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Silver Birch Express Award 2020
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Silver Birch Express Award 2020

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The Silver Birch Express Award is comprised of fiction and non-fiction titles and is geared to reluctant readers and is typically suited for Grades 3 and 4. The Forest of Reading® is Canada's largest recreational reading program! This initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) offers ten reading programs to encourage a love of reading in people of all ages.
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

edition:Hardcover

The bold story of Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race and was depicted in the filmHidden Figures.
You've likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home?
As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and exci …

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Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bag

by Zetta Elliott
illustrated by Geneva B
edition:Paperback

The dragon's out of the bag in this diverse, young urban fantasy from an award-winning author--with two starred reviews!

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she's not his grandmother--but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they'll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don't let them out of the bag and don't feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends V …

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Excerpt

Mama strokes my cheek with her finger before pressing the doorbell. I feel tears pooling behind my eyes, but I will them not to fall. Mama has enough to worry about right now.

 

“It’s only for a little while, Jaxon. I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

I nod and look up at the peephole in the door. If I look down at my feet, the tears will fall and my nose will start to run and Mama will know I don’t want her to leave me here.

 

Mama’s biting her lip and tapping her toe nervously. She presses the doorbell again, letting it ring longer this time. We both hear someone stirring--and cursing--inside the apartment. Mama laughs nervously and says, “Ma curses like a sailor sometimes, but she’s a harmless old lady. She’s fun, too--you’ll like her, Jax.”

 

I never even knew I had a grandmother living in Brooklyn. Mama never mentioned her before. Sometimes Mama hides things from me--or that’s what I let her believe. Mama thinks I don’t know our landlord’s trying to get rid of us. She takes down the eviction notices he pins to our front door, but I still know what’s going on. Today Mama has to go to court. I want to go with her, but Mama wants to leave me here instead.

 

A heavy body shuffles toward the door. Mama and I wait patiently as at least three locks are turned. The chain stays on and lets the door open just a crack. I cringe as a raspy voice asks, “What you want?”

 

Mama smiles sweetly and places her palm against the door. She speaks slowly and politely. “It’s just us, Ma. I called this morning and told you we were coming. Remember?”

 

The woman behind the door barks at Mama, “Course I remember. You called and asked if you could leave the boy with me and I said NO!”

 

The sweet smile on Mama’s face doesn’t budge. If anything, it hardens. Mama tries to push the door open, but the chain’s still on and my mysterious grandmother doesn’t seem ready to move out of the way.

 

Mama puts her other hand on the doorframe and leans in so that the woman on the other side of the door can see and hear just how desperate she is. “It’s only for a few hours. Please, Ma. You’re all he has.”

 

I step back and wonder if that’s really true. I’m sure Vikram would let me stay at his house for a while. His parents like me and don’t mind having me around. Mrs. Patel calls me a good influence. That’s what the grown-ups who know me always say. But this mean lady won’t even open the door and give me a chance. If she doesn’t want me around, that’s fine by me.

 

But it’s not okay with Mama. She’s whispering to the woman behind the door, but her smile is gone now, and there are tears shining on her cheeks. I want to hold Mama’s hand, but instead I take another step back and hold on to the straps of my book bag. Mama’s saying one word over and over again: please.

 

I have never seen my mother beg anyone for anything. But it doesn’t work, because the door finally closes. Mama rests her forehead against it before wiping her eyes and turning to me. “Let’s go, Jax,” she says wearily.

 

I sigh with relief and take Mama’s hand. Just as we start to walk down the stairs, I hear the chain slide, and the door opens once more.

 

“One day. Give me your word, Alicia. One day.”

 

Mama says, “I promise, Ma.” Then she pulls me back over to my grandmother’s apartment. The door is open, but the lights are off and I can’t see anyone inside. Mama gives me a quick hug and pushes me through the doorway. Before I can ask her when she’ll be back, Mama rushes down the stairs and is gone.

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Earthrise

Earthrise

Apollo 8 and the Photo That Changed the World
edition:Hardcover

1968 was a year of unrest: many nations were at war. People marched for peace, fairness, and freedom. At the same time, the Apollo 8 crew was about to go farther into space than anyone had gone before—to the moon.
As they surveyed the moon’s surface, astronauts aboard Apollo 8 looked up just when Earth was rising out of the darkness of space. They saw the whole planet—no countries, no borders. The photograph they took, Earthrise, had a profound effect when published widely back on Earth, …

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Go Show the World

Go Show the World

A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes
by Wab Kinew
illustrated by Joe Morse
edition:Hardcover

"We are a people who matter." Inspired by President Barack Obama's Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington.

Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures …

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Light a Candle

Light a Candle

edition:eBook

In the northeast of what is now the country of Tanzania sits Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. At the base of the mountain live the Chagga people, known throughout the region as the caretakers of the mountain.

Co-written by Eric Walters and Godfrey Nkongolo, Light a Candle weaves nonfiction with fiction to tell the story of a boy coming of age in the shadow of Kilimanjaro and his father, the chief of their tribe. The boy climbs the mountain against his father's wishes to fulfill …

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Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

by Linda Bailey
illustrated by Julia Sarda
edition:Hardcover

The inspiring story of the girl behind one of the greatest novels -- and monsters -- ever, perfectly timed for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. For fans for picture book biographies such as I Dissent or She Persisted.

How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her str …

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Scholastic Canada Biography: Meet Tom Longboat

Scholastic Canada Biography: Meet Tom Longboat

by Elizabeth MacLeod
illustrated by Mike Deas
edition:Hardcover

 

Meet Tom Longboat, the Onondaga runner who broke world records . . . on his own terms!

On April 19, 1907, a hundred thousand people lined up to watch the eighth running of the Boston Marathon. At the start of the race, more than one hundred runners surged forward, and at the end, Tom Longboat won it in a record-breaking 2 hours,24 minutes and 24 seconds. He became the most famous runner in the world, yet faced scrutiny and criticism of every part of his life, from his revolutionary training tech …

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Megabat

Megabat

by Anna Humphrey
illustrated by Kass Reich
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It's big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it's haunted . . . or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he's living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people wh …

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Excerpt

Daniel Misumi hated his new house. He hated the vines that crept up the redbrick and the way the peaks over the upstairs windows looked like angry eyebrows. He hated the creaky floors and the weird wallpaper… but most of all, he hated his new attic bedroom—especially when he discovered a ghostly creature was living there.
Daniel’s first clue about the creature was the mysterious puddle at the top of the stairs.
“Oof!” he said, landing on his bum. It was moving day, and he’d been carrying a box of Lego. Pieces crashed to the floor and skittered under the furniture like beetles afraid of the light.
Daniel stood up and examined his wet shorts. “Mom!” he called. “There’s a puddle on my floor!”
Daniel found his mom in the bathroom. She was busy unpacking her bottles of relaxing bubble bath. “Just what we need.” She sighed. “A leak in the roof on our first day.”
Daniel’s father was summoned. He made grim faces at the ceiling and said things like “Welllllll…” and “Let’s see…” but no hole or crack was discovered.
“Maybe it’s not water,” Daniel said as they mopped up the puddle. “It could be corrosive liquid leaking from a rusty pipe.” In such an old house, he wouldn’t have been surprised.
Daniel eyed the ceiling suspiciously, but his dad just said they’d deal with it later.
So Daniel tried to put the puddle out of his mind, but later that night, when he was drifting off to sleep…
“Gots buttermelons? Hmmm?”
His eyes shot open.
“Buttermelons? Nope? None?”
The voice was small and quivering, and if he hadn’t been so terrified, Daniel might have noticed how filled with sadness it was.
He pulled the blankets over his head. At first it seemed to work. The room stayed silent for a long time. So long that Daniel almost convinced himself he’d imagined the whole thing.
“Buttermelons? Peeze! None? Nooooooooo.”
The voice came again, even more quivery than before. Plus, now there was a strange flapping sound.
Daniel sat up, turned on the bedside light and raised his arms in a fierce karate move. He looked around the room.

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