The Disappearance

This novel centers on the unlikely friendship between two boys, Jacob Mueller and Mike McCallum. Jacob seems to be from a different world. After mystifying experts and doctors, who finally decide that he is an elective mute, Jacob ends up in a juvenile group home, isolated and withdrawn, the butt of teasing by the other kids. Mike exists in his own private hell. Scarred physically and emotionally after the murder of his younger brother, his one aim is to survive the system until he is legally old enough to get out. He uses his horrific appearance, imposing size, sharp intelligence, and a calculated brutality to keep everyone at bay–until he encounters Jacob. Almost despite himself, Mike is fascinated by Jacob, particularly the way in which he seems able to shut out the world around him. This fascination deepens and becomes tinged by a mixture of awe and horror when Jacob starts to talk, and appears to have knowledge of Mike’s past, and in particular of his dead brother. Mike takes it upon himself to solve the puzzle that is Jacob Mueller, and when he comes to what seems to him to be the impossible conclusion that Jacob is from another time, he makes it his mission to return him home. In order to do so, Mike has to make hard choices: choices which could offer the chance of redemption, but only at great cost. More

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. More

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.  More

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? More

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?  More

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.  More

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. More

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.  More

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  More