Fourteen-year-old Ava is thrilled when she lands a part in a play based on the true story of orphans sent to Canada in the 1800s to work on farms. But is she good enough to hold her own in a professional production? As the rehearsal pressures crank up, Ava struggles with her character, with the vocal demands of outdoor theater and with the annoying ego of her castmate Kiefer. But as she learns more about the historical Lily on which her part is based, things begin to fall into place. Then one bad decision jeopardizes Ava's chances of being able to perform on opening night.
Fifteen-year-old Natalie is obsessed with ballet and plans to spend the entire summer in dance class with her two best friends. But when her mom gets a job out of town, Natalie gets shipped off to stay with cousins she barely knows. Natalie is thrilled when her cousins invite her to join them at the local dance studio. But it turns out it's not a ballet class; it's Irish dance. Skeptical at first, Natalie is surprised to learn she really enjoys the new dance style and agrees to take part in an upcoming competition. But this new passion could result in Natalie having to leave her ballet dreams behind.
Justin is fascinated with the aged guard dog at the corner store. He names it Smokey and sneaks the dog treats. Smokey belongs to a company that supplies working dogs to local businesses. Justin is thrilled to get a job working for Smokey's company, until he learns about the mistreatment of the animals. When Justin can't shake his suspicion that someone in the company is involved in a rash of thefts, he tries to quit. But Justin knows too much, and his boss won't let him go.
For as long as he can remember, Matt has wanted to play basketball. Now, as he tries out for the team at his new middle school, he realizes that the easy days of elementary ball are over and that this is a much more serious game. Dealing with a hard-driving coach, competitive teammates and his own insecurities in a new school, Matt needs to call on all his skills, both on and off the court, to make the team and keep his head above water. When he is involved, albeit unwittingly, in tagging a store with racist graffiti, Matt finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. And when he fights back against an aggressive teammate and is threatened with suspension from the team, he learns that it is not only game-time decisions that count, but also the choices made after the crowd has gone home and the gym is silent.
Nick and Kia get excited when their school gym teacher announces a "three-on-three" basketball tournament. The two most dedicated players in grade three, they know they'll be tough to beat. But when Nick finds out they'll be up against teams in grade four and five, he is ready to throw in the towel before they start. How can shrimps like them ever hope to beat the older kids? Kia, however, is undaunted. They need a third player for their team anyway, she reasons, so why not go after the best player in the school? Marcus is bigger, tougher and in grade five. But it's not as easy as Kia thinks to convince Marcus to join their team. And there's no guarantee the older boy won't change his mind before the tournament begins. Marcus is often uneasy around them, but worse, Kia and Nick find themselves making enemies of some of the kids in the upper grade. Nick realizes it's going to take more than skill at basketball to win this tournament and make friends with Marcus without becoming targets for the older kids off the court. Book 1 in the series.
Murphy and his three friends, Danny, Jeff and Albert, are making the transition from the tribal elementary school to the community middle school. They are all trying out for the middle school's soccer team, and they're pretty confident that The Formidable Four will all make the team. But once the tryouts begin, Albert, the tribal-school superstar, plays like a second stringer. Murphy's new friend, Molly, is determined to help the boys find out what's wrong with Albert, but when they discover the truth, they realize that Albert is playing a whole different game.
Max knows his mom can't afford to send him to summer camp. But he really, really wants to go. He needs a break from looking after his autistic brother, Duncan. And from his mom's new boyfriend. He is surprised when his mom says that he can go after all. But there's a catch. There are spots available at the camp for families with special needs. A grant would cover Duncan's fees, and Max could attend at no charge. If he goes as Duncan's escort. This is the second story featuring Max and Duncan after Maxed Out.
In 1930 nine-year-old Miriam travels by train from Brooklyn to her grandparents' farm in upstate New York. Her grandparents are kind, generous people, but they aren't exactly ideal playmates for a lonely girl. When Miriam is not doing homework in the kitchen with Bubby or helping prepare meals for the migrant workers that Zayde hires to help out on the farm, she plays with the barn kittens born just before she arrived. Those kittens are her only friends, until the day Miriam discovers a young girl hiding in the barn. Cissy and her brother, Joe, who's one of Zayde's farm hands, are on the run from an abusive uncle back in Mississippi. Miriam and Cissy hit it off immediately. But their friendship is tested when Miriam is forced to choose between keeping a promise and doing the right thing.
Junior Canadian Ranger Tommy Toner has a terrible secret. During the annual JCR summer camp in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, he plays a prank which has unexpected and destructive results. Ashamed and afraid of what people will think, he keeps quiet, even though the guilt eats away at him. Tommy and his old friends Colly and Jaz team up to take part in a JCR competition at camp. They decide to search on horseback for the legendary Bushman, a Sasquatch-like creature who has been sighted near Whitehorse. But is the Bushman real or is he simply a terrifying creature of myth and legend? What Tommy and his friends discover puts all their lives in danger, and only the truth can save them.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it's not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
When Renata is chosen to play the lead role in the school musical, students who used to ignore her start saying hello and congratulating her in the hall. She is happy until it becomes evident that Karin, a wealthy girl who expected to get the lead role, will go to great lengths to ruin Renata's reputation.
Juggling soccer, school, friends and family leaves John with little time for anything else. But one day at the local community center, following the sound of drums, he stumbles into an Indigenous dance class. Before he knows what's happening, John finds himself stumbling through beginner classes with a bunch of little girls, skipping soccer practice and letting his other responsibilities slide. When he attends a powwow and witnesses a powerful performance, he realizes that he wants to be a dancer more than anything. But the nearest class for boys is at the Native Cultural Center in the city, and he still hasn't told his family or friends about his new passion. If he wants to dance, he will have to stop hiding. Between the mocking of his teammates and the hostility of the boys in his dance class, John must find a way to balance and embrace both the Irish and Cree sides of his heritage.
Daniel Abel is surprised when, instead of being punished for "pantsing" another eighth-grader, he is invited to become an ambassador of Mountview High at the school's upcoming open house. What he doesn't realize is that he is part of a social experiment on bullying being conducted by the local university. He is a little nervous to learn he will be working with Jeff Kover, a tenth-grader with a reputation for being the biggest bully in the school. Daniel has never thought of himself as a bully. He just likes kidding around. But hanging out with Jeff will change Daniel's perspective on bullying and force him to examine his own behavior.
Luc Waldon always figured he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, he breathes it and he thinks he has what it takes to go all the way to the NFL. So when his football coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc's less than thrilled. When he realizes that dance might actually be his true passion, he faces a tough decision. Is he willing to leave behind the field and a real shot at professional sports, and disappoint his parents, his coach and his teammates, in order to pursue a new dream?
When it comes to cross-country running, Jake does everything right. He eats all the right foods, trains like crazy and reads articles about running in his spare time. There's nothing easy about running, but the hardest part for Jake is that, at the end of the day, Spencer Solomon always wins first place. Determined to take the lead for once, Jake continues to push himself even more. His rigorous training schedule leaves no time for friends, family, pizza or joking around. When Jake is invited to join the Diamond Running Club, he thinks he's found an opportunity to train harder. Instead, with the help of his coach, Jake begins to rediscover what he used to love about running in the first place.
Northern Ireland. In 1999, one year after the Good Friday peace accord, sectarian violence still runs rampant in Belfast and the hatred between Protestant and Catholic runs deep. Liam O'Donnell's father is a peacemaker to the Catholic community. When twelve-year-old Liam's parents are brutally murdered in front of him, he is frozen in place. But when he sees the face of one of the attackers, he is forced to run for his life. Escaping, he finds shelter with a neighboring family. Taken to a police safe house, Liam is betrayed and forced to run again, from the very people who are supposed to be protecting him. Can he escape from his pursuer? Is there anywhere to turn for help?
When Shawn and Daniel witness a gang beating behind the local mall they flee the scene, terrified that they've been seen. They recognize one of the attackers as a locally infamous gang member. When they learn that the kid who was attacked is in critical condition, Shawn wants to go to the police, but Daniel convinces him that they are in more danger if they speak up. The threats they receive from other members of the gang reinforce the boys' fears. When the gang attacks Daniel, Shawn has to put his own safety at risk to help his friend.
Fifteen-year-old Zack finds a homemade CD with the word Famous written on it. Lonely and bored while suspended from school, he puts the CD on and loses himself in the music. Zack has sound-color synesthesia. He sees colors when he hears music, and the music on the Famous CD causes incredible patterns of color for him. Zach becomes obsessed with the girl on the CD and tries to find her. He tracks down the singer, Jolene, in a café where she works while she dreams of the big time. He convinces her to let him help her achieve her dreams, but soon discovers that in her quest for fame, Jolene has done a lot of damage. Stuff We All Get is a gentle critique of celebrity culture in North America.
Linda is shy and avoids getting involved at school. But when her high school sets up online chat rooms she can't resist the urge to visit them. Fuelled by interest in a student with the nickname Cyrano, Linda participates in online conversations using the nickname Roxane and gains a reputation as the queen of one-liners. Soon Linda starts receiving gifts from a secret admirer who signs his gifts, "C." She is certain that her life has taken a turn for the better until "C" reveals his true identity.
Kip's only friends are the members of the Daredevil Club, a club whose mission is to complete seven dangerous dares before their rivals, the Wildmen, complete their list of dares. Before the cliff diving accident in which he lost the use of his leg, Kip had been the leader of the Daredevil club. Now he has difficulty completing the dares and suspects that his membership is threatened. As the daredevils plan their final stunt, a dangerous climb along a narrow steel shelf beneath a bridge, they try to convince Kip that he may not be up to the task. Kip refuses to back down even though he suspects his friends might be right.
Dana is excited about her school trip to Japan despite the fact that she is surrounded by the Melly Mob, "in-crowd" kids who make fun of her. Dana is certain she will be less of an outsider in Japan, home of manga and anime. But she soon discovers that it's just as difficult to fit in with a foreign culture as it is to fit in at school. And the only other manga fan that she meets refuses to talk to her. As Dana learns to meet people halfway and gains some friends in Japan, Melissa, leader of the Melly Mob, makes every effort to remind her that she's still an outsider.
When Cody and his friends accept a challenge from a local gang to steal a park bench, their main concern is keeping themselves on the gang's good side. Cody learns that the stolen bench had been dedicated to the father of the English teacher who sponsors the school newspaper; the paper that Cody has just started writing for - and he's worried about the consequences. As the gang applies pressure for more from Cody and his friends, he realizes they've crossed a line, and now he has to figure out how to make it right.
Claire's life is a mess. She's failing math, her depressed mother won't get off the couch, Eric, the boy of her dreams, is dating her nemesis Lucy. While Claire is wishing her life were better, lightning strikes. Soon afterward, everything changes. With Lucy in the hospital and out of the way, Claire attracts Eric's attention and gets the starring role in the school play. But good fortune has a cost: her newly energized mother reconciles with her deadbeat dad, the dream boy turns out to be a dud and Claire feels terrible guilt about gaining everything Lucy has lost. But how can Claire turn it around when lightning only strikes once?
Keegan and Alex are the only kids in Leamington who haven't volunteered to help out with the town's annual tomato festival. In an attempt to teach them a sense of responsibility, their fathers put them in charge of the tomato toss. The boys decide it's their responsibility to add a little excitement to the event. They exchange the traditional wooden targets for human targets and, before they know it, they are running the most popular event at the fair. The excitement may be too much for the sleepy town and soon the tomato toss is taken to the streets.
One Peace celebrates the "Power of One," and specifically the accomplishments of children from around the globe who have worked to promote world peace. Janet Wilson challenges today's children to strive to make a difference in this beautifully illustrated, fact-filled and fascinating volume of portraits of many "heroes for today." Canadian Craig Kielburger, who started Free the Children to help victims of child labor at the age of twelve, has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Farlis Calle, forced to identify the body of a young friend -- a victim of her country's civil war -- started the Columbia Children's Movement for Peace. At age ten, Kimmie Weeks, a refugee from the Liberian civil war, came within a whisper of being buried in a mass grave. Almost miraculously he survived and vowed to make a difference in the lives of other children. At thirteen he established Voices of the Future, Liberia's first child rights advocacy group. Other portraits feature the accomplishments of children from Sarajevo, Japan, the United Kingdom, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the United States. These moving testaments to the courage and initiative of youth will inspire readers young and old.