Sponsored annually by the Ontario Library Association, the Red Maple Award reading program is geared to readers in Grade 7 and 8. Ten novels are nominated each year and ten non-fiction are selected every second year.
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Silver Birch Fiction Nominees, 2004
Adventures of Tommy Smith by Robert SutherlandIN 1882 the S.S. Asia, a dangerously overloaded passenger ship, went down in gale- force winds in Georgian Bay, Ontario. More than 100 passengers died in the wreck. Robert Sutherland takes this historical fact and creates a gripping story for middle-grade readers. Tommy Smith, a young orphan, barely survives the sinking. He should feel lucky. But months after being nursed back to health, Tommy discovers that he’s been framed for murder. It’s a good thing everyone believes Tommy drowned in the sinking, allowing him to take on a new identity in Toronto—and a great new job with the circus. But when his past suddenly catches up with him, Tommy must run for his life in a race against time. PREVIOUS EDITION: 0-00-639243-1
A Company of Fools by Deborah EllisCanadian Library Association Book of the Year, Honour Book Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, Honour Book Mr. Christie Silver Book Award Ruth Schwartz Award, finalist Manitoba Young ReadersÆ Choice Award, nominee Rocky Mountain Book Award, nominee Before Micah came to St. Luc's, he knew how to beg, how to steal, and how to run from a beating. He did not know how to comb his hair, walk in line when he felt like running, or obey anyone's whim but his own. He was a stranger in a strange land. If it had been me, I would have found a way to disappear inside myself until the strangeness wore off. Micah was not like me. Henri has been living within abbey walls all his life, first in the care of nuns, then as a choirboy at St. Luc's, not far from Paris. He expects to spend the rest of his life there, copying books in the Scriptorium with the other brothers, and singing Mass in the great cathedral. Then Micah arrives, a streetwise ragamuffin with the voice of an angel, saved from certain hanging to sing for God instead of coins. Micah comes like a fresh breeze into dead places, bringing exuberant joy at a time when Henri most needs it. For the plague is coming, the grim reaper that will slash at the very roots of Henri's security. And neither Henri nor Micah nor anyone else in their world will ever be the same.
Dance of the Stones by Andrea SpaldingIn Dance of the Stones, Chantel, Adam, Holly and Owen are eager to begin the next stage of their adventure. "The Stones have stirred," Ava, Hawkwoman and Wise One, tell Owen, "The time is near for the Circle Dance." The stones are the ancient stone circle of Avebury in England. But the Dark Being approaches, and her servant, a wraith, blocks the children's progress. When Ava is hurt, the children are thrown back on their own resources. They must discover the ritual that will release the circlet. Each child has a part to play in finding the circlet and holding back the Dark Being.
Alone in an Untamed Land by Maxine TrottierYoung Hélène St. Onge and her older sister Catherine are orphans. When King Louis XVI orders all men in New France to marry, Catherine becomes a fille du roi, one of the many young women sent to the new world as brides. Hélène will accompany her on the long sea voyage and live with her sister's new family. But Catherine dies during the grueling journey, and Hélène finds herself alone in a strange new country. New France is a far harsher place than she imagined, with bitter winters and the threat of attack from the Iroquois. Will the few friendships she has made on her long voyage enable her to survive?
The Deep End Gang by Peggy Dymond LeaveyTwelve-year-old Martin Jessup, teller of tall tales and other untruths, cannot understand his sister's objections to the family's move from Winnipeg to small-town Ontario. With Dad in the military, moving is a fact of life. Settling into his new home, Martin is intrigued by a deserted house across the street and by an unfriendly neighbour, who seems to be waiting for something to happen. Martin and new friends Granger and Holly form a club that meets in the deep end of an empty swimming pool. The friends tell Martin that the deserted house is all that remains of the Govier estate and about an unsolved mystery -- the disappearance years ago of Victor Govier. One night, Martin sees a light in the deserted house and the adventures of the Deep End Gang begin. This gentle small-town mystery will appeal to admirers of Peggy Dymond Leavey's Silver Birch Award-nominated Sky Lake Summer.
Finding Sophie by Irene N. WattsSophie Mandel was only seven years old when she arrived in London on the first Kindertransport from Germany. She has grown up with a friend of her parents, a woman she calls Aunt Em, and despite the war and its deprivations, she has made a good life for herself in England with her foster mother. She has even stopped thinking about the parents she left behind. Now the war is over, and fourteen-year-old Sophie is faced with a terrible dilemma. Where does she belong?In this, the third book about the characters introduced in Good-bye Marianne and Remember Me, Irene N. Watts explores the themes of friendship, family, and the nature of love. Finding Sophie is sure to become a favorite.
Jeannie and the Gentle Giants by Luanne ArmstrongJeannie and the Gentle Giants, a novel for readers eight to fourteen, deals with the problems experienced by children when they are taken from their parents and have to make a new life with foster parents in a new community. In Jeannie's case, the problems begin when her mother falls ill and can no longer care for her. Taken from her home, placed with foster parents and unable to discover the whereabouts of her ill mother, young Jeannie withdraws into herself and can think only of running away.Gradually her defences are breached by two immensely large and wonderful workhorses and their perceptive and humorous owner. Through the horses and her work on the farm, Jeannie develops new interests, learns to ride and becomes involved in the daily life of the farm, even helping with horse-logging. In turn, Jeannie learns about friendship, love and trust, and ultimately gains the maturity and self-confidence to accept the challenge of becoming herself a care-giver. In this sensitiveand moving story, Luanne Armstrong draws us into a world of pain, growth and fulfilment.
Leaving the Log House by Ainslie MansonTeresa stays with her aunt and uncle in Vancouver and spends her days at the hospital preparing to walk on a new prosthetic leg. Her teenage brother, Tom, stays with her for the first weekend. He surprises her by playing enthusiastically with two old dolls and a log dollsí house that Teresaís relatives gave to her. When Tom leaves, Teresa is bereft, even more so when he doesnít call or answer her letters. Finally, she reaches out to him, but in so doing pushes him further away. Now, Teresa must find a way to confront her brother and to master her new leg so that she can go home in time for Christmas. One day an image entered author Ainslie Mansonís head. A little girl was flying down to the city from the north. She was going to a hospital and she was scared. As time went on, Ainslie realized that the girl was going to get a prosthesis. With that knowledge, the book began to grow. Careful research made authentic all the details about getting a leg; skill with storytelling turned Teresa into a real girl with doubts, troubles and joys, many of them unrelated to her disability. The dolls, Tape and Curly, are real dolls that Ainslie was given as a child. Ainslie did exactly what Teresa does in the story that nearly lost her her brotherís love forever.
Newton and the giant by Michael McGowan; Shelagh McNulty"Newton, a ten-year-old science geek, has a ton of problems. But currently his bigest problem is avoiding his sports-crazed quadruplet older brothers, who are intent on making Newton pay for embarrassing them ... Desperate to escape their clutches, Newton opens a mysterious door in his attic, only to find himself being pulled through by something on the other side. Something with very strong hands, very hairy nostrils, and absolutely disgusting breath!"--P.  of cover.
TJ and the Haunted House by Hazel HutchinsIn this sequel to TJ and the Cats, TJ and his best friend Seymour are back, joined by a classmate Amanda. TJ does not believe in ghosts, so when he agrees to create a haunted house in his own home as a fundraiser, he does not anticipate problems, at least not until it turns out that a ghost may inhabit the spare room in his century-old house. The ghost, real or imagined, leads TJ to some fascinating family history. TJ finds a way to bring that history alive for his family. The kittens, offspring of two of the cats from the first book, lead the way.
Newton and the Giant by Michael McGowan; Shelagh McNulty"Newton, a ten-year-old science geek, has a ton of problems. But currently his bigest problem is avoiding his sports-crazed quadruplet older brothers, who are intent on making Newton pay for embarrassing them ... Desperate to escape their clutches, Newton opens a mysterious door in his attic, only to find himself being pulled through by something on the other side. Something with very strong hands, very hairy nostrils, and absolutely disgusting breath!"--P.  of cover.