Silver Birch Express

Take a Walk in the Forest of Reading – Silver Birch Express

When it comes to reading children often fall into two categories: book lovers and book resisters. No matter which category your child falls into, The Forest of Reading has wonderful book recommendations to get young people motivated to read.

The Forest of Reading has ten categories broken down into different grade levels. The Silver Birch Express category is geared towards reluctant readers in grades three and four. These books go outside the realm of regular stories to capture the interest of young readers. There are three titles in particular that captured my heart:

Go Show the World by Wab Kinew

Indigenous history wasn’t something that was regularly taught when I attended grade school. It just wasn’t part of the curriculum yet. I vaguely remember a unit on longhouses, but there certainly weren’t any significant lessons that included Indigenous roles or histories. This is why books like Go Show the World make me smile. Children today are exposed to a much broader narration of North American history.

Go Show the World is written by Manitoba’s provincial New Democratic Party leader Wab Kinew. The book celebrates 14 different Indigenous heroes. Rhyming lines introduce each person, ranging from historical figures like Sacagawea to modern day personalities such as Carey Price. Some of the people, I had never heard of, such as Waneek Horn-Miller who was stabbed during the Oka crisis and later went on to represent Canada at the 2000 Olympics in water polo.

This is a wonderful book that highlights how Indigenous people have shaped (and continue to shape) North American history.

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey

Mary was a dreamer. Mary was a thinker. Mary was a creator.  Mary was everything a girl in the 1800’s was not supposed to be. Her improper behavior eventually got her sent away to live with another family. One night when Mary was only 18, there was a very bad storm. She and some others sat around the fire telling ghost stories. The story Mary created went on to become Frankenstein, one of the most revered horror novels of all time.

Mary who Wrote Frankenstein is a beautifully illustrated biography that teaches young people how stories are created. Mary’s life will inspire those who dare to live outside the rules.

Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

Personally, I wouldn’t touch a mushroom with a ten foot pole. The texture alone makes my stomach turn. But this book caught my attention from the moment I saw the cartoonish cover. It looks like one giant, fun-loving mushroom family got together for a group photo. The book contains a whole bunch of interesting tidbits on mushroom hunting. Author Elsie Gravel does a marvelous job of combining humour with straight facts (Did you know that there is a type of mushroom that smells like dog-poo?).

The Mushroom Fan Club is easy to read and had me smiling as I was turning the pages, curious at what mushroom fact I was going to learn next. It absolutely gave me a new appreciation for all things fungi.

For a complete list of books in the Silver Birch Express category, please see the WPL catalogue. And be sure to stay tuned for more recommendations from different categories in the Forest of Reading program!

— Lesley L.