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Books

Local author slam-dunks teen debut

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/6/2015 (675 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Patti Grayson is a local writer whose first work of juvenile fiction, Ghost Most Foul (Coteau, 184 pages, $11, paperback) shows talent and promise.

Summer Widden is crazy about basketball and new coach Nola insists their Grade 8 team can win the provincial championships. She names 14-year-old Summer as captain, emphasizing, "It isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you win the game." But Nola is killed in a plane crash on Christmas Eve; Summer is devastated then horrified as she starts seeing Nola's ghost on the basketball court.

Grayson does an excellent job of portraying Summer's feelings: disbelief, frustration, anger and grief. Tension mounts as the finals near. She can't convince her physician mother that she doesn't have a medical problem.

The author walks a fine line between realism and fantasy but succeeds in writing a story that will resonate with teens, especially those active in sports.

***

Pam Withers is a B.C. author and outdoor enthusiast whose previous book, First Descent, was an action-packed exciting read for young adult readers. Her latest offering, Andreo's Race (Tundra Books, 205 pages, $15, paperback), while not quite up to her previous standard, is a satisfying narrative that will resonate with extreme sport enthusiasts.

Andreo is a 16-year-old high school student whose family is into competitive bike racing. Adopted as a baby from Bolivia, he's excited to learn their next race will take place near the town where he was born. As he searches for his birth mother, he learns there's a criminal investigation into the illegal selling of Bolivian babies. Was he one of them?

Andreo's search is interspersed with accounts of his family's hair-raising races over steep, dangerous roads and unmarked trails. Withers has been involved in extreme sports and has written 15 adventure novels for teens, aiming especially at reluctant readers.

***

While First Nations myths and legends have appeared in print for many years, Inuit legends have been scarce -- until recently. How Things Came to Be: Inuit Stories of Creation by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inhabit Media, 80 pages, $17, hardcover) is a well-written, engaging series of stories that closes the gap.

Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley was born in an Arctic wilderness camp; she and husband Sean studied Inuit folklore extensively. The nine creation tales are ably illustrated by Washington-based Emily Fiegenschuh and Ontario-born Patricia Ann Lewis-Macdougall. They combine a feeling of inestimable power with the menace of natural elements such as lightning, ocean waves, and marauding polar bears.

***

Reptile Flu (Second Story Press, 24 pages, $16, hardcover) is the arresting title of Toronto author Karen Cole's picture book. A young boy is terrified of reptiles, but his class is slated to visit a reptile museum. Only the sensitive intervention of his class teacher helps him overcome his fears. Art by Shanghai-born, Toronto-based Qin Leng adds to the story.

***

Burlington, Ont., artist and author Rebecca Bender has produced a third book for youngest readers about her popular characters, Giraffe and Bird. With gorgeous illustrations done in vibrant acrylics, Giraffe Meets Bird (Pajama Press, 32 pages, $19, hardcover) tells how an unlikely friendship developed between these two.

Good for reading aloud, this vibrant picture book tells an important lesson: despite minor clashes, true friends will be there when you most need them.

 

Helen Norrie is a Winnipeg writer and reader. Her column appears on the third Saturday of the month.

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History

Updated on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 8:09 AM CDT: Formatting, adds book jacket.

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