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The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

December 2021 Adult List

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  1. The Ballerinas
    by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
    St. Martin's Press
    Dec 07, 2021
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

    Thirteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets can't stay buried forever.

    Moving between the trio's adolescent years and the present day, Rachel Kapelke-Dale's The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won't see coming, with magnetic characters you won't soon forget.

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  2. My Darling Husband
    by Kimberly Belle
    Park Row
    Dec 28, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    "Riveting suspense, truly surprising revelations, and silky smooth writing make this one unmissable!" Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Mother May I

    Bestselling author of DEAR WIFE and THE MARRIAGE LIE, Kimberly Belle returns with her most heart-pounding thriller to date, as a masked home invader reveals the cracks in a marriage.


    Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

    Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

    Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

    With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle's exceptional talent for domestic suspense.
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  3. The Replacement Wife
    by Darby Kane
    William Morrow
    Dec 28, 2021
    Hardcover

    Description

    The #1 International bestselling author of Pretty Little Wife returns with another thrilling domestic suspense novel that asks, how many wives and girlfriends need to disappear before your family notices?

    Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancée, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman’s safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh’s missing fiancée.

    Searching for clues means investigating her own family. And she doesn’t like what she finds. A laptop filled with incriminating information. Other women.

    But when Elisa becomes friends with Josh’s new girlfriend and starts to question things she thinks are true, Elisa wonders if the memories of a horrible incident a year ago have finally pushed her over the edge and Josh is really innocent. With so much at stake, Elisa fights off panic attacks and a strange illness. Is it a breakdown or something more? The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family…or is there?

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  4. Call Us What We Carry
    by Amanda Gorman
    Viking Books
    Dec 07, 2021
    POETRY / American / African American & Black
    Hardcover

    Description

    The breakout poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman

    Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.
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  5. Beasts of a Little Land
    by Juhea Kim
    Ecco
    Dec 07, 2021
    Hardcover

    Description

    "A spectacular debut filled with great characters and heart.” —Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

    A Recommended Read from: USA Today * Buzzfeed * Goodreads * Lit Hub * Book Riot * The Everygirl * The Oregonian

    An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter

    In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.

    In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

    From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim’s unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation’s. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

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  6. Bright Burning Things
    by Lisa Harding
    HarperVia
    Dec 07, 2021
    Hardcover

    Description

    “On every page there are little shimmering bombs. Like Room, where parenthood is at once your jail and your salvation, it is almost claustrophobic—but in the most glorious way.”—Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Women and Animal

    A rising international literary star makes her American debut with this visceral, tender, and brave portrait of addiction, recovery, and motherhood, as harrowing and intense as Shuggie Bain.

    Sonya used to perform on stage. She attended glamorous parties, dated handsome men, rode in fast cars. But somewhere along the way, the stage lights Sonya lived for dimmed to black. In their absence, came darkness—blackouts, empty cupboards, hazy nights she could not remember.

    Haunted by her failed career and lingering trauma from her childhood, Sonya fell deep into an alcoholic abyss. What kept her from losing herself completely was Tommy, her son. But her love for Tommy rivaled her love for the bottle. Addiction amplified her fear of losing her child; every maternal misstep compelled her to drink. Tommy’s precious life was in her shaky hands.

    Eventually Sonya was forced to make a choice. Give up drinking or lose Tommy—forever.

    Bright Burning Things is an emotional tour-de-force—a devastating and nuanced look at an addict’s journey towards rehabilitation and redemption.

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  7. A History of Wild Places
    by Shea Ernshaw
    Atria Books
    Dec 07, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Hardcover

    Description

    “What a wonderful rabbit hole to fall down.” —Erika Swyler, author of Light from Other Stars and The Book of Speculation

    “A terrifying and timely book.” —Erica Ferencik, bestselling author of The River at Night and Into the Jungle

    “As spine-chilling as it is beautifully crafted.” —Ruth Emmie Lang, author of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

    The New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep weaves a richly atmospheric adult debut following three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune as they investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.

    Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

    Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

    Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

    Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.
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  8. The Midnight Hour
    by Elly Griffiths
    Mariner Books
    Dec 07, 2021
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Historical
    Hardcover

    Description

    The Brighton police force is on the hunt for another killer, but this time they have some competition—a newly formed all-women’s private eye firm, led by none other than the police chief’s wife.

    Newly minted PI Emma Holmes and her partner Sam Collins are just settling into their business when they’re chosen for a high-profile case: retired music-hall star Verity Malone hires them to find out who poisoned her husband, a theater impresario. Verity herself has been accused of the crime. The only hitch—the Brighton police are already on the case, putting Emma in direct competition with her husband, police superintendent Edgar Stephens.

    Soon Emma realizes that Verity’s life intersects closely with her own—most notably in their mutual connection, Max Mephisto, who has returned to England from America with his children and famous wife, Hollywood star Lydia Lamont. Lydia, desperately bored in the countryside, catches wind of what Emma and Sam are up to and offers her services. What secret does Lydia know about Verity’s past?

    The team of female PIs circle closer to the killer, with the Brighton police hot on their tail. The clues suggest they’re looking for a criminal targeting the old music-hall crew. How long will it be before that trail leads straight back to Max?
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  9. Oddball
    by Sarah Andersen
    Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Dec 07, 2021
    HUMOR / Form / Comic Strips & Cartoons
    Paperback

    Description

    The newest Sarah's Scribbles collection from New York Times bestselling author and Goodreads Choice award winner Sarah Andersen.

    The fourth book in the enormously popular graphic novel series, the latest collection of Sarah's Scribbles comics explores the evils of procrastination, the trials of the creative process, the cuteness of kittens, and the beauty of not caring about your appearance as much as you did when you were younger. When it comes to humorous illustrations of the awkwardness and hilarity of millennial life, Sarah's Scribbles is without peer.
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  10. Rich Girl, Broke Girl
    by Kelley Keehn 'Canada'
    Simon & Schuster
    Dec 14, 2021
    BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Personal Finance / Budgeting
    Paperback

    Description

    The bestselling author of Talk Money to Me teaches women how to feel confident about their money, save and spend wisely, and advocate for themselves.

    Do you want to know how to pay off that debt and start saving?
    Ready to negotiate a salary raise or better benefits?
    Do financial terms and options make your head spin?

    Here’s the good news: we as women have more financial freedom and money now than ever before. Here’s the bad news: when it comes to money, many women become paralyzed by financial management and sometimes even defer big decisions to other people, much to their detriment.

    What’s the solution? Financial empowerment.

    In this handy guide, you will learn how to:
    -Discuss money with your partner
    -Determine realistic and attainable goals
    -Negotiate for the salaries and benefits you deserve
    -Splurge occasionally while still saving money
    -Understand financial risks and make good investments
    -Gain control of your financial destiny

    With years of experience as a personal finance educator, bestselling author Kelley Keehn will give you the tools you need to keep and grow your wealth, even if you don’t have much to start from—yet. This unique book brings to life the most common financial conundrums women face, teaching you how to save, spend, invest, and plan for a strong financial future.
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November & December 2021 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives: A Graphic Novel (Cat Kid Comic Club #2): From the Creator of Dog Man
    by Dav Pilkey
    Graphix
    Nov 30, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Humorous
    Lexile measure GN270L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Cat Kid Comic Club is back in session in this groundbreaking graphic novel narrative by Dav Pilkey, the worldwide bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of Dog Man.

    Flippy, Molly, Li'l Petey, and twenty-one baby frogs each have something to say. Naomi and Melvin don't see eye to eye and Poppy perceives the world differently than her siblings. Will the baby frogs figure out how to work together and appreciate one another's point of view -- both inside and outside the classroom?

    The shenanigans are nonstop and the baby frogs' minicomics are funny and full of heart. Creating stories within a story, author and illustrator Dav Pilkey uses a variety of techniques -- including acrylic paints, colored pencils, Japanese calligraphy, photography, collage, gouache, watercolors, and much more -- to portray each frog's perspective. The kaleidoscope of art styles, paired with Pilkey's trademark storytelling and humor, fosters creativity, collaboration, independence, and empathy. Readers of all ages will relish this joyful graphic novel adventure.

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  2. Just Roll with It
    by Lee Durfey-Lavoie
    Random House Graphic
    Dec 14, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient W, Lexile measure GN370L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Starting middle school is hard enough when you don't know anyone; it's even harder when you're shy. A contemporary middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Guts and Real Friends about how dealing with anxiety and OCD can affect everyday life.

    As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong...right?

    Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time...so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?

    A touching middle-grade graphic novel that explores the complexity of anxiety, OCD, and learning to trust yourself and the world around you.

    “A charming, compassionate story that’s sure to resonate with anyone who’s ever stayed up worrying.” —Gale Galligan, adaptor and illustrator of the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel series
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  3. Words to Make a Friend
    by Donna Jo Napoli
    Random House Studio
    Nov 09, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
    Hardcover

    Description

    A clever and innovative bilingual English/Japanese picture book about a Japanese girl and an American girl who prove you don't need to speak the same language to understand each other.

    When a young Japanese girl moves into her new house, she is happy to see a girl her age playing in the snow just outside her window. The only problem is the Japanese girl doesn't speak English and the American girl doesn't speak Japanese.

    How will these two girls have any fun at all? As it turns out, it's not that hard when both girls are looking for a friend! What starts with a simple "hello" and "konnichiwa" becomes a day filled with fun in the snow.

    Each girl's love of play, snow, and making a new friend transcends the need to speak the same language, and by using simple words in their own languages, along with a bit of charades, the girls find they have all they need to build a snow creature.

    An important book to show children that speaking the same language isn't a prerequisite to making a new friend.
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  4. The Coldest Touch
    by Isabel Sterling
    Razorbill
    Dec 07, 2021
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / LGBTQ+
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Vampires going to high school, but make it queer. Sterling delivers a fresh, thoughtful take on beloved paranormal tropes with a delightfully bloody romance.” —Mara Fitzgerald, author of Beyond the Ruby Veil

    From the author of These Witches Don't Burn comes another paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Stephenie Meyer.


    Elise Beaumont is cursed. With every touch, she experiences exactly how her loved ones will die. And after her brother's death—a death she predicted but was unable to prevent—Elise is desperate to get rid of her terrible gift, no matter the cost.

    Claire Montgomery also has a unique relationship with death, mostly because she’s already dead. Technically, anyway. Claire is a vampire, and she's been assigned by the Veil to help Elise master her rare Death Oracle powers.

    At first, Elise is reluctant to work with a vampire, but when she predicts a teacher’s imminent murder, she's determined to stop the violent death, even if it means sacrificing her own future to secure Claire's help.

    The trouble is, Claire and Elise aren't the only paranormals in town—a killer is stalking the streets, and Claire can't seem to shake the pull she feels toward Elise, a romance that could upend the Veil’s mission. But as Elise and Claire grow closer, Elise begins to wonder—can she really trust someone tasked with securing her loyalty? Someone who could so easily kill her? Someone who might hold the key to unraveling her brother's mysterious death?
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  5. Meet David Suzuki (Scholastic Canada Biography)
    by Elizabeth MacLeod 'Canada'
    Scholastic Canada
    Nov 02, 2021
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada / General
    Hardcover

    Description

    Meet David Suzuki: scientist, educator, and environmental activist!

    The award-winning Scholastic Canada Biography series highlights the lives of remarkable Canadians whose achievements have inspired and changed the lives of those who followed.

    As a young boy, David Suzuki loved spending time in the glorious British Columbia outdoors with his father. The racist policies against Japanese Canadians during World War II put an abrupt end to that when David’s family was sent to a Japanese internment camp in 1942. After the war, the Suzuki family was forced to leave B.C., settling in Ontario. David immersed himself in learning, earning a PhD in zoology, becoming a professor, and eventually taking his love of science education into the public sphere with his shows on CBC radio and television. His connection to nature, commitment as a scientist, and media presence found David among the first to raise the alarm on how human behaviour is endangering all life on Earth. He has worked tirelessly to bring attention and, more importantly, offer solutions to this critical issue. Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time, and David Suzuki has led the charge in education and activism in Canada for decades.

    Written by award-winning author Elizabeth MacLeod, this portrait of David Suzuki couples simple yet compelling writing with comic-flavoured illustrations by Mike Deas that help bring this fascinating story to life!

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  6. You'll Be the Death of Me
    by Karen M. McManus
    Delacorte Press
    Nov 30, 2021
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Thrillers & Suspense / General
    Lexile measure HL750L
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It's Ferris Bueller's Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly—and fatally—wrong.

    Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out from working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again.

    So when the three unexpectedly run into each other, they decide to avoid their problems by ditching. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say. . .

    . . . until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school—and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse. It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common...like a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.

    Could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

    Fans of the hit thriller that started it all can watch the secrets of the Bayview Four be revealed in the One of Us is Lying TV series now streaming on NBC's Peacock!
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  7. The Big Reveal
    by Jen Larsen 'Canada'
    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
    Dec 07, 2021
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Dating & Sex
    Hardcover

    Description

    Addie is a talented dancer, a true-blue friend, and a fat, fierce, and driven young woman. When she's accepted into the prestigious dance company of her dreams, she thinks nothing can bring her down—until she realizes she doesn't have enough money to go. Refusing to give up, Addie and her friends decide to put on a top-secret, invitation-only burlesque show to raise funds. But word soon gets out, and the slut- and body-shaming begin. Has Addie been resisting the patriarchy, or playing right into its hands?

    The Big Reveal asks hard-hitting feminist questions while reveling in some of life's greatest joys: chasing your passions, falling in love, and embracing yourself exactly as you are.

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  8. Girl Giant and the Jade War
    by Van Hoang
    Roaring Brook Press
    Dec 07, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic
    Hardcover

    Description

    In this sequel toGirl Giant and the Monkey King, Thom and her friends set off on a far flung adventure to save the Heavens and the Jade Emperor from certain destruction.

    Thom Ngoh thought the Monkey King was her friend—he taught her to control her super strength and to stand up for herself. But really he was just using her. He tricked her into stealing from the Heavens and releasing him from his 500-year prison. Now the Monkey King is waging a war against the Heavens and Thom must do everything in her power to fix the mess she made.

    Determined to prevent a war, Thom and her dragon friend Kha set off on an adventure across the Heavens to search for allies. But with the stakes higher than ever, the price for help may be more than Thom is willing to pay. . .

    This richly woven middle-grade fantasy series is full of humor, magic, and heart, and will appeal to readers who love Roshani Chokshi and Sayantani DasGupta.

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  9. Our Violent Ends
    by Chloe Gong
    Margaret K. McElderry Books
    Nov 16, 2021
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / Historical
    Hardcover

    Description

    Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”

    The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

    After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on a mission. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

    Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

    Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.
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  10. Thunder and the Noise Storms
    by Jeffrey Ansloos 'Canada'
    Annick Press
    Nov 16, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / Indigenous
    Guided Reading Level J, Lexile measure AD510L
    Hardcover

    Description

    When the world gets too loud and chaotic, a young boy’s grandfather helps him listen with wonder instead.

    Kids laughing, sneakers squeaking, balls bouncing—for Thunder, the sounds of the school day often brew into overwhelming noise storms. But when Thunder’s mosom asks him what he hears on an urban nature walk, Thunder starts to understand how sounds like bird wings flapping and rushing water can help him feel calm and connected. Gentle, inviting illustrations by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley emphasize Mosom’s lessons about the healing power of the world around us.

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