Tillie the Terrible Swede

Stauffacher, Sue. Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.

I read Tillie the Terrible Swede, a picture book about a girl who left Sweden to come to America. Most girls came to America with a dream. Tillie was no different. But all she had was a needle. So she worked in a tailor shop and waited for a dream to come find her. One day, a man sped by her shop on a bicycle. Now she had a dream! She dreamed of riding a bicycle, too. But girls were not allowed to ride bicycles. Tillie proved that they could. This picture book biography is recommended for girls who want to be inspired to make a difference in their own world. – Avneet, grade 6 

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Remembrance Day

Foran, Jill. Remembrance Day: Lest We Forget. Calgary: Weigl, 2010.

Stories of World War 1

Stories of World War 2

Stories of conflicts after WW2

Stories of conflicts before WW1

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” John Diefenbaker

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The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

Defoe, Daniel. Adapted by Malvina G. Vogel. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. New York: Baronet Books, 1996.

I enjoyed reading The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a classic novel adapted by Malvina G. Vogel. It was a short novel with large print, so it was easy to read. The story was about Robinson Crusoe, born in 1632 in England, a European country. Crusoe boarded his first ship in 1651. He first sailed to Brazil, where he developed a successful tobacco planting business. Crusoe set sail again, this time for Guinea in 1659, to buy slaves. Crusoe’s ship met with two major storms, the second of which was so bad that his ship broke and he fainted. Fortunately, the waves washed him to shore. The next morning, he woke up and looked around. He saw the half-submerged ship and swam back to get supplies: food, water, and clothes. Crusoe built a shelter for himself in a cave and survived all alone for 24 long years. Anyone who likes action-packed novels should give this book a try.  – Gurvir, grade 6 

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Silent Days, Silent Dreams

Say, Allen. Silent Days, Silent Dreams. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017.
What must it be like to be deaf and mute? What must it be like to be autistic and perhaps even dyslexic, as well?
James Castle was born in 1899 on a farm in Utah. He spent most of his life in an abandoned chicken house and a small mobile home creating astonishing works of art. Drawing with sticks dipped in soot and saliva on scraps of discarded paper, he produced thousands of pictures before his death in 1977. Today, his work is shown in major galleries around the world.
Allen Say’s stunning picture book about the life of James Castle is told from the point of view of the artist’s nephew. It is hauntingly illustrated using materials similar to the artist’s and supplemented with an extensive author’s note and bibliography. Highly recommended for readers and artists 11 years old and up.

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My Brother Charlie

Peete, Holly Robinson and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. My Brother Charlie. New York: Scholastic Press, 2010.

A heartwarming story about a brother with autism. In an afterword by the authors, the mother and twin sister of an autistic boy tell more about their own real-life experiences. Illustrated by acclaimed illustrator Shane W. Evans, this picture book is highly recommended for children 5 to 12 years old.

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My Brother’s Secret

Smith, Dan. My Brother’s Secret. New York: Chicken House, 2015.

Set in 1941 Germany, this story depicts the changes that happen when twelve-year-old Karl realizes that life is not so simple. After his father is killed on the Eastern Front and his family goes to live with his grandparents, he starts to see life differently. Is Hitler really a hero? Are the Nazis noble soldiers? Is his older brother Stefan’s decision to join an underground movement courageous? Does he himself have the courage to stand up against everything he has been taught at school? This novel by an award-winning British writer is recommended for readers 12 years old and up.

P.S. Every novel published by Chicken House is worth checking out. Every story is well-written and memorable for its hope in the face of hardships. 

More about Dan Smith and his stories

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