Tag Archives: Literacy

Charge Into March Break with These Fun Reads!

March break is upon us, which means more time gallivanting through the home, or long journeys by plane and car, and more time left to young mind’s imaginings. So, as you prepare for a week of potential vacations, or staycations, here are some  books that will keep children engaged throughout the days.

1.) Harry and Clare’s Super Staycation (5-9) 
By Ted Staunton (Author); Mika Song (Illustrator) 

While some of us will be hopping on planes and flying leagues away, most of us will find ourselves spending time in our cozy abodes. But even whilst home, adventures await around the corner. Staycation is a picture book by Canadian author, Ted Staunton, which follows a young brother and sister as they concoct vivid adventures–prepare for erupting volcanos!– right in their own living room.
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2.) A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 (7-9) 
By Matthew Olshan and Blackall

This picture book astounds with compelling images, humour, and a semi-true history, (and it involves men in their underwear, so there’s that!) This is the tale of two men, British doctor Jeffies and French balloonist Blanchard, with egos as full as the air balloon, as they embark on the first international balloon journey across the English Channel in 1785. While attempting to contend with the elements, their prime challenge is working with each other.
voyage in the clouds
3.) The Terrible Two (8-12) 
By Mac Barnett and Jory John
the terrible two

The last thing children may want during the break is anything to do with school, but this is no ordinary school story; this involves Niles, the greatest prankster of all time. At least he thinks he is until he moves to a new school and encounters Niles, an even better prankster than him. At first, the duo wage war, contriving new and ingenous pranks to ruin the reputation of the other, until one day, they decide to team up against their curmudgeon principal, and pull the greatest prank heist of all time– it involves cows! A definte laugh-aloud with illustrations to top, there’s no better time to pick up the book than now.
4.) Amos & Boris (6-9) 
By William Steig 
amos and boris
Heart wrenching and beautiful, this quiet adventure between two friends will surely take you on another epic voyage with a mouse–Amos– and whale–Boris– who quickly become the best of friends. After a fateful ship wreck tosses Amos into sea, Boris appears, and soon the little mouse hitches a ride on the back of the giant whale. Both will see the world anew now that they have a special companion by their side. William Steig, who has published other such favourites as Doctor De Soto, stands as one of the eminent children’s story tellers of our time.
5.) Mr. Wuffles! (5-9) 
By David Wiesner
mr. wuffles
While it may have no words, this Silver Caldecott Medal winner delves into the vast adventure and excitement that awaits one of our oldest furry friends; cats. Mr. Wuffles is a house cat as many others, but he has just stumbled upon a secret society of aliens who have landed in the home. Through vivid observation, the black and white cat is led to a small crack in the wall, where he witnesses the ancient civilizations of ants communicate with the newcomers, unbeknownst to the human dwellers of the home. It’s a sure fun read, where words lack, imagination will weave a compelling narrative and let your child gaze at your seemingly ordinary abode walls with newfound curiosity and imagination.
6.) Harry Potter (8-12) 
By J.K. Rowling

Why not revisit, or introduce your child to the Harry Potter series. Parents and adults with young children in their lives are often looking for a series to get their kids engaged in reading for the long haul.  With the recent release of Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them, and the recent re-release of Tales of Beedle the Bard with a swanky new cover: Hogwarts awaits! Harry Potter may seem like your ordinary boy, until one day a mysterious letter comes to the door and he discovers he is in fact a wizard who has been called to the wizarding school of Hogwarts. His life is forever changed as new friends, adventure, and literal and figurative magic fills his life.
7.) Mercy Watson (6-9) 
By Kate DiCamillo (Author); Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator) 
mercy watson

This young readers’ series is filled with vivid and colourful illustrations by one of the leading illustrators, Chris Van Dusen, to help get even the most reluctant of readers into reading.  Mercy, the lovable and adorable pig, has a knack for ending up in strangely hilarious sitations. Kate DiCamillo, beloved author of such classics as The Tale of Despereaux, provides engrossing plotlines that will ease your child into chapter books and may just be added to one of their favourite series.
8.) Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas (6-9) 
Usborne Publishing
lift the flap

This book may be non-fiction but it taps into any child’s desire for exploration. Equipped with a *giant* world poster at the back to hang on the wall, each page displays a continent with tons of flaps that reveal amazing geographic and historical information about various regions. Usborne is one of the leading non-fiction children’s publishers, and they don’t disappoint with this captivating book.
9.) The Spiderwick Chronicles; (8-12) 
By Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Siblings Jared, Simon and Mallory move to the Spiderwick estate and discover a secret land of fairies. The New York times bestselling series follows the siblings as they stumble upon a secret library in the home accessible only through the dumbwaiter. There, Jared finds Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You; and that’s only the beginning of this adventure.

10.) Ada Twist, Scientist (6-9) 
Andrea Beaty (Author); David Roberts (Illustrator) 
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School isn’t the only place where we can teach our children to love science. Following in the surge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused books, the creators of Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect introduce us to new character. Young Ada, a budding scientist who is using the power of her curiosity to explore her surroundings, even if that means making a mess at home, there is nothing that will stop this young powerhouse from discovering her world. With Beaty’s famous rhyming verse, this is a great book to read aloud to young children.

By: Nicole Abi-Najem

A Message from First Nations School of Toronto Teacher, Malia Mitha

Over the past several years the students at First Nations School of Toronto, which is a specialized school in the Toronto District School Board located at Dundas St. and Broadview Ave., have been able to visit the Children’s Bookbank. Each experience walking over to the book bank has been an exciting time for the students as they are emergent readers and always look forward to the opportunity to scour the bookshelves looking for books of interest to take home.

As the grade 1/2 teacher at First Nations School, I really value this experiential excursion because it reinforces the importance of reading, in addition to the joy it brings. Each visit begins with preselected read alouds, which always peak the interest of students, as they are well written books that are rich and engaging. Personally I find the opportunity to listen to a great read a bonding experience for the students and myself as they witness how for those fifteen minutes nothing else matters expect what is being heard and experienced in our imagination.


On behalf of our school community we would like to acknowledge the cherished gift we have each year to visit the Children’s Bookbank multiple times. As an educator I will continue to commit time in our school year to visit the friendly staff at the book bank seeing that picking up a book is often not part of the students daily routine in this age of rapid technology development, nor is it always possible due to financial constraints to have access to a plethora of great literature at home.

-Malia Mitha, Grade 1/2 Teacher, First Nations School of Toronto