Quilchena Reading Challenge: December

Stories to bring back the light

The winter solstice is on December 21st. Celebrate the longest nights by sitting comfortably and letting yourself be carried away by a great story.

Take your time to find the just right stories for you in this moment; this challenge doesn’t have to be completed until we return to school after the break.


  1. A book with the word light or dark(ness) in the title.
  2. A fantasy story.
  3. A book about sleep.
  4. An inspirational story.
  5. A book that you did NOT borrow from the Quilchena library.
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Quilchena Reading Challenge: November

Warming up with reading

It’s getting colder outside. The wind is blowing and the trees and plants are getting ready to sleep for the winter. What a great time to curl up in a comfy spot with an interesting book and a warm drink!

Warming up with reading can also mean that we are getting into our groove this school year. We got a little rusty, perhaps, with so long away from school but we are settling in to our routines now. A focus for students in all grades should be to try to make more time for reading.

Here are the categories for the November edition of our Reading Challenge:

  1. A book about or set during a war.
  2. A book by an indigenous author.
  3. A story with a main character who is a person of colour.
  4. At least three tales in a book of fairy tales
  5. A book with a one-word title.

Download your own copy of the challenge sheet below. Quilchena adults are encouraged to participate too!

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Quilchena Reading Challenge begins again!

Welcome to the first Quilchena Reading Challenge of 2020-2021!

As we all know, September was a bit different this year and my focus was elsewhere so I wasn’t able to publish a reading challenge last month. We will start with the October challenge and now that our routines are beginning to settle in, we can all get back to our reading.

The Quilchena Reading Challenges are for all students, teachers, and parents. The categories are designed to be applicable to any and all reading levels. As a reader, you get to choose how long, how hard, and in what format the books are to complete this challenge. I trust you to make good choices for yourself.

Start Something New

Even though it’s not September anymore, we are still settling into this slightly different newness of a school year. This month, take an opportunity to embrace new things and read something new, all from the comfort of a familiar, cozy reading spot.

    1. A book about a subject (like an animal) you know nothing about.

2. A story or non-fiction book about a refugee or immigrant experience.

    1. The first book in a series.
    1. A story or non-fiction book about or set during autumn.
    1. A book of short stories (you don’t have to read all of them.)
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Book Review: Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Submitted by Zhan


This is a book about science and it covers space, earth, being human, and our future and it is a question and facts book (but it is mostly questions.) Important questions, such as: What is it like on this ISS? Could a black hole be destroyed? Is there a solution to pollution? Shall we play a game? If we evolved from monkeys, why are monkeys still here? Could Superman survive a black hole? When will we be able to time travel? There are lots of questions in here!

Section 1: Space

The first few questions are about the ISS, Mars and astronaut life. Then it talks about wormholes and travelling (a bit sci0fi) then was a review of the solar system.

Section 2: Planet Earth

It is still a bit spacey at first but then is about pollution, climate, etc. Then is a part about thinking about our Earth (should we regret what we’ve done to our land under our feet?)

Section 3: Human Body

It first talks about the “sensors” that are us and then how we evolved over the centuries.

Section 4: Zombies! Superheros! Aliens! Warp travel! and the best of all, Time travel!

This is all imagination but Albert Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge” because imagination = infinity. But WARNING it is mind-blowing!

You will like this book if you like popularization of science and science facts, and it is probably a good book for science fair ideas! Example of a good science fair question: How many uses of salt are there? Did you know that the US is the largest producer of salt in the world? And guess what? Only 8% is used for food. The salt industry claims 14000 uses for salt. Neil deGrasse Tyson: astro-salt-icist.

Welcome back to the library!

I know this seems a little late for a back-to-school message. The rules surrounding access to the library have been shifting for weeks and the library schedule has only very recently settled to something tangible.

The good news is that everyone can borrow books from the library as they would normally! The VSB has deemed library circulation an important aspect of our lives at school and so I am allowed to welcome in classes as long as everyone cleans their hands before entering, adults and older students wear masks, and we don’t mingle Learning Groups. I have decided to take some extra precautions regarding quarantining books once they have been returned.

I have been SO happy to see everyone I’ve seen so far and am looking forward to catching up with the students whose classes haven’t been through the library yet. Keep reading!

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Submitted by Emma

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
By J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Spoiler Alert!!!




Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play which is a continuation of the Harry Potter saga, by J.K. Rowling. This story is the adventure of Harry Potter’s son, Albus Potter, and the hardships of living in his father’s shadow. On his first trip to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express, Albus meets Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy, once the sworn enemy of Harry Potter. Albus and Scorpius go on adventures together to rewrite the outcome of what happened in the Triwizard Tournament (for reference, see book 4). Each time they travel back in time using a stolen Ministry of Magic time turner. When the 1st challenge sends them back to the present, Albus finds he is in Gryffindor and his aunt is no longer Hermione Granger. And when they come back to the future from the 2nd task, Scorpius finds that Voldemort won the battle of Hogwarts and that Harry Potter is dead. Truly great feats of magic happen in each turn of time. Albus and Scorpius face their fears and overcome the dangers that await them in every new present, past and future.

Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy and Delphi Diggory are the main characters in the Cursed Child. At the beginning of the play Albus is scared and angry at his father and his life, while Scorpius is sad and lonely. When they meet Delphi, the resentment, anger and sadness fuel them to make hasty decisions — jumping off a train, going back in time, and breaking into the Ministry of Magic. In the end, Albus and Scorpius become happier, start to enjoy school more, and Albus becomes closer with his father.

This story is told in the form of a script for a play, so that means it doesn’t have one person’s view, but is omniscient. The tone of this novel is sad, suspenseful, and chaotic. If you go to the theatre to see the play you will see what I mean. With all the bright wand flashes and special effects, it feels as if you are practically living in that moment, but you must keep track in the beginning because everything happens quickly, while the end is more slow going.

I enjoyed this book and play for 3 main reasons. The plot was a full serving of suspense, mystery and sadness with thrilling twists and turns. The special effects and acting in the play where amazing and finally I loved how this magical Wizarding World felt so real.

Emma is a grade 7 student and a library monitor

Spotlight on: getting caught reading

One of our most beloved library monitors is finishing grade seven and going off to high school. Emma has been a dedicated library monitor and is a Reader Extraordinaire! She has completed every monthly Quilchena Reading Challenge, as well as this June bonus “Get Caught Reading” photo challenge. She also tells me that she’s almost finished the Read Harder 2020 reaching challenge, which is designed for adults and is meant to last the whole year. Amazing!
And without further ado…

Get Caught Reading

I am an anti-racist educator

art by @maxine.sarah.art

There are some events happening right now, mostly in the United States, that are very upsetting. There are people who have been hurting for a long time and are trying desperately to make their voices heard. I won’t describe the events in detail here, rather I will let families choose how much of this specific story is known in your homes.

One thing that I believe is not optional, especially for those of us who are in positions of the most privilege (white, cis, able-bodied, neurotypical, and whose people come from a Christian background), is that we work to make space for stories of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and other folx who live within the structures of oppression in our society.

There is racism in Vancouver, and there is racism in our schools. There has been, in some way or another, always. In the last couple of months people with Asian family heritage have been targets of escalated verbal and physical violence. That racism is present and active in our city and schools is something we all need to understand and accept before we will be able to create spaces that are truly safe and supportive for every single one of our students and their families. I want every family at Quilchena to know that acts of racism or any other acts of oppression are not okay in our community.

This year I started working on a diversity audit of our English fiction collection in the Quilchena Library. This means that I have started gathering information about how diverse (or narrow) the selection of stories is in our library. This will be an ongoing project for me as I work my way through our French and English fiction, our French and English easy chapter books, our French and English readers, and our French and English picture books. I will be devoting a significant portion of my library budget over the next few years to improving the balance of voices represented in our library collection, specifically focusing on #ownvoices titles.

There are a lot of great lists being published right now that can help us find books written by and about people who are not always represented on our home and school library, and classroom shelves, but who are definitely represented in our community. I have also found some helpful tips for talking to kids, particularly kids living with systemic privilege like my own daughter, about racism.

If you would like any help pursuing these topics at home or at school, I am happy to chat or host a more formal conversation about it.

Book Lists

We Are Kid Lit Collective: 2020 Summer Reading List

Picture Books about race, racism and resistance

Middle grade #ownvoices books

Other reading, mostly for parents

Why read diversely?

“The Top 5 Reasons Well Meaning White Parents Do Not Discuss Race With Their White Children”

Talking to young children about race.

“Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk about Race: resource roundup”

Get Caught Reading!

I am giving us a second crack at the BONUS reading challenge that I posted a few months ago. I think it got lost in the shuffle of getting organized and re-calibrated to teaching and learning.

This is a BONUS ROUND in our Reading Challenge series. I will be posting a June challenge shortly. In this BONUS Challenge you are encouraged to send your photos to Mme Brogan or to post them on your class Team.

Have fun!

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