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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.

 

"IF I WAS BITTER, THAT WOULD MEAN THEY WON." – Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

July 3rd, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Lorimer's Real Justice stories are short narrative biographies of young people who fell afoul of the justice system and were wrongfully convicted. Throughout their ordeals, they maintained their innocence and fought back, eventually proving that they were not guilty. 

With compelling storylines, a readable page layout, and black-and-white photos, these books are a must for young readers who like crime biography--but with a twist of social activism and awareness. Curriculum tie-ins to high school and middle school history, law, and social studies make them useful in the classroom. They are also useful for adult literacy programs in libraries and prisons. 

Here's some info on the latest in the series, coming fall 2014!

Real Justice: Jailed for Life for Being Black 

The Story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Hurricane Carter cover

 


Rubin Carter was in and out of reformatories and prisons from the age of twelve. At twenty-four, he became a winning professional boxer and was turning his life around. But Carter was very vocal about racism in the local New Jersey police force. In 1966, local policemen arrested Carter and a friend for a triple murder. The two were convicted and sent to jail for life. Carter spent nearly twenty years in jail, proclaiming his innocence. 

A teen from Brooklyn, Lesra Martin, heard Carter's story and believed he was innocent. He and a small group of Canadian lawyers contacted Carter and began working with Carter's lawyers in New York to get him exonerated. In 1985, a judge released Carter, ruling that Carter's conviction had been based not on evidence but on racism.

Photos (credit: biography.com)

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Hurricane Carter boxer

 

 "There is no bitterness. If I was bitter, that would mean they won." - Rubin Carter 

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Hurricane Carter activist

 

"I never agreed to wear the prison clothes, eat the prison food.... I felt to do that would be to implicitly agree that I was a criminal settling into the routine of a prisoner who'd accepted that title..." - Rubin Carter  

 

Articles (with video and timeline) 

Globe and Mail 

Biography.com

Toronto Star

 

 

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! 

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.

Author Interview: Sylvia Gunnery

April 23rd, 2014 by Kendra Martin

I just received the Spring 2014 newsletter from the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP), and splashed on the front page was the smiling face of our author Sylvia Gunnery!

Sylvia Gunnery author

Author of Game Face, Out of Bounds, and Personal Best, and award-winning teacher in Nova Scotia, Sylvia is also keeping herself busy at the moment as President for the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia. 

Below is a short excerpt of YA author Vicki Grant's interview with Sylvia: 


 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was always writing. In scribblers, on holidays, or dutifully following teachers' instructions to write about what I did on my summer vacation or how I'd spend a million dollars. In grade 4, I wrote a story that my friend, Donna, bought for a bag of chips and gave to her older brother (who probably would've rather had the chips.) 

But all that isn't about the word realize. I was 30 before I knew in that sure, realized way that I wanted to be a writer. And that's when I sent some stories (terrible stories, really) to Banff and was accepted for the 5-week summer writing session with W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, Eli Mandel, Sylvia Fraser, and others. That was 1976.... In 1984, Scholastic released my first novel for teens. 

You've written black characters and male characters. Do you worry at all about 'expropriating' another's voice?

I don't think of writing fiction as "expropriating" (stealing, taking, walking off with, as a thesaurus defines it.) Fiction writers explore and research and reflect on and arrive at some kind of understanding of others. It's what we must do. Right now, I am writing about three sisters from Halifax, ages 15, 17, and 20. They're driving across Canada. My sister and I drove across Canada when we were in our late 20s. Perhaps in each of these fictional sisters there is something of me and of my sister. But really, at 67, I have to work very hard to truly know each of these young characters, what motivates them, what worries them, how each will or won't influence the others, and why. I have to be inside their stories with them, listening and watching carefully in order to get their voices right. 

What do you want your readers to get out of your books? Entertainment? Insight? A peek into another world? 

My earliest motivation for writing teen fiction was to give my students a peek into their own worlds. In the early 80s when I started writing for teens, the stories offered to them through our schools were really about other worlds--books written by American or British authors, mostly. Very few by Canadians. That's changed now, through the efforts of a lot of book lovers across Canada--writers, publishers, librarians, teachers, and organizations such as the Canadian Children's Book Centre. And I do hope my books give my teen readers some insights into their own lives. 

What are the best tips you can give a beginning writer?

One tip: Get used to spending a lot of time sitting in one place, pushing forward with your writing even though doubts will probably stand right behind your chair, snickering. 

What energizes you? 

I sometimes get energy from stories (especially when they're cooking right along) but that answer is too simple. I might get my energy from the sea. There's something about negative ions in the ocean that's very positive (sorry, I had to do that). I've lived by the ocean since 1990. Right now, I can hear it hauling pebbles back into its waves and then crashing up against the shore again. But maybe that's too simple too. Could be friends. Could be family. Love. Maybe it's me carrying on Mom's attitude she seemed to grab onto even more as she'd aged--she'd sing "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side..." 


 

Thank you, Vicki and Sylvia, and CANSCAIP for a great interview! 

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.

 

 

Kim Firmston talks parkour, personal experience, and perspective

March 18th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Stupid coverThis month we’re excited for one of the latest additions to our SideStreets series: Stupid, by Kim Firmston. Stupid has it all: teen angst, physical activity, and art—but it also touches on more serious issues like the misdiagnosis of illness or disability (in this book it’s ADHD and dyslexia) and preserving self-esteem, even in the face of parental disapproval. Through the main character, Martin, teens discover a new way of perceiving the world, one that some can use in their own lives as well.

Kim Firmston

In this interview, Firmston tells us a bit about her background as a writer and the history of the fast-paced and exciting pasttime of parkour.


1. How did you start out writing teen fiction? 

When I was a teen all I could find to read was novels about girls who rode horses and wanted boyfriends. I couldn’t relate at all. Then I picked up The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and my world was changed. I wanted more books like that and since I couldn’t find too many, I decided to write what I wanted to read. That’s how it all got started.  Well . . .  that and another twenty-plus years of practice. 

2. Where did parkour originate from?

Parkour, or free running, was officially invented by David Belle in the 1980s, but its origin started a bit earlier. Before WWI the French naval officer Georges Hébert was inspired by the natural gymnastic skills of the indigenous African tribes he met and used it to create "parcours", an obstacle course now standard in military training. Flash forward to 1946, when seven-year-old Raymond Belle ended up in a military orphanage. Scared and alone, he decided he was never going to be a victim and trained harder than everyone else on campus, sneaking out to use the parcours course at night. In the 1980s Raymond’s son, David Belle, fed up with gymnastics in a safe, padded environment, not getting along very well in school, and looking for some direction in his life, discovered his father’s past. Deciding to train the same way his father did, mixing it with his father’s personal philosophy, and using the city as his parcours course, David found the inspiration and drive that was lacking in his life. He called this newfound activity “parkour,” and soon attracted other people who wanted not only to practice the physical aspects of parkour but also to explore the philosophical aspects.

3. What inspired you to write about parkour?

I have always thought parkour was really cool. It looks like gravity doesn’t even affect the people who do it. It’s like watching real life superheroes. I also love the philosophy behind parkour– overcoming mental and physical barriers in the most efficient and straightforward ways possible.  It’s a really positive message.

Lorimer - Childrens - Stupid 

Image Credit: 

Parkour Olahraga Ekstreme, Gerakan Ala Ninja! ~ Sealkazz Blog

sealkazzsoftware.blogspot.com 

 

4. What research did you do about parkour for Stupid?

I had a couple of friends who did parkour, so I contacted them. They were really enthusiastic about the project. They answered questions, helped me set up interviews, and explained tricks. Through them I met other parkour practitioners, or traceurs as they are actually called in parkour speak. I was completely welcomed into the parkour community. One time I went down to the park to do some filming in order to plan out the tricks in the book and I ran into a traceur I didn’t know. He thought I was a tourist and offered to take a picture of me with my camera. When I explained the project to him, he ran some lines around the park for me to film in order to make writing them easier. A couple of the local coaches even read an early draft of Stupid and critiqued the parkour in it to help make it perfect. The parkour community is quite amazing. 

5. Did you do any training yourself?

No way! I'm like Martin in Stupid. I'm clumsy and uncoordinated and I'd probably die. Though the kids keep telling me, anyone can do parkour, so maybe I’m just chicken.

6. Do you know any teens with mis-diagnosed dyslexia?

I know way too many kids and teens with mis-diagnosed or undiagnosed dyslexia. I’m constantly frustrated by the school system, which is all over the map when it comes to helping them. While the school system as a whole says they are ready and willing to help, individual teachers can have a wide variety of ideas on how to deal with it. Even good teachers can become overwhelmed when faced with lack of funding and overcrowded classrooms. I think the biggest issue kids with dyslexia face is that many parents and teachers don’t really understand the ways in which dyslexia affects the people who have it. I’m hoping this book will help change that.

7. What advice do you have for children and teens struggling with dyslexia?

Don’t give up on yourself and don’t let others set the bar for you. Choose your own goals. Set your own standards. Dyslexia sucks, but it’s also really cool too. People with dyslexia get see the world in a way that no one else does. Be brave and be gentle with yourself when you do make a mistake. Use your strengths and work on your issues. www.beatingdyslexia.com is one of many amazing free online resources which can help. Dyslexia can actually make you successful in what you want to do if you know how to use it.

8. What were your experiences growing up with dyslexia?

I was diagnosed with a learning disability at an early age. I went to a special school in Edmonton for the first two years of my life. I really liked school back then, but even at that I struggled with reading. In Grade 3 I ended up at a regular school, and that’s when things really fell apart. I had a hard time. It wasn’t until I went to summer school that year that I actually learned to read well. But even back then I loved reading and writing. I wrote every day and I read mountains of comic books. In grade four I went to a new school and my teacher was told I had a learning disability. As a result I was sent to the back of the classroom to colour for the year. In my teacher’s mind, having a learning disability meant one simply could not learn.  Later during my journey through school I met up with some wonderful teachers who were able to help me discover the best ways for me to learn – even if they were different from everyone else’s. Now I tell people I have dyslexia right off the bat. That way when they say, “Good afternoon.” and I blurt out “Good morning.” we can laugh it off. Dyslexia always seems to make the opposite thing come out of my mouth. It can be really frustrating, like when I’m trying to give directions, but most of the time it’s just good for a giggle and no big deal.

9. What have you learned from your experience?

I actually learned more about my own dyslexia during my research. I thought I understood it pretty well, but I was blown away by how far the science has come. I was also so impressed with the parkour community of Calgary. I’m glad that the young people of my city have such amazing mentors.

10. What else would you like to tell us?

I love how the parkour philosophy applies to just about anything from dyslexia, to studying for a test, to life in general. The ideas of altruism, self-improvement, and the ability to overcome obstacles (both mentally and physically) can improve anyone’s life. If everyone took up just the philosophy of parkour, the world would be an amazing place. Of course, training in parkour is great for health too. But if you are going to try parkour, find a reputable coach or gym. Or if there isn’t one around – start small, and find videos and books which teach this. Trying to imitate the pros right off the bat or doing a big jump over a gap between buildings when you’ve never done it on the ground is a good way to die. Gravity does exist. Gyms have foam pits and foam pits are fun!


KIM FIRMSTON is the author of the SideStreets novels SchizoHook Up (a Resource Links Year's Best), and Touch. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, where she gives writing workshops for teens. Visit her website at www.kimfirston.com!! 

Click here for more info or to order Stupid.

 

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

 

Books with Olympic Buzz for Reluctant Readers

February 7th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

With the Olympic buzz in the air, what better way to engage your reluctant readers than through Olympic-themed books? We've put together two great hi/lo sets featuring Olympics: true stories of Canadian Olympic medialists and novels about Canadian Olympians-in-the-making at an elite sports high school. 

The books feature positive, inspirational stories that will motivate readers to believe in themselves, persevere through challenges, and respect diversity.

True Stories of Canadian Winter Olympic Medialists for Grades 7+

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - olympic recordbooks set

Four-paperback set, Ages 12+, Reading Level grades 3.0-4.9

Topics:

The 2002 gold medal-winning women's Olympic hockey team
The 2006 gold-medal winning men's Paralympic sledge hockey team
The Crazy Canucks multi-medal winning men's alpine ski team from the 70s and 80s
The Winnipeg Falcons, Canada's first gold medal-winning men's hockey team from 1920

Realistic Sports Fiction about Olympians-in-training for Grades 8+

Lorimer - Childrens - Blog - Podium 5 book set

Five-paperback set, Ages 13+, Reading Level grade 3.0

Topics: hockey, snowboarding, synchronized swimming, lacrosse, and soccer

Key themes: hazing, steroid use, eating disorders, peer pressure, Olympic prospects

 

You can pair fiction with non-fiction for grades 8 and up by ordering both sets!

Meet Lorimer Authors at OLA Super Conference 2014

January 28th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Lorimer - Childrens - OLA 2014 blog header

 

High-interest books for reluctant readers at this week's OLA Super Conference

Visit the Lorimer booth #422 for:

  • - 22 NEW books for reluctant and struggling readers
  • - 100% Canadian writers and settings
  • - Our new catalogue featuring 11 reluctant reader series -- including 5 hi/lo series
  • - 35+ recent and recommended titles -- including Forest of Reading nominees, Best Books selected by the Canadian Children's Book Centre, CM Magazine, and Resource Links

PLUS

  • - Get free copies of our latest books signed by five of our great authors!

Thursday, Jan. 30

10:30 am         Steven Barwin   Spiked (Sports Stories, Ages 10-13)

1:00 pm           David Skuy    Striker (Ages 9-12)

Friday, Jan. 31

10:30 pm           Nicole Winters   TT: Full Throttle (Ages 13+)

11:30 pm           Ted Staunton   Morgan on Ice (First Novels, Ages 6-9)

12:30 pm           Brad V. Cowan   Skinner's Banks (The Seven Stair Crew, Ages 9-12)

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