Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Historical Fiction’

Recently Read Highly Recommends Two Times a Traitor

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by pajamapress

twotimesatraitor_websiteTwo Times a Traitor is the newest endeavor by multi-nominated and celebrated Canadian author, Karen Bass.

Two Times a Traitor is a surprising departure from what YA readers have come to expect from this dynamic author….Readers will be swept up and away in this riveting middle-grade historical/time travel nail biting adventure, and into the pages of an exciting part of Canadian history!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! [for Junior and Intermediate readers!]

FIVE STARS!!”

Click here to read the full review

“At once a gripping read and an ethnographic study, The Hill successfully transcends didacticism” says The White Ravens Catalogue of this 2016 selection

Posted on December 28th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_WebsiteThere are many reasons why Jared and Kyle should never be friends: different backgrounds (affluent white urban single child vs Indigenous youngster living at a camp) and different values (fashion and coolness vs family bonding and respect for the elders). But since a plane crash left Jared stranded in the bush, he has to rely on Kyle’s survival skills. The worst part: Jared’s trusty mobile phone isn’t any help. So he ignores Kyle’s warnings and climbs a sacred hill to get reception. That infuriates Wîhtiko, a terrifying monster from Cree legend. It will take more than bush wisdom to survive. Mutual respect is the only power that can save the teenagers. Award-winning author Karen Bass skillfully combines survival drama, mystery, thriller, and Cree mythology to craft a fast-paced fantasy novel well anchored in the real world. At once a gripping read and an ethnographic study, The Hill successfully transcends didacticism. (Age: 12+)

Read the review on page 22 of the 2016 White Ravens Catalogue

Oak Bay News calls Graffiti Knight “a fast-paced story about a boy fighting for self-expression in an era of censorship and struggle.”

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Website“Readers aged 13 and older will enjoy this story of 16-year-old Wilm, who’s finally tasting freedom after a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany. Despite the scars the Second World War left on his hometown and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings, but it’s also exciting, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. One mission goes too far, however, and Wilm endangers the very people he most wants to protect. Award-winning author Karen Bass brings readers a fast-paced story about a boy fighting for self-expression in an era of censorship and struggle.”

Click here to read the full article “Page Turners: Children’s book titles explore the topic of war”

Publishers Weekly praises Uncertain Soldier

Posted on July 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier“German sailor Erich is not a Nazi, despite being part of the Third Reich’s military. Max, a Canadian boy from a German family, does not support Hitler, but peers in rural Alberta subject him to vicious torment anyway. When Erich is taken prisoner, he crosses paths with Max at a logging camp where several of the POWs are sent as labor. The two find support in each other as they face a world that views them as trespassers. Not only does Erich suffer as an enemy alien, his fellow German prisoners suspect him of being an Allied sympathizer, because he speaks English. Can he prove his worth in a risky effort to uncover who has been sabotaging the Germans with dangerous logging accidents? Can both boys ever find peace and acceptance in a world where war-driven fear and resentment overshadow people’s humanity? …readers will likely find the two main characters’ journeys to safety and justice in a cruel world compelling.”

Dance of the Banished an “eye-opening exposé”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on January 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“World War I separates a betrothed Anatolian couple—leaving one to witness the Armenian genocide and sending the other to a prison camp…in Canada. Cast as letters and journal entries, the double narrative records the experiences of Zeynep, a villager transplanted to the “mighty city of Harput,” and Ali, who is swept up with other supposed enemy aliens and shipped to a remote camp in central Ontario before he can send for Zeynep. Neither is of Turkish descent: They are Kurds practicing the ancient, indigenous Alevi faith. These distinctions make no difference to Canadian authorities in Ali’s case, but they do give Zeynep some protection as she records a rising tide of atrocities committed against her Armenian (Christian) friends and neighbors…An eye-opening exposé of historical outrages committed in two countries, with intriguing glimpses of a minority group that is not well-known in the Americas”

The National Reading Campaign recommends Dance of the Banished for adults as well as teens

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGB“…Zeynep, fierce and bold, and Ali, caring and principled, live in the same village in Anatolia and plan to marry. Unexpectedly, Ali is sent to Canada and Zeynep is left behind. Each writes in a journal for the other, but as war comes to both countries it is unlikely their words will ever be shared. Still, they keep on. Zeynep writes an eyewitness account of the genocide from the point of view of the Alevi Kurds, telling a little known side of this tragic story. Ali, in turn, gives an accounting of life in an internment camp in, surprisingly, Kapuskasing. For each, the journal entries are a coping mechanism, a way to bear witness to the atrocities of war and ultimately, to bring justice.

Skrypuch’s compelling characters give an authentic voice to this well researched story. It is definitely a book for adults as well as teens. And although it is a story of war it includes moments of great joy, making it much more than a tragedy…”—Penny Draper

Click here to read the full review.

Booklist praises the “lyrically written” Revenge on the Fly

Posted on September 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly“In 1912 Ireland, 12-year-old Will Alton has lost his mother and baby sister to disease. After immigrating to Canada, Will’s father gets a job in a stable, while Will goes to school. When a local newspaper claims that flies are the harbingers of disease and runs a contest with cash prizes for the most flies caught during a three-week period, Will sees an opportunity to avenge the deaths of his loved ones and also help his father make ends meet. Interspersed with Will’s clever and resourceful attempts to catch flies by the hundreds are his experiences at school, where he is known as the new kid, the poor kid, and the focus of the local bully. McNicoll has brought a little-known chapter of Canada’s history to life in this novel of a young boy learning what it means to grieve, to win, and to be a man. Reminiscent of the historical novels of Karen Hesse, this quiet story is lyrically written with a believable young protagonist and a thoughtful message of hope in the midst of trouble.”

VOYA Reviews Graffiti Knight

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Med“In post-World War II Germany, Wilm is frustrated and bored, but he is better off than some who go hungry from too few Soviet rations. At first, Wilm’s only real worries are avoiding his drunken father and enduring boring mathematics lessons, until he finds out what really happened to his sister. They took his father’s leg in the war, and his dignity after, now they have taken his sister’s peace…

Graffiti Knight shines a light on an experience about which there is little information. Most World War II historical fiction focuses on the plight of those in concentration camps, but there is not much information on what it was like to live in Germany after the war or what it was like for the Germans themselves, Nazi or not. From the perspective of the occupied, readers will see through the eyes of the oppressed…it is a good addition to any library.”—Shanna Miles.

 

Revenge on the Fly featured in Canadian Children’s Book News’ “All Kinds of Friendship”

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“The world of 1912 may seem completely different but is equally captivating in Sylvia McNicoll’s Revenge on the Fly. It is late spring when young Will Alton and his father arrive in Hamilton. Poor immigrants, Will and his father have journeyed from Ireland where mother and baby sister were taken by disease. Will is heartsick and struggles against the discrimination he and his father face as poor Irish newcomers. Not long after his arrival, his school is visited by Dr. Roberts, Hamilton’s public health officer. The lowly fly, he tells his students, is responsible for spreading germs that cause disease and so much death. The local paper is sponsoring a fly-catching contest with a top prize of $50. Kill flies and stop the spread of disease, he exhorts Will’s class. It is a message that Will latches onto with deadly seriousness, and he is galvanized into action. Perhaps it was the dreaded fly that was responsible for the deaths of his mother and sister. He is determined to win the competition to avenge them and so he can give the money to his father to better their situation.

The contest pits Will against Fred Leckie, a particularly nasty and privileged classmate. Fred will do anything to win, including paying off peers with orange segments (a juicy detail) to bring him their flies. Will struggles to beat Fred on his own, but it is when two unlikely girls befriend him that Will actually starts to have a fighting chance. Wealthy and kind Rebecca has no time for the likes of Fred Leckie and believes in Will, seeing beyond their socio-economic differences. She forces Will to question his motives for entering the contest and gently pushed him to consider some of his actions. Ginny is poor and belligerent, a prickly friend who decides to help Will win the contest. Ignoring her rough exterior, Will likes her spunk and devotion to her younger siblings. “And Ginny…seemed as tough as a horseshoe, her loyalty made her gentle and kind, just in a different way than Rebecca.” The friendship of both girls helps Will to understand that winning is not everything, and that true friends are far better than friends bought and paid for.

Vividly narrating the story in Will’s voice, McNicoll brings this intriguing bit of Canadian history to life, deftly weaving rich historical detail into the tale, immersing young readers in the sights, sounds and smells of early 20th century Hamilton. Will’s struggles with friendship and against bullies is timeless, and young readers will be cheering for him all the way.”

– Tracey Schindler

Learn more about Canadian Children’s Book News here.

Moon at Nine is certainly worth putting on your to-read list” – Amy’s Marathon of Books

Posted on July 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.indd“Moon at Nine is quite frankly one of the most powerful love stories I have ever read, as Ellis shows her reader love is love, no matter what the sexual preference of those involved…With a backdrop of an almost post-war Iran, Farrin and Sadira are vibrant and inspiring characters consciously deciding to live in the moment by clinging to each other in the face of great opposition. Ellis’ writing is passionate and informative, creating a realistic and frightening picture of Iran’s reaction to homosexuality.

Moon at Nine is certainly worth putting on your to-read list.”

Click here to read the full review.