Blue Spruce 2017

Overviews, Connections & Resources for your Classroom

Before you dive into the OLA's Forest of Reading Blue Spruce nominees for 2017 & check out available connections & resources for your class!

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Spark Books & Growth

At first, we learn all the things The Good Little Book isn't. It has no jacket or medals and is neither thick nor thin, but after being discovered by a boy, the book and the boy begin parallel journeys finding out exactly what a Good Little Book can be and do once introduced to the right person!

You can discover, author, Kyo Maclear's childhood reading inspirations on her website kyomaclearkids.com,


As well, Edmonton's Mayor, Don Iveson, shares this story in his May edition of Mayor Reads in honour of "all the 'Good Little Books' that are out there to inspire readers. You'll discover some other great books too, as children share their 'spark books' in response to this quiet, but powerful little book.

Mayor Reads: The Good Little Book

Friendship & Change

Harry and Walter are friends. The fact that they are four and three-quarters and ninety-two and a half can't change that, but other things can. Read Kathy Stinson's Harry and Walter to delve into the intricacies of friendship and how some things change, but others never do!

Inspiration & Kindness

Follow William as he solves the mystery of the ever-more-fantastical topiary trees appearing throughout his dreary hometown and discovers the influence of the The Night Gardener's the generous gifts.


The Fan Brothers have beautifully illustrated through picture and story how artistry and kindness can not only inspire and change one person but a whole community.

You can see how The Night Gardener is a true act of collaboration as the brothers work together, even drawing on the same page at the same time, to create illustrations. Thanks to Globe and Mail for this exciting peek into their artistic process!
How two brothers collaborate through their love of drawing | Drawing With

Pets & If Buts

Sam may wish her hamster was a little more exciting but realizes he's exactly what she needs as she imagines the pros and cons of owning various mythological creatures in this rhythmic romp of a book!


Though her website, Vikki Vansickle, shares a page where you can imagine and draw your own magical pet!

Determination & Regret

The Artist and Me is Shane Peacock's ode to Vincent Van Gogh's single-minded pursuit of art against daily challenges. He frames the story using an old man's reflection on his poor treatment of van Gogh as a boy.
Shane Peacock's story of judgement and bullying weave facts of van Gogh's life throughout. A pivotal scene in the story connects to the last piece of art van Gogh painted. You can continue to research the history of Wheatfield with Crows,van Gogh's life or other pieces of his work through the online site for the Van Gogh Museum.
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Distraction & Attention

In the "busy"ness of their day, Bill's family not only forgets about him but doesn't even hear him when he speaks. Maureen Fergus creates the perfect metaphor of what can occur when people get caught up in their daily minutiae. InvisiBill is the perfectly funny foil for what a sensible person needs to do to draw his family in.

Perspective & School

If you released four dogs into a school, what would sniff out? What would their dog eyes see? Join Stanley & his friends Nutsy, Alice & Gassy Jack as they inspect the place their kids disappear to every day. School!
If you like Stanley, remember this book is just one in the series by Linda Bailey. Try other Stanley books. They are a hit with kids, and so much fun to read! Every time!
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Animal Guides & Character Traits

Danielle Daniel highlights the various strengths and traits of twelve animal guides in this brief introduction to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals.


You can find out more about the author at her website danielledaniel.com.

Cooperation & Survival

Author and illustrator, Willow Dawson created a poetic book examining the harsh realities of survival over one hungry winter. A deeper look reveals the connection between wolves and ravens and the reason for the ravens' nickname, the wolf-bird.
Check out the resources Willow Dawson studied and listen to her explain what she learned while researching her book.
Willow Dawson on The Wolf-Birds

Creativity & Colour

Crayon stories, like The Day the Crayons Quit & Red, have been very popular over the last couple years and Snap! is a perfect addition.


Hazel Hutchins, with the assistance of the talented Dusan Petricic, illustrates the life-cycle of a box of crayons in the hands of the ever-inventive Evan from the first snap of a broken crayon to the tiny pieces left at the end.


There is no better partnership for this book than a box of crayons and some paper. Try it and just watch your class go!

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Follow the Forest of Reading!

Follow the Ontario Library Association on the social media of your choice to keep updated on all things Forest of Reading or download their new app!


Thank you to the OLA for promoting Canadian authors & illustrators with these exciting programs!

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