Manga Touch (Orca 2007) is short novel for older kids/teens, ages 10-14, who want a more mature story, but one that’s easy and quick to read. Dana loves Japanese manga and anime, but when she goes on an exchange trip to Japan, she feels as much an outsider there as she does among the kids at her school.
The Truth about Rats (and Dogs) (Orca 2006) is about a misunderstood boy named Conner, who first makes an appearance in Dog House Blues. Conner has always wanted a dog, but his parents have a no-pets rule. When the animal club Conner belongs to agrees to foster some animals from the local shelter, Conner finds himself smuggling home a friendly rat. Eventually, Conner must stand up for himself and for Oscar the rat. Recommended for ages 7-12
Dog House Blues (Orca 2005) is a contemporary novel about a girl whose family has three dogs. Worry over making a new friend and avoiding the teasing of the grade six class-snob/bully causes Erika to forget how much her dogs mean to her – until a potentially disastrous incident opens her eyes and helps her see herself and others more clearly. Recommended for ages 7-12.
Discovering Emily (Orca 2004) is a junior novel about the childhood of Canadian artist Emily Carr, who grew up in 19th century Victoria. Eight-year-old Emily can’t seem to do anything right – until she discovers a love of drawing. Recommended for ages 6-10.
Emily’s Dream (Orca 2005) continues the story of artist Emily Carr. With her parents now dead, fifteen-year-old Emily chafes under the strict rule of her grown-up sister, Dede. Her only escape is on the family’s old horse, Johnny, who takes her down hidden forest trails. Emily dreams of becoming an artist (not easy for a girl in the 19th c.), but doesn’t know if she will have the courage. For ages 6-10 (the Emily books have also been used by adult ESL students).
Weeds and other stories (Thistledown 2003) is a collection of short stories for young adults, in which the characters, despite living in a city, are all touched in some way by nature or an animal. The characters also grapple with issues such as bullying, peer pressure, teen pregnancy and drug addiction. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
In The Reunion (Orca 2002), a story from the past helps to heal a rift in the friendship of two girls from the present. When the girls fight, a grandmother, whose family originally came to Canada from India, recalls how she became separated from her childhood friend when Japanese Canadians were taken away during World War II. Now, the two girls try to find away to bring the friends from the past together again. For ages 9-10.
All the books are available from www.chapters.indigo.ca, www.amazon.com and many local bookstores (including two of my favourites, Vancouver Kids Books and the Volume One in Duncan on Vancouver Island). Dog House Blues and The Truth About Rats can also be ordered from www.spca.bc.ca/shop (proceeds from those sales are used to help animals at BC shelters and to develop humane education programs).
Check out www.spca.bc.ca/kids for information on how Dog House Blues and The Truth About Rats (and Dogs) are linked to the SPCA Kids Club. Teachers may be interested to know that teacher’s guides for The Reunion, Discovering Emily and Emily’s Dream are available from www.orcabook.com and a curriculum kit linked to Dog House Blues is currently being developed by the BC SPCA.
You can read more on my website: http://www.jacquelinepearce.ca/