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Targetted teen

February 16th, 2011 by Meredith

ScabWith a nickname like Scab, there’s little doubt that the central character in Robert Rayner’s new teen novel has been targeted by his classmates. In fact, he wears this name with a certain kind of pride as he stands apart from his peers. But he discovers that this attitude costs him the first relationship he’s ever cared about.Rayner’s novel is one of several in the Lorimer SideStreetsseries for young adults with a bullying theme. Other titles show different forms of bullying and different strategies by kids who successfully overcome the challenges it poses.

NewIn Peter McPhee's New Blood, a teenage boy's family moves him to Canada to escape the tough streets of Glasgow, only to discover that bullying exists everywhere.

KleptoIn Klepto by Lori Weber, an older sister\'s bullying induces fear in a teenage girl, causing her to act out.

Writing queer lit for young adults

September 27th, 2012 by Kendra Martin

We asked SideStreets author Michael Harris about his inspiration for his debut YA novel, Homo.

 "I grew up in a sleepy suburb and, when I was 17, took myself to the local library in search of some answers. When no one was looking, I searched for “homosexual” in the card catalogue and found listings for two books: a psychiatric guide to mental illness and a memoir by Stan Persky that detailed his adventures with male prostitutes. They were both interesting but hardly seemed like a reflection of the life I was living, or the one I wanted to lead. So, when it came to writing a queer novel for today’s teenager, I couldn’t help feeling some responsibility to my younger self, who so desperately wanted to read about people like him. The subject matter and tone I arrived at do come pretty close to what my 17-year-old self would have asked for: a troubled hero who’s seriously at odds with the “gay culture” he’s beginning to inherit, and yet who would sacrifice almost anything to enter into the secret lives of men in the city.

Another major influence has been the reporting I’ve done on young gay guys and HIV. Because, like me, a lot of young guys are coming of age thinking that the old gay world has nothing to do with them, including the HIV crisis. They end up ignoring those old messages about safe sex and condom use. HIV seems so passé. As a result, rates of infection among young gay guys have been rising. I guess that’s part of the argument behind this novel—that we ignore our history at our peril."

Homo cover art

Michael Harris's new SideStreets novel, Homo, follows Will Johnson, who, after being outed by his friend on Facebook, learns that he can be an individual while still connected to others.

Crush. Candy. Corpse. - Discussion Question

February 20th, 2013 by Kendra Martin

Students are reading the Red Maple nominated books now, including Sylvia McNicoll's Crush. Candy. Corpse. Provoke discussion with this question, one we asked author Sylvia McNicoll to answer below.

“Is Sunny an honest character?”

Sylvia McNicoll: One editor turned down Crush. Candy. Corpse. because she felt too uncomfortable with the main character’s lying, but a reader recently wrote to say Sunny was the most honest character she knew.  Both reactions are true and valid. 

Like Sunny I feel that honesty can be overrated, keeping promises and confidences that are harmful for example.  Giving someone a response that causes them to lose hope, is another. When my mother spiraled downwards due to Alzheimer’s Disease, I answered her question about being able to visit Germany again,  truthfully with “Absolutely not.” I should have said something gentler, like  “Of course you can.  As soon as you’re able to get out bed.”   Then there can be a million other minor and major lies that we have to weigh telling:  “Do you like my haircut?”  “Are you under  (or over) 16,  (what ever gets you the best discount or into the venue at the lowest price.) “Did you finish your homework?”  “Are you seeing that boy again?” 

Is Sunny true to herself?  Does she have morals?  Is she guilty of manslaughter, legally or morally?  These are the questions I’m hoping readers ask themselves.

One Tough Swimmer and Her Inspiring Message

March 7th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

This month we at Lorimer are excited for the soon-to-arrive latest title from our RecordBooks series on Canadian sport biographies! Annaleise Carr: How I conquered Lake Ontario to help kids battling cancer tells the story of Annaleise Carr, who in 2012 at the age of fourteen became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, breaking the record set more than fifty years earlier by Marilyn Bell. 

For Carr, the motivation for her epic swim came not from a desire for glory. Instead, her ultimate quest was to raise money for her new friends at Camp Trillium, a charity that provides a camping experience for kids with cancer. What kept her going through the cold water, the exhaustion, and the terrifying night swim was the thought of those kids and their families that she was helping. As she tells her co-author, the well-known children's book author Deborah Ellis, she first came up with the idea when visiting Camp Trillium, a camp for children with cancer.

excerpt from the book:

"Our lake is called Rainbow Lake," the camp director said. "It's a private lake, just for us. One of the challenges we try to do with each camp session is to get kids to swim across the lake."

I looked out across Rainbow Lake. It was not a big lake, by any means, but to a little kid who isn't used to swimming, it must seem enormous.

Again the camp director read my mind.

"They go out in a group," she said. "All swimmers--adults, kids, strong swimmers, new swimmers--have to wear life jackets. There are boats that go with them, in case they need to get out of the water and take a rest. You can imagine how powerful they feel when they make it across the lake."

"It's a metaphor," I said, remembering my seventh-grade English classes. "The battle with the lake is like their battle with cancer." 

Annaleise will be doing some book signings and appearances around Toronto over the next couple of months. We'll be sure to keep you posted on when and where!

Lorimer - Childrens - Series Headers - Recordbooks.jpg


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.



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.



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