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Reluctant Reader Resources!

April 10th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Lorimer is proud to publish childrens and young adult books that appeal to reluctant readers. This week, we wanted to share some resources on reluctant readers that you might find helpful for designing curricula or assembling reading lists for students. Happy planning!


Ms. Yingling Reads

Ms. Yingling reviews books for middle school students, especially boys. These include adventure books, fantasy books, historical books, humorous books, and sports books. She also follows a long list of similar blogs.


Teach Mentor Texts

Talks about using "mentor" or "anchor" texts—books that can be used as examples of good writing for students and can help them to improve their writing.


Boys Read

Transforming boys into lifelong readers. Will accept reviews of titles.


Help for Struggling Readers

Addresses technology tools and solutions for struggling readers, including "brain-training" apps.


Learning Inside Out

Provides advice on what to look for and what to avoid in remedial reading programs. Also has information on dyslexia and dyslexia resources.


Lexile Framework for Reading

Has a form that matches readers with texts, based on their lexile level.



Motorcycle book author gears up for the biggest race event of the year!

May 16th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Held on the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, the International Isle of Man (Tourist Trophy) Race is one of the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world--and statistically, the most dangerous race in the world. Nicole Winters' TT: Full Throttle tells the story of one teen's obsession to fulfilll his late father's dream of competing in this race. (Watch the book trailer here!) 

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Nicole Winters- motorcycle

In this blog entry, Nicole talks bikes ("turtle chasers"), writing, and racing.  


How did you get started in children’s books?

I started as a screenwriter, writing and co-writing several scripts for film and TV. One of the stories, a kids’ film called SeaDogs, received several rounds of development funding, and the plan was to shoot it on a tiny island in the Irish Sea called The Isle of Man. When the project fell through, I grew tired of the industry--people would constantly want to remove this or that from the script because there wasn’t a budget for it. ("Remove the helicopter!" "But how else do they get rescued from the mountain?" "We don’t care!") All the fun and joy of writing seemed to be slowly crushed by the ol’ mighty dollar. That’s when I turned to writing kids’ books. Writing prose gave me back my freedom and I could let my imagination run wild--epic stories, large sets, big explosions!--without worrying about someone’s budget.

What (or who) inspired you to write TT: Full Throttle?

I first learned about the most challenging motorcycle road race in the world when I was reading about the Isle of Man for the SeaDogs project. I’d never heard of anything like the TT in North America. I was immediate hooked and drawn to the man versus himself aspect of the race, which is atypical of most Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - TT Full Throttle coversports stories where it’s typically Team A versus Team B or good guy must overcome bad guy who also wants to place first. Most people aren’t going around battling a mortal enemy (at least I hope not), but we all struggle with internal conflict. I liked the idea of writing about a hero who wants to qualify for the TT Races so badly that he starts getting in his own way.

Tell us about the race.

The TT Races were started in 1907. They are extremely dangerous, because riders are going full out on narrow streets and roads flanked by stone walls, buildings, and "street furniture" (telephone polls, grates, curbs, benches, etc). What makes the TT Races different than your typical track race is that the course isn’t 2-3 miles with 8-12 bends, it’s a whopping 37 3/4 miles with over 200 bends. You don’t just show up in the morning, ride a few laps, qualify, run the race in the afternoon and then go home--they give you a week to try and qualify. It’s considered a big accomplishment just to make it to race week. Even if you come in last, there are no losers! Riders and race organizers tell me it takes three years of participating in the TT before you can even consider a podium finish.

Do you ride motorcycles yourself?

After I return from this year’s TT Races, where I’ll be researching a sequel to TT: Full Throttle called Thunder Road, I plan on taking my motorcycle road test. I have no definite plans on what kind of motorcycle I’d like just yet (the Vincent Black Shadow would be a dream bike). I think I’ll start out with a simple turtle chaser, then work my way up from there. 

What advice would you give to aspiring children’s YA authors?

Have fun with it. I might have continued with writing scripts if people weren’t always trying to mess with the story all the time. I have no regrets about the past. In fact, what I learned from my time in film translated nicely to writing for teens--tight, fast-paced scenes, strong dialogue, lot of visuals. I guess my other piece of advice for a budding writer is to watch his or her favourite film with the closed captioning on and to study the dialogue. Notice how not a word (or a scene) is wasted. Then pick the film apart to figure out why it’s a favourite. Do the same with a hated film, only this time try to figure out how to fix it. Quite often I learn more about story writing from a terrible book or film, than a good one.

Catherine Austen has a "devil" of a time at Nova Scotia schools

June 26th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Spring—a time when everyone, including writers, wants to be out and about, not stuck indoors. 

Just a brief peek at how some of our children's book authors are taking advantage of the season! 

Catherine Austen, author of 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 and 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, spent a few weeks this spring touring schools, libraries, and bookstores in Nova Scotia as part of the Canadian Children's Book Week 2014.  

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Sacred Heart

Catherine spoke to Grade 5 and 6 students at the Sacred Heart School of Halifax, and Grade 4-6 students at the Pictou Landing First Nation School. Reading from Chapter 11 of 28 Tricks , Catherine does a spectacularly spooky devil voice! "The students always crack up," she says. 

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Pictou school

Click here to visit Catherine's web site. 


Ongoing and Upcoming: 

Johnny Boateng, author of Hustle, spoke at the graduation of his former high school on June 13th and will also be dropping by Vancouver area local elementary and middle schools for some readings.  

Jodi Lundgren, author of Blow, will be speaking at the Red Deer Public Library on Wednesday, July 30th. 


Happy summer! 

Check out one of our fall treasures!

August 7th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

One of our upcoming kid's books this fall has its protagonist puzzling over a map that leads not to buried treasure, but to something even better!  

Here's an excerpt: 

Now, since I’m pretty sure you’re not going to come visit me anytime soon, I’d like to play a little game with you. A challenge, if you will. I am going to give you a clue to one of the spots. It’s the easiest one to find, and it might just be the easiest one to skate.

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Sinkhole Map


Need a gift for the young skater in your life? Preorder the book here.


4 Tips to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

June 13th, 2018 by Nicole Duguay

Don't let your students be affected by the summer slide: try these four tips to encourage summer reading so they can be on their 'A' game when they return to school in the fall. Many studies show that reading is comparable to attending summer school when it comes to preventing summer learning loss. 

1. Give them choices!

When we visited two high school classrooms, we engaged reluctant readers simply by giving them a wide variety of books to choose from. No single book can please everyone, but given the right book, any student can become a lover of reading! Try an end-of-year class trip to the library to teach students how to find books they like, even outside of school.

Hot tip: Watch our webinar to learn more about our high school visits and how we engaged reluctant teen readers!

2. Start a book club!

A Toronto book club for at-risk youth helped us learn that building a sense of community around reading also helps encourage further reading and discussion. Try starting a summer book club and let the students pick what they will be reading over the break. They'll be encouraged to read when in a group and eager to discuss the books they loved with their friends.

Hot tip: Watch our webinar to learn more about how a book club we attended reaches at-risk youth!

3. Get the parents involved!

Over the summer it can be hard to make sure students are maintaining the reading skills they built during the school year. Let their parents know about the benefit of reading to prevent learning loss and establish reading goals that will fit into their summer schedules. Parents can make sure reading fits into their daily routines, arrange visits to the library, ensure that books are brought along on trips to the beach, etc.

4. Give them age-appropriate books at their reading level!

A high percentage of students are reading below grade level, but books written at levels for younger kids don't successfully engage teens, and books written for teens can often be too intimidating because of their difficulty, causing frustration and reading abandonment. Let your students know that books about the things they care about at their reading levels do exist! Make sure your classroom and school libraries have hi/lo books available that will keep students interested and build their reading skills! 

Hot tip: Check out the hi/lo SideStreets series to find edgy teen fiction, or the hi/lo Sports Stories series for fast-paced middle grade fiction! Both of these long-standing series have proven to hook reluctant and struggling readers!


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