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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Better Than Weird«

Leseprobe vom

Better Than Weird

Orca Book Publishers


In this stand-alone sequel to The Mealworm Diaries, Aaron is anxiously waiting for his father to return for the first time since Aaron's mother's death eight years earlier. Aaron works hard with a counselor at school, but he still has problems getting along with and understanding other kids, and he's worried that his dad will think he's weird. As well as having to confront Tufan, the class bully, Aaron must find ways to cope with the fact that his dad now has a pregnant wife and his beloved Gran needs surgery. In the end, his greatest strength is not his intelligence or his sense of humor, but the openness and warmth of his heart.

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"A stand-alone sequel to Anna Kerz's excellent Mealworm Diaries. Aaron is a credible, well-rounded character, as are Gran, Tufan, Dad, and all of the other characters. Better Than Weird is simply told, yet rich with wonderful metaphors and believable surprises. Kerz's style makes this a story that will appeal to readers of all levels. Highly Recommended."

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"The story moves quickly and for those who enjoyed the humour in The Mealworm Diaries, they will certainly enjoy this title...Would be a good addition to a young readers' fiction collection in both school and public libraries. Aaron Waite is a unique, well-formed character who, like Joey Pigza in Jack Gantos' Joey Series, captures our sympathy and we read on because we want him to succeed."

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"This moving story looks at both family and school life from the point of view of a boy trying hard to fit into a world he doesn't quite understand...The details of school life are believable and familiar, and the ending leaves Aaron and readers waiting for a hopeful outcome...This companion book [to The Mealworm Diaries] stands alone but will surely send readers back to read the first."

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"With warmth and understanding, Kerz presents Aaron's brave, hopeful efforts to understand others, inviting us to sympathize with his uncertainties about 'reading' people and about learning how to manage his own enthusiasm appropriately."

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"Kerz compassionately shares Aaron's struggles and joys while illustrating the different perceptions others have of him and how these perceptions impact his own views and responses."

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"The plot moves at a good pace, interweaving the stories of Aaron waiting to meet his father that abandoned him, learning how to make and keep a friend, and resolving conflict with a bully...This is a good choice for someone who has some of the same issues as the protagonist or needs help understanding someone who does."

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[Starred review] "Aaron doesn't know his father at all. He is both excited and terrified by the impending reunion—and so are we...Kerz is brilliant at describing these challenges from Aaron's perspective, and she does so without a trace of sentimentality...It's a messy and far from perfect outcome for Aaron, but after spending some time with his own messy imperfections, we wouldn't have it any other way."

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"A good book, with some mystery and action...Interesting and easy to follow."

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"The twists and turns in this short novel paint a compelling picture of the difficulties of growing up, and provide a unique perspective."

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"Kerz manages to create an endearing protagonist whom we want to succeed. By writing from Aaron's point of view, Kerz helps readers understand the daily struggles faced by a child who has always been teased, bullied and chosen last...We feel deeply for him. This is a story that all children who have struggled to fit in will appreciate and a tale that will perhaps garner empathy and understanding in those who know children like Aaron."

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"In a long line of recent books about kids with autism, Kerz's effort nevertheless shines, primarily because in Aaron she has created a kid who captures readers' complete interest as he struggles with his quirks and tries to be, as the title puts it, better than weird...Life's complications are delicately handled by Kerz, who weaves a multilayered tale...A heartwarming read for fans of realistic fiction."

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"Kerz succeeds beautifully at crafting a convincing narrative centered on the life of a 12-year-old boy who cannot control his behavior...Aaron's voice is convincing as a child desperate to understand his surroundings. Supporting characters, from Aaron's father to his classmates, are also realistically portrayed."

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Anna Kerz's first book, The Mealworm Diaries, was shortlisted for many awards, including a Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. In her spare time, she tells stories to audiences of all ages and teaches students how to tell stories of their own. She lives in Scarborough, Ontario, with her husband, Frank, and their dog, Bailey.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Gnome's Eye«

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The Gnome's Eye

Orca Book Publishers


In the spring of 1954, when her father announces that the family has a chance to immigrate to Canada, Theresa's life changes forever. She and her family are wartime refugees from Yugoslavia, so it shouldn't be hard to leave Austria. But the weathered barracks of Lager Lichtenstein are the only home she knows, and they are filled with family and friends she doesn't want to leave behind.

As she says her good-byes, Theresa's friend Martin gives her two gifts: a package of postcards and a stone he calls the Gnome's Eye, which he says will "protect her from all things evil, living or dead." Theresa is convinced the stone has no power, but she still keeps it close as they travel on the crowded immigrant ship and when they settle into a rooming house on Kensington Avenue in Toronto.

At first Theresa is afraid of everything: the other tenants in the rooming house, the rat that lives in the kitchen, learning a new language. But as time goes by, Theresa's need for the Gnome's Eye fades, until she is finally able to give it to someone who needs it more than she does.

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"A realistic novel that shows the trauma of adjustment to a new culture. The Gnome's Eye also contains mythical, magical elements that give it an added dimension…Highly recommended."

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"A touching story of immigration through the eyes of a young girl...Sensitive and fast-paced, this well-written novel will capture the reader's interest on many levels."

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"A charming fish out of water story with sharply imaginative elements that children nine to 12 will enjoy."

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"[A] lively, detailed novel...The immigration drama will hold readers."

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"Sensitively written…Highly recommend[ed]."

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"An excellent book for anyone interested in the struggles of an immigrant."

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"A believable first-person narrative told through the eyes of an impressionable, imaginative child…This family interests the reader, and learning about a different time and place is intriguing. Recommended."

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"This immigration story…presents itself through a strong first-person voice deft in creating an empathetic and engaging response in middle grade readers. Both laughter and genuine concern will be evident through Theresa's imaginative storytelling and descriptive narrative."

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"Kerz provides a fresh take on...immigrant motifs in a well-shaped plot...Kerz does a particularly nice job of indicating that the characters are not speaking English."

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Anna Kerz's first book, The Mealworm Diaries, was shortlisted for many awards, including a Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. In her spare time, she tells stories to audiences of all ages and teaches students how to tell stories of their own. She lives in Scarborough, Ontario, with her husband, Frank, and their dog, Bailey.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Mealworm Diaries«

Leseprobe vom

The Mealworm Diaries

Orca Book Publishers


Mealworms are small creatures that live in dark secret places. Jeremy is a bit like that when he leaves his home in rural Nova Scotia and moves to Toronto with his mother. Lots of things keep him from enjoying his new life, but the worst is his science partner, Aaron, who is more annoying than sand in a bathing suit. Jeremy is also burdened by the secret he carries about the motorcycle accident that injured him and killed his father. Although Jeremy is haunted by his past, he starts to feel at home in Toronto when he realizes he has some skills he can share with his classmates. And when his mealworm project yields some surprising results, Jeremy is finally able to talk about his part in the fatal accident.

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"A heartwarming story of friendship and kindness...A worthy read for public and school libraries."

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"Kerz effectively conveys the insular social dynamics of a grade-school classroom and presents winning portraits of Jeremy and his understanding family and teacher. Readers will enjoy this quiet story as they absorb its simple but timeless message about the importance of kindness."

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"A finely crafted blend of humour, drama, and suspense. The measured and compelling revelation of Jeremy’s dark secret is well balanced by scenes from his science and gym classes as well as the development of his relationship with Milly. The plot has some nice, realistic surprises and a satisfying as well as uplifting conclusion. Highly Recommended."

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"Aaron's ADHD-type-behavioural problems are described with such accuracy that he jumps right off the page...There is real, raw talent here, evident in the character of Aaron, and in the depiction of classroom life."

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"Sensitively written…Highly recommend[ed]."

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"The characters are multi-dimensional as they struggle not only to be cool, but nice. This is a satisfying read, and a good choice for younger students as they learn to get along with the other students in their class."

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"This moving first novel deftly weaves...serious issues into a realistic depiction of an ordinary boy moving forward despite his loss and doing the right thing by his troubled classmate."

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"There's a lot of boy-appeal here…Themes of grief and loss, friendship, identity, and acceptance are all present and balanced against each other; no particular theme is superimposed too obviously over the others…A worthwhile book for kids who are grieving, moving, or even struggling to deal with an annoying classmate."

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"I devoured this book, and enjoyed every second of it...[I] was impressed that (even though heavier topics were covered) it was such a light, easy and entertaining read."

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"A wonderful, sensitive story...[the] characters extend understanding even to those who have not personally felt this hurt."

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"Kerz does a wonderful job of connecting a mealworm's simple life with a child's incredibly complicated one, and she does so in a manner that appears effortless...A short and sweet novel about friendship, love, loss, and insects, Kerz has integrated a whole bunch of themes into one marvelous one about discovery."

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"Kerz has produced a sympathetic character in Jeremy, troubled by his self-imposed guilt over the death of his father...The social implications of Jeremy's secrets are staged realistically; the interactions at home, in the classroom, and on the playground ring true."

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Anna Kerz's first book, The Mealworm Diaries, was shortlisted for many awards, including a Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. In her spare time, she tells stories to audiences of all ages and teaches students how to tell stories of their own. She lives in Scarborough, Ontario, with her husband, Frank, and their dog, Bailey.

 
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