We Want You To Know: Kids Talk About Bullying
Coteau Books / 2 March 2012

We Want You to Know :Kids Talk About Bullying by Deborah Ellis Published by Coteau Books Review by Donna Gudjonson $14.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-463-7 All of us have experienced some form of bullying at some time in our lives. Recently this problem has come under the spotlight with cyber-bullying being blamed for several suicides of young people. Internationally acclaimed author Deborah Ellis has compiled the stories of students between the ages of nine and nineteen and gives an in-depth insight into this problem. The stories are candid and give voice to what is really happening in schools to our kids. Each story describes the experience of the person being bullied, how they felt, and what they did to cope. At the end of each story there are discussion questions to promote awareness and empathy. As I read the stories I was drawn back to my own childhood memories of being bullied and excluded by my cousin. We were close in age and in the same grade all through school in a small town. On many occasions she coerced the other girls to shun me. When I finally talked to my mother about it she helped me to find a solution. I…

Another Angel of Love
Pio-Seelos Books / 2 March 2012

Another Angel of Love by Henry Ripplinger Published by Pio-Seelos Books Review by Gail Jansen $21.95 ISBN: 978-0-9865424-2-8 The second in the five-part Angelic Letters Series, Another Angel of Love is a book that is more than able to stand all on its own, as it continues the story of Henry and Jenny and the stories of the people that surround them. This is less a novel that preaches, and more one that shares its knowledge, no matter what your faith or religious beliefs. The lessons on love, human kindness, and life that are expertly interwoven throughout this tale are ones that hold true across the spectrum of humanity. Like a good wine, a good author often takes time to develop to his or her full potential, but Ripplinger, despite his newness to the craft, seems to have avoided many of the pitfalls of new writers, who often leave their readers to struggle through a story with a good premise but poor delivery. Instead, he has somehow managed to combine both the freshness of a new voice with the maturity of great storyteller. While Another Angel of Love is billed as a romance, Ripplinger’s willingness to tackle so many difficult…

Leaving Berlin
Thistledown Press / 2 March 2012

Leaving Berlin by Britt Holmström Published by Thistledown Press Review by Sandy Bonny $ 18.95 ISBN-13 987-1-897235-91-1 I recently crossed Saskatoon driving behind a battered Honda Civic with the bumper sticker: ‘Change is inevitable – growth is optional.’ This might well be the motto underlying Britt Holmström’s first collection of short fiction. In Leaving Berlin this experienced Regina-based novelist tapers her prose to focus on female characters thrust, often unexpectedly, into moments of revelation. These women, of all ages and origins, struggle with the assumptions and constraints that structure their lives. Complicated relationships unravel, personalities collide, and as time and memory turn back on themselves, yearnings, hopes, and reality itself, beg to be reframed. Rendered in candid, conversational prose, sharp physical descriptions position the reader as confidante to Holmström’s characters, and they certainly do confide In “ The Company She Kept” a group of divorced medical-office mates startle themselves out of a comfortable friendship by first obsessing over, then energetically attacking the transparent lies of a newly hired temp. She is young, beautiful, and clearly unstable, but they find themselves driven to best her, delighting in her weaknesses as they swirl into self-improvement. Their circle is scattered, ultimately, by shame…

Germy Johnson’s Piano War
aemworks Publishing / 2 March 2012

JJ “Germy” Johnson, the engaging hero of award-winning author Alison Lohans, Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan, is back with a new adventure. This time, JJ’s parents are forcing him to take piano lessons, which are proving to be hazardous to his health. To be perfectly honest, piano lessons also take up valuable time when he could be battling cyber-pterodactyls or man-eating sharks on his game system. But his parents just won’t see his point of view. So JJ is forced to take drastic action.

Letters to Jennifer
DriverWorks Ink / 2 March 2012

Letters to Jennifer from Maudie and Oliver by Sharon Gray Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Chris Ewing-Weisz $16.95 ISBN 978-098103947-3 When a dear friend who lives far away has cancer, what can you do? If you’re a pair of enterprising Siamese cats in Winnipeg, you write frequent, short, funny letters, full of news of your feline world, and include brief expressions of your love and care. Jennifer is a real person, and Maudie and Oliver are real cats. The letters are real, too, from the pen of Maudie and Oliver’s “Live-In Person,” Sharon Gray. Written over the course of Jennifer’s illness, the letters offer a cat’s-eye view of the world that is frequently hilarious, sometimes poignant, and always engaging. Anyone who has lived with cats will admire the closely observed feline behaviour and distinct individual characters of Maudie and Oliver. Anyone who has been through a personal disaster will appreciate the light touch and frequent but understated expressions of care. And anyone who’s ever felt helpless in the face of someone else’s suffering will find ample inspiration in this delightful work. Gray’s keen eye, good heart, and smart pen are well complemented by Erika Folnovic’s charming drawings. This is…

Gabriel Dumont: Li Chef Michif In Images and In Words
Gabriel Dumont Institute / 2 March 2012

Gabriel Dumont: La Chef Michif in Images and In Words by Darren R. Préfontaine Published by the Gabriel Dumont Institute Review by Chris Ewing-Weisz $65.00 ISBN 978-0-920915-87-5 On postage stamps and place mats, bronze plaques and sculpture, Gabriel Dumont, military leader of Riel’s 1885 Rebellion, continues to be remembered. In recent years he has been freshly appreciated as a genuine community leader, and a touchstone of Métis identity. Now he is the subject of a large, colourful, coffee-table anthology from the Gabriel Dumont Institute. Drawing together a wealth of photographs, artwork, archival documents, artifacts from his life, and newspaper accounts past and present, it explores how Dumont has been perceived through time and by different individuals and communities. Browsing these pages, you will see Dumont through many different eyes: Métis and settler, government and military, French and English Canadian, American and British. You will see Dumont pictured with hostile bitterness, racist suspicion, equally racist romanticism, revolutionary fervor, political pragmatism, and more. You will also discover a wealth of period detail: the difference between French and English billiard tables; how bison hunters reloaded on the fly (and sometimes lost fingers); war reporting prior to instant communications; and Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild…

Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan
aemworks Publishing / 2 March 2012

Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan by Alison Lohans Illustrations by A.E. Matheson Published by aemworks Publishing Review by Michelle Shaw $7.95 ISBN 978-0-9784974-0-8 Germy (JJ) Johnson is facing a serious predicament. His Great Aunt Pru is coming for a long visit. She’s old and smells like medicine. Her false teeth click when she talks and sometimes she takes them out to surprise people. It’s not funny! Those false teeth give him nightmares…literally. Worst of all, she’s staying in his bedroom and he’s now forced to share a room with his baby sister, Jessica. JJ is determined to find a way to force Aunt Pru to leave and his new kitten gives him a brilliant idea. Germs…the ultimate weapon! What if Aunt Pru became deathly ill? Then she’d have to leave. JJ embarks on a quest to infest Aunt Pru with all the germs he can find. Which isn’t as easy he thought and earns himself a not-so-pleasant nickname along the way. Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan was first published in 1992 and was widely used in grade three classrooms across Canada. When it went out of print, the author, award-winning Regina-based Alison Lohans, kept getting requests for it. So she decided to…

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