
Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon is a simple and heartwarming story of friendship and love that is appropriate for all ages. Penguin finds friendship in Pinecone, but soon realizes pinecones cannot live in the snow and that eventually they would have to part.
Toads on Toast by Linda Bailey is the story of Mamma Toad, who outsmarts a sly fox by giving him her secret recipe for Toad-in-a-Hole instead of his much-desired baby toads on toast! A humourous story with lively illustrations to match.
Old MacDonald Had a Dragon by Ken Baker will have your children, young and old, laughing. The familiar song is re-imagined to include a dragon that the other animals on the farm are not too fond of. This engaging story is brought to life with vivid illustrations.
Tabby McTat: The Musical Cat by Julia Donaldson is the loving tale of a street cat named Tabby McTat who sings for money with his owner, Fred. When the two accidentally separate, Tabby McTat discovers another life that he cannot let go of. This sweet and charming story of loyalty and friendship is brought to us by the author of the much-loved The Gruffalo.
Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney will remind children about the importance of sharing and caring. Another title to add to the beloved Llama Llama series, readers will enjoy the colourful illustrations and the rhyming text that’s fun to read aloud. Great for toddlers and preschoolers.
Children’s chapter books
I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein is an earnest story about wheelchair-bound student Jamie Grimm who wants nothing more than to become the world’s greatest standup comedian, and doesn’t let any obstacles get in his way.
Ratburger by David Walliams is a hilariously written story of a girl named Zoe who lives with her cruel and lazy stepmother while also being bullied at school. All things seem to go wrong until she finds a baby rat in her room. An entertaining story that will have children grinning ear to ear.
Losing It by Erin Fry tells the heartwarming story of Bennett, who goes through many life changes after his single-parent father has a stroke. Bennett is forced to live with his Aunt Laura, making him deal with his weight issues and low self-esteem.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes is a science-fiction story told through the perspectives of four young people caught in the middle of a war between three kingdoms. Through this intriguing story of action, magic and romance, readers will find themselves drawn into an exciting fantasy world.
Elemental by Antony John is the first in a trilogy about 16-year-old Thomas who lives in a small colony of people who all have ‘elements,’ special powers that allow them to control one of the four elements of nature. When their parents and guardians are kidnapped, they must find a way to rescue their families. A dystopian story filled with action, adventure and mystery.
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett is a retelling of the Greek myth, Theseus and the Minotaur, with a twist. Set in the ancient world of Krete, the story explores the perspective of Ariadne, sister of the Minotaur and future Goddess, and Theseus, destined to slay the Minotaur, as both become friends and blur the lines of family and duty.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Braken, the first in a trilogy, is a wrenching thriller about 16-year-old Ruby, who is imprisoned in a government-planned rehabilitation camp because of her dangerous ability. At the camp, she meets others with similar abilities, and when they decide to escape, they discover more than they realize on the outside.
Splintered by A.G. Howard is a fascinating, dark, yet beautiful revisit back into the Alice in Wonderland story. 17-year-old Alyssa, a descendent of Alice, realizes that she must go and restore the balance that was broken by Alice generations ago in order to remove the curse that was placed upon all the females in Alice’s family.
Find these books and many other great reads at your local branch of Toronto Public Library and at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca. Toronto Public Library branches also offer a variety of free programs and services for preschoolers, school-aged children and teens – from storytimes to crafts, from homework help to advisory groups. For details, visit our website or ask the friendly staff at your local branch.