Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Open Book Recommends: Back-to-School Reading Guide

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Back-to-School Reading Guide

By Jessica Spettoli

The long days of summer are gone and school is back in session. Open Book’s Back-to-School Guide is full of remarkable tales with some amazing people, time-travel and even a gargoyle or two. Start the fall season right with one of these fabulous reads!

Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs (Second Story Press) by Jill Bryant
Ages 9-13

From Madam C. J. Walker (founder of her own hair care company in the early 1900s) to Sheryl Sandberb (COO of Facebook), Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs brings together ten hard-working and accomplished entrepreneurs from around the world. These women hold top-tier executive positions while helping others prosper and bringing about positive change. The lessons and useful tips these women teach can help anyone to be bolder, take charge and succeed.

Namesake (Pajama Press) by Sue MacLeod
Ages 12+

When Mr. Gregor assigns his class to do a history project on a figure from the Tudor era, Jane Grey doesn’t think twice about choosing her namesake—Lady Jane Grey. But when Jane finds a mysterious prayer book, little does she know it’s a doorway to the Tower of London in 1553, where Lady Jane awaits her execution. In order to escape her present, Jane keeps slipping into the past to spend time with Lady Jane. Inspired by the strength and courage of the Lady, Jane must find her own courage and fight for her own happiness.

The Gargoyle at the Gates (Dundurn Press) by Philippa Dowding
Ages 12+

When Christopher moves to Toronto, the last thing he expects is to befriend the two gargoyles that live in the creepy park next door. However, his new friends Gargoth and Ambergine are in trouble. An evil thief called the Collector is after them and it’s up to Christopher and his classmate Katherine to save the gargoyles before it’s too late. Shortlisted for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Awards, the Red Cedar Book Award, and Saskatchewan Young Reader's Choice Award - Diamond Willow Award, The Gargoyle at the Gates is the third installment of the Lost Gargoyle Trilogy.

Courageous Women Rebels (Second Story Press) by Joy Crysdale
Ages 9-13

Courageous Women Rebels tells the story of ten women reformers from around the world who have fought for social justice. Included in this collection are Canadians Leilani Muir and Shannen Koostachin. Leilani Muir led the case against the Alberta Government to redress the damage done to the hundreds of Canadians who had been sterilized while in institutions. Shannen Koostachin is a Cree woman who fought for the right for all children to have equal access to schools. The lives of these women will inspire and move you and change your world.

Harry Flammable (Dundurn Press) by Frank O’Keeffe
Ages 12+

Harry Flanagan wants one thing: to become a Hollywood stunt person. But when a shed at school catches on fire and Harry’s charred cap is found at the scene, his Work Experience placement with Pocket Money Pictures is given to another student while Harry is stuck with a position with Chef Antonio at the restaurant in The Ritz. As luck would have it, The Ritz happens to be the hotel that Pocket Money Pictures' staff is staying at while filming their latest adventure movie. Can Harry find a way into the movie business?

Branded by the Pink Triangle (Second Story Press) by Ken Setterington
Ages 13+

Branded by the Pink Triangle mixes historical research, first person accounts, and individual stories about the prosecution of homosexuals during and after Nazi Germany. Before the Nazis came to power, Germany was one of the most tolerant places for homosexuals in the world with activists such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein campaigning openly for the rights of homosexuals. Later, gay men and women faced raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions. In the concentration camps, homosexuals were marked with a pink triangle on their prison uniforms, the sign of their suppression and persecution. This book will educate and inspire with its tales of bravery and perseverance during a time of war.

Community Soup (Pajama Press) by Alma Fullerton
Ages 4–7

Today is soup day for Kioni and her friends but instead of gathering vegetable from the Kenyan schoolhouse garden, Kioni must gather her herd of goats before they eat all the vegetables! Soon all the children come up with a plan to catch the mischievous goats and make soup day one of the best ever.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the Creation of Hope Project in Kenya. Learn more at

Our Rights (Second Story Press) by Janet Wilson
Ages 6-10

Kids have the power to make social change. In this collection of stories about inspirational boys and girls from across the world, kids are making a difference by standing up for their rights. Children like Nujood Ali Mohammed form Yemen and Anita Khushwaha from India fought to make the world a safer and better place for other children.

Shanghai Escape (Second Story Press) by Kathy Kacer
Ages 9-13

In 1938, Lily Toufar, a young Jewish girl from Vienna, finds herself in Shanghai, China to escape the rise of the Nazi party and their terrible treatment of Jews. However, not all is safe in Japan controlled China. Japan, whose leaders support Hitler, orders the local government to move all Jewish refugees, including Lily and her family, into a ghetto located in an area of Shanghai called Hongkew. Shanghai Escape is based on the true story of a girl looking for a place to call home that is free from hunger and sickness, a place that is safe for her and for her family.

Truths I Learned from Sam (Dundurn Press) by Kristin Butcher
Ages 12+

Seventeen-year-old Dani is forced by her mother to stay with an uncle she didn’t know she had in a small community in Cariboo country she didn’t know existed. Dani soon learns that things aren’t so bad in Cariboo country and her uncle is in fact a great guy. However, life is full of ups and downs and Dani must come to understand the cruel machinations of life and lean to overcome them.

Jessica Spettoli is a recent graduate of the Ryerson Publishing Program and is a self-proclaimed book nerd. She currently interns for Open Book: Toronto and Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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