Category Archives: Teen

Book Launch: Dance of the Banished (Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch)


After reading the Stolen Child by local author Marsha Forchuck Skrypuch (book # 38), Erin and I were privileged to attend today’s launch of her newest novel, the Dance of the Banished. This book was celebrated, along with the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first national interment camps, at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. John in Brantford. One hundred plaques were being unveiled today across Canada at 1100 hours.

During his address, the Father of the Ukrainian church shared that “we need to remember history and sometimes it is not very pleasant”. This was in reference to the Ukrainian and Armenian people who travelled to freedom in Canada yet ended being labeled as the very people that they had escaped from. During a dark part of Canadian history, 100 years ago, these immigrants were rounded and placed in internment camps. While the seriousness of these camps was commemorated, Dave Levac, MPP (Speaker of the House) shared that the celebration was about the “power to overcome and never give up” and how it is important for Canada to acknowledge what happened, apologize and then bring the communities together. We enjoyed the dedication of the plaque, which included singing and prayer in Ukrainian, complete with incense and holy water.

Forchuck Skrypuch has done a great deal of research into her novels and she shared that although this new book is fiction, “every single thing in my book happened”. Erin was thrilled to have her Stolen Child signed and leave with 3 newly autographed books. I know that we will both enjoy these books and learn about Canadian and world history along the way.  Look for a future blog post about these books coming soon!

Congratulations Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch! Your novels honour history in a way that emphasizes hope, forgiveness and perseverance while reinforcing that we need to learn from this unfortunate history to ensure that it does not repeat itself. We are looking forward to reading your newest novel!



Filed under Fiction, Historical, Teen, young adult

38. Stolen Child (Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch)

Unknown-2Stolen Child is the second young adult book recommended by my daughter this week. It was based in Brantford, Ontario and shared the story of a girl who had emigrated with her “family” after World War two. As Nadia got used to living in Canada, she struggled with dreams and vision of her past that she had forgotten.

This Brantford author did a beautiful job of telling a sordid tale of the atrocities that the German’s forced on Ukrainian people in a way that showed hope and promise of “family” and of being free in Canada. This story represented another facet of the horror of WW2 that may not commonly known yet showed how people come together and help each other despite horrible circumstances.

It is easy to empathize with this young girl when she is bullied at school for being different. As she struggles with the social aspects of school, she works through her memories and begins to remember the loss of her real family. Knowing many of the Brantford landmarks made this story easy to identify with. I would recommend this book for young and older readers, it is important to understand past history so that we can be understanding of others and ensure that these things do not happen again.


Filed under Fiction, Historical, Teen

37. If I Stay (Gayle Forman)


If I Stay is coming to the theatre soon and was recommended by my daughter. She is also reading the book prior to going to the theatre. I read it to make sure it was age appropriate and so we could talk together about the book (although she continues to pester me to tell her what happens as she reads). This book was an easy (and quick) read but you DEFINITELY need a box of kleenex at your side!

This young adult novel, told the story of a family devastated by a car accident. As Mia fights for her life, she remembers snippets of her family life, her Cello playing and her relationship with her boyfriend. She reminisces about music camp, her parents lives and her audition to Julliard.  She “watches over” herself and her family and friends that love her as she decides whether to stay or go.

This is a serious story for a younger audience but a reminder of how important family is both day-to-day and when dealing with tragedy. I enjoyed the book but am not sure that I would care to cry through the movie at the theatre.  I think I will wait for it to be released so I can cry in the privacy of my own home!

(264 e-pages)


Filed under Fiction, Teen

25. Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer (as told to Deborah Ellis)

annaleise-bookAs a swim parent, I was very interested to meet Annaleise Carr at a book signing.  Carr, a petite and determined girl was just 14 years old at the time of her successful Lake Ontario swim.  What an amazing feat to swim 51km across the Great Lake ending at Marilyn Bell park and raising over $100 000 for Camp Trillium (a local camp for kids battling or affected by cancer).  It is hard to imagine swimming through the night, not being able to see the guide boats, taking nourishment from a lacrosse stick and dealing with cold currents yet she successfully completed her first Great Lake swim.

While the book is  clearly written for a young adult audience, it was very interesting and quick read about the perseverance, determination and strength of this 14-year-old girl.  She ended the book by speaking of her team and the importance of this crew in her successfully meeting her goals.

Good luck, to Annaleise Carr, as she attempts to cross Lake Erie this summer!

(137 pages)

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography, Canadian, Teen

16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)


My son bought was reading this book so I decided to give it a try after reading a parent complaint about the content of the book on the CBC website.  This parent suggested that the book should be banned.  The content is serious and intense but it was an interesting read.  It is penned as a series of letters to a “friend” and chronicles the challenging time of the main character, Charlie.  This style of writing was easy to follow and would be engaging to a teen reader.  Charlie is grieving the loss of an aunt who had died years before and dealing with the challenges of relationships and starting high school while experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  I am glad that I read this book as it will provide a great vehicle for conversations with my son about sex, drugs and alcohol.  For a parent to feel that this book should be banned, they must have their head in the sand to think that teens are not dealing with difficult issues.  It is a great book to read alongside a teen and open the doors to discussion!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Teen