Youth Literature

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
Reviews by Kim Kielley

Maxine Trottier
It's 1917 and the world is embroiled in war. Bridget Keats is a young girl living in outport Newfoundland with her widowed mother. She is a loner and finds solace in watching the boats with a spyglass as they come and go in the harbour by her home. Her mother makes wool socks for the soldiers overseas and sails across the harbour to the post office to mail them. Thank you notes from grateful soldiers trickle back to Bridget and her mother who relish each one, pouring over them in the privacy of their little home. When a wounded soldier takes up residence at the lighthouse across the way, Bridget and her mother offer him kindness and compassion - something most of the locals overlook as they speculate on the reason for his presence. As Bridget delivers baskets laden with food to the injured soldier, she places wildflowers on the top as a sort of peace offering. The story that ensues is one of friendship established through notes identifying the flowers. Children will enjoy this tale of chance companions finding common ground, and wonder along with Bridget and her mother at the fate of a soldier in search of peace and solitude after a horrendous battle.

JustImage the Three of Us
Gina Ducey
This touching little book about a family losing their Dad is written from a child's point of view through a series of simple poems. Together, the poems form a story about the surviving family members' journey in coming to terms with their grief and the coping that happens as they adjust to being a three-person family instead of four. Children's coloured pencil and crayon drawings beautifully illustrate each poem. As the family's journey takes them through likely one of the most difficult periods in all of their lives, the final poem springs hopeful and positive like new growth after a devastating forest fire.

MoocherImage in the Lun: A Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Alphabet
Tom Dawe
"A" is for "auntsary" and "B" is for "barvel," according to this unique children's alphabet book that draws on traditional Newfoundland and Labrador expressions and folklore. Author Tom Dawe takes the reader on an excursion around the bay and back, marrying local sayings and classic folk stories with poetic rhyme to spell out the letters of the alphabet. The book's illustrator, C. Anne MacLeod, draws each letter like nailed-together wooden boards, and makes each scene a graphic visual clue to the author's descriptions. The entertaining poems are lighthearted and humorous, making Moocher in the Lun just as much fun at bedtime for the adults reading it aloud, as it is for the little ones tucked in and listening.

Robert Rayner
ImageWhen public access to a favourite spot at the beach gets cut off by a wealthy businessman who buys the property right to the water's edge, three rebellious teenagers struggle to do what's morally right and what's socially unacceptable as they protest their lack of access to the local swimming hole. Frustrated by the community's apathy, these three friends start off with good intentions, guided by an adult with a history of social protests. As each level of the protests organized by the teens falls on deaf ears, they face direct action in a final, desperate attempt to get their beach back, a move that could prove devastating on many different levels. For more information, or to purchase, call the Downhome mail order line at 1-888-588-6353.