I Need YOUR Help!

Dear readers,

I thought I’d try crowd-sourcing this one, as I’m striking out with my searches.

I need your help deciding on a novel to read to my Grade 7/8 library class. Not just any novel though – there are so many great ones to choose from. This one has to meet a host of criteria.

They would like me to stay with Deborah Ellis‘ books, with which the grade 8s have been obsessed since grade 6 and the Grade 7s got a taste of last year with The Breadwinner.

Why do they love her so much? Because she writes about ‘real’ people with interesting lives – characters with whom they can identify, but who make them appreciate their own lives; their freedoms. Ellis’ novels have perfectly appropriate shock value to keep them fascinated, meanwhile enlightening them; leading them to feel they understand parts of the world that they had not previously given any thought to.

But as wonderful as her books are, and were fabulous for discussions on democracy, Deborah Ellis’ novels do not meet the criteria this time.

This class’ Social Studies teacher is focusing on a theme of cultural compromise: the compromises, (if you can call it that), that First Nations made when Europeans first arrived in Canada, and those made by those Europeans and other immigrants upon coming to Canada to assimilate into the first developing and now entrenched culture. Applicable also would be the Metis and French Canadians who found themselves minorities in western Canada.

So…I’m looking for a fast-moving, adrenaline-rich novel that illustrates that theme of cultural compromise, with (a) strong, believable and preferably teenage protagonist(s), set in pre- or post-confederation Canada, with a few age-appropriate, realistic shockers and cliff-hangers (I know when to stop a reading) among the adventures.

I won’t tell you what I’ve been looking at or why I may or may not have rejected them. I want your suggestions.

Enlighten me, please! You can post suggestions in the comments below or to @Missus_K on Twitter, or you can email me at MissusK76(at)Yahoo(dot)com, if that’s the method you prefer. I’ll compile them all, with credit, in a later post here.

Thanking you in advance,



Filed under Authors & Illustrators, Books, Education, Library Class, Library Programs, Reading, Rethinking My Library

8 responses to “I Need YOUR Help!

  1. I’m afraid I can’t help, but I passed your plea on to a friend, Allen Jorgenson,
    who teaches at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and who has been involved with First Nation issues. He might have a suggestion, or not, but I certainly would value any input he provides.

    Good luck!

  2. Dear Cindy, I don’t often find myself reading material for the clientele you outline. I’ve got someone I’ll check with who is of First Nations ancestry and has a 17 year old. In the meantime, I was reminded by this request of the recent obit of Basil Johnston, the famed Ojibway author who recently died. I have read some of his work describing Ojibway ways, but learned from the paper that he also wrote a book in 1988 called “Indian School Days” which was very well received and written for young adults. I’m not sure it will meet your criteria, but I’ll look for some other options in the interim. Best, Allen

  3. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help me out. These are great suggestions. Please pass on my thanks to your friend as well…and way back up to Linda. Quite the chain we’ve made.

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