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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.

Trouble in the Trees

Yolanda Ridge (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554693863

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.

Peggy's Letters

Jacqueline Halsey (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438344

In the final months of World War II, ten-year-old Peggy shelters with her mother and baby brother in a London butcher's shop during an air raid. They survive, but their home and everything in it are lost, including Peggy's most treasured possession, a biscuit tin of letters from her father. Their lives change dramatically and Peggy makes friends with a boy named Spud who has a passion for scavenging bombsites, leading to more than one surprising discovery.

Poachers in the Pingos

Anita Daher (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554690121

When Junior Canadian Rangers, Colly and Jaz, visit Colly's uncle on Canada's Arctic coast, they are quick to discover something is amiss. Someone has been hunting gyrfalcons, the official bird of the Northwest Territories. Could it be poachers? During a pretend emergency, Colly and Jaz put two and five together and end up in a terrifying race for their lives!

Rescue Pup

Jean Little (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434582

Shakespeare is a Seeing Eye puppy. But before the time comes for him to train with a blind person, he must spend six months with a girl who has never learned to love. He does all he can to teach her, but the job places him in some dangerous situations and by the end of the story he has earned the title Rescue Pup.

Road Block

Yolanda Ridge (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781459800465

In this sequel to Trouble in the Trees, it's the end of grade six and Bree plans to spend the summer hanging around her townhouse complex in Vancouver, climbing trees with her friends. But her parents have other plans for her; she is going to Ontario to stay with her grandma who lives on a farm "in the middle of nowhere." A farm that is about to be destroyed by a superhighway unless Bree can stop it. Convinced that saving the land will end her grandma's unhappiness, Bree tries to rally cousins and neighbors, but instead of finding help, Bree uncovers some shocking things about her relatives. The more Bree gets to know about her extended family and their farm, the more complicated everything becomes. If she isn't able to save the farm, can she at least manage to save her family?

Secret Signs

Jacqueline Guest (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551436012

The Depression has ruined Henry Dafoe's life: his father has left the family farm to look for work, his mother is sick and now she's decided to send Henry to Nova Scotia to work on his uncle's fishboat. But Henry has other ideas. He runs away from home to join his father, which proves more difficult than he imagined. Alone and scared in a strange city, he befriends an old hobo named Clickety Clack, who agrees to take him to find his father. As they make their way across the country, Clickety Clack teaches Henry about the secret signs that hoboes use to communicate with each other.

Somebody's Girl

Maggie De Vries (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554693849

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.

Strawberry Moon

Becky Citra (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438368

The year is 1838 and Ellie's grandmother has arrived all the way from England. Ellie is horrified to discover that the forbidding old woman intends to take her back to Britain to be raised properly. Ellie is determined that she will not go, but what can a nine-year-old girl do in the face of an adult with her mind made up?

Jesse's Star

Ellen Schwartz (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551433738

Jesse's project about his immigrant ancestors is due tomorrow and he hasn't started. In a last-ditch effort to find some information about his great-great grandfather, Yossi, Jesse rummages through the mess in the attic until he finds a little battered travel case, full of pictures, and something else - a Star of David. At first it looks plain and unimportant, but as he holds it in his hand, the star begins to glow. Jesse is in for the surprise, and adventure, of his life as he finds himself becoming the star's first owner, his own great-great grandfather. Now a boy in Russia in the 1880s, Yossi lives in a little village, watched over by thieving soldiers who hate the Jewish community and often raid their crops before they can be stored for the winter. The whole village prays for the opportunity to slip away from their Russian keepers and escape to Canada, a land where they can be free. And nobody, even his parents, think Yossi is old enough to be of any help. But Yossi is out to prove them all wrong. If his plan works, he will set the whole village free. And he must do it alone. An adventure story for young readers, Jesse's Star is also a compelling history of one family's struggle to be free in the new world.

Jo's Journey

Nikki Tate (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551435381

It's 1861 and orphan Jo has made it from Carson City, Nevada, to San Francisco without anyone figuring out that she's a girl in boy's clothing. When she hears talk of gold strikes in the Cariboo, Jo and her friend Bart sign on for what turns out to be a journey far more arduous and dangerous than anything Jo experienced as a Pony Express rider. Through it all, Jo keeps her true identity a secret. Strong men turn back but Jo forges ahead, unsure of what lies ahead but sure that her father and mother would be proud of her determination.

Jo's Triumph

Nikki Tate (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551433851

In the late 1850s in and around Carson City, struggles between the Indians and the local whites are growing. During the struggles, Joselyn, a young orphan, meets Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute girl who becomes her friend and gives her some valuable advice. When Joselyn takes that advice and escapes from the Carson City Home for Unfortunate Children, she has no idea that her boy's disguise and her love for and expertise with horses will lead her straight to the Pony Express. Joselyn becomes Jo and turns to a life that demands all her inner strength and resources. Then the meanest man on the route learns her secret and uses it to extract a promise that kept or broken could mean death.

Just Call Me Joe

Frieda Wishinsky (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434223

The year is 1909 and Joseph has just immigrated to the United States from Russia. He thinks that life in New York City will be wonderful, but he has not bargained for the challenges of learning English and of resisting the pressures to skip school, steal and fight to earn a place among the boys in his neighbourhood. Just Call Me Joe presents a full picture of life in New York City for the working poor. Anna, Joe's older sister, struggles to cope with the terrible factory conditions of the time. Aunt Sophie must take in boarders to make ends meet. And Joseph must both accept change and remain true to himself in a new city with new challenges.

Lucky's Mountain

Dianne Maycock (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551436845

The year is 1935 and Maggie Sullivan's world has fallen apart. Maggie has grown up in a close-knit mining community perched atop a mountain in British Columbia. But now her father has been killed in a mine explosion and she is being forced to leave the only home she has ever known. To make matters worse, she must also leave behind her best friend Lucky, the three-legged dog that was a special gift from Pa.

Meeting Miss 405

Lois Peterson (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554690169

Life is hard enough for Tansy with her depressed mom away indefinitely and her dad making a mess of things at home. But then Dad sends her down the hall to a wrinkly old babysitter named Miss Stella, who Tansy hates on sight. Miss Stella has a unique perspective on life, to say the least, but with the help of her best friend Parveen, Tansy gradually learns to manage all the changes in her life and make unexpected new friends in the process.

Forward, Shakespeare!

Jean Little (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551438306

Seeing-eye pup, Shakespeare, conquered many fears in Rescue Pup. Now he is back, about to be matched up with a blind boy, ready to begin his working life. Tim is enraged by his blindness and wants nothing to do with a guide dog. But he is no match for Shakespeare.

Catching Spring

Sylvia Olsen (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434568

The year is 1957, and Bobby lives on the Tsartlip First Nation reserve on Vancouver Island where his family has lived for generations and generations. He loves his weekend job at the nearby marina. He loves to play marbles with his friends. And he loves being able to give half his weekly earnings to his mother to eke out the grocery money, but he longs to enter the up-coming fishing derby. With the help of his uncle and Dan from the marina his wish just might come true.

Chance and the Butterfly

Marrie De Vries (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554699636

Every time Chance turns around, he gets in trouble. In school, he can't sit still. Reading is hard and math is harder, but anything to do with science fascinates him. When his class starts raising butterflies from caterpillars, Chance is hooked. School is suddenly fun again, but when he decides to take his caterpillar home, he learns that loving something often means letting it go.

Dog Days

Becky Citra (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551434261

Brady is a dreadful card player and he doesn't like dogs. His mother has moved him across the country to be near to his grandfather who insists on playing (and winning) endless games of Crazy Eights and whose ornery, ancient dog makes Brady's life miserable. Abra, next door, is nice to him, but she dresses like a witch and she's a girl. The only way that Brady can see to make real friends in his new home is to enter the upcoming dog show, but how is he going to do that without a dog?

Ellie's New Home

Becky Citra (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781551433752

Ellie and her little brother Max find themselves moving from their grandmother's comfortable home in England to Upper Canada. Their mother is dead, Father wants to start over again, and in 1835 there are many opportunities for settlers in British North America. Despite the strangeness of this vast new world, Ellie is sure things will turn out all right, as long as the family stays together. But once they are in Upper Canada, Father leaves Ellie and Max with strangers on an isolated homestead, while he goes on ahead to find land and build a cabin. Although the mother and father are kind to her, Ellie makes an enemy of their daughter Mary, who is insulted by the newcomer's distant manners, fine clothes and talk of her London home. Ellie's loneliness and discomfort, however, gradually turns into a growing fear. Where is Father? Why hasn't he come back to them? A gripping story for young readers that explored the world of early settlers.

Addy's Race

Debby Waldman (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554699254

Addy has worn hearing aids for as long as she can remember. Her mother tells her this makes her special, but now that Addy's in grade six, she wants to be special for what she's done. When Addy joins the school running club to keep her best friend, Lucy, company, she discovers she is a gifted runner. Lucy isn't, which is problematic. Further troubles surface when Addy gets paired on a school project with Sierra, a smart, self-assured new classmate who wears a cochlear implant. Addy is surprised to discover hearing loss is all they have in common and a shared disability is not enough of a foundation for a friendship. True friends support each other, even if they have different passions and dreams. More importantly, Addy comes to understand that she is defined by more than her hearing loss. She has the power to choose how people will see her, and she does.

After Peaches

Michelle Mulder (author)

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers ISBN: 9781554691777

Ten-year-old Rosario Ramirez and her family are political refugees from Mexico, trying to make a new life in Canada. After being teased at school, Rosario vows not to speak English again until she can speak with an accent that's one hundred percent Canadian. Since she and her parents plan to spend the whole summer working on BC fruit farms, she will be surrounded by Spanish speakers again. But when her family's closest friend Jose gets terribly sick, Rosario's plans start to unravel. Neither Jose nor Rosario's parents speak English well enough to get him the help he needs. Like it or not, Rosario must face her fears about letting her voice be heard.