Blog - Library Services Centre

The world seems regularly intent on reminding us of the uglier sides of humanity. In that shadow, we would like to highlight and celebrate amazing works and contributions to the world of books, so that we can all read, learn, and share in the world together. It is so important to have affirming stories such as the titles below, especially in the face of violent discrimination.


Representation matters. This has been known for so long, but largely ignored by those in positions of power. A recent report suggests that the entertainment industry is ignoring $10 billion a year by not creating content that is created by, and focuses on, people of colour, minority voices, and diverse backgrounds.


The children’s book industry has seen steady improvements in the presentation of characters over the last few years, and it is important for libraries to make sure their collections are as diverse as their patrons. With that in mind, here is a small collection of children’s and YA material that highlights Asian creators and perspectives.


Eyes That Kiss the Corners by Joanna Ho / a girl's long black hair blows in the wind, while she smells a flower and a butterfly floats byIn Eyes That Kiss the Corners by Joanna Ho, a little girl notices that her eyes look different than the people around her, but she has the same eyes as her mother, grandmother and sister. This is a story about how a little girl learns to love herself and celebrate her personal beauty, not the standards of others.


Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin / a young girl holds up a plate and chopsticksDim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin shows a Chinese American family sitting down to enjoy a traditional dim sum meal. Dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts are all brought out together and each family member gets to choose a favorite food. The author includes a note for parents, teachers, and children who want to learn more about the origins and practice of dim sum.


The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi / a young girl drops slips of paper into a glass jarIn The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi, Unhei has just moved to America from Korea and is worried that the kids in her class will not be able to pronounce her name. Instead, she tells the class that she will choose a name the next week. The kids decide to help her out by filling a glass jar with potential names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices all the names in the jar, a new friend discovers her real name and the special meaning behind it, which helps change Unhei’s feelings about herself.


Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand / a young girl sits with her head in her hands, smiling at a cloud of butterflies surrounding herIn Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand, Laxmi has never really noticed the tiny hairs above her lip, but one day at school her friends point out that her “whiskers” would make her the perfect cat. She then starts to notice hair all over her body. Laxmi’s parents explain that hair is not just for heads, instead it grows everywhere, regardless of gender. Laxmi’s Mooch is a positive celebration of our bodies and body hair no matter how we grow.


Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham / a young girl and a black cat with their backs to us stare out a windowLeUyen Pham has a new picture book this year called Outside, Inside. This story looks at the sudden need during the global pandemic for everyone to be inside all the time. Except, as the main character discovers, some people still need to keep going outside. The book celebrates essential workers and how communities have come together to face the challenges brought on by COVID-19.


Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj / a collection of 15 faces of various ages, genders, and ethnicities For middle grade reading, make sure to have a copy of Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj. One afternoon Karina, her friend Chris, and her grandfather are assaulted by a strander who targets them because of their appearance. Karina’s grandfather is severely injured, so Karina and Chris decide to take matters into their own hands and do something about it. They post a few photos of the attack on social media and it quickly goes viral. Soon diverse groups of people begin to post their own photos as the community comes together to reject hate and racism.


Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh / a young girl walks through a field, while in the background slightly covered in fog is a pagodaFinding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh (the cofounder of We Need Diverse Books) is an OwnVoices story of family, hope, and survival. Junie does not want attention so she keeps her head down at school. But when racist graffiti appears at her school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out. At the same time, Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents, through which she learns about their experiences as children during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds, and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime. As the racism becomes more active at school, Junie taps into these traits and finds the courage to do what is right.


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang / a young Chinese boy half out of the frame of the cover, against a bright yellow field.For Young Adult collections, a new paperback edition of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is now available. American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. An essential title for your bookshelves.


We Are Not Free by Traci Chee / four asian teens crowd around a pile of crates in front of a corrugated wallAnd finally, We Are Not Free by Traci Chee, a New York Times best-selling author, tells the story of a close-knit group of young Nisei - second-generation Japanese American citizens - whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II. This book is a National Book Award Finalist, Printz Honor Book Finalist, and Walter Honor Books recipient.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

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When my youngest daughter celebrated her birthday earlier this year, one of her gifts was An Elephant and Piggie Biggie Biggie #2 a book I knew she would squee with delight about since she got An Elephant and Piggie Biggie #1 for Christmas and loved it. Throughout grade one she would bring home the single copies of Elephant and Piggie from her school library and even though she was reading beyond the level of these particular books, it didn’t matter because she found them hilarious so I knew the bind up would be a hit.


Elephant and Piggie Biggie Biggie 2This got me thinking about that next step up from picture books when children start learning to read on their own. Elephant and Piggie is a great choice when a child is first introduced to sentences and sounding words together, however, traditionally, many parents or caregivers will come into a library and ask/look for the classic levelled reader that you will find in the easy reader section.


So what exactly is an easy reader? Typically, these books are a smaller trim size (6X9), 24 - 32 pages in length and are levelled 1 to 4. Many publishers have them under series names such as “I Can Read”, “Step into Reading” or “World of Reading”. They are often limited in word and sentence length and the words are usually repeated throughout the text. My youngest daughter spent many visits over the last year at the easy reader shelf at the library and would look for the Disney Princesses, Pinkalicious, Angelina Ballerina and of course…Barbie.


Now I know you are probably rolling your eyes, and over the years I have heard many comments about these types of “media tie in/character type readers” and how there are “better” higher quality readers out there (and one could argue that there are). But what I have found is that no matter how many non-media type related books I introduced to all my girls (who have all grown into very different human beings), they still  asked for the Princesses and to be honest, if that got them reading, then so be it.


Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Body under the PianoFast forward and I currently have one daughter reading a graphic novel collection called Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan, another is reading Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater and the other is reading an advanced reading copy of a historical mystery called Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn. Three very different girls who all took a turn at reading a Barbie easy reader. In saying all this, if you are looking for some non-media tie in readers, you might want to consider Cece Loves Science or Pete the Kitty Goes to the Doctor.


With all that being said, there are some really great engaging fun early readers that I wish had been available when my girls were younger. These types of readers are becoming more and more popular and are great for kids just starting out reading.


Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New FriendsWhat About Worms (Elephant and Piggie like reading).


The Acorn reading series from Scholastic, which is a step before the ever popular Branches series.


Unicorn and Yeti by Heather Ayris Burnell: Sparkly new Friends #1, A Good Team #2 and Friend’s Rock.


Dragon by Dav Pilkey: A Friend for Dragon #1, Dragon’s Fat Cat, Dragon Get’s By and Dragon’s Halloween.


The Jack Books by Mac Barnet: Hi Jack and Jack Blasts Off are just two of many.


Attack of the 50-Foot Fly GuyAnd don’t forgot Fly Guy by Ted Arnold.


We'd love to here about your easy reader success stories, either with patrons or family members. What did they start off readering, what did they progress to, and what are they reading now? Send your stories to and we'll feature them in a future blog!


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Take care!

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I am not a huge TV watcher but there are a few shows on Netflix and Prime that I enjoy and will tune into when I get a moment to sit down. During the last few months though I took the opportunity to get caught up on some of my “must watch” list of shows, one of these being “Cheer” on Netflix. My middle daughter did Cheerleading for three years and I had heard amazing things about this docuseries so I figured I would try an episode to see what all the fuss was about.


Within the first 15 minutes I was hooked and ended up binge watching the entire season. It was fantastic and immediately after I finished it I started googling the show, watched the cast on Ellen, with Oprah and finally watched Jerry interview Brad Pitt at the Oscars.  Jerry is a favourite for sure!


Since it was on my mind, it also got me thinking about how important sports are to kids, especially those kids who are risk and/or might not regularly attend school. What “Cheer” highlights is that there are so many kids out there with limited opportunities and if given the chance at playing a sport either at a high school level, competitive level or college, being part of a team will keep them from getting into trouble and making horrible personal decisions. Kids, whether they are 2 or 22 need guidance, structure, and acceptance and being part of team with a strong caring coach (and Coach Monica nails it) is so crucial for kids and their mental and physical development.


Watching this show also got me wondering about all the sports fiction titles being published that should be highlighted and talked about more. I will confess this is not a genre that I am familiar with nor do I read much of so I reached out to some of the publishing sales reps for their favourites and this is what they suggested.


Gravity by Sarah Deming is a young adult novel about a female boxer from a broken home who finds a new start after joining a gym and finding she has the ability to go all the way to the Olympics if she can just keep focused on what is important.


Running Full Tilt by Michael Currinder is another young adult novel about a boy as he discovers a love of long distance running, all the while navigating life in a new school, starting a new relationship with a possible girlfriend and dealing with his complicated relationship with his autistic older brother.


The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is the graphic novel adaptation of the Newbery Medal winning book about two African-American twin brothers, basketball and family.


My Best Friend and Other Illusions by Suri Rosen. This middle grade story follows a young girl named Charlie who is a budding acrobat who is desperate to attend a gymnastics camp that will help her to qualify for a spot in the renowned travelling circus Circo Circo. The problem is that her family cannot afford it so she must find a way to earn the money on her own.


Ice Chips series by Roy MacGregor. This is a great early chapter book series for kids just starting to read on their own. Perfect for kids who love all things hockey.


Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. The Newbery Honor Award Winner and New York Times bestseller is a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby. 


Orca, has some wonderful High Interest Sports action stories for middle grade readers. Great Canadian authors focusing on everything from snowboarding to dirt biking.


If you haven’t watched “Cheer” I highly recommend it and I also hope you might consider a new display in your library highlighting some of these great sports titles.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


“Cheers” to you all!

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It was when my twins were in Kindergarten that I first heard about the Roots of Empathy program. We were sent home a note explaining that the mother of one the girls’ classmates’ would be bringing her newborn to the classroom throughout the school year.


The children would get the opportunity to observe the baby’s development by interacting with the baby and then talking about the baby’s feelings. By doing so, it was hoped that by the end of the year the children would have learned more about empathy and compassion by reflecting on their own feelings and those of others around them.

According to the Roots of Empathy website this emotional literacy taught in the program “lays the foundation for safer and more caring classrooms, where children are the Changers. They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties.”

My girls loved having the baby visit their classroom and I am so very thankful that both my twins and then later on, my youngest daughter, were given this opportunity as I do think programs such as these are essential in assisting parents with teaching children about caring for others. But not everyone or every school gets the chance to experience programs such as the Roots of Empathy.

It has been proven that children need to learn about empathy when they are young in order to develop healthy social and emotional relationships. To help parents and caregivers, libraries can enrich parenting collections, do more displays and/or focus on a wide range of diverse, socially conscious, teachable picture books that will help children understand empathy, compassion and learn how to read all at the same time.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld should be on every library shelf. It is a most beautiful and touching story that teaches young children about grief and empathy. When something upsetting happens and the little boy in the story is upset, all the animals in the book try to give advice to the boy about how he can feel better but none of it works until the Rabbit arrives and just listens. This is exactly what the little boy needed. By simply being there the rabbit shows empathy and support.

Pass it On by Sophy Henn is a great book that teaches about positive emotions by sharing happiness with those around you. Children will not only read and learn how fun it is to share but also when you least expect it, the goodness that you give may just come back around to you.


Come With Me by Holly McGhee shows how important it is to be kind and inclusive even when things seem scary and uncertain around you. The father and the mother of the little girl ask her to “Come with Me” when she has questions about an upsetting news report. They show her how she can help make the world better by being open and kind to those around you now matter who they are. The little girl then ask the boy across the hall to “Come with Me” when walking her dog and together, even if they are small and what they do is small, they can still make a positive difference to those around them.


One by Kathryn Otoshi is a fantastic story to teach young children about bullying and standing up for yourself and others. Blue is quiet and Red likes to pick on Blue. All the other colours (Yellow, Orange, Green and Purple) witness the bad behavior but don’t know what to do. When One comes along he/she teaches the colours how to work together and count. Through the power of One, the reader learns about accepting all differences and how all it takes is one person to stand up to make a change.


The Silence Slips In by Alison Hughes shows both the reader and listener how even after the busiest day and feeling overwhelmed, as the day turns to night and silence appears, we can all learn to feel calm, at peace and be still.


I Am Human: A book of empathy and I Am Love: A book of compassion by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds are just two books in the bestselling Wellness series. Both are perfect read alouds to teach children that it is ok to make mistakes, to say sorry and to give love to both ourselves and to those around you.


How To Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham is a beautifully illustrated older picture book that still holds true on how to teach children about the importance of taking care of others even when life seems too busy to so. When a little boy sees an injured bird laying on the ground and everyone around him is in too much of a rush to help, the little boy and his mother gently pick it up and take it home to heal.  This is a story of compassion and hope.


Feeling and having empathy is key to lifelong success and understanding. Let’s hope by reading and listening to the children around us we will create a better, safer more empathic kind world. If you would like more book recommendations on empathy and compassion or any social theme that your collection needs help building, please feel free to contact me at


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Take care!

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LSC is proud to announce that we can now provide educational toys and low-level makerspace equipment to Canadian libraries. 


We all know how important books and reading are for babies and young children. I don’t need to go into detail about how books are essential for teaching children communication, listening and early literacy skills. Board, Picture and Early Reader books are the stepping-stones to learning and growing.


However as important as books are, there are other ways to help children learn. Libraries are changing. Gone are the days when a library was simply an information collection point. Now, libraries are community hubs. A common place for all members of the community to come together, to access unique and imagination-spurring resources. And libraries are starting to branch out and introduce educational toys to help enhance those literacy skills and teach key concepts such as colours, shapes, numbers and sounds etc.


We know that not all children learn the same way and having a diverse toy collection in a library is an excellent way to help support children of all abilities and families of all income levels. Toys in a library can focus on auditory, fine motor, gross motor, language, social, tactile, thinking, and visual skills development.


LSC is a co-op, and we serve the needs of our clients. So when a client came to us needing help, we listened. They wanted toys that fulfilled certain aged-based skills and educational outcomes. They also needed help cataloguing and processing these unusual items. This is the sort of challenge to which LSC is uniquely suited to provide assistance.


Our Selection team immediately set about sourcing educational toys and low-level makerspace equipment. Our cataloguing department put their expertise to work in creating MARC records that will be of value to patrons. And our processing department scoured our suppliers, finding just the right containers to house the toys.


Like all LSC products, libraries have a choice to receive the items direct, or have them catalogued and/or processed by us. For processed items, you can chose between a transparent tote making for easy stacking on shelves, or a transparent backpack that can be hung (and kids love to sling over their shoulder). If a library wishes to provide LSC with branded bags or containers of their own, we will process the material in these containers. All processed material is photographed to show all components.


The totes can come with a component and skill level checklist inside the container, so patrons and library staff alike can easily check to make sure everything where it should be. For the bags, we have developed a luggage tag that attaches to the bag, featuring the item picture, list of components, and the item barcode.


If you are looking for some ideas, check out Pyramid of Play. 5 wooden nesting blocks with fun graphics help with recognition of letters, pictures, colours, numbers and sizes, plus shape shorting, nesting and stacking.


Another great toy for toddlers is The Counting and Sorting Farm. Soft round stalls have numbers printed on the bottom with the same number on the stuffed farm critters. These little animals fit inside the little stalls and help teach children to count, match and sort.


My First Emotions helps young children learn to recognize and understand different emotions using bright buildable giant LEGO pieces. Children can turn the double-sided face bricks to explore the different facial expressions and use the story bricks to create their own tales around moods and feelings.


And finally, with The Shape Sorting Clock, children can match the colours, sort the shapes and solve the puzzle as they manipulate the colour clock and turn the hands. This help to build cognitive and motor skills and lays the groundwork for learning how to tell time.


Having accessible toys, games, puzzles and soft books to use both in and out of the library is just another step in helping your library community and the children within it connect, grow and learn more than ever before. 


The toys and makerspace equipment available to us is growing, and our Selectors are ready to source new materials at the request of a library. ARPs, based on skill level or material types, can be set-up so that your experiential learning areas are constantly refreshed with new items that we have the expertise to pick and provide.


As we develop this service, we will create regular Slists referring to new items that we have added to the catalogue. Currently, if you wish to purchase toys and makerspace equipment from us, please contact Sara Pooley directly. For the time being, please refer to our 2018 Selections for the types and skills available.


The 2018 SList is available here.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Take care!


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When my oldest daughter was little she never seemed to really like reading, This was always a bit of a worry to me as both a librarian and lover of books. I also know that you cannot force your kids to love what you love, and as long as you surround your kids with a multitude of stimuli (books, ideas, activities, sports, etc.) they will eventually decide what they like and run with it. Regardless of whether I like it or not.


Throughout my daughter’s elementary years I would bring home books or suggest books at the library. I suggested books about horses (she did horseback riding) and fairies (she loved fairies and Tinkerbell), fun mysteries and adventure books (she has an amazing imagination) and cats (her favourite animal). Nothing captured her interest. She would read a book here and there for school but she didn’t really love it. So I eventually gave up, figuring one day she would find “her book”.


Turned out it wasn’t my daughter who found the book, it was the school librarian. Not her mother the librarian, but the school librarian. I went into her room one day to find her reading a graphic novel. I was shocked. I backed slowly out of the room, so as not to upset the delicate balance of the universe, and let her be. Still, I would never have pegged her to be a graphic novel reader. What was happening? And how did I not see this?


The book was Smile by Raina Telgemeier, a biographical story of a sixth grade girl learning what it means to be a preteen. She absolutely loved it. She read it again and again, but more importantly she wanted more. The flood gates were, as they say, opened. The school librarian did their best to quench her new found thirst for reading, but once she started, there was no stopping her. She was, finally and properly, reading!


She eventually started the Harry Potter series, which led to the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Then she stumbled upon Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and on and on she went. We would hit up the public library and I let her wander from the juvenile shelves to the Young Adult shelves, never once forcing her to pick something I wanted her to read, or limiting where she looked. Instead, I let her take her time and pick what she thought looked like fun.


Throughout all this, I waited. I waited to see if she might one day share my love of YA fantasy. She had certainly seen me read various books in the genre, but hadn’t shown any interest in them herself. Then, this past summer I got a text from her telling me that she had picked up The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater at the library. My heart sored. This is one of my all-time favourite series and my daughter had started reading it! On her own! Without me leaving copies strategically around the house, in her book bag, or stapled to the sleeves of her jacket!


She devoured the first one, continued straight through the next three, and then went right into Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. Six of Crows followed and finally An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. The girl has not stopped and we now have long conversations about our favourite characters, who should be “shipped with whom” and so on. As I type this she is reading the fifth in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and for Christmas she is getting The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. I asked her what she wanted this year for Christmas and she said books. Only books.


Sometimes it takes that outsider - a librarian, a teacher, or a friend, an aunt or uncle - someone separate from a parent to help break through to a child. Children have a filter through which everything a parent says is strained, like pulp from juice. As much as we want to make them see our point of view, they resist. They want to find their own way. It can take that outsider to break through their filter. To hand them a book and for them to see it for the first time not as an obligation, or an assignment, but as a portal to imagination. I will forever be grateful to that school librarian for introducing my daughter to the limitless adventure books hold. And for making my holiday gift buying a little easier. Seeing how my daughter came to books has opened my eyes and helped me to be a better librarian (and parent) myself.  


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Take care!

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