After the last couple of weeks with some VERY cold temperatures and wind chills I’m thinking that travelling southward sounds like a nice change. I have always believed that we are fortunate to experience the variety of seasons that we get in Canada, and particularly on the prairies. I still believe that - in theory. I love to see the white snow banks just after a snowfall when they are pristine. Catching a glimpse of amazing sun dogs is still a treat. One of my favorite things is hoar frost as it covers everything and turns trees and tiny branches into spectacular works of art. Watching big, fat, snowflakes as they fall silently on a calm day is special. Winter provides us with beautiful landscapes.

But too much cold can leave us feeling worn out, and we end up with a case of the Blahs. Curing the Blahs seems to be different for everyone. Some escape the Blahs by running south for either a prolonged period, or for a week or two. Some shake the Blahs by embracing the situation, dressing very warmly and entering into snow sports – snowmobiling, skiing (downhill or cross country), skating, snowshoeing, or simply going out in the yard and building a snowman, or a fort, or having a snowball fight.

On the other hand for those of us who can’t travel and have no desire to play outside, we can take this time, either individually or as a family, to make good use of long evenings by ignoring the TV and reading instead. Choosing a good book as a family and taking turns reading can be great fun. Make a big bowl of popcorn, get comfy and read a grand adventure. Here are a few suggestions – some are better for younger children and some are great for ‘tweens and teens:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
With lots of adventures, humor and also some practical life lessons this is a classic story. Originally published in 1876.

  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Could you survive if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island? Robinson Crusoe’s ingenuity is astounding and if you have a teen who loves to make things, they may be inspired to experiment. Published 1719.

  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Swashbuckling is the term for Robin Hood and youngsters will enter into the adventure and might even have fun acting out some of the scenes. Published 1883.

  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
All the animals in a British forest come alive as they take over center stage in this warm and funny tale. Published in 1908.

  • The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat
This book will have you laughing aloud as you read the antics of a young boy and his dog, Mutt, on the Saskatchewan prairies during the dusty depression. Mutt doesn’t seem to believe that he is just a dog. Published in 1957

  • The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan
This is one of the all-time great adventure stories. An ordinary man gets caught up in espionage and is on the run trying to clear himself of a murder charge. If you have seen a movie by this name, it is a far cry from the book – the book is much better by far. Published in 1915.

  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
This is the story of a dog named Buck, and told from his point of view. Buck was stolen from his comfortable home and harshly trained to be a sled dog during the Yukon gold rush. Published in 1903

  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
In 1751 in Scotland, cheated out of his inheritance by a greedy uncle who has him kidnapped and put on a ship to the Carolinas, seventeen-year-old David Balfour escapes to the Highlands with the help of the Jacobite Alan Breck Stewart and there encounters further danger and intrigue as he attempts to clear his name and regain his property. Published in 1893.

  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
On his eleventh birthday Will Stanton discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to seek the six magical Signs that will enable the Old Ones to triumph over the evil forces of the Dark. Published in 1973.

  • The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
Eighteen-year-old Eff must finally get over believing she is bad luck and accept that her special training in Aphrikan magic, and being the twin of the seventh son of a seventh son, give her extraordinary power to combat magical creatures that threaten settlements on the western frontier. The story is set on a world much like ours, but things are just a bit different. Published in 2009.

Immerse yourselves into a story and read most evenings until the book is done, or, take it slower and read one evening a week to prolong the enjoyment and fit your schedule. Reading as a family can be fabulous fun and will certainly encourage your children to read on their own. Don’t forget to use as much animation in your reading aloud as you can find, because it will make a huge difference.

If you are having a hard time finding a book that you can all enjoy, please ask us, we would enjoy helping you find just the right story.

About the Authors

Hi - my name is Carolyn Graham and I am the Head Librarian and I love my job! One of the best parts of my job is that I am the first one to see all the beautiful new books as they arrive. I have always loved to read and my favorite way to relax is with a good book. I strongly believe that having good reading skills is an integral part of all learning. Being able to share good books and authors that I have enjoyed is great fun. Feel free to come and ask for suggestions.

Hi - I’m Aubrey Walker, Assistant Librarian at the Jake Epp Library. I’m a librarian and coffee guzzler by day, a reader and tea sipper by night. Reading and writing (and talking endlessly about both) are passions of mine, so I’m rather lucky to have a job where those things are relevant and important. I’m also the voice behind our Facebook page, and I love connecting with people about books both online and off.

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