Books for the Young and Young at Heart

I like supporting other authors, especially local authors. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve probably clued into that. Whenever possible I try and pick up local books in the bookstore. They make wonderful gifts. Then again, I’ve been known to order books written by some of my blogging friends as well. It’s kind of a nice feeling to support those we have some connection to. I mean, why not?

Here’s a list of books for the young readers on your Christmas list. I’d mention “Flying With a Broken Wing,” but that would be a little obvious.  😉  So I’ll leave it off, but instead will list some of the local books I’ve recently read, or have purchased as gifts for Christmas.

1. The Power of Harmony written by my friend Jan Coates. Don’t forget to check out her Governor General nominated book, Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk as well. Power of Harmony - cover Jennifer’s best friend has moved away and she has become the sole focus for the mean-spirited teasing from the “mean girls” and the “bad boys”at school. But when the new girl, Melody, joins their class the bullies have a new victim. Melody is native and has moved from the recently closed residential school to join the fifth grade class at Summerhill. At first Jennifer is nervous about becoming friends with Melody. She has heard what people (including her grandmother) say about “those people.” But as she gets to know her new classmate, she discovers that they have more in common than she first thought – both of them find sanctuary amongst the books in the town library and both of them love music and being outdoors. Set in a small town in the coal mining regions of Nova Scotia during the late 1960s, this story of discovery and friendship perfectly captures time and place through the voice of its young narrator, Jennifer.

2. Buried Secrets At Louisbourg by JoAnn Yhard. Fred has had a 1771080183rough summer. His secret crush on Mai is going strong, his mother has barely recovered from a battle with cancer, and his unreliable father’s diving business has gone completely underwater. Now Fred, Mai, and Grace, extraordinary fossil hunters, are at the Fortress of Louisbourg hunting a different kind of treasure. They are secretly excavating the historic site, trying to find a mass of jewels Fred’s ancestor may have buried there-jewels that could save Fred”s family. But Fred uncovers far more than he bargained for, including a dangerous plot that could leave Fred”s family in even more serious trouble. The young detectives from the bestselling The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines shine in this fast-paced mystery for middle readers.

3. OakIsland Revenge by Cynthia D’Entrement. Jonah is fourteen 1551098997and lives on the Western Shore of Nova Scotia in 1958. He and his best friend, Beaz, have figured out a way to get to the forbidden OakIsland to seek treasure. They find a gold locket down one of the treasure shafts and can’t believe their luck-until they realize that the locket is not pirate’s booty but possibly evidence in a current murder investigation, one which Jonah already knows more about than he can handle. Beaz is in danger from his abusive mother if she finds out he’s gone to OakIsland, so Jonah keeps the secret even though there is a killer at large in his small community. OakIsland Revenge is a coming-of-age story, with much higher stakes than most teenagers have to contend with.

18948389984. The Sewing Basket by Susan White. (I bought this one the other day for myself but don’t tell anyone!) Dealing with a parent’s illness can be difficult at any age It is 1967 and twelve year old Ruth Iverson’s world pretty much revolves around her friends, a boy she likes, the Monkees and spending time with her Dad doing special stuff like watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. But she is soon to realize that her mom’s strange behaviour which has become an embarrassment, are symptoms of a disease that will affect the family’s life and possibly Ruth’s future. While she watches major events like the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the birth of Priscilla Presley, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Ruth faces some major life events of her own and struggles to come to terms with the changes they bring.

18970097395. Trapper Boy by Hugh R. Macdonald. I read on stage with Hugh at Word on the Street this year. Set in a 1920s coal-mining town, Trapper Boy is the story of 13-year-old JW Donaldson, a good student with a bright future. As school ended for the year in 1926, JW was looking forward to summer. Sure, he would have chores – feeding the horse and milking the goat, tending the garden, that kind of thing – but he would also have lots of time for fishing, building his cabin and reading. Lots of reading. But there is something worrying his parents. His father works in the mine, and there is a lot of talk around town about the mines. JW doesn’t know the details – Adults had a lot to worry about, and he was in no hurry to become one. Slowly, JW’s parents reveal the truth: his father’s hours at the mine have been reduced and they face difficult decisions to try to make ends meet. One such decision will have a previously unimagined impact on the young man’s life.

6. Me and Mr. Bell by Phillip Roy      Alexander Graham Bell, Baddeck’s most illustrious resident, and one of the 1927492556world’s greatest inventors, is also famous for the greatness of his compassion. It’s 1908, and ten-year-old Eddie MacDonald shares the friendly inventor’s passion for solving problems and for taking long walks in the fields above Bras d’Or Lake.
But whereas Bell is renowned by many for being the smartest man in the world, Eddie is just a local farm boy who struggles to learn to read and write. After a few chance encounters, the elderly Bell befriends the young boy, and takes an interest in his struggle – encouraging Eddie to celebrate his successes and never give up.
When Bell’s long ambition for manned flight culminates in the Silver Dart soaring over Bras d’Or Lake, Eddie is inspired to find solutions to his own challenges.

While any of these books would make a great gift for that young person on your list keep in mind that adults might enjoy them as well.  Of course there are plenty of great books out there for young people that I haven’t mentioned. Do a little digging around. Find out who your local talent is. Here’s hoping you find the right book for the right person on your list. Drop in next week to find out what books for adults I have on my list. Lots of loca

Now it’s your turn. What books for young people would you recommend? If you’re an author, it’s okay to mention your own book, after all we’re looking for book suggestions!

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Author, Author

It never fails to amaze me how two people can go to the same event and have totally different experiences. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s good!. Seeing life from different perspectives gives us a broader picture over all. Sunday was this year’s annual Word on the Street, and what a beautiful day we had! When I read Diane Tibert’s blog post about her experience that day it was totally different from mine. She wrote about the sights she saw on the waterfront and her experience with some of the booksellers  and authors of the day. My time was spent sitting in on author readings, for me, a super big treat. I was in heaven.

I was excited to learn that Halifax author, Elaine McCluskey, was to read from her book of short stories. Elaine’s name I was well familiar with since our work has appeared in the same literary magazines over the years. Here she is reading from her latest book of short stories, “Valerie the Great.” It was an exceptional reading. Not only do I love her subtle humour, but her hair’s something else too. I’m a little jealous to tell the truth.

A real treat it was to hear Binnie Brennan read from her short story collection, “A Certain Grace.” Although I’d heard of Binnie, I wasn’t familiar with her work at all. I can tell you now, both authors are superb short story writers. Their work is well worth reading. Hmm, and just when we writers are being told that short story collections are harder to market! I love knowing these two women have collections out there. I guess the short story isn’t dead yet.

I stopped by the Nimbus table to have a look. Did you really think I wouldn’t? Come on– Nimbus is my publisher and a gal’s got to know where her loyality lies.  Lots of new and exciting titles. Some I’ve read, others are on my BTR list.

I sat in on a reading by Lisa Harrington. Lisa’s new YA novel, “Live to Tell,” is psychological  thriller and the reviews I’ve read have been great. This is a book I’m looking forward to reading.

 Cynthia d’Entrement read from her book “Oak Island Revenge.” If you remember I went to Cynthia’s book launch back in May.I met Cynthia and Lisa back in 2008 at the launch of “A Maritime Christmas,” the  anthology published by Nimbus that year. We’ve kept in touch –Facebook is a wonderful thing–which is kind of nice. It’s always good to see a familiar face at these festivals, and you never know who you’ll end up befriending one day.  🙂

Gary Blackwood read from his book, “The Imposter.” I quite enjoyed Gary’s story about how it took twenty years for this book to find a home. It sounded a bit complicated, and sometimes it’s just the way things work out. A lesson to be learned perhaps is that a book may be accepted for publication, but sometimes things are just out of our control. Sometimes the planets just don’t align properly. I’m sure after a wait like that publication is very sweet indeed.

Allison Maher entertained us with a reading from her book, “Time Flies When You’re Chasing Spies.” Allison has more energy in her baby finger than the rest of us have in our entire bodies. No exaggeration. If you want to be totally entertained do take time to drop in on Allison when she’s doing a reading. Allison’s book launch is coming up on the Saturday and I’ve been invited to go. Truth is, you don’t need an invitation to attend a book launch, they’re most always open to the public—the more the merrier.  You never have to worry about being turned away.

So there you have my account of WOTS 2012. I wish I could have stayed longer, but my chauffeur had to get a little shut eye before work later that night.

Oh, and as for what I did with the copy of my book that I snapped up from the library sale last Saturday, I found a school library I plan to donate it to, and that feels right.  🙂

I Heard the Word, and it was on the Street

Word on the Street was held on the Halifax waterfront this year. It’s the annual celebration of book and magazine publishers, authors, anything to do with the written word. Two years ago I read from my manuscript as my book wasn ‘t yet back from the printers. This year I went to be part of the audience, brought along my camera and enjoyed the day as a spectator. Okay, so I hung out around the young adult stage for much of the time we were there. It only seemed natural. Plus, I was hoping to get some photos with some of my favourite YA authors.  I’m putting together a scrapbook, one that I hope Miss Charlotte will adore when she is old enough to be reading these authors for herself. Hopefully, she’ll be impressed to see that her Nanny Bee actually met these incredible authors for real.

We arrived in time to hear Jan Coates read from, “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk.”  I’m not sure why I didn’t make Jan pose for a picture with me. Maybe it was because she was in a hurry to get over to the Woozles booth to sign books. As many times as what Jan and I have had coffee together it makes me wonder why there isn’t one single shot of the two of us together. Why is that Jan?

 

 

 

We checked out the various publishers who were set up. Got a few pictures of the books on Nimbus Publishing’s table.

Look, there’s JoAnn Yhard’s books Lost on Brier Island and The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines. Sorry that I missed JoAnn’s reading, I blame the chauffeur, although I can’t complain because he does a darn good job of driving the old folks around the city. Thanks, Matt!  Not to worry, we took him to have his photo snapped with Theodore Tugboat. It was all good.

When I asked for a photo with Sheree Fitch, she pulled out her glasses from her big Mary Poppin-sized bag and asked me to put them on. Well, you don’t say no to Sheree Fitch.

What do you think? Do I look any taller in these?  Hmmm, I’m kind of wondering now what all she keeps in that purple bag of hers.

So listen up, I learned a valuable lesson while talking to Sheree yesterday. Never, ever tell an author, such as Sheree Fitch, that you loved her book. You’ll be sure to get a somewhat polite but confused response when they ask you “which book?”  Duh! Like Sheree’s been published a gazillion times and I have read a number of her books, but I don’t think she’s yet mastered mind reading. Always remember to mention what book you’re talking about. It just makes it  SO much easer for the author.

We listened while Sheree, Jill MacLean ad Don Aker read from their books and answered the audience’s questions.

I chatted with Jill MacLean later. I met Jill last year at at the book launch for author Cynthia D’entrement’s book  Unlocked . Jill even wrote me a lovely note  last year to congratulate me on Bitter, Sweet’s nomination for the Bilson Award. So it’s obvious that I could have used Sheree’s glasses this time too., or would you believe I was sitting down for this shot?

 

 

 

I was excited to meet Valeria Sherrard. Valerie’s latest book, The Glory Wind, won the Ann Conner Brimer award this year. Yay Valerie!  I’m SO looking forward to reading it. It was remarkable to watch as Valerie answered questions from young readers. Seems to me, those young readers had some well thought out questions. Glad it was Valerie on the hot-seat and not me.

I ran into Syr Ruus yesterday as well. She was off to sign copies of her book, Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart. Okay, so Syr scrunched down a bit for this photo to make me appear a bit taller. How’s that for friendship, I ask?

Before heading back out of the big city, we listened to Steve Vernon read from his YA novel, Sinking Deeper.        Having already read the book, I knew what to expect. My son did not. I do believe by some of the chuckles he quite enjoyed Steve’s sense of humour, and his lively writing which comes out quite nicely in this book.  Steve’s a great story-teller and very entertaining. A real pro.                                                                                                                                                                                

So, I think I covered just about everything. Of course, there is so much more to Word on the Street than what I covered, but I can’t be in every place at once . If you have never gone it’s well worth going to. We have some truly remarkable and talented authors in our area.

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