Children who have lived in one community all of their lives might find it difficult to understand the challenges that people face when they must move to a new community or country. Sharing these books with your children might help them walk in the shoes of those who have had to make new beginnings.
Written by Michelle Mulder.
After Peaches is narrated by ten-year-old Rosario who has come to Canada with her family to escape a dangerous political situation in Mexico. After being bullied at school, Rosario has vowed not to speak English until she can do so perfectly but that doesn’t apply to her relationship with her best friend Julie. Unfortunately, the two girls will be spending their summer holidays in separate communities. To ameliorate this situation, they plan to keep a book of all the exciting things they do during the summer. While Rosario despairs of having anything worthwhile to write in her notebook, she soon finds plenty of material when she and her family start working as migrant harvesters on farms in British Columbia. While some farmers treat their migrant workers well, others abuse them. When Rosario discovers that her good friend Jose is the victim of one of these abusers, she breaks her silence in order to save his life. In addition to developing a brave, caring and strong main character, author Mulder also gives us insight into the lives of migrant workers in Canada.
120 pp. Orca Book Publishers. Novel. 8 to 11 years old.
The Mystery of the Frozen Brains
Written by Marty Chan.
The Mystery of the Frozen Brains is a hilarious semi-autobiographical novel that readers aged 8 to 11 will definitely enjoy. Nine-year-old Marty Chan is the only Chinese student in a school physically and emotionally divided along French and English lines. Marty deals with his feelings of isolation by imagining that he is not really Chinese but rather an alien from some planet brought to his French Canadian town by his parents in order for them to stage an alien invasion. When Marty teams up with his only friend Remi to try to foil the “plot” they encounter many roadblocks as well as prejudices from both communities. While this is a serious topic, Chan’s clever writing and character portrayals allow the reader to see the humour in tense situations and feel that intolerance can be overcome.
191 pp. Thistledown Press. Novel. 8 to 11 years old.
Written by Nelsa Roberto.
Illegally Blonde is narrated by seventeen-year-old Lucy who is super excited about her high school graduation and going to the prom with her boyfriend. Her world turns upside down when she is informed that her family is being deported to Portugal because they neglected to have the proper paperwork when they immigrated to Canada. A week after Lucy receives this shocking news, she finds herself living in a Portuguese village in cramped quarters with relatives she barely knows. A hostile cousin, a lack of internet, embarrassment at her poor literacy skills, and obsessing about what she is missing back home all conspire to make Lucy miserable. When Lucy decides to take things into her own hands, some of her choices land her in even deeper trouble. Author Roberto’s skilled writing develops a believable character who becomes involved with local intrigue at the same time as she struggles with moral decisions. As the story progresses Lucy evolves from a self-absorbed teen to a mature person who not only realizes the importance of family and true friendship but also discovers a talent for teaching and the ability to make independent decisions.
216 pp. Great Plains Publications. Novel.
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