Write Right

Writing Tip of the Week Use "the right words" whenever you write. Watch for the commonly misused words below: accept, except Please accept (receive) my apology. Everyone has except (other than) you. affect. effect Ava's lateness affected the whole class. (Affect--a verb meaning "to influence") The effect (result) was a class full of angry students. already, all ready I have already finished working on the car. (Already is an adverb telling when.) Now I'm all ready to take it for a drive. (All ready is a phrase meaning "completely ready.") alternate, alternative Since the highway was blocked with snow, we took an alternate route (Alternate is an adjective meaning "other.") We had no alternat

Books for Boys

Looking for books for boys? What is the secret to getting boys to read? Tell them to put the book down--now! Seriously, though, sometimes getting boys to read is an uphill battle. I began writing with the reluctant reader in mind, having struggled to engage teens, especially boys, by using the resources available in my classroom when I was a new teacher. Fast forward many years, I've taught hundreds of students, all ages and grades, and have read hundreds of books. I've found that boys naturally gravitate towards non-fiction, such as "how-to" manuals, science and history articles, biographical and news items. Anything on the Internet, too, of course. But fiction? Not so much. Unless these bo

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“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer… The officials have arrived and the children must go.” So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7,000 Survivor statements and 5 million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as

Review of "Buyers, Liars, Sellers and Yellers" by Daniel Pike and Joy Lynn Goddard

Buyers, Liars, Sellers and Yellers Daniel Pike and Joy Lynn Goddard (Friesen Press, 2016) Reviewed by Marion Reidel Buyers, Liars, Sellers and Yellers is an entertaining collection of short fiction for mature readers, in particular those for whom leisure time a scarce commodity. As the title hints, the stories all have some connection to real estate. Manipulative brokers try to close deals, anxious buyers chase their dream homes and homeowners struggle with some of life’s most challenging transitions. Joy Lynn Goddard has an established career as an author of Young Adult fiction. Daniel Pike is her husband and a former real estate agent. They teamed up to create this amusing collection of a

An excerpt from "Mrs. Maloney's Garden"

As I stepped onto the porch, I noticed that Stitches wasn’t tied to the maple tree any longer and that Trevor wasn’t in the tree. Although Josh was still sitting on a branch – I could see his red hair through the leaves – Trevor had climbed down from the tree and was standing with Stitches in the little garden with the white picket fence. Nearby, the compost bin was open, the lid up. That was weird, for the lid was usually down, to keep animals out, so I figured Trevor had taken something from the bin to tempt Stitches with it. Sometimes bits of meat get thrown into the bin by accident. My dog loves meat. He must have thought something smelled pretty good because he was clawing and sniffing

An excerpt from "Jazz"

Chapter 1 Kylie Cove Jazz slid down in her four-poster bed and pulled the thick white quilt to her chin. Overhead, in the attic, the floorboards groaned, as if from the weight of someone walking around in heavy boots. “Dad? You up there?” She stared hard at the ceiling, wondering why her dad was roaming around in the attic. After all, there was nothing up there except dust, cobwebs and spiders. She raised her voice, “Dad, that you?” “Jazz?” Her dad’s voice was coming from the main floor, not above. “Did you want something?” She threw off the covers and jumped out of bed. In the hall, she leaned over the banister and spotted her dad at the bottom of the winding staircase. “I heard something i

An excerpt from "Hello, my name is Emily"

As Emily stepped out of the trees, she spotted a man in jeans and a green-checkered jacket sitting on the bench. With dirty blond hair falling in his face, he was hunched over a newspaper, smoking. A small black Ford was parked near the trees just behind him. Emily identified Philip from the descriptions of himself and his car in his emails. He looked much older than she had expected – but anyone older than 20 seemed old to her. There was nobody around. Usually there were kids on the monkey bars or slides with their parents nearby on the benches. She headed across the damp grass, her sneakers squeaking. “Philip?” Her throat was dry. He lifted his head and grinned, his teeth yellow, his face

An excerpt from "Charlie's Song"

Matt pushed through the cafeteria doors and headed across the room, hoping to find Shannon. She usually sat by the windows, near Alessa’s table. Alessa, Kristen and Yen, along with their boyfriends, always sat together, ignoring everyone else and carrying on as if they were the only kids in the cafeteria. He spotted Sam, a friend from Computer Science, who was getting up to leave. Shannon was nearby, her nose in a book, with her blonde hair spiked in all directions. Matt liked the look. He liked everything about Shannon, especially her eyes. They were warm and dark, like chocolate, and when she looked at him, his knees buckled, and he had to sit down before he fell down. Shannon was the only

An excerpt from "Daredevils"

As the team travelled to Horseshoe Falls, Lizzie’s thoughts drifted to her first time there, with her classmates last June. The kids had explored long winding tunnels, which led to lookouts over the river and to a platform near the brink of the falls. Before going underground, they’d put on shiny yellow slickers and black boots, with hopes of protecting themselves from the spray, but they’d got soaked anyway. Lizzie remembered looking through an opening in the rock face, awe-struck: The falls pounded the river, creating a billowy mist that rose over rocks and water and almost hid the tour boat, The Maid of the Mist, as it chugged along the river. Night had fallen and clusters of twinkling li

An excerpt from "When Pigs Fly"

Chapter 1 Maddie had heard the rumour about Sam but didn’t believe it for a second. After all, like most rumours, it had spread like wildfire through the halls and classrooms, everywhere at school, which had probably destroyed the truth along the way. Maybe her friend Ava had had something to do with it, trying to save Maddie from falling for a guy like Sam. She was always pointing out the negative in people. Or maybe Justin had opened his big mouth. He and Maddie had had a “thing” last year before they’d realized there was no chemistry between them and broke up. Their friendship had changed after that. It was different somehow. She sat up in the lounge on the deck to dig around in her purse

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