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Summer break is in full swing, meaning more time for family, relaxation – and reading.
We've got some suggestions of winning books and novels for all ages that come student-recommended, as well as an array of titles that have been reviewed and endorsed by Surrey teachers.
Every year Surrey School District educators, including teacher-librarians, nominate books for four readers' choice award programs: Surrey Teens Read (for youth); Surrey Schools Book of the Year (geared toward intermediate students); Surrey Schools Picture Book of the Year (for primary-level readers); and Surrey Schools Narrative Nonfiction Book of the Year (designed for elementary students).
Students throughout the district then vote on the nominated books, and a winner in each category is announced at the end of each school year.
The winning novel in this year's Surrey Teens Read contest is The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. The book, a story about a small town where three sisters were drowned to death for witchcraft more than 200 years ago, is one of 10 nominated novels intended for young adults. You can view the other nominated 2019-20 teen titles here, as well as see the new list of book nominees for 2020-21.
Surrey Schools Book of the Year winner – geared toward students reading at the Grade 4-7 level – is The Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell. The graphic novel follows a neighbourhood of children who transform boxes into colourful costumes and imaginative kingdoms where they encounter knights and robots and monsters, while also exploring their own relationships with friends, family and themselves. View the dozens of past winners in this category for more intermediate reading recommendations, and take a sneak peek at the 10 nominees for 2020-21.
The Surrey Schools Picture Book of the Year with the most votes in 2019-20 is Potato Pants, by Laurie Keller, (view the video book trailer). Enjoy some laughs as a potato and his arch-rival eggplant try to find the perfect pair of pants -- and learn about forgiveness along the way. See the rest of the primary-level book nominees here and past picture book winners here.
The final category of book awards is Surrey Schools Narrative Non-Fiction Book of the Year, which aims to promote a love of reading for enjoyment and for information, by exposing elementary students to narrative non-fiction literature. This year's winner is What Do They Do With All That Poo?, a funny and factual picture book that talks about the manure of a variety of different zoo animals and explores where it all ends up (including science labs and gardens!). Check here for more information about other books in the narrative non-fiction category.
Surrey Libraries also has a free Summer Reading Club for kids of all ages, as does the White Rock branch of Fraser Valley Regional Library.