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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TJ overcame his fear of cats in TJ and the Cats and his fear of ghosts in TJ and the Haunted House. Now, he's not so keen on facing his fear of failure. His best friend Seymour is determined to come up with the latest greatest invention and TJ's gran expects TJ to build a rocket. The kittens, T-Rex and Alaska, are eager to get involved. When the first rocket that TJ builds plummets out of the sky, no parachute in sight, TJ is sure that his efforts are doomed. But are they?
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.
Eleven-year-old Bree is happiest when she's climbing the trees at Cedar Grove, her urban townhouse complex. She's the best climber around, even better than an older boy, Tyler, who drives her crazy with his competitiveness. When Ethan, a younger boy, falls from a tree and hurts his elbow, the neighborhood council bans all tree-climbing in Cedar Grove. If Bree chooses to ignore the bylaw, her family could be kicked out of their home, so she vows to change the rule instead. After giving a presentation to the Neighborhood Council, she realizes this is not a battle she can win on her own, but rallying the Cedar Grove troops is more difficult than she imagined.
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.
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.
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.
Spending Christmas holidays in the wilderness with his ex-con aunt Mag is not Evan's idea of a good time. What's worse is that everyone he meets-even his new friend Cedar-is making a big deal about a loon that is hanging around on the lake. Why should Evan care about a dumb bird? When he discovers that the loon will die without help, he realizes he does care, but rescuing the wild bird turns out to be whole lot harder, and more dangerous, than he expected.
Sam Stringbini, the youngest son in a family of circus performers, is living every kid's dream, except for the fact that he is no good on the high wire, trapezes freak him out and magic mystifies him. When the Triple Top Circus is threatened by repeated acts of sabotage, Sam is the number one suspect. To clear his name, Sam enlists the help of his cousin, Harriet, and discovers that, while he may never be a sword-swallower or a lion-tamer, he just might be able to save the circus.
Martha knows she is adopted, but she's well-loved and popular, at least until her mother gets pregnant and she feels her parents' attention start to shift. Upset and confused, Martha lashes out at and loses her friends. She also makes no secret about her annoyance at being forced to do a school project about sturgeon with Chance, a difficult boy whose foster parents are family friends. To add insult to injury, Martha's birth mother announces that she is getting married and moving away. Now Martha isn't number one in anybody's life. When her mom goes into labor prematurely, Martha realizes that she needs to figure out a way to be a better friend and daughter, and a great sister.
Nick, Kia and their Mississauga Magic teammates are on the road, heading off to an elite hoop tournament in the Midwest. Feeling outmatched by many of the high profile teams, the kids are still looking forward to a good time. However, Coach Barkley, who played college ball in the area and is still regarded as a hero, has other ideas. As usual, nothing but winning will be good enough for Coach. As the tournament progresses, the Magic players learn to believe in themselves and come to realize that they can hold their own against the opposing teams. And then, just as the team seems to have a shot at making the finals, the eligibility of one of their players is questioned and they face disqualification. Will the team spirit the road trip has instilled be strong enough to get the kids over this hurdle? Book 5 in the series.