The Forest of Reading program continues with the Red Maple Award nominations. It is a wonderful resource for readers in grades seven and eight. There are 10 books on the list, all written by Canadian authors. Each book covers an important social or emotional topic intended to encourage critical thought and conversation amongst young readers.
Safe Harbour by Christina Kilbourne
Fourteen- year old Harbour and her dog are living in a tent in a Toronto ravine. While she waits to be reunited with her father, she meets Lise who helps her survive on the streets during the cold winter months.
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
It’s the end of the world as we know it and it’s all caused by … plants. Strange black grass starts sprouting all over the world choking out all other plant life.
The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell by Valerie Sherrard
No one ever notices Derek. …. that is until a fluke photobomb skyrockets him to popularity. Now everyone wants to be his friend. Then one unfortunate video changes him into the school laughingstock. Derek’s up and down experiences with popularity make for a charmingly clever story.
Broken Strings by Eric Walters
Music creates a bond between Shirli and her grandfather and finally heals the wounds left by the Holocaust so many years ago.
Dragon Assassin by Arthur Slade
Carmen barely graduated assassinate school. It’s hard to learn to aim when you only have one eye. When her twin brother betrays her and her classmates, she has to find a way to survive. She makes a deal with an unlikely ally – a Scythian dragon.
If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie (Graphic Novel)
When an Indigenous person goes missing, it can take up to 16 days for the police to respond. If I Go Missing is based on fourteen-year-old Brianna Jonnie’s open letter to the Winnipeg Police Service regarding the treatment of missing Indigenous youth.
Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King
Sara is walking a difficult path. She has panic attacks and other episodes that make every day a struggle. She just wants to be normal. Readers will remember Sara from the book OCDaniel. This is her journey.
Yara’s Spring by Jamal Saeed
Civil war has erupted across Syria bringing violence and tragedy. After her parents are killed, Yara and the rest of her family must flee south to Jordan. A raw and emotional story inspired by experiences of the author.
A Treason of Thorns by Laura Weymouth
The magic of Burleigh House keeps the countryside prosperous. When Violet’s father commits treason it starts a chain of events that twists Burleigh and poisons the land. Violet must make some hard decisions if she wants to keep Burleigh from being destroyed.
The Other Side by Heather Camlot
A tragic discovery brings Liam closer to his grandfather. The aftermath allows his grandfather to finally make peace with his actions during World War II.
Be sure to check out the Silver Birch category for readers in Grade 3 to 6, and stay tuned next week for the White Pine category for teen readers.
— Lesley L.