October 31, 2012

Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case

by Shane Peacock
Tundra Books
245 pp.
Ages 10-14
October 2012

It was just a year ago when I reviewed the fifth book in Shane Peacock's The Boy Sherlock Holmes series, The Dragon Turn (Tundra, 2011) and bemoaned the announcement that the sixth book would conclude the series.  And here it is, The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case, with the incongruous title of Becoming Holmes, suggesting more of a beginning than an end.  But, Shane Peacock effectively concludes his series by setting up the key pieces of Sherlock Holmes' life as laid out by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In 1870, Sherlock, now sixteen years of age, is overwhelmed by melancholy: Charles Dickens has just died; Sherlock's father has passed from a stroke; Sigerson Bell, Sherlock's mentor, is very ill and worsening; Irene Doyle, his love interest, is in the United States; Beatrice Leakie, a dear friend, is seeing someone else; and Prime Minister Disraeli, a half-Jew like Sherlock, has been defeated.  The only solace for Sherlock is his reconnection with his older brother, Mycroft, an employee at the Treasury.  When visiting his brother at the Treasury, Sherlock discovers that Grimsby, one of Malefactor's lieutenants, has somehow secured a key position there, under the alias of Ronald Loveland.

Although threatened by his nemesis, Malefactor, to desist from pursuing enquiries which might involve him, Sherlock discovers that Malefactor, who is also known as Moriarty, contrived a blackmail scheme to position himself for greater power.  When Malefactor's henchman, Grimsby, becomes greedy, leading to an accidental death and then murder, Sherlock is determined to fight evil by any means possible.

So, Shane Peacock's Sherlock Holmes proclaims that he is
"at the service of anyone who is wronged, whether they be rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, Englishman or otherwise" (pg. 101)
while also declaring that he would work towards
"the complete destruction of Malefactor, his lieutenants, and all his future schemes, his entire career." (pg. 102)
He even recognizes that in the future he would need
"an upstairs flat of my own, with a companion and a housekeeper." (pg. 113)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes is becoming the famous Sherlock Holmes, just as Shane Peacock's title announces.  And the intricate plot of Becoming Holmes is just as involved as the crimes that the mature Holmes solves.  There are villains, victims, innocents, allies, loves and mentors.  There are obvious motives, false leads, guilty secrets and cryptic feelings. There is compassion, confusion, affection and justice.  While I had some difficulties in discriminating between various unidentified characters in the first chapter before their stories begin to converge and revolve around Sherlock, the storyline did not suffer for this, as clarification and illumination were forthcoming, as they always are in good mysteries. 

Becoming Holmes may reveal much about how the boy becomes the famous detective but at its core it is a rich mystery that needs solving so that evil may be punished and the righteous protected.  Fortunately Sherlock Holmes capably solves the mystery,  equipping him well to re-emerge in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Red (1877).

The book trailer for Becoming Holmes, produced by Aaron Peacock and uploaded to YouTube on October 12, 2012 can be viewed here on my Book Trailers page or directly on The Boy Sherlock Holmes webpage.

October 27, 2012

"Under the Moon" Contest: What Keeps You Up at Night?

Under the Moon
by Deborah Kerbel
Dancing Cat Books (Cormorant Books)
194 pp.
Ages 12-15
In April, I enjoyed reviewing Deborah Kerbel's Under the Moon, currently nominated for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature (Text).  Now, Dancing Cat Books, its publisher, has launched a writing contest based on a key theme of Under the Moon.  Here are the contest details:

TASK:  In 500 words, answer the question, "What keeps you up at night?"
PARTICIPANTS:  For students in grades 7, 8 and 9
DEADLINE: December 14, 2012
PRIZES:  There are prizes for the three top entries (including a Kobo Touch for the 1st place entry) as well as a selection of Cormorant/Dancing Cat books for the school libraries of all three winners.
CONTACT:  Teachers and librarians can get details and entry forms at underthemoon@dancingcatbooks.com  and see the official contest information site at http://www.cormorantbooks.com/blog/?p=951

    *   *   *   *   

October 24, 2012

Not With a Bang

by Gail Sidonie Sobat
Magpie Books
118 pp.
Ages 14+
September 2012

While reading Not With a Bang, I felt as if I was holding a cousin of Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat and Wept (1945) - a novella of such intensity and poetic intelligence that it does not spend the time drawing readers towards a climax but simply catapults us to it and keeps us there for the entire book.  Although the title of Gail Sidonie Sobat's newest book is derived from a line in the final stanza of T. S. Eliot's poem, The Hollow Men

"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper" 

suggesting an ending of indifference, Not With a Bang harbours no such apathy, but rather presents its beginning, middle and end with zeal for living.

After he is charged and convicted of a crime, seventeen-year-old Jan is instructed to stay away from Snake, the drug dealer with whom he'd been associating, and given community service at the Glamorrah Seniors' Hospice.  Although his community service seems tortuous at first, Jan finds himself curious about his charge, seventy-two-year-old Al Coxworth, a man who seems to know a lot about music, poetry and life in general.  More importantly, Al is the man "who bothered to listen to him." (pg. 56)  Without even noticing, Jan begins to appreciate and recognize the validity and value of Al's comments and opinions, taking Jan from an angry, self-absorbed teen (still dealing with his father's infidelity and his parents' subsequent and acrimonious divorce) to a compassionate, open-minded young man.  It's not surprising that with his growing attachment to Al and the guidance he provides that Jan is determined to help Al when he asks for assistance. 

While Not With a Bang has a commanding plot and one that I choose not to give away in this review, it's the characters that drew me to embrace its story.  Jan is hard-edged in his vocabulary, his actions, and his relationships and is probably more similar to a typical teen than not.  Al sees him as "a kid who coulda." (pg. 8) On the other hand, Al is a man with a poet's heart who lived through the "make love, not war" 1960's but still seems a mix of contradictions.  As different as the two are, the emotional guidance and unconditional support that Al provides brings Jan to provide the same for his new confidant.

Gail Sidonie Sobat is an expert in addressing critical issues for teens in uncharacteristic story lines.  Her teens are always real (though not always likeable) with authentic voices, likely taken from her vast experiences as a teacher and writing mentor for YouthWrite, a camp for young writers.  She eloquently tackled homosexuality and homophobia in Chance to Dance for You (Great Plains, 2011) and anorexia and mental illness in Gravity Journal (Great Plains, 2008) and now suggests readers think about drug use and euthanasia as embedded issues.  Without forcing her own ideas on her readers, Gail Sidonie Sobat allows glimpses into worlds that some readers may never experience, thereby increasing awareness, or that some have experienced, thereby providing validation for their realities.  Not With a Bang is neither far-fetched nor commonplace but insightful, challenging to views usually long-held, and sublimely powerful.  I've learned never to expect less from Gail Sidonie Sobat; I've never been disappointed.

October 22, 2012

What Happened in July

by Margaret J. McMaster
Mansbridge Dunn Publishers
57 pp.
Ages 7-9

What Happened in July, the fourth book in Margaret J. McMaster's Babysitter Out of Control! early reader series, has our young narrator, Stewart, again in the care of his babysitter, the elderly Mrs. Chairbottom, while his detective parents are working.

Behind one of the kitchen cupboards which Mrs. Chairbottom is having replaced, they find an old newspaper from July 1932. The cover page of the newspaper has four different words circled in red with several combinations of numbers and letters written beside them.  With the help of Mrs. Chairbottom's friend, Colonel Alfred Peabody, they discover the secret code that ultimately leads them to an old mystery of stolen diamonds.

Reminiscent of the Horrible Harry (by Suzy Kline) and Nate the Great (by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat) series of mysteries for young readers, What Happened in July presents a simple mystery that gives readers a chance to try out some new skills, here code-breaking.  While the nature of early readers generally precludes multi-layered plotting and characterizations, What Happened in July provides more than just a linear mystery plot i.e., discovering a mystery and directly finding the solution.  Because of the addition of the code-breaking and help needed to discover information not readily accessible, young readers will experience the more complicated plotting of a true mystery.

Books for early readers are at a severe disadvantage compared to picture books, longer fiction and nonfiction.  While picture books can use incredible graphics to support and add meaning to the sparse text, as can non-fiction, and middle-grade and YA literature has the opportunity and word count to extend all elements of the story to enhance its telling, early readers must rely on simple plots and easy vocabulary, perhaps with the occasional graphic, to convey a complete story.  For that reason, I feel that reading the first three books in the series would have enhanced my understanding of the characters' relationships and the history of Mrs. Chairbottom's babysitting of Stewart.  It must be difficult for authors such as Margaret J. McMaster to restrain themselves from elaborating on their plots and setting and characters to ensure that they don't lose their readership.  And too much of anything in an early chapter book is sure to turn off a new reader.  So, kudos to those authors such as Margaret J. McMaster who accept the challenge of penning a story for the youngest readers and can still tell a good solid story.

You can check out Margaret J. McMaster's blog here http://margaretmcmaster.blogspot.ca/ to see the other volumes in her Babysitter Out of Control series and her other children's book, Carried Away on Licorice Days (Mansbridge Dunn, 2008).

October 19, 2012

The Town That Drowned

by Riel Nason
Goose Lane Editions
273 pp.
Ages 12+

Although drowning is typically associated with water, it is also used to indicate being overwhelmed by work, debt, sorrow - all stimuli that can defeat. While the cover of Riel Nason's The Town That Drowned suggests that water is the force that engulfs the young girl, other powers are at work in this book.  Thankfully, as her vivid blue eyes looking upward suggest, there is also the brightness of hope in The Town That Drowned.

In Haventon, New Brunswick, the Saint John River is a defining feature of the community, especially for the narrator, fourteen-year-old Ruby.  For the past several years, Ruby has accompanied her nine-year-old brother Percy to his weekly message-in-a-bottle launch from the Hackshaw Bridge.  The whole family works hard to accommodate Percy's unusual needs and behaviours but Ruby plays a significant role especially in protecting her hypersensitive brother from the taunts of other children.  Unfortunately, ever since last winter when Ruby fell through the ice at a skating party and experienced a vision of the town underwater, Ruby herself has become a victim of teasing. 

When survey stakes start showing up in the community and the premier of the province announces the building of a new hydroelectric dam, the people of Haventon become enmeshed in discussions and speculation about the plans to expropriate lands and flood Haventon.  Eventually a map is posted marking lands to be flooded, homes to be moved, and the location of the new town.

Everyone is deeply affected, but especially those around Ruby.  Mr. Cole, the elderly man for whom Ruby does occasional housekeeping, seems to spend much time reminiscing and gifting Ruby and her family with his late wife's jewelry and books while still welcoming his lazy and disreputable great nephew, Tommy, into his large home.  Ruby's father, a civil servant in Fredericton, is accused by Tommy and the local drunkard, Alton Crouse, of prior knowledge of the dam project, especially after it is determined that Ruby's home may be saved.  Her mother stops painting, Percy stops talking and her mother's best friend, Miss Stairs, visits almost daily for emotional support and gossip.  Finally, Ruby's life takes a new direction with the attentions of Troy Rutherford, the son of an antique dealer from Ontario who comes looking to purchase items being sold by moving residents.  As Ruby's mother suggests,
"Unexpected problems bring unexpected results. " (pg. 223)
Within the pool of hardships and changes experienced by the people in The Town That Drowned, there is a coming-of-age story.  While Ruby may have seen herself as vulnerable to the ridicule of her peers, Riel Nason has created a strong and wise young teen who watches and analyzes her life and those of people around her with great clarity and depth.  But, the announcement about the building of the dam and the subsequent events bring new lens through which Ruby can see everyone, including herself, with a new distinctness.
"I think I'm fine and it's just the people in this place that distort me, like a reflection in the river, altering my image." (pg. 237)
Winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for Europe and the Americas and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Atlantic Book Awards), and nominated for the Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Book of the Year and the 2013 Red Maple Award of the Ontario Library Association, The Town that Drowned has been recognized nationally and internationally as a compelling read about much more than just a town.  Riel Nason has created a community of young and old, wise and irresponsible, and honest and secretive that could be the essence of any Canadian small town.  It was a privilege to visit this one.

October 17, 2012

Jacqueline Guest: Indspire 2012 Arts Award Recipient

Yesterday, Indspire (formerly the National Indigenous Achievement Foundation) announced the recipients of its annual awards which recognize outstanding contributions by Indigenous people in Canada.  Ten of the fourteen awards are dedicated to career achievements, and this year, the recipient of the Indspire Award in the field of the Arts is Canadian children's author, Jacqueline Guest.

Jacqueline Guest has penned an impressive collection of seventeen books of historical, young adult and sports fiction.

Her most recent book, Outcast of River Falls (Coteau, 2012) is the sequel to her highly successful historical novel, Belle of Batoche (Orca, 2004).  Both books focus on the Métis and the discrimination and wrongs perpetrated against them within the context of the late 1800's.

Her book, Ghost Messages (Coteau, 2011) won a Moonbeam Gold Medal for Pre-teen Historical Fiction, and was nominated for a Silver Birch award.

Two of Jacqueline Guest's sports novels, Triple Threat (Lorimer, 2011) and Free Throw (Lorimer, 2011) were awarded two of the four 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Awards from the American Indian Library Association of the American Library Association.

The accolades for Jacqueline Guest and her contribution to children's literature and promotion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and culture are well warranted. Check out her website at http://www.jacquelineguest.com/ for complete details about her books, presentations, and events.

Congratulations, Jacqueline Guest!

October 16, 2012

A Call to Battle: The War of 1812, Alexander MacKay, Upper Canada, 1812

by Gillian Chan
Scholastic Canada
195 pp.
Ages 8-12
September, 2012

When the War of 1812 began, Alexander "Sandy" MacKay was only 13 years old, and helping on the family farm near Ancaster.  As clearly as he hears A Call To Battle, determined to join his father and older brother, Angus, in the militia, Sandy is instructed to stay behind with his mother, three younger siblings and two older sisters.  So begins Sandy's recount as he looks back on the events that have lead him to his current journey to Pennsylvania in 1820.

While 1812 progresses from the president's declaration of war in June through to the victory at Queenston, the loss of General Brock and the Yankees' fear of Tecumseh, Sandy knows little of battle experiences except as recounted to him by those returning home.  When his father is stricken with a debilitating case of gaol's fever, as is Angus but less severely, Sandy is disappointed to hear few details about heroic deeds and the glory of war.  He sees shame in the retreat of the British when the Americans capture York in the spring of 1813 and cowardice in his new brother-in-law, Eric, who does not go to war.  Regardless how his father urges him not to be so quick to judge and to look for vain glory, Sandy pursues opportunities to engage in the War.

As the War of 1812 moves into 1814, Sandy finds himself on the outskirts and then in the midst of battles, and sees the reality of war.  His enlightenment is slow but sure, seeing the death toll and drudgery of moving and burying the dead, and then the horror of death in both the British and American ranks.  He may finally experience the reality of war as he craves but Sandy can see beyond his initial expectations and ...
"cried for shattered dreams of glory and adventure that had ended with a bloody, broken boy in a wood. I cried for oblivion ..." (pg. 152)
A Call to Battle is an exceptional edition in Scholastic Canada's I am Canada series.  In any novel of historical fiction, there is the danger of emphasizing the historically-accurate events and characters rather than the story elements, particularly plot.  Gillian Chan's research and poignant emphasis on Sandy MacKay's perspective of the War of 1812, not the detailed events documented in the history textbooks, takes the book from a dry read of a military action to a compassionate look at how boys and young men may see the glory of war, that is, until experienced first-hand.  By allowing Sandy to experience war by dealing first with the dead and injured, then running errands and finally pressed into assisting the surgeon in amputating limbs, rather than just engaging in combat, Gillian Chan has made the War of 1812 in A Call to Battle more of the setting rather than the plot, enabling the reader to see the commonality of young men seeking glory from all manner of military action, be it war, battle, skirmish or attack, defense or offense.  Alexander MacKay's story could be set during World War I, the Boer War, the Seven Years' War or the War of 1812 because the lessons he learns and incorporates are universal.  Sadly, the lessons learned always seem to come after exposure to the conflict, rather than before it.  I can only hope that there are some young people who, after reading A Call to Battle, are moved to rethink their attitudes about war and weaponry and power, hopefully before first-hand experiences destroy more than just their false impressions.

October 15, 2012

Forest of Reading ® 2013 Nominees Announced!

Today, the Ontario Library Association announced the nominated titles for the 2013 Forest of Reading® readers' choice awards. This popular literacy program is designed to cultivate a love of reading for people of all ages, from JK to adult.  For those of us who love reading, it's a great opportunity to focus on new Canadian literature.  For those of us who teach, we know that...
...a print-rich environment leads to more reading and free voluntary reading is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling and grammatical ability and writing style  (Michele Lonsdale, Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement: A Review of the Research: Report for the Australian School Libraries Association, 2003)
The Forest of Reading® already connects over 250,000 readers across Ontario and beyond.  Ask your school library or public library about the Forest of Reading®.  If they're registered, great!  If they're not, ask them, "Why not?"  Registration for these programs through your school or public library is accessible at the OLA website.

With 110 nominated titles, I have presented the nominees in multiple posts.  See the lists below for nominees for the different programs.

Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Nominees

Red Maple, White Pine and Golden Oak Nominees

Le Prix Tamarac and Le Prix Peuplier Nominees

October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl: BookList 5

To support today's International Day of the Girl, as designated by the United Nations, this fifth and final book list focuses on series put out by several Canadian publishers that focus on girls being. . .
  Fierce    Fearless   Free  
From http://litworld.org/standupforgirls on October 3, 2012.

Dear Canada
from Scholastic Canada  
Personal diaries of girls experiencing different events in Canada's history, from rebellions and epidemics to disasters and economic hardships.

Girls with Grit
from Groundwood Books
Exemplary stories depict the courage and tenacity of girls and young women who endure and even overcome challenges that include poverty, homelessness, abuse, war, leprosy and conflicts of all manner. 

Our Canadian Girl
from Penguin Canada
Series of historical fiction for girls about girls who lived during different times in Canada's history.

Women's Hall of Fame
from Second Story Press
Collective biographies of women from around the world who are leaders in their chosen fields.
   *   *   *   *   *  
See the other four book lists for International Day of the Girl at the following links:
   *   *   *   *   *  

Please support literacy for all and help all children understand the inequities and hardships experienced by many girls solely because of their gender. 

Read youngCanLit that advocates for girls to be 
 Fierce    Fearless   Free 

October 10, 2012

International Day of the Girl: BookList 4

Salute, applaud and stand up for girls with LitWorld's Stand Up for Girls campaign.
Let us stand together to champion the right of all girls to be Fierce, Fearless and Free.
on October 3, 2012. 

In aid of the United Nation's International Day of the Girl, October 11, support the goal of literacy for girls world-wide with these non-fiction titles that advocates for girls to be...
   Fierce       Fearless      Free   

Bite of the Mango
by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McLelland
Annick Press
216 pp.
Ages 14+
This is the true story of Mariatu Kamara of civil war-torn Sierra Leone whose village is attacked by boy-rebel soldiers and who has both her hands cut off. 

Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Illustrated by Tom Bagley
Walrus/Whitecap Books
120 pp.
Ages 9-12
Thirty-four women in various fields are showcased for their amazing accomplishments.

Factory Girl
by Barbara Greenwood
Kids Can Press
136 pp.
Ages 9-14
A fictionalized story of twelve-year-old Emily, interwoven with historical accounts, of work in a factory at the early 20th century.

Fearless Female Journalists
by Joy Crysdale
Second Story Press
118 pp.
Ages 9-13
Ten female journalists, including Canadians, defied racism, sexism, personal illness and other obstacles to ensure they got the story.

Hana's Suitcase Anniversary Album
by Karen Levine
Second Story Press
176 pp.
Ages 9-13
Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Centre, discovers an old suitcase and unravels the poignant story of Czechoslovakian-born Jew, Hana Brady, during the Holocaust. 

Nerves Out Loud: Critical Moments in the Lives of Seven Teen Girls
Edited by Susan Musgrave
Annick Press
112 pp.
Ages 14+
Seven authors, including the editor, share details of personal events that shaped their lives.

No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure
by Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson
Kids Can Press
80 pp.
Ages 9-12
The stories of seven females who disguised themselves as males in order to circumvent gender-based prejudice.

Scribbling Women: True Tales from Astonishing Lives
by Marthe Jocelyn
Tundra Books
208 pp.
Ages 10-13
--> A collection of literary biographies from across time, revealing cultures, stories, histories, and tragedies.

Shannen and the Dream for a School
by Janet Wilson
Second Story Press
206 pp.
Ages 8+
Thirteen-year-old Shannen Koostachin fought to rid her Cree community in Attawapiskat of its contaminated, temporary school and have a new one built. 
A Stranger at Home: A True Story
by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes
Annick Press
120 pp.
Ages 8-13
Margaret Pokiak returns to her Inuit community after two years at residential school and finds herself feeling like an outsider.

   Help girls be   
    Fierce       Fearless      Free    

Three previous lists for International Day of the Girl can be accessed here:
Picture Books
Fiction (middle grade novels)
Young Adult fiction 

October 09, 2012

International Day of the Girl: BookList 3

This third book list, to support the UN's International Day of the Girl, October 11, provides some young adult fiction that lets us...
...stand together to champion the right of all girls to be Fierce, Fearless and Free.
on October 3, 2012.  

Young Adult

Ashes, Ashes
by Jo Treggiari
Scholastic Press
341 pp.
Ages 12+
In dystopian New York City, Lucy Holloway has survived the plague that has killed so many, but now must evade those who seek to capture her and learn who she can trust.

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young
Doubleday Canada
459 pp.
Ages 14+
In a post-Wreckers world, Saba heads for brutal Hopetown where the Tonton (who abducted her twin brother Lugh) keep order with slavery and deadly entertainment.

Cape Town
by Brenda Hammond
Great Plains Teen Fiction
326 pp.
Ages 14+
Attending ballet school at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Renee Pretorius becomes immersed in the beginnings of the anti-apartheid movement of 1989.

Chanda's Secrets
by Allan Stratton
Annick Press

193 pp.
Ages 12-15
In Sub-Saharan Africa, sixteen-year-old Chanda takes responsibility for her ill mother and younger siblings in an atmosphere rife with fear and suspicion about HIV/AIDS.

by Liane Shaw
Second Story Press
256 pp.
At yet another foster home, Sadie Thompson, 15, vows to avoid any disturbances until she turns 16 and can ask for legal emancipation.

Gravity Journal 
by Gail Sidonie Sobat
Great Plains Teen Fiction
162 pp.
Ages 12-15
Anise battles anorexia in a rehab centre, reflecting on her health, circumstances and emotions in a journal.

Half World
by Hiromi Goto
Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Puffin Canada
190 pp.
Ages 12-15
After her mother dies and enters Half World, Melanie follows her and must re-establish balance between the three realms (Flesh, Spirit and Half World).

by Cheryl Rainfield
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
316 pp.
Ages 13+
Caitlyn, 15, has lived through her father's murder, her brother's abduction and her mother's denial of her gifts to evade the government agents determined to destroy Paranormals such as herself.

I'll Be Home Soon
by Luanne Armstrong
Ronsdale Press
200 pp.
Ages 10+
Thirteen-year-old Regan takes to the streets to look for her mother after she disappears.
by Valerie Sherrard
Dundurn Press
232 pp.
Ages 11-15
Having been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, Kate is determined to enjoy all her remaining days to their fullest.

Mostly Happy
by Pam Bustin
Thistledown Press
272 pp.
Ages 16+
Even in her tentative life, with her naive parents and then just her flighty mother Prissy, Bean works to create harmony and move forward.

Mountain Girl, River Girl 
by Ting-xing Ye
Puffin Canada

213 pp.
Ages 12-15
Two girls leave their homes to look for better lives in a bigger modern Chinese city but must rely on their courage and wit to survive.

Plain Kate
by Erin Bow
Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic
314 pp.
Ages 12-15
Orphaned Kate finds the means to survive while dealing with the suspicions of villagers and those of the gypsies that offer her some support.

by Marthe Jocelyn
Tundra Books
175 pp.
Ages 9-12
Short stories by women about female protagonists who must deal with secrets.

by Mariko Tamaki 
Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi
141 pp.
Ages 14+
Skim navigates the challenges of her teenage years at school, exploring new friends, witchcraft, and a personal relationship with a female teacher.

Surviving Sam
by Karen Rivers
Polestar/Raincoast Books
205 pp.
Ages 14-17
Three years after her twin brother Sam dies in an avalanche that she survives, Pagan is still struggling to separate herself from his memory and death.

A Spy in the House: The Agency, Book 1
by Y. S. Lee
Candlewick Press/Random House Canada
335 pp.
Ages 13-17
Mary Quinn, rescued from hanging, is recruited by the Agency, a covert operation of female spies, to investigate smuggling activities.

This is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin
326 pp.
Ages 13+
Sloane becomes part of a group finding refuge in the high school from marauding zombies.
Thunder Over Kandahar
by Sharon E. McKay
Annick Press
260 pp.
Ages 12+
Unescorted by men, Yasmine (separated from her parents) and Tamanna (escaping a forced marriage and abuse) attempt to reach the safety of Pakistan.
Under the Moon
by Deborah Kerbel
Dancing Cat Books (Cormorant Books)
194 pp.
Ages 12-15
Lily is desperate to deal with her relentless wakefulness, even sneaking out at night, and the compounded turmoil she experiences.

by Caroline Wissing
Thistledown Press
241 pp.
Ages 14+
After her granny is murdered, Annabel goes into foster care and finds both compassion and danger, though not where she expects.

   Help girls be   
    Fierce       Fearless      Free    

Two previous lists for International Day of the Girl can be accessed here:
Picture Books
Fiction (middle grade novels)