Real Justice: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death
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Real Justice: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death

The story of Steven Truscott

By Bill Swan

$12.95 Paperback
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Series: Lorimer Real Justice

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At fourteen, Steve Truscott was a typical teenager in rural Ontario in the fifties, mainly concerned about going fishing, playing football, and racing bikes with his friends. One summer evening, his twelve-year-old classmate, Lynne Harper, asked for a lift to the nearby highway on his bicycle and Steve agreed. Unfortunately, that made Steve the last person known to see Lynne alive.

His world collapsed around him when he was arrested and then convicted of killing Lynne Harper. The penalty at the time was death by hanging. Although the sentence was changed to life in prison, Steve suffered for years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit. When his case gained national attention, the Supreme Court of Canada reviewed the evidence -- and confirmed his conviction.

It took over forty years and a determination to prove his innocence for him to finally clear his name. He has since received an apology and compensation for his ordeal.

In this book, young readers will discover how an innocent boy was presumed guilty by the justice system, and how in the end, that same justice system, prodded by Truscott and his lawyers, was able to acknowledge the terrible wrong done to him.

[Fry reading level - 4.8


Commended - Best Books for Kids & Teens - Canadian Children's Book Centre - 2013

Short-listed - Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction - 2013

Commended - One of the Year's Best -- Resource Links - 2012

Winner - Red Maple Non-Fiction Award - 2013

"Short chapters and direct writing filled with dialogue make this book easily accessible, especially to struggling readers. A centre section, filled with black and white photos of the principals and the crime scene, adds to the story's authenticity and an appended glossary defines legal terms."

- Kay Weisman CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"accessible and easy to read"

- Amy Cheney School Library Journal

"Real Justice books are quick and simple reads but will keep reluctant young adult readers flipping the pages to see how the stories turn out."

- Sandra O'Brien Canadian Children's Book News

"Real Justice books build on the popularity of true crime while tying into the justice system, and would be excellent classroom resources for government classes."


"I would highly recommend any teacher (especially intermediate grades) use these books to engage their learners, spark discussion, and create a love and interest for reading!"

- Janelle White, grade 7/8 teacher

"The unbelievable journey of Steven Truscott has fascinated Canadians for more than fifty years... Swan gives a gripping account of how young Truscott's life spiraled into a nightmare of wrongful conviction and imprisonment and how it took him forty-seven years to clear his name... This fresh look at the circumstances and details of his wrongful conviction and ultimate acquittal will bring this important and compelling lesson in justice, rightfully, to a whole new generation of readers."

- Norma Fleck Award Jury Citation

"[A clearly written, compelling book. . . Author Swan deftly interweaves dialogue with simple urgent text that moves the story along quickly." Rated E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

- Joan Marshall Resource Links

BILL SWAN has worked as a journalism teacher, editor, and newspaper columnist. His first three novels, Fast Finish, Mud Run, and Off Track, are highly recommended by CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials. Mud Run was nominated for the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. He is also the author of Corner Kick. He lives in Courtice, Ontario, with his wife and daughter.

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Downloadable Resources


Click the link above to read a sample chapter from the book

Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 152 pages
Publication Date: 14th March 2012
ISBN: 9781459400740
Format: 8.5in x 5.5in

Binding: Hardback, 152 pages
Publication Date: 14th March 2012
ISBN: 9781459400757
Format: 8.5in x 5.5in

Binding: Electronic book text, 152 pages
Publication Date: 14th March 2012
ISBN: 9781459400764
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:, JNF007110, JNF030000
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 13 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.8
Lexile Reading Level: 780L


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