The year is 1903, and Charlie Sutherland, a sixteen-year-old orphan, is on the run. Three years earlier, he was sent by Dr. Barnardo's Home in England to work on the remote Alberta homestead of Albert and Buck Brooks. Charlie has been treated poorly by the two brothers, but he has endured. However, when Albert dies under curious circumstances, and Buck accuses him of murder, Charlie has no choice but to run. He ends up in Frank, a coal-mining town in the Rocky Mountains. Once in Frank, Charlie finally finds friendship and a sense of belonging and self-worth—emotional qualities that had eluded him as a mere "Home boy." His new best friend is another English boy, who has recently received the deed to a homestead and is working to save for supplies. Things change dramatically, however, when—as the local aboriginals have for centuries predicted it would—the mountain walks. In this true event of April 29, 1903, Turtle Mountain collapses, burying a portion of the town. What Charlie does next is determined by the lessons he's learned from those he's become close to, the hard-working immigrants and colorful Canadians who struggled against all odds to populate the West.
It's 1963, and Jack's family is still reeling from the SIDS death of his baby sister. Adrift in his own life, Jack is convinced that setting a world record will bring his father back to his senses and his mother back to life. But world events, including President Kennedy's assassination, threaten to overshadow any record Jack tries to beat from sausage eating to face slapping. Nothing works, and Jack is about to give up when a new friend suggests a different approach that involves listening to, not breaking, records.
Abandoned by her father during the Depression, eleven-year-old Elsie lives in the garage behind her old house with her mother, grandmother Nan and out-of-work uncle. Elsie's friend Scoop accompanies her as she searches for her father in the city, encountering unfriendly hobos, food lines and shantytowns. After both her uncle and her mother disappear on mysterious errands, Elsie and Scoop eventually discover them competing in a dance marathon. Persuading them to abandon the contest, Elsie and Scoop lead the exhausted dancers home, where Nan has news of Elsie's father and his impending return to the family.
Take one prankster, put her together with the editor of the world's most boring school newspaper, add one over-worked principal, and you've got a recipe for the most chaotic few weeks in the history of Upland Green Elementary. The unlikely duo of Martin Wettmore, editor and expert grammarian, and Trixi Wilder, prankster extraordinaire, is given the task of improving the pathetic sales of their school newspaper. Martin and Trixi clash over everything from journalistic integrity (Trixi has none) to imagination (Martin has none). But when the paper starts to wreak havoc at the school, Principal Baumgartner shuts it down and assigns Trixi to Saturday morning bus-washing duty. To redeem themselves, Martin and Trixi resolve to create one very special edition of the Upland Green Examiner.
In the spring of 1954, when her father announces that the family has a chance to immigrate to Canada, Theresa's life changes forever. She and her family are wartime refugees from Yugoslavia; so it shouldn't be hard to leave Austria. But the weathered barracks of Lager Lichtenstein are the only home she knows, and they are filled with family and friends she doesn't want to leave behind. As she says her good-byes, Theresa's friend Martin gives her two gifts: a package of postcards and a stone he calls the Gnome's Eye, which he says will "protect her from all things evil, living or dead." Theresa is convinced the stone has no power, but she still keeps it close as they travel on the crowded immigrant ship and when they settle into a rooming house on Kensington Avenue in Toronto. At first Theresa is afraid of everything: the other tenants in the rooming house, the rat that lives in the kitchen, learning a new language. But as time goes by, Theresa's need for the Gnome's Eye fades, until she is finally able to give it to someone who needs it more than she does.
Mealworms are small creatures that live in dark secret places. Jeremy is a bit like that when he leaves his home in rural Nova Scotia and moves to Toronto with his mother. Lots of things keep him from enjoying his new life, but the worst is his science partner, Aaron, who is more annoying than sand in a bathing suit. Jeremy is also burdened by the secret he carries about the motorcycle accident that injured him and killed his father. Although Jeremy is haunted by his past, he starts to feel at home in Toronto when he realizes he has some skills he can share with his classmates. And when his mealworm project yields some surprising results, Jeremy is finally able to talk about his part in the fatal accident.
Telly Mercer is shy and quiet, used to living in the shadow of her older sister, Bess. Then she finds herself on the set of a puppet show, staying out of the way of her over-stressed Aunt Kathleen. One evening she makes a surprising discovery that launches her on an adventure with an unpredictable and angry puppet.
Lissa is the new kid in town. She is lonely and she blames her mother and her mother's new husband for her troubles. To make matters worse, she has to look after a boy who believes that his dead mother's spirit lives on in the red-tailed hawk that he secretly keeps captive. Ironically, the resulting adventure takes Lissa's mind off her own troubles and gets her a friend to boot!
Something sinister happened to Mackenzie's twin sister Breanne the last time the two girls were in Ireland. Now they're back, and the winter solstice is approaching. Breanne scoffs at their elderly relatives' tales of fair folk and banshees and the thin barrier between two worlds, but Mackenzie remembers what happened to Breanne five years before at the summer solstice. Mackenzie is convinced the Otherworld is real, but is it a place of enchantment or enslavement for humans?
Trying to land a spot on the South Side Middle School football team isn't the biggest challenge Matt Hill faces in the third installment of this popular series. Besides catching passes and dodging defenders, Matt also has to deal with the return of his estranged father following a ten-year absence. But while Matt comes to grips with forgiving his father and gets used to having him around, he must also help a teammate deal with the damage inflicted by his own overbearing and sometimes violent dad. Full of the exciting sports action that marked the first two volumes of the South Side Sports series, First and Ten is a tale of choices made and lessons learned, both on and off the field. Book 3 in the series.
In Volume Three of The Summer of Magic Quartet, Adam's turn to lead the adventure has arrived. The Wise One, Myrddin, needs Adam to retrieve his staff from the Crystal Cave deep inside Glastonbury Tor. The quest grows more dangerous, however, and fear rises. Equus and Ava are far away, the Lady will not wake, and Myrddin is in human guise, unable to use magic without alerting the Dark Being. The four children are on their own. And as the Dark Being approaches, the children discover that danger can find them even in their dreams. Book 3 in the series.
Fresh from a thrilling basketball season playing for the varsity team, Matt is looking forward to a new challenge: baseball. The South Side team seems to be strong this yearif only Matt can control his fear of being hit by an errant pitch. But when Matt's friend, Jake, the team's star, falls in with the wrong crowd, the entire seasonnot to mention their long-standing friendshipseems to be on the line.
Hunter knows humans are dangerous to himself and the other cats of his colony. He avoids them, as all wild cats should. So when a neighborhood boy starts showing up in Hunter's junkyard to chase away dogs and bring the colony food, Hunter keeps his distance. But a new condo development puts the whole colony in danger, and Hunter soon realizes the only way to save his family is to put his trust in the boy. This is the sequel to Catboy.
Arlo thinks his mother is crazy for taking a job in a small town, far away from his old home and his good friends. And to make matters worse, the students at his new school are crazyhockey crazy. Arlo has never laced up a pair of skates in his life, and he's not about to start. To avoid making a complete fool of himself in front of his classmates, Arlo joins a group of misfits called the Dumpster Dudes, who set him a series of wild initiation tests that unleash mayhem on the school. Broken windows in the classrooms, angry ants in the hallways, bicycles in the library and monsters in the air ductscan East Bend Elementary survive Arlo? And will Arlo survive East Bend?
Brandon is the biggest and toughest kid in his small-town school. He is feared as a bully, but he only pretends to be "dumb as a bag of hammers," so he can learn as much as possible about the people around him. When Leon, his sister Winnie, and their lively little brother Sam, arrive in Kingsville, they are the only black people in town. Everyone is curious about themwhere they came from, what their parents dobut when Brandon discovers the truth about their situation, he decides to do what he can to protect them from harm.
Fiona's life changed forever when her mother died in a South Pacific sailing accident. One year later, everyone tells her it is time to move on. To Fiona, moving on means leaving her mother behind-something she has vowed never to do. But Fiona's father has started dating again. His new girlfriend, Kathy, is a professional psychic who claims she can predict the future and communicate with the dead. Fiona is sure she is a fraud, although she secretly longs for her abilities to be genuine. With the reluctant support of her best friend Abby, Fiona sets out to put an end to her father's new relationship by trying to prove, with decidedly mixed results, that Kathy is a liar.
Mitch MacLeod may be the smallest kid in grade six, but he has a great sense of humor and a strong backbone. He can read, sometimes, but never at school when he has to. "You don't know what humiliation is until you have a grade one reading buddy who reads better than you do," he says. But things start to change for Mitch when he creates an opportunity to stand up to Philip, his arch-enemy, when his reading begins to improve, and when his dad, "The Creep," moves back to town.
Life is smoothest for thirteen-year-old Ellie when she keeps her opinions to herself, gets good grades and speaks carefully when her parents ask her to settle their arguments. She feels guilty that she welcomes the chance to spend the summer in another city with her mother's older sister, Jeanette. Ellie makes a new friend and learns to play an Argentine instrument called the bandoneón, which she finds in her aunts basement. When she goes searching for the bandoneón's original owner, she discovers a story of political intrigue and family secrets that help her start to figure out where her parents end and she begins.
Mary is certain that her parents are giving her new shoes for Christmas, but the Depression has hit her Saskatchewan farming family hard. Mary tries to hide her disappointment when she receives a crude homemade doll instead. She ends up liking the doll much more than she expects, but the doll fuels the rivalry between Mary and her older sister, Judith. Then, when the doll disappears a few weeks later during a snowstorm, Mary and Judith's relationship changes once again.
It's a new season for Nick and Kia and once again they have to prove they've got what it takes to make the Mississauga Magic rep team. There is no free ride on Coach Barkley's team. The tryouts are tough but fair and it looks like the nucleus of last years team will be together once again. But there is one new player who seems to have the skills to impress the coach. Though Ashton has great skills, he's not much of a team player. On top of that he's not even sure he wants to make the team. Unable to imagine that anyone wouldn't want to play for the Magic, Nick and Kia set out to solve this dilemma and learn some tough lessons along the way. Book 7 in the series.
Robin can hardly wait for her cousin April and her Aunty Liz to come to the ranch for Christmas. When a devastating car accident sends Aunty Liz to the hospital for several months, Robin can't help but be overjoyed to learn that April will live with Robin and her family while her mother is recuperating. But April has changed, and Robin must deal with April's growing anger and resentment at being forced to leave her injured mother and her life in the city. Then Robin's little sister, Molly, disappears during a blizzard, and Robin and April's friendship faces the ultimate test.
Yossi Mendelsohn works hard to help his family survive after they flee Russia to find a better life in Montreal. He sells newspapers and carries bundles from the garment factory. Yossi longs to play "le hockey" with the French boys, but he has no skates. When his father falls ill and his sister and her fianc organize a walkout at the factory, Yossi's dream of lacing on skates seems farther away than ever.
The four volumes of Andrea Spalding's Summer of Magic Quartet are among her most exciting work. The White Horse Talisman was nominated for the Silver Birch, Hackmatack and Manitoba Readers' Choice Awards. Dance of the Stones was also a Silver Birch nominee. Heart of the Hill left one of her four characters in grave danger. Now, in Behind the Sorcerer's Cloak, as the Dark Being discovers our planet and takes one of the children hostage, the others must restore the balance between light and dark, but at what cost? Book 4 in the series.
In this stand-alone sequel to The Mealworm Diaries, Aaron is anxiously waiting for his father to return for the first time since Aaron's mother's death eight years earlier. Aaron works hard with a counselor at school, but he still has problems getting along with and understanding other kids, and he's worried that his dad will think he's weird. As well as having to confront Tufan, the class bully, Aaron must find ways to cope with the fact that his dad now has a pregnant wife and his beloved Gran needs surgery. In the end, his greatest strength is not his intelligence or his sense of humor, but the openness and warmth of his heart.
Oliver has helicopter parentsthey love him, but they seriously cramp his style. He decides to fill an old wooden box with souvenirs from some of his outrageous and daring exploits. That way, he'll never forget the zombies, the killer dogs and the crazy cows, and his parents will never know that he once jumped from a bridge with the police in hot pursuit. But the biggest shock comes when Oliver realizes that the most terrifying things of all can't be controlled or contained.