Children & young adult

#830 Sweeping rape under the rug

Girls Like Me by Kristin Butcher Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $9.95  / 9781459820555 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw  Trigger warning: rape, sexual coercion, miscarriage * Kristin Butcher of Campbell River has written more than twenty books for young people, and has been shortlisted for a variety of Canadian literary awards during her career. She writes…
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#810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $14.95 / 9781553805724 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Secrets in The Shadows is the story of two boyhood friends, Michael and Wolfgang (Wolfie), growing up in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But it is also so much more. Author Heige S. Boehm has…
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#724 Postwar gardening therapy

The Vegetable Museum by Michelle Mulder Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $10.95 /  9781459816794 Reviewed by George M. Johnson * Michelle Mulder cultivates rich soil (sorry I couldn’t resist that) in her middle-grade novel about 13 year-old Chloë Becher, forced to move from Montreal to Victoria with her Dad when her parents separate. Initially she finds…
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#713 Writing tips from Cowichan

10 Sure-fire Ways to NAIL Your First Draft by Carol Anne Shaw * After several years of reading, scribbling, blogging, Facebooking, and trying to look serious on LinkedIn, I’ve come to realize that this writing-a-novel thing is actually a no-brainer. Because there are only ten necessary rules for success. I’m not lying. (I’ll get to…
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#710 Four Strathcona princesses

The Princess Dolls by Ellen Schwartz, with illustrations by Mariko Ando Vancouver: Tradewind Books, 2018 $12.95 / 9781926890081 Reviewed by Michael Kluckner * Best friends Esther and Michiko and their longing for two dolls of the English princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, provide subjects for a wartime tale of friendship, racial injustice, and displacement set in…
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#691 Frankie goes to New York

Here I Am! by Pauline Holdstock Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2019 $21.95 / 9781771963091 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Rarely does a book draw me in from page one, but such was the case with Here I Am! by Pauline Holdstock. The protagonist is a delightful six year-old boy, Frankie West, and the reader soon learns…
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#649 Pirates of the Gulf

Scallywag on the Salish Sea by Sara Cassidy, with illustrations by Mike Deas Victoria: Heritage House, 2019 $9.95 / 9781772032789 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This delightful little book, written by Sara Cassidy with illustrations by Mike Deas, is aimed specifically at a six to nine year-old demographic who love pirate stories and somewhat gruesome,…
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#638 Adventures at Canyon Camp

The Horse of The River: A Camp Canyon Falls Adventure by Sari Cooper Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $12.95 / 9781550178777 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * “Riding is where your heart is. Go. Commune with the horses and live in the woods,” says Gillian’s mother as she encourages her daughter to enjoy a month-long trip…
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#632 Living small on a tired planet

Tiny House, Big Fix Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $9.95 / 9781459821200 by Gail Anderson-Dargatz Reviewed by Valerie Green * This small book by novelist Gail Anderson-Dargatz is a delightfully quick read for young adults. The story is told in just 136 pages. In the book, the author describes many aspects of rural life while at…
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#616 Captive mountain grizzlies

The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain: The True Adventures of Coola and Grinder by Shelley Hrdlitschka and Rae Schidlo, illustrated by Linda Sharp Victoria: Heritage House, 2019 $19.95 / 9781772032772 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Grizzly bear! Ursus arctos ! Or is it, more correctly, Ursus arctos horribilis? The first is the species name, the second…
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#567 A Métis Red Riding Hood

The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette (text) and Julie Flett (illustrations) Penticton: Theytus Books, 2019 $19.95 / 9781926886541 Reviewed by Irene Watts * What inspired this empathetic tale? Katherena Vermette, a Métis writer from Winnipeg, says in her author’s note that this “completely made-up story” was influenced by traditional ones. The Girl and…
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#556 Gangs, pirates, smugglers

Stowaway by Pam Withers Toronto: Dundurn, 2018 $12.99 / 9781459741911 Reviewed by Irene Watts * Pam Withers has a staunch following for her many adventure novels. Fans will not be disappointed in Stowaway from Dundurn Press. Two sixteen-year-old boys of diverse backgrounds, both mourn a lack of friends, and are burdened with secrets they have…
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#362 City night magic

First published Sept. 1, 2018. The Night the Forest Came to Town by Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Annie Wilkinson Victoria: Orca Books, 2018 $19.95 / 9781459816503 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw * Nature reclaims and transforms a city in Charles Gigna’s The Night the Forest Came to Town, illustrated by Annie Wilkinson. Carol Anne Shaw notes…
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#357 Refugee kids meet Cougar Annie

First published Aug. 28, 2018. Up In Arms by Amanda Spottiswoode, illustrations by Molly March Victoria: Heritage House, 2017. $12.95 / 9781772032024 Reviewed by Steve Pocock * In 1939 and 1940, some 6,000 British children, known as child evacuees and British guest children, were sent to Canada to escape the threat of German invasion. The…
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