Monday, 21 January 2019

Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs
Fatty Legs
By Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Young Olemaun Pokiak is desperate to go to school and learn to read like her sister.  But Olemaun lives in the High Arctic, and to attend school she will have to make a five-day journey to Aklavik, Northwest Territories.  Not only that, but she will have to stay at the residential school, run by nuns, for the entire school year.  Her father will not allow it.

But over time, Olemaun wears her father down.  He finally consents and at eight years old, Olemaun is brought to her new school to begin her studies.

Unfortunately, school is not what she expects.  Olemaun is quickly given a new name – Margaret.  Her hair is cut, and she is forced to do many, many chores as well as work in the adjacent hospital.  Apparently there is more to school than learning to read.

Margaret also becomes the target of one teacher’s wrath.  The Raven, as Margaret calls her, often singles her out for extra chores and sometimes, for humiliation.  When the Raven orders Margaret to wear red stockings while all the other girls wear black, Margaret is mortified.  The red stockings make her legs look huge and some of the other girls start calling her Fatty Legs.

But Margaret does not allow this treatment to interfere with her goal of learning to read.  Can she also stand up for herself and finally get rid of those red stockings?

Fatty Legs is a true story that will make readers laugh and cry.  Kids will cheer for Margaret and her stubborn, headstrong ways and celebrate her ability to overcome obstacles.  Fatty Legs will also help kids understand what happened to many children in residential schools and hopefully make them celebrate their own cultural identity.

Friday, 18 January 2019

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate

Ivan is not your typical gorilla.  Although he is massive and strong like other silverbacks, he doesn’t have the opportunity to use his power to protect his family.  Ivan doesn’t live in the lush forests with other gorillas.  He lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall – in a small cage he calls a domain – and his best friends are Bob the dog and Stella the elephant.

Ivan can hardly recall the life he led as a young gorilla.  The only thing he remembers vividly is his sister, Tag, and the way she used to chase him playfully through the trees.  He misses Tag, but he loves Stella and Bob, and even Julia, a girl who comes to see him on a daily basis.  Ivan also loves to draw and paint, and Julia is fond of bringing him supplies.

When Ruby, a young elephant, arrives to share Stella’s cage, Ivan starts to realize that maybe life in the mall is not normal.  Maybe gorillas (and elephants) belong in wild places with their own kind.  As Ivan becomes more and more protective of Ruby, he vows to get her out of the mall – somehow.

The One and Only Ivan is a sad story.  Both Ivan and Ruby have lost their families because of the cruel actions of humans.  But there may just be some humans who are good and loving.  Will Ivan be able to convince those kind people to help him and the other animals?

Based in part on a true story, The One and Only Ivan might make you cry, but will also give you hope.  Maybe humans aren’t all bad.

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!