Between the Lines October 2023: Spooky, banned, and out of this world!

Welcome, to Between the Lines!

Welcome to Between the Lines! Each month you will discover new themes and adventures as you complete reading challenges and beyond the book activities for grades K to 8. Track your reading for each challenge using the Beanstack App. Complete all 4 reading challenges for the month and you’ll have the chance to win a prize! Each month you can also submit your reading log for the chance to recommend your favourite book to other library customers with our Between the Lines bookmark!

Post your Between the Lines reading and adventure challenges on social media with the hashtag #MPLBTL to help other library users join in the fun. 

Let the reading adventure start now!


October Reading Challenges


1. Read a spooky book (fiction or non-fiction)

In honour of Halloween, read a book about something spooky, for example, about ghosts, monsters, or other spooky creatures, or even Halloween itself. These books can be non-fiction (fact books) or a fiction book with a ghostly or spooky character or take place on or around Halloween.

Reading List: Ghosts, Spooky Creatures and Halloween for Kids!


2. Read a banned book

Banned Book Week is October 1 to 7. Why do people ban books? Many times the reasons have to do with what the book is about or who the author is. Sometimes it depends on where the book is located; like a public library or a school library, and whether people feel children should be able to read it or not. Most often someone in the public wants to ban a book because it’s in a place, like a library, where people have easier access to the item (they don’t have to purchase it).

When a person disagrees with a book, Ontario public libraries listen to the reasons and determine if the reasons are strong enough to prevent others from reading the book. Libraries try to protect ideas from being silenced – just because an idea is unpopular does not mean no one should know about it. Markham Public Libraries Intellectual Freedom Policy is based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

When you read a banned or challenged book together, you provide a wonderful starting place for complex conversations, one book at a time!

Reading list: Banned Books for Children Every Kid (& Their Grown Ups) Should Read


3. Read a book about an influential woman

History has shown us the powerful influence of so many incredible women. These women are brilliant, bold, brazen, daring, creative, courageous and caring. Women who have helped women’s rights and human rights, pioneers in science, world leaders, teachers, artists, inventors, or activists.

These women changed society for the better. They changed how we live, work, and treat one another, AND are definitely inspirational! Their stories will make you want to make your own positive mark on the world!

Reading list: Influential Women


4. Read a book that takes place in space

Zoom, zoom, zoom: we’re going to the moon! Space Week is October 4th to 10th, and we’re looking to explore and excite our imaginations with books that involve space! Read a fictional book, where characters travel and dive into the wonders of the universe. Or, read a factual book about space, and learn about the stars, constellations, planets, galaxies and more this week. There are endless possibilities with space!

Reading List: Space


Beyond Books Challenges


1. Support your library

October is Canadian Library Month. In Ontario, we celebrate this month with the first week of October being First Nations Public Library Week and the third week being Ontario Public Library Week. All these celebrations are to bring awareness of the valuable role that libraries play in the lives of Canadians and our communities across the country. How you can celebrate this:

See everything about the library on our website to find out more ways to support your local Markham Library.

Reading List: Love the library and reading


2. Make a family recipe

Gather around the dinner table, it’s time to eat! For Family History Month, we ask you to create a meal that is meaningful to you. This could be a family recipe that has been passed down from your parents and their parents before, or a recipe you found in a book and would love to try and serve. Need a challenge? Try cooking a hearty Thanksgiving appetizer! Grab your pots and pans, stirring spoons and chopping boards. Let’s get cooking! Before you try this…

  • Be sure to always cook with a parent or guardian!
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients to prepare your meal! Most recipes have a short list at the beginning to let you know what you will need.
  • It’s okay if it does not go exactly as planned! Cooking is all about having fun and making it personal to you and your taste.

Reading List: Cooking for kids


3. Try coding


Beep beep boop! For this week, we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day (October 13th), which honours the woman who invented coding. Celebrate at your local branch by expanding your knowledge of computers and programming, by reading about coding languages or playing with toys and games that promote coding strategies! Below are some hints to help you get started. It’s time to crack the code!

Begin coding at MPL:

  • Books: Need a hint for where to find coding books at the library? The “Computers” in your nearest MPL children’s area is a great place to start! 
  • Makerspace: Our Makerspace isn’t only for adults! If you’re interested in 3D printing, laser engraving, or even just putting a fun photo on a shirt, you can do all this and more with some adult supervision, of course! Looking for more child-friendly coding? Check out our Kid’s Makerspace! Let’s get creative with hands-on learning!
  • Online Websites: Next time you visit the library, try searching up coding websites on our computers! A popular website includes Scratch for ages 8-16, or alternatively Scratch Jr, an app you can download onto your home device, for the recommended ages 5-7. Both are free to use, so you can express yourself creatively from anywhere!

Reading List: Coding for kids


4. Discover a musical instrument

October is definitely a musical month! October 6th is Kids Music Day, a day to focus on the benefits of music education. Engagement with musical instruments has been shown to improve memory, communication and teamwork. Did you know? You can borrow a musical instrument from our Instrument Library or Toy Library

Feeling crafty? Try making your own instrument to play. Just starting out? Try your hand at drumming. Check out these videos. Strings more your thing? Guitar might be your jam Gather with your friends and make music to mark Universal Music Day October 14th.

Reading List: Discover a musical instrument, opens a new window


Featured Markham Public Library Online Resource: TVOLearn & Brainfuse


Now that the school year is in full swing, check out TVOLearn, a great online resource for help with homework. All the learning activities, available in different grade levels (K to 12) and subjects, align with the Ontario school curriculum. Brainfuse eLearning is another great online resource for homework help. You can interact with live tutors on a variety of subjects, including preparing for standardised tests. This online resource is for all ages and levels as it goes beyond elementary and secondary school levels with support for university classes, adult learners and resume writing. 

There are so many more online resources for children to explore through our “For Kids” section on our Online Resources page.



Markham Public Library Programming

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