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Unravel by Sharon Jennings


You know those great books that you get ‘into’ and you can’t wait to find out how it ends. But you don’t want them to end…?

Well, I picked up Unravel by Sharon Jennings and I started turning pages. Couldn’t stop reading. The story reads so well, so true. I was right there in Toronto with Rebecca and her strange father. She is such a spunky, independent girl that, despite her strange upbringing, she seems to be alright. But Rebecca struggles with how different her “family” of two is from other families that she observes in her neighbourhood. She doesn’t go to school. She can’t even get a library card even though she is a voracious reader. Books might well be what saved her. She shops at thrift stores and rides the bus by herself.

As soon as she settles and makes friends, her dad packs up and forces her to leave again. But as Rebecca get older, she realizes that something is wrong. Things don’t ring true anymore. The story is so well written that you just have to find out what exactly it is that is wrong.

In the 1990’s I had a favourite book called The Face on The Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. I used that book a lot in writing workshops because the short content was so intriguing. Unravel is every bit as good. A fabulous story for middle graders to sink their teeth in, learn about what life can be like and how what you see on the surface may not be the entire truth…

ISBN 9780889956193, Red Deer Press

The ABC’s of Picture Books

Having written several alphabet books, I love to play with language.
I wanted to share a list of some of my favourite picture books with you and decided to do that in alphabet format. The hardest part was leaving some of my favourite reads ply because I already had one for ‘B’ or ‘W’! But… here it is. Some are brand new books, others are classics. I hope you know some of them but that this might also help you to discover new ones.
More lists to come. Enjoy this one.

Happy reading!

Amos’ Sweater, Janet Lunn

(The)Boy Who Was Raised By Librarians, Carla Morris
Clack-Clack Moo, Doreen Conin
Diary of a Worm, Doreen Cronin
(The) Empty Pot, Demi

Fourteen Cows For America, Carmen Agra Deedy
Gifts, Jo Ellen Bogart, Barbara Reid
Hope Springs, Eric Walters, Eugenie Fernandes
If You Happen To Have A Dinosaur, Linda Bailey, Colin Jack
Jeremiah Learns to Read, Jo Ellen Bogart,

Knuffle Bunny Free, Mo Willems
Last Day Blues, Julie Danneberg

ama Miti, Donna Jo Napoli 

Not a Box, Antoinette Portis
One Word from Sophia, Jim Averbeck
Pog, Lynn Lee
Be Quiet!, Ryan T. Higgins
Round Trip, Ann Jonas
Something From Nothing, Phoebe Gilman
Totem Tale, Deb Vanasse
Up The Creek, Nicholas Oldland
Violin, The Man With The… , Kathy Stinson
Waiting For The Whales, Sheryl McFarlane
EXcellent Ed, Stacy McAnulty
Yetsa’s Sweater, Sylvia Olsen
Zoom, Istvan Banyai

Flat Stanley Inspired Travels

Do you know the Flat Stanley books? (see:

These fictional books are fun stories about Stanley, who was a regular boy until he got flattened by a bulletin board that fell on his bed. Since then he’s had amazing adventures because he fits under doors and through mail slots.

My dream is for my grandsons to be able to travel, albeit it not in a flattened state. I’d love it if, one day, they can come along on some of my travels to schools around the world. I would dearly love to show them Hong Kong, have them meet kids in Cambodia or see life in Dubai. One day I hope I can realize this dream. But for now, I decided to take two flat grandchildren with me on my latest trip.
The boys each coloured a ‘flat Nico’ and a ‘flat Aidan’, giving them the clothes they were wearing that day, as well as an attractive hairdo.
The two flat boys were tucked neatly in our daypack and they came along on the airplane!

They made new friends in a school in Cambodia and visited one of the most amazing sites in the world: the Angkor Wat temple complex.

Flat Aidan and Flat Nico made a trip on a wooden boat on the Mekong river but mostly they loved the white sand beach of Koh Rong in southern Cambodia.

Then the flat boys visited Hong Kong – they saw skyscrapers and a metropolis of apartment buildings and green hill sides. They saw the Star Ferry and bowls of rice with chicken.

Peace is achieved when people make friends, when cultures understand and respect each other. My dream is to help my grandsons make friends around the world. I can’t wait for that to happen.