Siberian Huskies

Klukow, Ellen, Mary. Siberian Huskies. Mankato: Amicus, 2020.

I will remember Siberian huskies! Firstly, I will remember that they can have mismatched eyes. Secondly, I will remember that they stay the happiest with people or other dogs. They are social dogs. They love their families. Thirdly, I will remember that they don’t just look like wolves, but they also howl like wolves. Most dogs bark, but instead of barking, huskies howl. Their howls are very loud. And that is the reason they are considered vocal dogs! Fourthly, I will remember that mother huskies can have four to six puppies in a litter. All husky puppies are born with their markings; they learn howling from their mother. Fifthly, I will remember that they are considered to be escape artists. They are good at escaping from almost anywhere. They can be dig under fences. They can jump over fences. They are strong! One cool husky even ate through concrete to escape: what? Sixth – and most importantly – I will remember that in 1925, huskies saved the town of Nome, Alaska. People were dying of diphtheria, a disease that gives people a fever and a sore throat. Sled dogs brought them medicine that no one else could provide; those Siberian huskies saved 10, 000 people: that’s a lot! – Sunmeet in grade 6

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Rights and Freedoms

Protecting Rights in Canada. Calgary: Weigl Educational Publishers, 2010.

Freedom In Canada

“There are many rights and freedoms in Canada, but the most important right is freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression. All other rights cannot be enjoyed if we do not have this basic freedom. Freedom to peacefully assemble, for instance, comes under freedom of thought and expression. Freedom to speak English or French in all federal institutions is a part of freedom of opinion and expression. Freedom of conscience and religion is a part of freedom of belief and expression. Freedom to petition the government is also a part of freedom of expression. Freedom to participate in fair elections is only possible if people have freedom of opinion and expression. If we did not have freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, then we would not be allowed to think for ourselves. For example, in Stalinist Russia, the people didn’t have this freedom; therefore they were forced to say that they liked the government. In China, nowadays, people are also forced to say that they like the government because they don’t have freedom of opinion. 

“However, there are limits to our freedom in Canada. Firstly, nobody is allowed to injure others, including animals. Nobody is allowed to hit somebody or call them names because they feel angry, even though that could be considered as freedom of expression. Nobody is allowed to hurt others mentally or physically, saying that they are using their freedom of belief, opinion, and expression. Secondly, nobody is allowed to endanger others, including animals, because of their actions. For example, nobody is allowed to carry guns, without a permit, because that could endanger other people’s safety. These two limitations – not injuring and not endangering others – justly restrict our rights in Canada and should be respected. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression is important because without this fundamental right, we would not be living in a democratic society today.” – Gurmuskaan, grade six   

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What is it like to live in a country without freedom?

Read stories of controlling societies

 

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Last of the Name

Parry, Rosanne. Last of the Name. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2019.
After surviving a horrific voyage, twelve-year-old Danny and his older sister Kathleen arrive in New York City. But the prejudice against Irish Catholics is as bad in America as it was in Ireland. Determined to stay together, the siblings find work as house maids. But they can only stay as long as Danny can keep pretending to be a girl.  This novel – set in 1863 and based on historical facts – is highly recommended for competent readers 11 years old and up.

More stories set in New York City

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More novels by Roseanne Parry:
A Wolf Called Wander
Written in Stone

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The Oldest Student

Hubbard, Rita Lorraine. The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020.
Once in a while, a book soars above the rest. The illustrations convey emotions as well as plot details. The size and style of the font matches the tone of the text and the age of the intended readers. The words sing with the rhythm of a story told over and over aloud, and the design turns it all into a work of brilliance.
This picture book is brilliant right from the beginning. It tells the story of Mary Walker, born a slave in 1848 and growing up to labour in the cotton fields, toil in the Big House, and follow the rules: work, work, work. Do not learn to read. When Mary was fifteen years old, freedom came, but she was desperately poor and still had to work. Mary Walker married, gave birth to a son, was widowed, married again and gave birth to two more sons. Year after year, she kept working and working – and dreaming of being able to decipher the squiggles she saw on billboards and signs. Finally, when she was 114 years old, she decided it was time she learned how to read. And she did!
This inspiring picture book – illustrated by Oge Mora – is most highly recommended for all readers 8 years old and up.

More biographies

More stories about people of African heritage

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Echo Mountain

Wolk, Lauren. Echo Mountain. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 2020.
Twelve-year-old Ellie meets Larkin when she and her family have to abandon their home during the Great Depression in 1934. She and her younger brother move, with their parents, to the mountains of Maine, building a cabin and making do with what the land will provide. Tragedy follows. But Ellie gains courage and learns how to be healer, bringing hope back to life in the midst of poverty and despair.  Highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up. 

There are many wonderful novels of friendship between a girl and a boy, stories of friendships that forever change the lives of the characters. Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden is the classic example, of course. But there are other memorable friendships. Anne and Gilbert in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Meg and Calvin in Madeleine L’Engle’s science fiction/fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. Leo and Stargirl in Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl. Bobby and Alicia in Andres Clement’s Things Not Seen. Isla and Harry in Lucy Christopher’s Flyaway, who set out to save a swan. Curly and Jules in Mary Knight’s Saving Wonder, who try to save a mountain from an expanding coal mine. And the two main characters in Vera Cleaver’s Hazel Rye, who become friends as they work together to save a Florida orange grove. What is your favourite story of friendship? 

More historical fiction

More stories set in Maine

More stories of country life

Septetys, Ruta. The Fountains of Silence. New York: Philomel Books, 2019.
In 1957, wealthy eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, an aspiring photographer from Texas who is visiting Madrid with his parents, discovers the quietly dangerous world of Franco’s Spain as he becomes friends with Ana, a hotel maid. Political intrigue, romance, and history all combine in this compelling story by an accomplished author. An extensive bibliography and black-and-white photographs supplement this 472-page novel highly recommended for readers 13 years old and up. [Dictatorships; Franco, Francisco; Photography; Secrets; Spain] 

Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Becoming Chloe. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Two homeless teenagers, a fearful girl and a gay boy, become friends, leave New York City and take a road trip across America in search of beauty. This “is the story of Jordan who lives a lonely life in the streets. This all changes when he meets Chloe. Chloe, a small blonde girl who has also lived her life in the streets, thinks the world is ugly and full of misery. But when, Jordan takes Chloe on a road trip across the country to show her that the world is a wonderful place, they have lots of adventures, make many memories, and Chloe changes her mind. She realizes that the world really is a beautiful place. This book entertains, heals your heart, and feeds your soul. I really enjoyed reading it and I recommend this book to children ages twelve to fifteen.” (Megan)

This “is a fantastic fiction book about two homeless teenagers with dark and disturbing pasts. Jordy, the main character, faces a dilemma: should he support the troubled and abused Chloe, or should he leave her and continue to suffer on his own? Either way, his life will be a struggle but as the novel continues, Jordy realizes that it is his job to show Chloe that the world really is a very beautiful place. So they leave New York City and take a road trip across the country. And they prove to each other how wonderful their lives really are. This is truly a phenomenal novel which I absolutely recommend!” (Anna in grade eight)

 

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Little People, Big Dreams

Looking for a series about people who have made a difference in our world?
Looking for books at an easy reading level?

Try Little People, Big Dreams published in English by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Each book in the series – originally written in Spanish – is by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara. The design is simple: a plain font with only a few sentences on each page along with full-page illustrations by a variety of artists. The style is informative rather than poetic and the reading level is suitable for children 8 years old and up. There are several dozen titles, so the the books would be useful for classroom teachers starting students on basic research projects or book reports. However, children who prefer nonfiction reading would also enjoy many of these titles, and therefore they are highly recommended for curious readers 8 to 12 years old.

Available online and in-store from Hemingway’s

(Type ‘little people, big dreams’ into the search box.)

A Biography Worksheet

 

 

More titles!

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My Heart

Luyken, Corinna. My Heart. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2019.
Some days are dark and heavy. Some days are full of fear. But a broken heart can mend, and a closed heart can open again. Softly coloured illustrations – in black, white, and yellow – help tell a simple story of quiet hope and respect. A poignant picture book, useful for teaching figures of speech and recommended for readers of all ages who could use a reminder to .

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