Books

A Fascinating Piece of Time Travel

This is invaluable for writers of historical fiction or anyone fascinated by military history!

I am Canada: Defend or Die

Nineteen-year-old Jack Finnigan is a born troublemaker. He has grown up defying authority and leaves his small town to enlist in the Royal Rifles, expecting adventure… and not afraid of danger. Little does he know what awaits across the Pacific, where his untested regiment is being sent to defend the vulnerable British colony of Hong Kong.

The Royal Rifles and the Winnipeg Grenadiers, many of them young and untrained, quickly find themselves in the thick of battle as the Japanese attack on Sunday, December 7, 1941 (the same day as the bombing of Pearl Harbor). After nearly a month of fighting, the colony falls to the Japanese.

Jack writes about the fierce battles during those hard weeks, the surrender and capture of his unit, and his brutal time in the POW camp. In those desperate battles and horrendous conditions, he befriends a once-despised sergeant and learns to work with him in order to survive.

Scholastic Canada Ltd | February 1, 2015
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781443113052 HC
9781443142731 EBK


I am Canada: A Call To Battle

The War of 1812 comes to life through the eyes of a young Canadian boy.

It’s 1812. War has begun, and thirteen-year-old Alexander (Sandy) MacKay is jealous when his older brother Angus goes off with their father to fight the Americans attacking the Niagara region. Too young to know the darker side of battle, he resents being left to shoulder the work on his family’s farm.

Itching to get in on the action, he sneaks away from home and heads to Lundy’s Lane to join up with the local militia. But battle is imminent, and now there’s not much his father can do except try to shield him from the worst of the fighting.

Sandy’s idealized notions of what battle will be like are shattered when the man standing before him is killed by a musket ball and Sandy’s own brother is severely wounded. At the battle of Lundy’s Lane, the united Canadian and British forces turn the tide against the American troops, but Sandy comes to know how chilling war can be.

Just in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, A Call to Battle is a sobering look at the realities of war. Author Gillian Chan skillfully depicts the transformation of an impetuous young boy, full of boyish enthusiasm, into a more realistic young man who emerges on the other side of war.

Scholastic Canada, 2012
ISBN 978-1443100069


The Turning

Sixteen year old Ben Larsson is angry. His mother is dead. His estranged father has dragged him to England, hoping that a fresh start in a new country will repair their damaged relationship. Ben is determined that this will never happen.

Then Ben’s life is consumed by unexplained events. A complete stranger attacks him. The school outcast follows him around like a stray puppy. He finds a twig image of himself on his doorstep. What is happening? Who or what is behind this?

Meanwhile, an ancient force is luring Ben into the woods nearby. Will the knowledge he finds there bring back order into his life or complicate it in ways unimaginable?

Reviews
“This compelling and fascinating fantasy is filled with thought-provoking vocabulary and wildly imaginative description.”
School Library Journal – July 2005, Starred Review

Kids Can Press 2005
ISBN: 1-55337-576-9 (pbk)
ISBN: 1-55337-575-0 (bound)


Dear Canada: An Ocean Apart: The Gold Mountain Diary of Chin Mei-Ling

Monday, November 13, 1922

My Baba looked very serious and he asked me how much I thought about Ma. Every day, was what I said, but I did not tell him that I thought of Ma many times each day. Baba smiled and said that he did too. He looked very hard at me, making sure our eyes saw each other. “I promise Mei-ling,” he said, “that we will do everything we can to bring your mother and brother here.” He gripped my arm, so tight that it hurt. I knew that what Baba said was true. If we continue to work hard and save our money, we can pay their fares and tax just like Uncle Wing-lok did for us.

Thursday, November 16, 1922
Baba has never told me exactly how much we have saved, but I know his dream is for both Ma and Little Brother to come together. When I think how much money we need, I feel very small. A thousand dollars and their fare on the boat–how many hours will we have to work for that?

Scholastic Canada 2004
ISBN 0-77911-353-5


A Foreign Field

Lately, life has been tough for fourteen year old Ellen Logan. With her country embroiled in the Second World War, her brothers in the service and her parents busily supporting the war effort, Ellen is forced to shoulder many of the family responsibilities.

Life is even tougher for Stephen Dearborn, a young British pilot in training at the local airfield. Inexperienced and far from home, Stephen’s romantic dreams of being a flyer are shattered by the harsh reality of his training.

Even as Ellen and Stephen are forced to grow up before their time, their friendship continues to deepen – and together they discover that sometimes falling apart is only steps away from falling in love.

Published in 2002.

Awards
Winner of the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award
Winner of Napra’s Nautilius Award for Young Adult Book
Winner of Hamilton and Region Arts’ Council Award for best children’s book for 2002
Short listed for the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards

Reviews
“Chan has drawn upon her own family history – both her father and uncle were in the RAF – to create an engaging and compassionate novel that succinctly explores how war really changes young lives.”
Jeffrey Canton – Books in Canada

“Over all, this a wonderful story in which the characters seem real, and readers will laugh and cry along with them.”
Paula J. LaRue – School Library Journal

“Stephen and Ellen are both sympathetic characters—she a little plain, Stephen rather stiff and self absorbed, they’re neither glamorous nor beautiful. Stephen’s frequent letters are vivd and revealing and Chan shows poignantly Ellen’s necessary maturation.”
Dierdre Baker – The Toronto Star

Kids Can Press 2002
ISBN: 1-55337-350-2 (pbk)
ISBN: 1-55337-349-9 (bound)


Carved Box

Fifteen-year old Callum Murdoch knows he is a fool. No sooner has he arrived from Scotland than he’s handed over his savings to a stranger for a filthy, half-starved dog and a strange, carved box. How will he explain this to his Uncle Rory, a man he has never met and the only relative willing to give him a home? Was his impusive decision inspired by loneliness? Or was it the subtle glint in Dog’s eye.

Callum is unprepared for the grinding physical labour of working on a farm. His only source of comfort is Dog. She seems to know all his secret wishes and fears. With Dog by his side, Callum gains the courage to assert his independence in the New World. But when the mysterious carved box accidentally breaks open, Callum is faced with some astonishing revelations — and some difficult decisions.

Reviews
“The Carved Box is a thoroughly satisfying historical novel with just a whiff of fancy.”
Jeffrey Canton – Quill and Quire

“A very good first novel, notable for its evocation of time and place.”
Susan Perren – The Globe and Mail

Kids Can Press 2001
ISBN: 1-55337-016-3 (pbk)
ISBN: 1-55074-895-5 (bound)


Glory Days and Other Stories

Another Gillian Chan novel for young people.

Rachel…
…longs to be accepted and is terrified that her eccentric family will prevent this. Matters come to a head when her brother, Aaron, becomes ‘famous’, or as far as Rachel is concerned, ‘infamous’.

Art…
…appears to be perfect: good looking, wealthy, a top student and athlete; helpful towards others. Is this the true Art? What is his hidden motive?

Rudy…
…has been burdened all his life by his feeling that his size, ‘man-mountain’ is one the kinder names he’s been called, is what he is judged by. When a really pretty, popular girl asks him out, he thinks that everything is going to change.

Luisa…
…is new to Elmwood and is not finding the transition easy. Her loneliness and desire to fit in cloud her judgement and she finds herself in a dangerous situation.

Michael…
… is one of Elmwood’s top athletes, a source of great pride to his father, but pride can become pressure. Michael is strong enough to deal with it himself, but he has to find a way to protect his younger brother, a gifted hockey player.

Awards
Governor General’s Literary Award, 1996 – short listed finalist
Mr. Christie’s Book Award, 1996 – short listed finalist
Hamilton and Region Arts’ Council Literary Award, 1996 – winner

Reviews
“Glory Days explores real issues facing young adults without ever taking on a preachy, parental tone . . .Chan never settles for the easy, perfect out. The stories are intricate, as is life, and the characters are flawed, as are all of us.”
Gary Curtis and Lee Prokaska – The Hamilton Spectator

Credit
Book Covers – Bernard Leduc

Kids Can Press 1996
ISBN: 1-55074-319-8 (pbk)
ISBN: 1-55074-381-3 (bound)


Golden Girl and Other Stories

Here you’ll meet the students of Elmwood High School, who might seem familiar to you.

Awards
Mr. Christie’s Book Awards, 1994 – short listed finalist Hamilton and Region Arts Council Literary Award, Children’s books,1995 – winner

Reviews
“Chan’s descriptions of the tensions arising between adults and adolescents have the ring of truth…. (her endings) leave the reader pondering on the peculiarities and vagaries of human nature. Now that’s a good story.”
Elizabeth MacCallum – The Globe and Mail

Her clear-eyed view of teens and their sometimes surprising behaviour (both good and bad) is sympathetic but never sugar-coated.”
Sandy Van Harten – The Hamilton Spectator

Credits
Book Cover – Bernard Leduc

Kids Can Press 2005

ISBN: 1-55074-219-1 (pbk)

ISBN: 1-55074-385-6 (bound)