Best Beach Read Books This Summer


summer reads on the beach

Summer Reads on the Beach

I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from my website to write a weekly column for the Sudbury Star, which will soon be coming to an end. That means I can get back to what I miss the most and that is connecting with book lovers and librarians around the world! So, let’s get back to where we left of, shall we? 

Summer reading and laying on the beach may be synonymous as chocolate and peanut butter, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be immersed in sand to enjoy a good summer read! The first half of the year has brought us some page-turning thrillers to tear-jerking endings. I’ve even immersed in fiction over non-fiction in the first half the year, but it seems like every book I have picked up has turned my eyes into little emoji hearts. Here are some summer reads that will keep you busy all summer long!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve been waiting for a novel that I could connect with written by Elizabeth Gilbert, and well, folks, here it is. City of Girls takes place in 1940’s New York City, where 19-year-old Vivian Morris moves in with her Aunt and is surrounded by showgirls, costumes and a newfound freedom.  Her Aunt’s eccentric theatre company allows Vivian to express her desires and explore her sexuality. When a scandal that hits the papers threatens the theatre’s latest production, Vivian finds herself at 95 years old recalling the events that truly allows her to be free. A self-love story like no other.

The One by John Marrs
Time surely flies when you’re reading this page-turner. If you know me, you know that I love a play-on of reality-fiction that leaves you thinking…could this really happen? Let’s jump right in, shall we? If you could take a DNA test that allows you to be matched with your perfect partner, the one that you’re genetically made for, would you do it? It’s a concept that would put Tinder out of business. Millions of people around the world have been matched with their perfect match. In The One, we meet five people who have received notifications that they’ve been matched with their perfect partner and they’re about to meet their one true love. Before I give out any more details, let me tell you some are more shocking than others.

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
I put this one on hold at the library months before it’s release, but seemingly forgot why I put it on hold in the first place. It sat on my shelf for weeks and I started reading it the day before it was due and my goodness, it did not disappoint. The Island of Sea Women follows two women Mi-ja and Young-sook. Both women come from very different backgrounds, but are brought together working in the sea in their village’s all-female diving collective. Throughout the years, they develop a close bond, but their differences could not be ignored. This literary historical novel introduces you to the fierce world of female divers of Jeju Island.

The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley
Before a couple calls it quits, there is always that one last-ditch effort to salvage to fix what’s broken. That’s what guests at Harmony Resort are trying to do with the help of marriage counsellors Miles and Grace Markell. Although they may look as like a power couple, it’s not all of what it seems. When a powerful hurricane strikes the coast and traps the hosts and their guests, not one single person will come out the same.

Free Printable: Back to School Bookmarks

Anyone else tired on the first day of school? I am! Here’s something new I tried out this year to help with the lineups at the desk for back to school reading materials.

I inserted these bookmarks into my favourite books in YA and JUV fiction. Just ask the kids or parents to browse the recommended reads. Simple, but effective!

Click here for free PDF download for bookmarks

REVIEW: Stand Off

Stand Off Andrew SmithTitle: Stand Off
Author/Illustrator: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781481418294
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult
Year: September 2015

It’s Ryan Dean’s final year at Pine Mountain and it should be a celebration. Instead, it is causing nothing but pain. His rugby coach assigned him the role as captain, replacing his dead best friend, Joey. If that didn’t make matters worse, Ryan Dean is rooming with a 12-year old claustrophobic freshman named Sam Abernathy. Ryan Dean’s drawings haven’t been giving him relief like they used to. He’s paranoid that N.A.T.E (Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is looming near. Does a visit from Joey’s brother, Nico, change anything? Will Ryan Dean ever enjoy his final year of high school?

I received Stand off an advance copy from Simon & Shuster Canada and it did not disappoint. Sequels are hit or miss and Winger just blew my mind. This one was a hit. Ryan Dean’s struggles over the death Joey are realistic. Andrew Smith has a knack for merging humour and sympathy in such a natural way that Ryan Dean’s life seems, well, natural. The comics weren’t as enjoyable as the last, but suited Ryan Dean’s struggles. A brilliant sequel.

Evaluating Children and Young Adult Programming

It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple storytime or a complex spy camp program, evaluation is a necessary tool to improve library services to children and young adults. Every program I deliver, I do a self-evaluation and an evaluation from the program attendees. I firmly believe that feedback, good and bad, helps me grow as a librarian. It also helps me develop programs that kids and teens want to attend.


We’re busy librarians and once one program is completed, we’re on to the next one! It is important  to do the self-evaluation preferably the same day as the program or the day after. That way it is fresh in your heads! I also encourage my co-workers to do the same.

I created a Program Evaluation form for Programmers. I print it out and staple it to all my program outlines and then file them in a binder. This is a great way to keep track of previous programs and what you can change up for next time.

It’s important to be thorough, but also be critical. There’s always room to grow.

Evaluations from Program Participants

Always seek approval from management before you hand out any kind of evaluation form to the public. It should be approved from above before you distribute it from below.

I have a habit of doing one-off programs such as Play Date with a Book. I ran the adult version of this program in February for Valentine’s Day and I regret not putting in survey to see if they actually enjoyed the books I selected!

To get feedback from children and teens, a little bribery does the trick. Here are some simple tips:

For children:

  • Offer them ballots for a prize or give them some stickers (we always have leftovers from Summer Reading Club!) in exchange for filling out surveys
  • KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY!  Include no more than three questions and make them closed-ended (yes or no) rather than open-ended (sentence style)


For teens:

  • Offer community service hours for participating in surveys
  • Open forum works best. Get them to be critical.

Jbrary Features “Rock the Library” in Canadian Libraries Spotlight

Head on over to one of my favourite blogs Jbrary to see my feature on low-budget programming!

I first started out as a Children’s Librarian at Windsor Public Library and our budget was tiny. Stretching a dime into a dollar is my specialty. Programming doesn’t have to be expensive. Head on over to Jbrary to see my feature and some tips on how to run low-budget programming at your library!