Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘family’

The Montreal Gazette praises free verse in Nix Minus One

Posted on April 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

“Poetry, at its best, has the power to evoke a maximum of emotion with a minimum number of words. As such, it’s a fitting tool for an author whose novel revolves around a teenage boy best described as tongue-tied and introverted — and whose life goes into overdrive when the usual changes that accompany puberty are added to those of a family with its share of secrets.

Nova Scotia’s Jill MacLean has set her most recent novel in Bullbirds Cove, a small town in Newfoundland that used to be home to 37 families but where, now that “the codfish are gone from the sea (and) groundfishing closed years ago,” only 23 families remain — including the Humboldt family. Fifteen-year-old Nixon (better known as Nix) and his 16-year-old sister, Roxy, are part of that family. In telling their story, MacLean uses free verse — which might sound off-putting to some, but actually turns out to be a great way to put into words what Nix thinks and has trouble saying. It also makes for a well-paced story that will leave readers thoroughly engaged with the characters, and probably reaching for a tissue or two before getting to the final page.”

—Bernie Goedhart

For Your Leisure @ Vaughan Public Libraries reviews Last Airlift

Posted on March 5th, 2013 by pajamapress

“…Although intended for a children audience, Last Airlift is a pleasurable, fast paced book for readers of any age. Tuyet’s rescue is nothing short of miraculous. Skrypuch helps the reader see the journey through Tuyet’s eyes, from her brave attempt to eat “horrible slimy” Catalina salad dressing to the first bonding moments with her adoptive father…”

Click here to read the full review.

 

Flying Off My Bookshelf reviews Last Airlift

Posted on December 17th, 2012 by pajamapress

This is a simple little biography/history. It’s the story of a Vietnamese girl, one of the last to be rescued as the North Vietnamese army marched into Saigon. It’s easy enough for a younger reader to understand and while it doesn’t soften the harsh realities, there’s nothing too graphic. It focuses mostly on Tuyet’s emotions and adjustment to living in Canada with a family.

Click here to read the full review.

Booklist says One Step at a Time “will grip readers”

Posted on December 1st, 2012 by pajamapress

In this sequel to Last Airlift (2012), Vietnamese orphan Tuyet, now rooted and happy in her adoptive Toronto family, is terrified of the surgery she has to undergo to straighten her leg and ankle, which were left twisted from the polio she contracted in Saigon. As she lies in the hospital recovering from the operation, her leg in “cement,” she is haunted by nightmares of the past and by her fear of losing her present home. Is there something she has done to upset Mom and Dad? Are they sending her away? Unable to speak English, she cannot ask for help in the hospital, and her confusion about what is happening now forms the story’s drama. Occasional black-and-white photos show Tuyet at home in Toronto with her loving parents and siblings. Along with the true personal story, the facts about polio across the globe, past and present, will grip readers.— Hazel Rochman

The Nonfiction Detectives discover Last Airlift

Posted on November 27th, 2012 by pajamapress

…Readers will immediately be drawn in from the very first page. The book only covers Tuyet’s journey by airplane from Saigon to Toronto, Canada and her adoption to a new family who loves her very much. When Tuyet is flying to Canada, another orphan, Linh, gives her some advise. Whenever someone asks you something in English, answer, No. That will stop them from doing what they were going to do. The last three chapters are most touching as we learn just how patient Tuyet’s new family is as they learn how to communicate with each other. (They do not speak Vietnamese) Some of the changes in Tuyet’s life were difficult. For instance, Tuyet was used to sleeping with all the other orphans on the floor at the orphanage, she is unable to adjust to sleeping alone in a bed in her own bedroom.

Historic black & white photographs, including some of Tuyet, enhance the reading experience.

In a historic note, Skrypuch briefly explains the rescue operation. In her Author’s note, we learn that Tuyet currenly lives in Skrypuch’s hometown of Brantford, Ontario. It is great to see Tuyet as a grown up woman.

Click here to read the full review.

Resource Links is rooting for Emily

Posted on November 13th, 2012 by pajamapress

When Emily’s Grandad dies, she’s more concerned with her break up. When a mysterious guest shows up at her Grandad’s funeral, claiming to be an old friend of her Grandad’s Emily’s life gets suddenly more complicated. Her grandfather had a secret life and as it tears Emily’s family apart, Emily finds herself questioning everything she ever knew about her family.

Although Emily’s family situation—secret affairs, hidden adoptions, illegitimate children—could have come across as an over the top soap opera plot, Emily’s genuine characterization keeps the situation grounded in real emotion that readers will be able to relate to. The book is refreshingly romance-free—save for an odd, nearly out of place romantic development in the last twenty pages—giving Emily room to focus on her family and friend relationships, includg her relationship with Leo.

Leo has a rough home situation, with an alcoholic mother. He doesn’t ask Emily too many questions about her home life for which she’s grateful and in turn she tries to be a supportive friend for everything Leo’s going through. Their relationship is unusual in teen fiction—an opposite sex friendship—and it lends realism to Emily For Real.

Teens more interested in friendship and family than romance will find themselves relating to Emily and rooting for her through her struggles.

Rating: G – Good, even great at times, generally useful!

Kat Drennan-Scace

A Bear in War “Highly Recommended”—Resource Links

Posted on November 7th, 2012 by pajamapress

In this book Teddy, a stuffed teddy bear, tells his story from the time he is taken home to a farm in Quebec by his owner ten-year-old Aileen Rogers, through being sent to France in a care package sent to her father, Lawrence Browning Rogers, as he was fighting in the First World War, and his return home alone as Lieutenant Rogers died at the Battle of Passchendaele. This book conveys the true story of one family during war time. Gently told through the voice of the teddy bear it provides some insight into life during war time for a group of young readers.

In 2002 Lawrence Rogers grand-daughter, Roberta Rogers Innes, found Teddy along with letters and other war memorabilia inside a large family briefcase. As she delved deeper she discovered the story of Teddy and her daughter, Stephanie Innes, along with Harry Endrulat decided to share it with others in the form of a picture book. Brian Deines beautiful illustrations poignantly bring the story to life along with the historical photographs, posters and other memorabilia which are interspersed throughout the book.

…Today Teddy resides in a glass display case at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. A portion of the royalties earned from the sale of this reissue will be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund, which supports the benevolent care of veterans and promotes remembrance.

This book is highly recommend for school and public libraries and should be a great choice to share with young readers on November 11.

Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

Victoria Pennell

Winnipeg Free Press reviews One Step at a Time

Posted on September 24th, 2012 by pajamapress

“While the story is told from Tuyet’s viewpoint, it is a non-fiction account, written for an eight-12 age group and illustrated with black-and-white photographs of Tuyet and the Morrises, who became her family.

Skrypuch, who has published a number of both picture books and juvenile novels, many on the theme of Ukrainian immigration, does a good job of portraying Tuyet’s feelings as she faces the uncertainties of a new country, a new home and frightening surgery.”

Click here and scroll down to read the full review.

Brantford Expositor interviews Marsha and Tuyet

Posted on September 11th, 2012 by pajamapress

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Tuyet Yurczyszyn (born Son Thi Anh Tuyet, later Tuyet Morris), met with Brantford Expositor journalist Michelle Ruby this week to talk about One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way. The book, written by Marsha about Tuyet’s experiences as a young refugee in Canada, is the sequel to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, which tells of Tuyet’s rescue from Vietnam and adoption into the Morris family in Canada.

Click here to read the interview.

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviewsOne Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

Posted on September 10th, 2012 by pajamapress

“Just as she so eloquently did in Last Airlift, Marsha Skrypuch gently takes the reader by the hand to observe the young girl’s new life from Tuyet’s viewpoint…  Not the princess dreams and perfect endings of fairy tales, Tuyet’s story is all the more satisfying when her anxieties and confusions are resolved fittingly, just as her shoes are, though not perfectly, and provide the hope necessary to help her take her next steps.  A wonderful tale of making things fit, whether they be people or shoes.”
Helen Kubiw

Click here to read the full review.