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All the Broken Things
September, 1983. Fourteen-year-old Bo, a boat person from Vietnam, lives in a small house in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto with his mother, Thao, and his four-year-old sister, who was born severely disfigured from the effects of Agent Orange. Named Orange, she is the family secret; Thao keeps her hidden away, and when Bo's not at school or getting into fights on the street, he cares for her.
One day a carnival worker and bear trainer, Gerry, sees Bo in a streetfight, and recruits him for the bear wrestling circuit, eventually giving him his own cub to train. This opens up a new world for Bo--but then Gerry's boss, Max, begins pursuing Thao with an eye on Orange for his travelling freak show. When Bo wakes up one night to find the house empty, he knows he and his cub, Bear, are truly alone. Together they set off on an extraordinary journey through the streets of Toronto and High Park. Awake at night, boy and bear form a unique and powerful bond. When Bo emerges from the park to search for his sister, he discovers a new way of seeing Orange, himself and the world around them.
All the Broken Things is a spellbinding novel, at once melancholy and hopeful, about the peculiarities that divide us and bring us together, and the human capacity for love and acceptance.
Rosie's Dream Cape
Based on a true story, this charming juvenile novel tells of how eleven-year-old Rosie and her grandmother Bubba Sarah arrive in Toronto from Russia after fleeing one of the purges that carried away Rosie's mother, a famous Russian dancer. To help make ends meet, Rosie works in Yitzy's factory sewing velvet capes for Eatons, all the while dreaming of making such a cape from scraps, and wearing it to Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre. Although Yitzy warns Rosie, "don't steal the scraps," she cannot resist, and each evening when she dumps the scraps in the garbage, she hides the best ones in her apron. This tale provides a wonderful insight into how an immigrant child survives with her values and dreams intact despite the harsh working conditions of a 1921 garment factory
Faster than the Wind
It is 1900, and 14-year-old Bertie McCross is a newspaper boy in downtown Toronto. Berties family has fallen on hard times and can use every penny he brings home from hawking newspapers on the frigid streets. However, in order to do that Bertie has to keep out of the clutches of the Kelly Gang, a family of slightly older Cabbagetown toughs who are shaking down "newsies."
On Christmas Eve, Bertie is almost cornered by the Kellys but is saved by Tommy Fry and Milwaukee Ed, who introduce Bertie to the thrills of iceboat racing on Lake Ontario. Soon Bertie is swept up in the fast and dangerous sport and meets a whole crew of new friends, including Isobel, a girl from a wealthy family with a mansion on Jarvis Street. The continued pursuit by the Kelly Gang, a plunge into freezing harbour water, and the clash of classes all lead up to a spine-tingling race to end all races.
I Am Algonquin: An Algonquin Quest Novel
This book paints a vivid picture of the original peoples of North America before the arrival of Europeans. The novel follows the story of Mahingan and his family as they live the traditional Algonquin way of life in what is now Ontario in the early fourteenth century. Along the way we learn about the search for moose and the dramatic rare woodland buffalo hunt, conflicts with other Native nations, and the dangers of wolves and wolverines. We also witness the violent game of lacrosse, the terror of a forest fire, and the rituals that allow Algonquin boys to be declared full-grown men.
But warfare is also part of their lives, and signs point to a defining conflict between Mahingan’s nation, its allies the Omàmiwinini (Algonquin), Ouendat (Huron), and the Nippissing against the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). The battle’s aftermath may open the door to future journeys by Mahingan and his followers.
Pandora's Locks, The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
This detailed history of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which opened in 1959, focuses on the engineering feat's often devastating environmental effects.
The Deptford Trilogy
An omnibus edition of Fifth Business (1970), The Manticore (1972) and World of Wonders (1975). Noteworthy for their faultless prose, memorable characters and trenchant humor, these novels follow the fate of three youths in Ontario.
Holling's captivating tale introduces youngsters to the geography and history of North America through the story of a young Indian boy and the toy canoe he launches on a journey from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic.
Negotiating a River, Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway
This political and environmental history looks at the defining episodes of the St. Lawrence Seaway megaproject, from the complex diplomatic negotiations between the US and Canada to its lasting impact on transnational relations.
The Star Supper
December 1914: Millie is looking forward to a beautiful Victorian Christmas, just as usual. With her father away fighting in the war, she is especially determined to keep holiday traditions alive during this time of turmoil. Although Christmas will be anything but “as usual” this year. With the unexpected arrival of Molly and Feather as well as some new faces, everyone has differing opinions on how Christmas should be celebrated. Will all of Millie’s perfect plans be dashed? Will this be the worst Christmas ever?
The Blind Assassin
Winner of the Booker Prize in 2000, this hauntingly beautiful novel interweaves two disparate strands: one, a murder mystery set in Toronto at the close of WWII; the other, the text of the murdered woman's science fiction novel, which may hold a clue to her death.
Niagara, A History of the Falls
Meticulously researched and entertaining, this history of Niagara Falls captures the sideshow atmosphere of the place with its honky-tonk attractions and daredevil feats. An engrossing social history.
The Great Lakes, Stories from Where We Live
Geared for ages 9-12, this charming guide to the people, places, animals and ecology of the Great Lakes includes short stories, poems, essays and historical accounts.
Unbuilt Toronto, More of the City That Might Have Been
With 150 photographs, maps, and illustrations, Unbuilt Toronto tracks the origins and fates of some of the city's most interesting planning, transit, and architectural "what-ifs."
The St. Lawrence, River Route to the Great Lakes
Sixth in a series of illustrated primers on riverways around the word for ages 9-12, this is also a nice introduction for the family.
Toronto, Biography of a City
From politics to transportation, public health to sports, historian Allan Levine explores four centuries of Toronto's history, introducing the forces and faces that shaped the city's multi-faceted identity.
The Great Lakes
Wayne Grady showcases the nature and ecology of the Great Lakes, hub of industry and agriculture and home to 40 million people, in this illustrated portrait of the region, including its geological formation, conservation challenges, forests and resources. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations by Emily Damstra.
In the first of Paulsen's wilderness adventure novels, 13-year-old Brian must fend for himself after his plane crashes in the Canadian woods.
A witty, well-researched tale of the transformation of a natural wonder into an engineering feat, spectacle and monument.
A Traveller's History of Canada
A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.
The Incredible Journey
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love. The Incredible Journey is one of the great children's stories of all time--and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.
In the Skin of Lion
Bristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance, this novel tests the boundary between history and myth. Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto in the 1920s and earns his living searching for a vanished millionaire and tunneling beneath Lake Ontario. In the course of his adventures, Patrick's life intersects with those of characters who reappear in Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning The English Patient.