Chris Hadfield

Hadfield, Chris and Kate Fillion. The Darkest Dark. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2016.

“Do you know the first Canadian to walk in space? If not, I will tell you all about him.

“On August 29, 1959, Chris Hadfield was born in Sarnia, Ontario. As he grew up, he dreamed of being an astronaut. He studied hard in school and after graduating, he attended military college, earning a degree in mechanical engineering. He then trained as a fighter pilot, but he still dreamed of going into space.

“Nine years later, Space Canada announced it was hiring more astronauts. What great news! Hadfield sent in his application, along with 5000 other people. He waited and waited, What would happen? Would he be chosen? Would he achieve his dream?

“Good news came later that year. Hadfield was chosen as one of four new astronauts to go into space!

“For the next three years, Hadfield spent time practising the systems he would be using in space. Finally, on the day of lift-off, the shuttle blasted off. Hadfield went to space for eight days. In 2001, he went back for a second time and walked in space, creating history.

“Many years later, Hadfield got chosen again. On December 19, 2012, Hadfield took off one more time in the biggest spacecraft ever created! Hadfield was in command this time; he and his crew kept busy, sharing more than one hundred videos. When Hadfield came back to earth a few months later, he had become one of the most famous astronauts in the world!

“Today, Hadfield is retired and spends his time telling people what it is like to be an astronaut. He reminds people to work hard to reach their dreams. He inspires them to be prepared for the adventures of life.” – by Rabia in grade six             

More biographies

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Reader,

Many people look to Martin Luther King, Jr. for inspiration. For courage to do what is right in the face of injustice. Many students like to write about Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is what a twelve-year-old boy had to say:

“Do you know who Martin Luther King, Jr. was? Do you know why he was so famous?
 
“Well, today, I will tell you who he was and why he was so famous. Martin was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up, the King family spent a lot of time in church, listening to Martin’s father preach. At that time, black and white Americans did not have equal rights, and Martin dreamed of equality.
 
“Martin would fight with words, without violent actions. He would be jailed and beaten, but never give up.
 
“In 1955, black people had to give up their bus seats for white people. If they refused, they would go to jail. In protest, the black people decided to boycott the bus services.

“After a year of boycotting, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, and Martin won! Black people could now ride buses without giving up their seats. This boycott became viral, and by 1957, Martin was famous.

“Martin made many marvelous speeches about racism, and people agreed it was time for a change. Civil right groups joined together and formed the Southern Christian Leadership Council with Martin Luther King as the leader.

“In 1963, King spoke to a huge group of people in Washington, D.C.  He gave the famous speech: “I have a dream.”

“Sadly, Martin was shot outside his motel room on April 4th, 1968. Although he lived a short life, he lived a full life and he changed black people’s lives forever.”   – by Prabhdeep in grade six

“The time is always right to do what is right.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Books about people of African heritage

 

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Bob

Mass, Wendy and Rebecca Stead. Bob. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2018.
Most of the time, I dislike novels written by more than one author. But this one is an exception. Ten-year-old Livy reluctantly visits her grandmother in Australia and discovers a strange creature hiding in her bedroom closet. Why does she feel she somehow knows him? Why does she feel the need to protect him? This charming story  is highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up who enjoy mythology. It is easy to read and ends happily.
P.S. I generally dislike stories set in present tense and written from the first person point of view, but this novel is an exception again. But then everything published by Feiwil and Friends tends to be magically endearing.

More stories set in Australia

More mysterious stories

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The Button War

Avi. The Button War. Somerville, Massachusetts. Candlewick Press, 2018.
Anything written by Avi is worth reading. Anything published by Candlewick is worth considering. And this World War I story is absolutely riveting: the animosities among a group of boys in Russian-occupied Poland during the summer of 1914 are revealed by a competition to collect military buttons. This intense 229-page novel is not for readers looking for a light-hearted read but rather for thoughtful readers – 11-years-old and up – who understand how fierce rivalry can lead to betrayal and violence.

More stories set in Europe

More stories about World War 1

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Finding Langston

Dear Reader,

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt misunderstood by those who love you? Have you ever found hope in unexpected places? Then you know how the main character feels in this outstanding novel for readers 9 years old and up. Told in present tense from the first person point of view, the sentences come alive with the cadence of the main character’s Southern speech. If you like stories by Patricia MacLachlan, you will love this 104-page novel. 

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Finding Langston. New York: Holiday House, 2018.

After the death of his mother in 1946, eleven-year-old Langston moves with his father from Alabama to Chicago. Living in a lonely apartment building and bullied at school, Langston finds refuge in the school library where he discovers the magical poetry of Langston Hughes.

More stories of moving

More stories about bullying

More stories set in the past

More stories about people of African heritage

Poetry by Langston Hughes

A post about the power of poetry

Happy reading!

Ms. R. 

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The Rescuers

Dear Reader,

Do you have time to enjoy a classic novel of courage and adventure? Do you have the imagination to enjoy a tale of brave and noble mice? This 149-page story will capture your heart with its quietly lovely sentences. And the endearing characters will remind you that at any moment you, too, could be called on a mission to selflessly help others. 

Sharp, Margery. The Rescuers. New York: New York Review Books, [2012], c1987.

“Miss Bianca, a white mouse of great beauty and self-confidence, travels with the ambassador’s son to Norway on behalf of the Prisoner’s Aid Society in a perilous mission to rescue a poet imprisoned in the dreadful Black Castle.” – CIP This edition is exquisitely illustrated by Garth Williams, the famed illustrator of countless classic stories. 

More great novels for readers 8 years old and up.

More stories of adventure

Happy reading! 

Ms. R. 

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Peg Kehret

Dear Middle School Reader,

If you like realistic novels,
straight-forward stories that don’t have all sorts of hidden allusions which you are supposed to discover,
if you prefer easy-to-read novels that are filled with action,
you might like stories by Peg Kehret…


 

My favourite novel by Peg Kehret is Escaping the Giant Wave. Thirteen-year-old Kyle and his younger sister have to rescue themselves after a tsunami strikes the Oregon resort where they’re staying with their parents. If you like detailed stories that let you follow – step-by-step – exactly what is happening, you’ll like this realistic novel.

 

 

If you like biographies, you might like these two books. In Small Steps, Peg Kehret describes her childhood fight – when she was in grade seven – against a disease we rarely see today due to life-saving vaccinations.  And in Animals Welcome, she humorously describes some of the animals she has rescued during her adult life. Both of these books are heart-warming and inspiring. You’ll feel happy after reading them!

“No matter how sad you feel, plan something special that you want to do each day, even if it’s only taking a bubble bath or watching a movie. Set a date to visit a friend, or order a book you want to read from the library. Always have something to look forward to.” – Stolen Children   

Happy reading! 

Ms. R. 

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