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Hate Mail

Monique Polak (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781459807778

Jordie’s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie’s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He’s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd’s special needs. Jordie does everything he can to distance himself from his cousin, fearful of what his friends might think. When he learns that Todd’s whole family is buckling under the pressure of a hateful letter, Jordie starts to question his own behavior. But Todd’s resources are unique, and he soon finds a way to prove his worth to his peers and to the community at large. Inspired by real-life events, Hate Mail examines the transformative power of speaking out against prejudice.

Destination Human

K. L. Denman (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781459803732

Chloe thinks of herself as a normal teenage girl—if there's any such thing—until a formless alien being inhabits her body. The being is named Welkin and claims to be a Universal. Welkin has entered Chloe's body as part of a school project. Chloe agrees to let this weirdo observe her life for three days as long as Welkin doesn't interfere. Welkin tries to respect the non-interference portion of the agreement. But Welkin's stream of alien commentary as Chloe deals with boys, her coach and math homework has a comic, and sometimes enlightening, impact on Chloe's life.

The Truth About Rats (and Dogs)

Jacqueline Pearce (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434759

Unlike his perfect older sister, Jenna, Conner hates his piano lessons and gets bad grades in math. He's really good at bike tricks and he loves animals, but his parents have a no-pets rule and they don't take his bike-riding seriously. When the local animal shelter gets overcrowded, everybody in Conner's pet club agrees to take in a foster pet. Conner has to hide his rat, Oscar, from his family, who would never believe that Oscar is smart and cute and pretty lovable. Or would they?

Walking Backward

Catherine Austen (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554691487

When Josh's mother dies in a phobia-induced car crash, she leaves two questions for her grieving family: how did a snake get into her car; and how do you mourn with no faith to guide you? Twelve-year-old Josh is left alone to find the answers. His father is building a time machine. His four-year-old brother's closest friend is a plastic Power Ranger. His psychiatrist offers nothing more than a blank journal and platitudes.Isolated by grief in a home where every day is pajama day, Josh makes death his research project. He tests the mourning practices of religions he doesn't believe in. He tries to mend his little brother's shattered heart. He observes, records and waits for his life to feel normal, for his mother's death to make sense, for his father to come out of the basement. His observations, recorded in a series of journal entries, are funny, smart, insightful and heartbreaking. His conclusions about the nature of love, loss, grief and the space-time continuum are nothing less than life-changing.

Bank Job

Norma Charles James Heneghan (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438597

Nell has been in foster homes all her lifemost of them have been horrible. She finally gets moved to a home she likes, and the ministry threatens to close it down unless an expensive renovation is made to the house. Nell and the two boys in the home, Billy and Tom, decide to raise the funds themselves. How do kids get large amounts of money quickly? By robbing banks, of course. Their first few heists are successful, but when they almost get caught on their sixth robbery, the friends start to fight about whether they should continue. The bank jobs that were meant to keep their family together just might tear it apart.

Emville Confidential

Don Trembath (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551436739

Baron dreams of being like his favorite hard-boiled detectives: tough, sexy and in control. In reality he's anything but, as his older sister, Kitty, never fails to point out. When a new client presents herself at their backyard detective agency, Baron and his best friend, Myles, are suddenly at odds. Will Wilson, new in town and lonely, choose Baron or Myles or neither? What happened to her sister's blue whale? And her sister? But the biggest mystery of all is whether Baron will ever tell Wilson how he feels.

Orphan Ahwak

Raquel Rivera (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551436555

Aneze, a young Aboriginal girl, is left for dead after her village is ripped apart by a wife-raid; her father and brother are killed and her mother is kidnapped. Aneze is the only survivor. She renames herself Orphan Ahwak as she struggles to survive on her own, first in the forest and then in a remote world of tundra and sea-ice. She endures cold and hunger and befriends people whose customs are completely foreign to her. Through it all she remains determined to become a hunter and to find a place in an often hostile and terrifying world.

The Mountain That Walked

Katherine Holubitsky (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438122

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.

Record Breaker

Robin Stevenson (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554699605

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.

Silver Rain

Lois Peterson (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554692811

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.

The Gnome's Eye

Anna Kerz (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554691968

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.

The Puppet Wrangler

Vicki Grant (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438207

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.

High and Inside

Jeff Rud (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551437965

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.

Klutzhood

Chris McMahen (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551437125

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?

Leaving Fletchville

René Schmidt (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551439471

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.

Liars and Fools

Robin Stevenson (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554692491

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.

My Name Is Mitch

Shelagh Lynne Supeene (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438146

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.

Underdog

Eric Walters (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434179

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.

Better Than Weird

Anna Kerz (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554693634

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.

Count Me In

Sara Leach (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554694051

Twelve-year-old Tabitha is less than thrilled when her parents send her on a hiking trip with her cousins, Ashley and Cedar, and her Aunt Tess. For one thing, she's not much of a hiker. And she's pretty sure her cousins hate her. But even Ashley can't blame Tabitha for everything that goes wrong: the weather turns ugly, a bear comes into the cabin, Ashley and Tess are injured and Max, the family's beloved dog, disappears. When rescue finally arrives, Tabitha realizes that she is no longer the timid, out-of-shape girl she used to be. She's become strong, resourceful and brave in the face of adversity-no matter what form it takes.

The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw

Lois Peterson (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554692040

After eight-year-old Kevin Mason's mother abandons him, he takes refuge in his fantasy of becoming Knuckles McGraw, a tough cowboy roaming the plains on his legendary horse, Burlington Northern. But instead of riding the range, Kevin is stuck in a foster home with a pierced and tattooed teenager named Ice and a mute girl named Breezy. While he waits to be claimed by the father he barely remembers or the mother who left him a good-bye note in his lunchbox, Kevin (aka Knuckles McGraw) tries to communicate with Breezy, learns to get along with his bunkhouse-mate Ice, and discovers that memories can be as deceptive as family secrets.

The Big Snapper

Katherine Holubitsky (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438252

Ten-year-old Eddie lives with his mom and grandparents in a small cabin on the Queen Charlotte Islands. A year earlier, Eddie's dad took the ferry to the mainland and never returned. Eddie loves going fishing with Granddad and listening to his tall tales about the big snapper. Eddie believes if they catch such a fish, it might change his family's fortune. Mom decides to turn their cabin into a bed and breakfast. Some of the guests appreciate island life, but many do not. When Granddad falls ill and must go away for treatment, Eddie worries that he too may not come back. Already hurt and confused by his father's disappearance, upset by the attitudes of the tourists, and now missing his beloved grandfather, Eddie goes fishing alone in Granddad's skiff. Soon he is struggling with more than the need to stay afloat.

The Reunion

Jacqueline Pearce (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434018

Shannon is excited about spending a week at her friend Rina's house, but she's a little nervous too. Rina seems to be able to do everything better than she can and her home is chaotic compared to Shannon's own. When things fall apart, Rina's grandmother is there to tell them a story from her past, early in the Second World War. The story is about a rift between her and her childhood friend, Mitsu, a rift that could never be healed because Mitsu and her family were taken away from the small town of Paldi and interned with other Japanese Canadians. Rina's grandmother, Jas, never saw Mitsu again. That is, not until Shannon and Rina find a handful of forgotten beads in the bottom of a cardboard box.

Things Are Looking Grimm, Jill

Dan Bar-el (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438382

Princess Jill excels at jousting, fencing, skating and long-distance spitting. Her brother, King Jack, loves baking and spending time with Little Bo Peep and her sheep. So what's a princess to do when she receives a mysterious letter from the land of Grimm? Take up ballroom dancing? Not Princess Jill. All alone, with only her wits to guide her, Jill sets off to rescue the citizens of Grimm. Along the way she makes many odd new friends and discovers the value of listening to your mother.

Triple Threat

Jerome Williams Eric Walters (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438405

It's summertime and hoops season is over, but that doesn't keep Nick and Kia off the court. One very hot day they head to the rec center for a swim but end up on the outdoor courts that are usually dominated by older players. Their enjoyment of the court is short-lived, however, when three teens show up and kick the kids and their ball off the court. Nick and Kia don't take well to being bullied, but there's nothing they can do about it. At least not until they run into Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams at a mall promotional event, and Kia enlists the NBA star's help in proving that she and Nick do indeed belong on the same court as the older players. Eric Walters has teamed up with NBA fan-favorite and former Toronto Raptor and current New York Knick Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams for the eighth installment of this best-selling basketball series. Jerome's royalties will help support the JYD Project, which is run by his brother, Johnnie Williams. The JYD Project's goal is to reach more than half a million Canadian and American students over a five-year period with their inspirational message. Book 8 in the series.