Good Reads on Overdrive!

High School

Overdrive by Eric Walters.  Gr 9-12

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Jake has finally got his driver’s license, and tonight he has his brother’s car as well. He and his friend Mickey take the car out and cruise the strip. When they challenge another driver to a street race, a disastrous chain reaction causes an accident. Jake and Mickey leave the scene, trying to convince themselves they were not involved. Jake finds he cannot pretend it didn’t happen and struggles with the right thing to do. Should he pretend he was not involved? Or should he go to the police?

The Curse of the Viking Grave by Farley Mowat.   High School

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The popular sequel to his award-winning Lost in the Barrens, this is Farley Mowat’s suspense-filled story of how Awasin, Jamie and Peetryuk, three adventure-prone boys, stumble upon a cache of Viking relics in an ancient tomb somewhere in the north of Canada. Packed with excitement and with little-known information about the customs of Viking explorers, this story of survival portrays the bond of youthful friendship and the wonders of a virtually unexplored land.

The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings (readers guide included)

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No novel better epitomizes the love between a child and a pet than The Yearling. Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature.

Elementary School


A Butterfly is Patient by Sylvia Long

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The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child’s bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle! Plus, this is the fixed format version, which looks almost identical to the print edition.

The Doll People by Ann.M Martin.  Audiobook. Middle grades.

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The 100-year-old Doll family—beautifully crafted china dolls passed down through four generations of girls in one American family—meet their new neighbours, the Funcrafts, a doll family made completely of plastic and delivered straight from the factory shelves.
Annabelle Doll is eight years old—she has been for over a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year…until the Funcrafts move in. Now Annabelle has a friend. Sure she’s made entirely of plastic and she’s living in the scariest room in the house, but she’s an adventurer, and after a hundred years of boredom, that’s just what Annabelle needs.

Why Do Rabbits Hop? Penguin Young Readers by Joan Holub.  Read Aloud Format

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Gr 2-3-Using a question-and-answer format, Rabbits discusses the different traits and behaviors of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. While all are rodents, each one has its own peculiarities. Horses does the same for horses and ponies. Charming, full-color photographs and drawings, especially those depicting the animals interacting with humans, mostly children, enhance the large-type texts. A winning combination of tightly written narrative, age-appropriate vocabulary, and worthy illustrations guarantees that independent readers will enjoy these titles.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA

The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Helen Lester.  Read Aloud.

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Ewetopia is not comfortable in her own wool, and every attempt she makes to impress the other sheep falls flat. So when an invitation to the Woolyones’ Costume Ball arives, Ewetopia knows her chance to shine has come at last. After trying on fifty-eight different costumes, she finally finds the perfect one—or so she thinks. But her wolf ensemble turns out to be none too popular with Rambunctious, Ramshackle, and Ramplestiltskin, so Ewetopia finds herself standing all alone again when a stranger enters the room. He is dressed simply as a sheep, but he is so handsome, none of the other sheep notice anything peculiar about his costume choice. Ewecalyptus, Ewetensil, and Heyeywe all look on as the newcomer chooses to dance with none other than Ewetopia. But as they dance across the floor, Ewetopia begins to wonder about her mysterious partner: Why is his growl so deep? Why does he have such long, sharp claws? And why does he keep calling her Mother?!!!

Swimmy by Leo Leonni .  Read and Listen.

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In this charming Read & Listen edition, kids can dive deep in the sea to discover a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. With its graceful text and stunning artwork, this Caldecott Honor Book deserves a place in every family’s ebook collection.
This ebook includes Read & Listen audio narration.

Adult Professional Development

In the Name of Jesus by Henri Louwen

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Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully. Most widely read among the over 40 books Father Nouwen wrote is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.” This beautiful guide to Christian Leadership is the rich fruit of Henri Nouwen’s own journey as one of the most influential spirtiual leaders of the 20th century.

Big Changes on OverDrive!

Good News! We now have the capacity for many more menus on OverDrive, and we’ve made some major changes, investing significant time making improvements to the way you search our collections.

First of all, take a look at our all-new “Curriculum” tab…




New Curriculum Tab

All the subject lists by grade reside here!  So, instead of searching through all the titles in our former “Grades 2/3 Titles for BC’s New Curriculum” curation, for example, you’ll now see a screen that looks like this:




New Collections Lists

New to our “Collections” tab are CORE COMPETENCIES curations and much more!  Take a look at some of the new collections we’ve been working on.



The new capacity for multiple lists in this “Collections” tab opens up many new opportunities to share curated lists with you to meet your needs.

We’re incredibly excited to be launching these improvements to serve you better!  There are still a few tweaks and additions that we’ll be making over the next few weeks, and so if you have any suggestions for us, or if you are having trouble finding what you’re looking for, your Learning Commons Team is here to support you!



Drum Roll, Please! Our Next “Techie Tuesday Webinar” is October 3rd at 3:00 pm!

“Unit Study Kits:  What They Are and How to Use Them” with Pippa and Cynthia

Webinars are a quick and easy way to receive a lot of valuable information in a short amount of time – in a live, virtual setting where you can also get all of your questions answered.  During this “Techie Tuesday” webinar, Pippa and Cynthia will walk you through Unit Study Kits:  What They Are, and How to Use Them.


What:  Pippa and Cynthia will share about our  HCOS Unit Study Kits – Digital & Physical curriculum to help your students learn from an inquiry base.

Who may attend:  Students K-12 and parents, staff

Where:  Zoom classroom


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,249449622#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 249 449 622
International numbers available:


List of Kits (Both Unit Study and Supplemental Kits) Available in L4U

Unit Study Kit Description:  These kits are available in digital format (using OverDrive eBooks, etc.), or in physical format (Heritage Christian Online School couriers these kits to your home and will arrange for courier pick up as well – all free of charge for HCOS students).  These resource kits, created by our staff, outline lesson plans and activities for your students.  Significant effort has been made on your behalf to include quality resources and hard-to-find supplies, in order to address learning standards efficiently and effectively.


Kits include all or some of the following:

Several informative books on the unit study topic

Hard-to-locate reusable resources such as prepared slides, battery holders, and spring scales

A game, activity or DVD to make learning fun

Related websites to extend learning

A parent activity guide which breaks the content into a variety of lesson plans. The guide can also be accessed on the website and has live links to other websites


TAKE 5! … we interrupt your summer to share FIVE Curriculum Option updates

The BC Day long weekend is over, and some of us may begin to turn some of our attention towards planning for another fruitful year of home learning.  Here are a FIVE IMPORTANT UPDATES to keep in mind as you plan:



  1. Updated Comprehensive Grade Level Resources Pages for K – 9, PLUS all new Grade 10 – 12 Resources Pages

  2. Updated Suggested Homeschooling Resources Pages

  3. We now have THREE comprehensive curriculum vendors in BC who have prepared Curriculum Options for HCOS students:

  4. New Unit Study Kits and Curriculum Correlation Packages

We now have Unit Study Kits for Grades K – 7, and so far this year, we’ve added:

5.  Our Overdrive Digital eBook and Audio Library has dozens of new books for you, and don’t forget to check out the great selection of curricular resources available to you in our L4U Physical Library!


New Resources for Grades 8 and 9

Many of you are already planning what resources you will be using for the fall, so we thought it would be the perfect time to let you know that we’ve got even more available to you for Grades 8 and 9 than ever before!

Updated Grade Level Pages

These pages have been organized by grade AND subject to make it easy for you to find available resources.

Simply go to our Learning Commons website, hover your mouse over the “BC’s New Curriculum” tab on the lower menu, and select “Resources by Grade“.

How to find Grade pages

You will find new offerings in ADST, Arts, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and more!  Here is the new Grade 8 Resources page, and the new Grade 9 Resources page.

Other K-9 Resources by Grade pages can be found here.

Updated Overdrive Digital Library e-Book Lists

It is really easy to find all the wonderful digital resources available to you through our Overdrive eBook Library.

Just go to our Learning Commons website, hover your mouse over “Overdrive Digital Library” in the top menu bar, and then select “Grade Level Lists“.

How to find audiobooks

We’ve just purchased a ton of new resources, and we’ve organized our Grade 8 and 9 Science and Socials titles according to the new curriculum “Big Ideas” to make things even more convenient for you!

Grade 8 ScienceGrade 8 Socials

Grade 9 ScienceGrade 9 Socials

All Overdrive eBook Library K-9 Grade Level Lists can be found here.


Why Audiobooks Work!

I LOVE listening to audiobooks!  Perhaps it’s a sign of my age, but growing up as a young child in South Africa, radio was the only media we had other than books.  I can remember the names of my favourite radio shows so well, including the exciting content, as my mind was left to imagine all the visual details, and fill in all the gaps.

Some of you may think that listening to audio is not really reading. Does it count as reading?

Listening to audiobooks “counts” as reading if you believe that reading is not only decoding, but critically thinking about the author’s message, and making heart connections!

Why Is Audio Beneficial?

Here are some ways listening to audiobooks can encourage students who may struggle with reading:

  • Introduces students to higher reading levels and more advanced vocabulary
  • Models good interpretive reading
  • Teaches critical listening skills
  • Introduces new genres that students may not otherwise consider
  • Assists in bringing an understanding of different dialects and accents.
  • Provides a read-aloud model along with the written book
  • Opens the pathway to important discussions at the dinner table
  • Allows all family members to listen together, and experience the wonderful delight of hearing stories told

This past year we have made an effort to purchase more audio books on our Overdrive eLibrary for your reading enjoyment.

To discover audio simply refine your topic/keyword search by clicking on the left-hand filter and search via audiobooks.  


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To view our entire collection of audiobooks, go to advanced search, and choose “audiobooks” as the format.  

How to find audiobooks

You may listen to the audio by simply clicking on the links after borrowing the item and then sharing to your browser!

New in Audio!

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Audiobooks and Reading

This is a reblog from Overdrive specialist Patty Carlyle.

Yes, audiobooks are real books

Posted on: Thursday 13 October 2016 — 16:25

Do audiobooks leave the brain distracted and disjointed or are they just another way to enjoy and absorb a story? Are audiobooks real reading, or cheating? With the rise of podcasting and storytelling events, both highly respected mediums, why do audiobooks continue to suffer this stigma?

The science of listening: decoding and translating

Daniel Willingham is one of the most respected authorities on learning styles, and has written a lot about audiobooks. He explains that there are two basic processes happening when you’re reading. There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words that mean something. And then there is language processing, or comprehension — that is, figuring out the syntax, the story, et cetera. Researchers have studied the question of comprehension for decades, and what you find is very high correlations of reading comprehension and listening comprehension. As science writer Olga Khazan noted in 2011, a “1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.” Listeners and readers retain about equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed, in other words.

Not only are audiobooks a valid form of reading, but there might be some benefits that readers of the written word miss. According to Two Guys on Your Head podcast, “because you can’t go back and re-read, when you listen you are more likely to extract the deeper meaning from things quicker.” Could audiobooks actually boost reading comprehension and analytical skills?

This kind of data might explain the discovery that podcasts help children learn to read. Audiobooks can help the struggling reader, too, who might get frustrate with where they “should” be and give up too soon. Experiencing some success and enjoyment can fuel the hunger to practice and engender an appreciation for reading. “Listening while reading helps people have several successful reading events in a row, where they are reading “with accuracy and enjoyment.” And, listening has been shown to help with decoding, a fundamental part of reading.”

Audiobooks uniquely serve non-native speakers

With so many benefits for typical, native-speakers, imagine the impact audiobooks might have on English Language Learner students. They can can make note of proper pronunciation as well as slang and typical sentence structure in a closed, curiosity-welcome space. Non-native speakers might also use Read-Alongs, which offer an audio element and all its advantages, alongside a reading component. The connection between speaking and reading defines literacy and fluency, and Read-Alongs tie the spoken word to written word perfectly.

Ten reasons to Listen to Audiobooks!!

The top 10 reasons to listen to audiobooks this month from Overdrive Blog!

June is Audiobook Month! Audiobooks are enjoyed by millions of people around the world but if you’ve never listened to one, now is the perfect time to try them. Just like eBooks are a great complement to printed titles, audiobooks are excellent for when you aren’t able to physically read a book.

With that in mind, we’d like to offer our top ten reasons to listen to audiobooks this month.

1) Multitasking– If it were up to us we’d spend just about every waking moment reading. Unfortunately that’s not possible. However, there are countless times during the day that you can use audiobooks to keep “reading with your ears.” Many jobs come with mindless hours of data entry or filing, so make those hours fly by with an audiobook!

2) Beating traffic- If I actually thought about the amount of time I used to spend sitting in traffic mindlessly flipping through channels on the radio I might start crying. Thankfully, now I spend all that time enjoying audiobooks through my car’s Bluetooth.

3) Narrators & author readings bring characters to life in ways your mind may not be able. In fact, audiobook lovers will often search out titles based entirely on who is narrating the book. A good narrator can create an entire world with just their emphasis and vocal talents.

4) Exercising –As a fan of distance running I can tell you that I’m always searching for something to listen to so those miles and hours don’t seem so daunting. Insert audiobooks. What better way to enjoy a jog, walk or trip to the gym then 1hearing a new book! Audiobooks help pass the time and they let you work out your mind as well as your body!

5) SYNC- SYNC is a program that lasts all summer long where you can download two free audiobooks every single week! Just like titles you borrow from your library these audiobooks are free, and they are also yours to keep! Discover new audiobooks all summer long at

6) Better comprehension– A quick Google search will yield countless articles about how audiobooks are a wonderful tool to improve reading comprehension for young readers, students with disabilities and foreign language learners. While audiobooks can indeed help you learn a new language, they can also help you absorb a particularly difficult title in your own tongue as well. Listen to the audiobook version while reading the eBook and you’ll better understand the flow of the story and sentence structure than with the book alone.

7) Bed time stories- One of the best parts of being a kid is having someone read you a story as you drift off to sleep. It puts your mind at ease and is a peaceful way to end the day. With the OverDrive app you can experience that joy once more! Listen to an audiobook in bed and set the sleep timer so you don’t miss anything after you doze off and relish the nostalgia of a new age bed time story.

8) Chores – Whether you’re 8 or 80 you likely have some chores you need to accomplish every day. Regardless if its yard work, cleaning or running errands you can pass that time much more quickly by putting an audiobook on w/ your headphones or through Bluetooth devices.

9) A new perspective– One of the best things about reading is that it enables you to create new worlds in your mind. You’re able to travel endless distances without leaving your couch. What’s great about audiobooks is that it allows you to do the same but with a narrator emphasizing different details that you may not have. This new perspective can expand your imagination further than you thought possible.

10) Tackling long titles and TBR lists– It seems like every day there’s a new “must read” title released and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the books you want to read. Let audiobooks help you catch up by allowing you to “read when you can’t read.” At bedtime, in traffic, and while performing mundane tasks are just a few of the times you can enjoy audiobooks. Not only will it provide you entertainment, but you’ll find that you’re finishing more books than you ever before.

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive and a big fan of lists.

Check out our great list of audiobooks on our E library site!



Daring Greatly Book review – Carmen Timmermans

Carmen Timmermans is our Learning Services Administrator.  Here is her book review on the book Daring Greatly  soon to be found in our E Library in audiobook format.

I have been reading and appreciating a new-to-me author this spring, Dr. Brene Brown, who writes very powerfully about shame, vulnerability, intimacy and how to live a wholehearted life. Earlier in the year, I sent a link to her TED talk and I’ve just finished her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. You may be wondering how vulnerability, shame and learning services all fit together but there are huge, huge connections.

In Learning Services the discussion often circles back not to our belief that we will eventually find something that works for our students, nor to the belief that the students will grow into the strengths and abilities they need to be successful in their lives. No, the biggest challenge we face as an LS team – and I include teachers and parents as well as consultants in that team – is how to keep the child’s sense of worthiness intact while everything comes together, or while we sort out adaptations that allow them to work around their area of challenge and lean into their areas of strength.

When a person know s/he is struggling, different – and these kids know – it is so easy to feel worth-less, or “othered,” lesser-than, unacceptable, isolated and ashamed. Even the gifted students we work with, who everyone tends to think live in the (spot)light, struggle. They feel like impostors, or focus on where they fall short, in areas such as OCD, anxiety, addiction or depression.

The parents and teacher of kids with challenges also struggle with shame around what they think they did wrong or didn’t do right. I have talked to parents who wonder if the should they have gone pesticide or plastic-free, or screen-free, or dairy- and wheat-free. They can feel ashamed that they get angry or lose patience with their children or that they some days just don’t like their kids very much. They can feel badly that they can’t find the time or motivation to follow through with whatever lovely program has been suggested, or feel like they are done by the end of the day and would rather spend the one half-hour of free time in their day unwinding with a book or TV show rather than prepping for working with their children the next day. Likewise, teachers and consultants can have shame around not wanting the extra work of writing IEPs, or yet another meeting, or because they feel pulled away from being there for their own family; either choice feels like the wrong one.
Shame’s message is that we are unacceptable, not enough. We hear that the core of our self – not our actions, what we did or have left undone – is the problem. We don’t talk about our shame and it festers. We pretend that who we are on Facebook is who we really are – witty and exciting and photo-ready, all the time – and as a result feel unknown and unloved in our deepest selves. This becomes a pain that eats at us, until we lash out or end up numbing the pain with food or video games, or exercise or busyness, mindless TV or _______ (name your poison) to “take the edge off.” Brown points out that in her studies she has found that numbing the pain also numbs joy and gratitude – the good things. Our lives become flat. The internal message that we are not good enough creates walls as we hide from ourselves and from others. Brown talks about us rejecting and “orphaning” that part of ourselves, and losing our vulnerability, the ability for others to see us as we really are, and that steals community and intimacy and wholeness. So how do we find the courage to be seen, to speak our inner thoughts and feelings around shame? How do we find wholeheartedness?

The secret to wholeheartedness, Brown says, is restore the beliefs that shame steals. We need to believe that we are worthy of love and acceptance.

As followers of Christ, this message of worthiness is also the message we want to send to our Learning Services students, to all students, really, and to ourselves. We can say, “You may make poor choices and do things that are embarrassing, or you may do things or make things that are not as good as you would like them to be. I will forgive you and help you learn and I will not shame you. You may struggle and may be different from other people. We all struggle. We are all different. But in one way, we are all the same. You are enough. I am enough. We have nothing to prove. We are each worthy of love and acceptance. We can each love and accept each other.” This belief, these words, are the gift that we can give to our students and to ourselves because they are a gift that God has given us (Romans 5). We can forgive because we are forgiven, love because we are loved, accept because we are accepted.
I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy Daring Greatly; it is a great tool for shedding light, for digging deep and for finding courage.

Other books by Brene Brown:
I Thought it Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)
The Gifts of Imperfection

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