Southridge Bookshelf
Erin Labbé
There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a really good book. Reading can transport us to another world, providing a temporary escape from life’s everyday stresses. Researchers are finding that reading may offer some very real benefits for health and well-being, including reducing stress, slowing cognitive decline, improving sleep, enhancing social skills, and boosting intelligence (
As part of our Wellness Month, we're happy to share some book picks from our Junior School Teacher Librarian and Senior School students.

Mrs. Gardecki, Junior School Teacher Librarian

As a librarian, there are a lot of lists that run through my head: what kids love to read; what teachers need in their classrooms; what’s hot and trending. These are just some of the many considerations when building our Junior School Library collection. Another question at the forefront is, “Will any of our students see themselves in this book?” I grew up without much #ownvoices representation in any of the books I read, in tv shows and movies that I watched, or in advertisements that I saw. When I was young I intensely loved books with Asian characters without once considering why. Now, I understand the importance of representation and creating a positive personal identity in children, and I am thrilled to see The Baby-sitters Club make a comeback on pages and screens, with Claudia Kishi as cool and beloved as ever.

I rarely share book lists of popular titles with kids because they will recommend those to one another. Those books don’t need much marketing from me. Instead, here is a list of our newest books that represent diverse voices and nurture open-mindedness in our students for other people’s stories. Plus, they also happen to be excellent works of writing and illustrating. 


Why Do We Cry? by Fran Pintadera
Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person To Ever Run A Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh and Baljinder Kaur
How to Solve A Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of The Champion Rock Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi and Yao Xiao
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L Browne and Olivia Gatwood
The Barnabus Project by the Fan Brothers
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
When Aidan Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff & Kaylani Juanita
Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali and Rahele Jomepour Bell
111 Trees by Rina Singh and Marianne Ferrer
Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z Drago


Show Me A Sign by Anne Clare LeZotte
Layla and the Bots by Vicky Fang and Christine Nishiyama
Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee
Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright
The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson
A Wish In the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman
Rick by Alex Gino
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes
After Thea’s cousin is murdered, Thea joins a secret organization that gets revenge on men who hurt women. With every act of vengeance, she can feel herself getting closer to finding her cousin’s killer and getting the revenge she deserves. However, is revenge always as simple as it seems?
Maddy S, Grade 10

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Catherine, a favorite of the King of Hearts, has only ever wanted to open a bakery. Despite her parents being against it, she ends up falling in love with the court joker, Jest. In a world full of betrayal, blood, and bitterness, she's determined to write her own destiny – even if she ends up losing everything.
Emily C, Grade 8

Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
Cassie has always been the best student and athlete. However, when she was selected for an intense competition that may change her life forever, she dove head in prepared for any challenges she might face. Despite the bonds and relations she creates, Cassie only knows that she'll do whatever it takes to win, even if it means giving up everything.
Renee W, Grade 8

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Through the Woods is a collection of suspenseful stories in a graphic novel format. It depicts the strange and eerie things that can emerge from dark tangles of trees, literally and metaphorically. Read it if you want a book that consumes human warmth like candy, seduces you into inky shadows, and questions the divide between supernatural and human evil.
Lauren T, Grade 11


Originally published in Spirit Magazine - Fall 2020