November 27, 2013

Reaching reluctant or bored readers

It can be a challenge finding books that are interesting and easy to read for reluctant or bored readers. High Interest Publishing publishes books and e-books specifically written, edited, and designed for reluctant or struggling readers from ages 8 to 18. HIP's series of books are realistic, gritty, and action-filled for teens and pre-teens, or adventurous, mysterious and funny for younger readers. There's even a fantasy series for those who prefer dragons and other supernatural elements.

With so many titles, it may be difficult to choose, but here are a few books to whet the appetite:

by Sylvia McNicoll

Owen has just three days to prove to his father that Hero will be no trouble, or back to the shelter he goes. But Hero's still a puppy, so he can't help messing up the floor or eating Owen's homework. Will Hero live up to his name?

A fun read, this is a warm-hearted story with an ending any reader will love.

by Paul Kropp

Todd works in a small-town gas station. One night, while working alone, he has to deal with a holdup, a clogged toilet, a woman giving birth, and the meanest teacher in the whole world. Plus his girlfriend won't stop calling him.

Wacky and unbelievable, this is perfect for kids who like their humour with a dose of slapstick.

by Paul Kropp

Based on a true story, this is a gripping account of a winter hike that turns deadly.

November 21, 2013

Pirate adventure

Owen's Pirate Adventure
by Patti Larsen (Acorn Press)
illustrated by Shaun Patterson

Owen loves everything about pirates and longs to be one someday. His wish is granted when a fishy-smelling band of pirates take him aboard their flying ship. But after attacks by a green sea monster and an angry cloud, the pirate life loses its allure.

A fun story for kids to read on their own or aloud to younger siblings. Patterson's big-eyed characters are fun to look at, too.

November 19, 2013

Cat wants to act

Tallulah the Theatre Cat
by Jennifer Brown (Acorn Press)

Tallulah the cat dreams of life on the stage, but everyone keeps shooing her away. However, every cat must follow her bliss, so Tallulah manages to interrupt a few performances. This doesn't sit well with the theatre folk, who rudely tell her off. Feeling hurt, Tallulah disappears for a while. But she returns when she discovers how much she is missed.

A cheerful, true story about a furry thespian in Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island. Brown's colourful artwork form the perfect backdrop for her bouncy, light verse. It's easy to see why her book has won the L.M. Montgomery Award for Children's LIterature. Tallulah is irresistible!

November 13, 2013

A book about peace

The Enemy
by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch

There are two holes. In each hole is a soldier. They are enemies. 

Simply told, this is a direct and powerful story about the pointlessness of war.
HIghly recommended.

November 6, 2013

Young spy in Paris

Violins of Autumn
by Amy McAuley

It's Paris, France in 1944. The world is at war and the Allies are about to invade at any moment. Helping the cause is 17-year-old Betty Sweeney, code name Adele Blanchard. A member of the Special Operations Executive, her mission is to deliver crucial messages for the French Resistance. A skilled liar, fluent in French and German, Adele soon finds herself training soldiers and sabotaging bridges. Yet the novel begins with a prologue in which Adele is tortured by the Germans. The main narrative describes the events leading up to her capture.

There are many tense and exciting moments, with close calls and compromised safe houses. These are balanced by scenes of friendship and romance, allowing the reader time for breath. Strong and courageous, Adele grows from teen to woman in the face of war's brutality.

A gripping and engaging read.