Category Archives: strong characters

The Nest

The Nest is a haunting and surreal book about a boy named Steve whose newborn brother is born with a host of medical problems that require surgeries and hospitalizations. Through Steve’s dreams and his conversations with the knife man, we see … Continue reading

Posted in Canadian author/illustrator, Children's novels, strong characters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rain Reign

Rose lives with her dad and her dog, Rain, and goes to a school where no one is as interested in homonyms as she is. She also likes rules and prime numbers and Uncle Weldon, who drives her to school … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, strong characters | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Birchbark House

When I was a child, I read The Little House books, mostly because many raved about how good they were. My sister’s read them. I got through them all. Louise Erdrich has outdone them, though, with The Birchbark House, the story of Omakayas, an Ojibwa girl, as … Continue reading

Posted in Books with social studies links, Children's novels, historical, strong characters | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Slog’s Dad

Slog’s Dad, written by David Almond and illustrated by Dave McKean, is a fascinating story about a boy, Slog, who believes the man on the bench is his dad. Nevermind that his dad died. Or that the man looks nothing … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, Conventions, strong characters | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting By 7s

What makes a home? Is it a sister? Parents? A brother? A backyard filled with plants, plants you love? This is what I thought about as I read Holly Goldberg Sloan‘s Counting By 7s, a beautifully, thoughtfully written book about twelve-year-old … Continue reading

Posted in Character-driven, Children's novels, social issues, strong characters, Tween book | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave, a novel-in-verse by Katherine Applegate, is a moving story about Kek, who as a refugee from Sudan who as seen atrocities never loses hope of seeing his mother again. This story has an authentic and perceptive voice, beautiful language and … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, Poetry, social issues, strong characters, Teen/Young Adult, Voice, Word choice | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Corner of the Universe

Set in the 1960s, A Corner of the Universe is a favourite of my eleven-year-old daughter, so of course, I had to read it (ordered to, actually). I love the 1960s, and if you do too, be aware that this isn’t about Civil … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, historical, social issues, strong characters | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Thing About Luck

The National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature in 2013 was The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. She also wrote the 2005 Newbery winner Kira, Kira. Summer is in the midst of her unluckiest year ever when her parents have … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, strong characters | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

There is a soft spot in my heart for squirrels and their stories. Kate DiCamillo has created  an important book about a superhero squirrel whose best weapon is poetry. As Dr. Meecham says, “Take this squirrel, for instance. Ulysses. Do … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter Books, strong characters, Voice, Word choice | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Listen up all of you Six Plus One Traits people: This is your book for voice. And it’s a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The scouts are two raccoons, J’miah and Bingo, who live in … Continue reading

Posted in Children's novels, strong characters, Voice, Word choice | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments