Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘book-review’

Missing Mike is "tragic and uplifting" says Sal's Fiction Addiction

Posted on October 16th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Having spent a good part of the summer here listening to reports of the destruction caused by wildfires on the west coast of Canada and the United States, this book is an excellent way to get kids thinking about the dire consequences of such events in peoples’ lives. It is a moving account of the terror and anguish felt by those who live where those fires rage….

The tense telling will keep readers intent on reading (or hearing) more. While there are bright spots along the way, Cara and her family are faced with uncertainty, fear, and a hope for a return to their community. When they finally get the okay to go back, they are faced with the tragic and uplifting results of the catastrophe. To say much has changed is an understatement. Cara, who has been reflecting on the meaning of ‘house’ and ‘home’, discovers they are distinctly different things.”

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Missing Mike review from middle-grade author Yolanda Ridge

Posted on October 13th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press

“Having just spent the summer breathing in the smoke blanketing the entire province of BC, with fires burning close enough to my home that I packed up photos and essentials in preparation for evacuation, this story really resonated. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down and I’m pretty sure I didn’t take a full, deep breath until I finished. Luckily as a novel in verse, it’s a pretty quick read….

Missing Mike is filled with the kindness of strangers which gives the book hope. The conclusion is a satisfying mix of reality and happy ending….I loved this book because it placed my fears into a story of survival and resilience where the main character discovers what home really means.”

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"Middle school readers will enjoy the accessible, lyrical text of this poignant story" says ASLC Lit Picks of Missing Mike

Posted on October 12th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Canadian author Shari Green has penned a timely novel in verse with a dramatic and emotional account of a wildfire and the impact on a family and their community….Middle school readers will enjoy the accessible, lyrical text of this poignant story about human-animal bonds, family dynamics, and strength in the face of adversity, and will appreciate being left with an optimistic ending and a new definition of ‘home.’”

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Youth Services Book Review calls Swallow's Dance "Top notch historical fiction"

Posted on October 11th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Swallow's Dance Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama PressWhat did you like about the book? Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient!…Set during the Bronze Age, the story shows that migration has been a constant since time began, and that it has never been easy to lose your home and those whom you love and start over in a new place, in this case, Crete. Leira narrates, in prose and alternating poetry, the catastrophe and the emotional toll it takes on her and her family. Lots of animal sacrifice, daily ritual worship of the gods, and intense heartbreak for a young person unused to any hardship. The poetic interludes do a good job of describing the emotional journey. The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor….

To whom would you recommend this book?  Definitely offer this to fans of Orr’s Dragonfly Song and to fans of historical fiction, ages 10-14.”
—Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

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CanLit for LittleCanadians says "[this] is a story of survival, even if Van Ho was Too Young to Escape"

Posted on October 10th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Van Ho Publisher: Pajama Press“When Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch co-wrote Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival with Tuan Ho, she began a family’s story of escape from Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and taking of power by the communists. In that picture book, illustrated by Brian Deines, a mother and her two daughters, Loan and Lan, and six-year-old son Tuan escape Vietnam by boat, hopeful of joining father and the eldest daughter Linh in Canada. But there was another story. Because four-year-old Van is left behind. Too Young to Escape is her story….

Van Ho, who lived this story, tells it through Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s pen of extraordinary writing which reflects both Van’s youthful point of view and her trauma. Her story is disquieting but it’s also uplifting, focusing on Van’s resilience. Told from her perspective, from Van explaining away her family’s absence before she learns the reason to her obligation to completing chores many of our culture might deem inappropriate for one so young to finding a friend in a girl less fortunate than herself, Van’s story of being left behind is heartbreaking.

Enhancing Van Ho’s story with photographs and interviews with her father, Nam Ho, and mother, Phuoc Ho, Too Young to Escape gives a snapshot of a different time and place, one of upheaval and loss, perseverance and endurance, that ends with a reunion and a good life in Canada. It is a story of survival, even if Van Ho was Too Young to Escape.”

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Three Starred Reviews for Swallow's Dance by Wendy Orr!

Posted on October 3rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Booklist ★ Starred Review

“As she faces the demands of sheer survival, Leira gradually realizes that the privileges afforded to her, thanks to her social status, are meaningless, and she starts taking on whatever unpleasant job she must to protect herself and

her family. There are no miracles and no clear answers for Leira, but she learns to love what she has and that she can cope with anything. Leira’s lyrical first-person narrative advances the story along beautifully with a fitting sense of urgency, and free-verse songs clue readers in to her emotional development. Immersive historical fiction.”
—Donna Scanlon

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School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

“Gr 5-8–Leira’s sheltered life of privilege is all she has ever known. Her biggest concern is becoming a woman so she can start her priestess rites. Her people believe the earth goddess will protect them if the proper rituals and sacrifices are carried out, but an earthquake rocks their existence. Leira’s mother is crushed inside their home and suffers severe brain damage, and eventually her family chooses to take their chances by boarding a boat to Crete. As tragedy upon tragedy befalls the sweet but naive Leira in this Bronze Age–set tale, readers will cheer for her to succeed, grow, and to find her way in this new world. Some chapters written in verse make the more emotional plot lines sing. An eye-opening look at how difficult it is when one’s status changes in life, and how attitude can shape outcome. VERDICT Beautiful writing and a fast-moving plot will give young historical fiction fans much to love.”
–Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX

Read the full review in the October 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

“Spiritual and cultural beliefs blossom into a celebration of life—at least until the darkness of fear and ruthlessness of the earthmother rip apart a homeland and a cherished way of life. This mesmerizing, aching tale explores ancient beliefs in gods and nature and their impact on an Aegean island society in the Bronze Age….Orr nimbly shows Leira’s imperiousness and her humanity alike as the girl witnesses the jarring shift in order when once-exalted priests and priestesses find themselves cast adrift. Her mixture of prose and free verse to tell Leira’s story is lyrical and magnetic—and devastating. Not for readers searching for a simple or happy journey, this is a beautiful song of a book that shows that life isn’t always fair, but change is always constant.”

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Log Cabin Library calls Swallow's Dance "a wonderful mix of survival and a coming of age story"

Posted on September 28th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Swallow's Dance Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama PressSwallow’s Dance is the fictionalized story inspired by the real events of a hurricane that occurred in 1625 BCE on the island of Thera (now known as Santorini) that resulted in a huge tsunami on Crete and the speculation of whether the people of Thera were able to flee to Crete before the city was buried.  Like Dragonfly SongSwallow’s Dance is told through a combination of prose and free verse. It’s a wonderful mix of survival and a coming of age story.

Leira is a resilient young girl who endures so many hardships once she arrives in Crete. One of her early concerns is that she will never be able to complete her learning to become a woman….Despite everything that she endures, she is still strong, fierce and strives to improve her living situation, to one day be free. You can’t help rooting for Leira as she vows to honor her people and claim who she is.”

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Wash On! is "a story for the smallest of us" says Canadian Children's Book News

Posted on September 24th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Wash On! Author: Michèle Marineau Illustrator: Manon Gauthier Translator: Erin Woods Publisher: Pajama Press“Michèle Marineau has written a story for the smallest of us. When we are tiny, sometimes we feel unimportant and overlooked, especially if we live in the shadow of an older sibling. Petronilla’s ability to cause chaos, not only throughout her own household but across the globe, is sure to amuse. Readers will revel in the attention Petronilla commands and the circus of colour she unleashes on the world. Anyone who has ever taken things a little too far will also identify with Petronilla’s concern for her lost dog and her consequent change of heart.

Multi-media illustrations by Manon Gauthier bring the chaos to life, creating an atmosphere of fun and mischief….Young artists will be inspired to colour outside the lines.”

Read the full review on page 36 of the Fall 2018 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

A World of Kindness is “a cute and beautiful book” that Book Time “enjoyed flipping through…[to] recognize the style of each illustrator”

Posted on September 23rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: A World of Kindness Author: The Editors & Illustrators of Pajama Press Publisher: Pajama Press“Each page is drawn by a different Pajama Press illustrator. I enjoyed flipping through the pages and recognizing the style of each illustrator….The messages, which include being kind to animals, helping those younger than you and saying sorry when you are wrong, makes it a cute and beautiful book.”

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Missing Mike "is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home" says Canadian Children's Book News

Posted on September 21st, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Award-winning author Shari Green has crafted an emotional and lyrically gripping tale capturing readers by the heart strings from page one with the unmistakable voice and keen observations of a young girl wise beyond her years. Indelible characters and realistic dialogue add depth, while short chapters and a free-verse format make for smooth transitions and quick comprehension, especially ideal for reluctant readers.

Missing Mike is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home. A standout book in the collection of any middle-grade reader, it will resonate particularly with those who love stories about the resiliency of the human spirit and the unbreakable bond between animals and their human families.”
—Jennifer D. Foster

Read the full review on page 32 of the Fall 2018 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News