Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Glass Sentence

The Glass Sentence
The Glass Sentence
By S.E. Grove


Sophia lives with her Uncle Shadrack, a famous cartologer, in the era after the Great Disruption.  Now, different time periods, from both past and future, have emerged in the present.  Now, different regions of the world belong to different Ages.

Sophia’s parents have long ago gone missing and Shadrack is hoping to take Sophia on an expedition to find them.  In preparation for the trip, he begins teaching Sophia how to read maps.  But the maps of Sophia’s world are much more sophisticated than ours.  Maps can be made from many materials -- paper, glass, plants and even water.  They also carry more than just geographical information – they carry memories and feelings.  For those who know how to read them, they supply information about events of the past, or even the future.

When Shadrack is kidnapped from his own home, Sophia is devastated but she knows she must find him.  Shadrack has left her a small clue.  With the help of her new friend Theo, Sophia sets off on her own journey.

Traveling across borders and through different Ages is challenging, and soon Sophia and Theo discover they are being followed.  Before they know it, they are embroiled in a terrifying and thrilling adventure.  Complete with pirates, men with scars, underground caverns and maps that can save the world, The Glass Sentence is an exciting and suspenseful fantasy.  With two more books that follow in this trilogy, The Glass Sentence is a must read!

Friday, 14 December 2018

Paperboy

Paperboy
Paperboy
By Vince Vawter



Victor is an 11-year-old boy with two traits that make him stand out:

1. He's got a fantastic pitching arm.
2. He stutters.

It’s 1959 in Memphis.  Kids and adults alike admire Victor’s ability on the baseball field.  But Victor keeps most people at arm’s length because of his disability.  It’s just so hard to communicate that often he doesn’t even try.

When Victor takes over his friend Rat’s paper route temporarily, he knows it will mean extra money in his pocket.  But it will also mean being forced to talk to strangers, especially when he has to collect the fees.  Victor expects the challenge, but he doesn’t expect the profound ways his clients will move him.

Victor is consistently shocked, for example, by the boy at one house who is constantly in front of the TV with the sound turned off.  The boy never seems to play outside, only watches TV.

He is also enamoured with Mrs. Worthington, an attractive but sad woman, whom he meets along the way.

But his most meaningful relationship is formed with Mr. Spiro, a former merchant marine, who never interrupts Victor or suggests that his stutter is problematic.  In fact, Mr. Spiro is the only person he’s met who mentions the stutter at all, telling Victor to focus on things he likes so that the stutter can gradually fade away.

Victor is also very close with Mam, the woman who cooks and cleans for his family, and who practically raises him herself.  When Victor runs afoul of a dangerous man in the neighbourhood, it’s Mam who sets things right.

Paperboy is a coming of age story about a boy discovering his own strengths and learning that others have weaknesses too.  Over the course of the summer, Victor learns that having a disability won’t stop him from growing into a very capable adult.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden
By Karina Yan Glaser



Another run-of-the-mill summer has just started for Josie, Oliver, Hyacinth and Laney (a.k.a. the Vanderbeekers).  Their sister Isa is away at music camp, but otherwise things are pretty standard at their Harlem brownstone.

But when their beloved upstairs neighbour, Mr. Jeet, has a stroke, and his wife, Miss Josie, leaves to care for him at the hospital, the Vanderbeeker kids know they have to do something to help.  They embark on a project to turn an empty lot in their neighbourhood into a beautiful garden in honour of Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet.

Although the kids pour their heart and soul into the garden for weeks, they manage to keep it a secret from all the adults in their life.  After all, the empty lot does not belong to them and they’re not ready to reveal what they are doing with it.  When Mr. Huxley, a friend’s dad, tries to sell the land right out from under them, the Vanderbeekers are heartbroken.

Can they save the garden?  Can they motivate Mr. Jeet to get well again?

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden is a feel-good book about a very positive and loving family.  Reading this book may just inspire you to embark on a project all your own!

The Last

The Last
The Last

 by Katherine Applegate



The Last is book #1 in the Endling Series by Katherine Applegate.  

It is the story of Byx, the baby of her pack, and a member of the nearly extinct dairne species. Dairnes are dog-like creatures that have magical abilities and are able to glide when they spread their arms and expand their wings.

Byx returns home to find that her family has been hunted and killed, leaving her to be possibly the only one left of her kind. She is the Endling. Byx sets out quickly to avoid being hunted herself and to find somewhere safe to stay. 

Along the way, Byx meets up with new creatures of human and animal form and, for reasons of their own, join Byx in her quest to safety and to find other dairnes. This motley crew begins their journey as strangers, but as time goes on they become a kind of family, looking out for each other. 

They discover a secret plot in their kingdom of Nedarra that threatens every creature in their world. Will they be able to take on those that plot against them and save their kingdom?

The characters are magical, the setting is mystical and the story is adventurous. It is an exciting read with a good message about society and the need to respect each other. I can't wait for the next installment in the series!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Illegal

Illegal
Illegal
By Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano



Ebo and his siblings know they must leave their home in Ghana to make a better life in Europe.  Sisi, his sister, has already gone.  When Kwame, his brother, disappears, Ebo follows.  He is determined not to be left behind.

When he meets up with Kwame they spent almost 2 years working to save money for the journey across the desert and the Mediterranean. They live in dire conditions and hide their money, saving for the day they can finally leave.  They two brothers must keep each other safe in a world full of dangers.  

After all their hard work, they are finally ready to travel, but their journey is horrendous.  They must contend with overcrowding, starvation, thirst, men with weapons, an unforgiving landscape and a massive, deadly sea.

How can two boys make this journey alone?  They are constantly motivated by the dream of a better life and the knowledge that they can never go back.

Illegal is not for the faint of heart -- it’s a graphic novel that brings the harsh world of a young refugee to life.  Ebo must endure more than most of us can imagine, and at a very young age.