Inspirational Books by VLM readers
My goal with this column is to offer book ideas and inspiration for children and the adults who care about them. In the process, I have been introduced to new titles myself from VLM readers who have written books of their very own. These talented individuals, many taking on this initiative outside of everyday jobs, have also made time to do readings for local schools and community groups. This September issue is a tribute to these local first-time authors who live or work in midtown Toronto and whose books just happen to be perfect for this time of year as students start the school year!
Written by Michelle Persyko, Photography by Jessica Newman, Illustrated by Shawna Smoke
For: 4 – 8
Dr. Michelle Persyko is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Toronto who wants to help children find and express their voice. Max’s Treasure is a collaboration with her teenage daughter Jessica who took the photography in Cedarvale Park.
In this forest adventure, a boy named Max encounters animals whose words make him feel sad, while he searches for treasure. Along with the help of a friendly duck, Max is able to turn the negativity into kindness, which he shares with others. Available at select stores and at www.maxstreasure.com.
My Friend Clyde
Written by: Jason Kendal, Illustrated by Mariam Kendal
For: 5 – 10
This rhyming picture book is meant to introduce young children to the topic of bullying, and to promote inclusion. The story follows a young boy named Clyde who has a learning disability and is teased by peers. This learning resource highlights that Clyde is worth getting to know, and it has discussion questions for students at the back for classroom conversation. This project was written by Jason Kendal and illustrated by his wife, Mariam, for their sister Jacquelyn who was bullied as a child for having a learning disability. She is courageous and inspirational, acting as the spokesperson by presenting it to over 2500 students in reading workshops.
Purchase by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
*Me and My So-Called Friends
Written by: Sharon Neiss-Arbess
For: 12 and up
Navigating high-school is known to be a challenging time for teenagers. Sharon Neiss-Arbess tackles this topic in a novel that adolescents will relate to and want to read.
Her story follows Lizzie Stein as she pivots a challenging year encountering peer pressure from friends, bullying, and math troubles. Luckily for Lizzie, she is surrounded by many caring people who rally to help her during this tricky time.
There is also an accompanying Teacher’s Manual available for purchase, Brave the Waves, with a focus on students’ mental health and well-being. *Mature content is covered.
Clean My Space
Written by: Melissa Maker
Back-to-school season is the perfect time to clean up house and get organized. This pick is for all the adults who run busy households, or anyone motivated to keep a tidy home.
Melissa Maker from Clean My Space, a popular Toronto based-cleaning service, and the personality behind the popular You Tube DIY cleaning videos has come up with a unique type of cookbook, except the recipes are for cleaning.
This is the resource families will want with tips and tricks for study spaces, electronics and laundry!