Blue Penguin

Far away, near the South Pole, a blue penguin is born. It is not something you see every day. “I feel like a penguin,” says Blue Penguin. “But you’re not like us,” the others tell him. Blue Penguin can’t jump or dive very well, so the others wander off and leave him behind. In his loneliness, Blue Penguin begins to dream, and he starts to sing.

From There To Here

A little girl and her family have just moved across the country by train. Their new neighborhood in the city of Toronto is very different from their home in the Saskatchewan bush, and at first everything about “there” seems better than “here.”

The little girl’s dad has just finished building a dam across the Saskatchewan River, and his new project is to build a highway through Toronto. In Saskatchewan, he would come home for lunch every day, but now he doesn’t come until supper. The family used to love to look at the stars, and the northern lights dancing in the night sky. But in the city, all they can see is the glare from the streetlights. All the kids used to run and play together, but now older brother Doug has his own friends.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 3

Popular, A Memoir

” A touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise-meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.”

Oh Dear, Geoffrey!

Geoffrey is a very tall, very clumsy giraffe. He tries to make friends with the animals down on the ground, but he just trips, slips, and falls . . . usually flat on his face.Poor old Geoffrey tries everything to fit in, but it’s only when he realizes that his height can be an advantage that he stretches out his long neck and finds a host of friends in the trees. Soon he discovers he can find friends just by being himself.

Benjamin Dove

As an adult, Benjamin Dove looks back on a childhood summer that changed his life forever. A summer when his new friend Roland, seemingly descended from the knights of the past, encouraged him to stand up for himself and for those he loves. It was a summer when he and his friends formed the Order of the Red Dragon that gave them a sense of identity and purpose in their turbulent world; a summer when innocent childhood games were torn apart by an almost inevitable tragedy. Benjamin Dove is a brilliantly conceived work of fiction, tinged with both light and dark humor. Disturbing themes are explored, from bullying to child abuse to rivalry, yet there is always a sense of a child’s unbreakable spirit. Published to acclaim in 1992, Benjamin Dove has won several book awards, including the International Board on Books for Young People Award (the IBBY), The Icelandic Children’s Book Award, and the Reykjavik City Children’s Book Award. It has also been made into a feature length film of the same name, that went on to win awards at eight international film festivals. Benjamin Dove is a timeless story that explores such perennial and poignant themes that it is sure to become a modern-day classic. The New York Times calls it a “best-selling, distinguished children’s book.”

Icefall

Princess Solveig and her siblings are trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen fjord, along with her best friend and an army of restless soldiers, all awaiting news of the king’s victory in battle, but as they wait for winter’s end and the all-encompassing ice to break, acts of treachery make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst.