CCBC January 2014 Newsletter: The Olympics!


Welcome to the New CCBC Newsletter
January Book List: Olympics & Winter Sports Best Bets
Author Corner: An Interview with Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Book Week & 2014 Writing Contest
Amy’s Marathon of Books
Book News is Now on Sale!
Next Month…

Welcome to the New CCBC Newsletter

Welcome to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s brand new newsletter. We are very happy to be able to offer this newsletter once a month going forward. Every month, we will pick a theme and bring you author interviews, book lists, activities, and more. This month, with the Sochi 2014 Olympics almost here, we are focusing on winter sports and the Olympics.

Once you’ve had a look, we would love to hear your feedback. Please take a moment to complete our quick survey here for a chance to win a selection of Canadian books.

Happy reading!

Charlotte Teeple
Executive Director
Canadian Children’s Book Centre

January Book List: Olympics & Winter Sports Best Bets

by Emma Sakamoto

In celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games, the CCBC has compiled a list of winter sports books. Celebrate the Olympics in your classroom with Canadian children’s books. Go Team Canada!

Interest Level (IL) is listed by age; Reading Level (RL) is listed by grade

Picture Books

Crosby's Golden GoalCrosby’s Golden Goal
Written by Mike Leonetti
Illustrated by Gary McLaughlin
Scholastic Canada, 2012
IL: Ages 5-8 RL: Grade 3
Tyler feels like hockey has taken over his life and just wants to take a break from the sport. He continues to follow the game, though, and his favourite player, Sidney Crosby. When his father takes him to the Winter Olympics gold-medal game between Canada and the United States, Tyler watches Sidney Crosby score the “golden goal” and realizes how much he misses the game.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Over at the RinkOver at the Rink: A Hockey Counting Book
Written by Stella Partheniou Grasso
Illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Scholastic Canada, 2012
IL: Ages 3-8 RL: Grade 2
Join the hometown crowd as they cheer their team to victory. It’s a rollicking introduction to all the players, coaches, officials and fans who make up the game we all love and a fun way to count to ten. A fun-filled hockey parody of the traditional counting song, “Over in the Meadow.”
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Puckster Goes to the OlympicsPuckster Goes to the Olympics
Written by Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Illustrated by Kelly Findley
Fenn/Tundra, 2013
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3
Puckster has been selected to act as Team Canada’s stick boy at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Readers will follow all the action and adventure of an Olympic tournament as Puckster plays along with NHL superstars Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash, Jonathon Toews, and more!
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Tundra Books, 2010
IL: Ages 6-12 RL: Grades 2-3
In this modern, Canadian twist on the Cinderella story, Cindy Winters longs to play on a hockey team. When she finally saves up enough money to join, she comes up against the horrible Blister Sisters and their mom — THE COACH!! They make her life miserable until the day Cindy meets her Fairy Goaltender. Will Cindy be able to impress Coach Prince and make the all-star team?
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Blazer DriveBlazer Drive
(Orca Sports)
Written by Sigmund Brouwer
Orca Book Publishers, 2007
IL: Ages 10-14 RL: Grades 4-5
When Josh, left-winger for the Kamloops Blazers, finds dead cattle on the family ranch, he might have more than just a promising career on the line.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Boarder PatrolBoarder Patrol
(Orca Sports)
Written by Erin Thomas
Orca Book Publishers, 2010
Ryan wants to be a professional snowboader. When his parents move to Winnipeg, Ryan stays with his aunt, uncle and cousin Kevin to finish high school and to be close to the mountains. When Ryan’s board is stolen, he discovers that his cousin knows more about recent criminal activity at the ski resort than he should. Ryan must choose between promoting his own career and doing the right thing.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Written by W.C. Mack
Scholastic Canada, 2012
IL: Ages 8-10 RL: Grades 3-4
Nugget couldn’t wait for Christmas Break Hockey Camp to train with retired Canuck Danny Holbrook. But instead he’s training with an Olympic gold medallist, on a team that includes girls! With Coach Katie Gunnar at the helm, Nugget and his friends are headed for a big attitude adjustment. The sequel to Hat Trick and Line Change.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Ghost of the Stanley CupThe Ghost of the Stanley Cup
(Screech Owls)
Written by Roy MacGregor
Tundra Books, 2013
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grade 4
The Screech Owls are in Ottawa to play in the Little Stanley Cup Peewee Tournament. This gives young players a chance to see Canada’s capital city and Algonquin Park and go river rafting. They visit some of the region’s famous ghosts and suspect that one of these ghosts could be real. Originally published in 2000, by McClelland & Stewart.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Young Adult Fiction

Big AirBig Air
(Podium Sports Academy)
Written by Lorna Schultz Nicholson
James Lorimer, 2013
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grade 3
Aboriginal snowboarder Jax has it made. He’s in his last year at Podium Sports Academy and he’s got a sponsorship from a big snowboarding company in the bag. But then his older brother, always the troublemaker in the family, shows up in Calgary unexpectedly. Suddenly Jax’s sponsorship is threatened when the police come asking questions about a break-in at the house where he lives. He wants to help his brother, but will it cost him his future as a professional boarder?
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Written by Nicole Luiken
Great Plains Teen Fiction
IL: Ages 12 and up RL: Grade 7
Johnny is a talented hockey player in Iqualit, Nunavut. He seems to have everything going for him. But his friend, Kathy, knows something is very wrong. Johnny’s friends search for a way to save him from a mysterious threat.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

The Hat TrickThe Hat Trick
Written by Tom Earle
HarperCollins Canada
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grade 7
Ricky Phillips is selected to play in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and everyone around him is going to make sure he makes it to the NHL. When Ricky is drafted, everyone is thrilled. When an on-ice fight turns deadly, Ricky is forced to question how much hockey is worth to him. A compelling look at life inside professional hockey.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Power PlaysPower Plays
Written by Maureen Ulrich
Coteau Books, 2007
IL: Ages 12-14 RL: Grades 6-8
Fourteen-year-old Jessie moves to a new city and learns teamwork, self-reliance and a new kind of friendship when she joins the girls’ hockey team. The author’s note includes tips on how to reduce bullying in schools, what teens can do if they’re being bullied and resources to deal with bullying.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores


Crazy CanucksCrazy Canucks: The Uphill Battle of Canada’s Downhill Ski Team
Written by Eric Zweig
James Lorimer, 2008
IL: Ages 10 and up RL: Grades 5-6
Canada’s downhill ski team, made up of Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin, and Dave Murray, took the European and North American ski circuits by storm during the 1970s and early 1980s. These men gained a reputation for taking risks other skiers were afraid to take. Black-and-white photos, sidebars, and a glossary are included.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

How Figure Skating WorksHow Figure Skating Works
(How Sports Work)
Written by Keltie Thomas
Illustrations by Stephen MacEachern
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 3-4
                                 Maple Tree Press/Owlkids, 2009
Keltie Thomas offers a sneak peek into one of the most popular Winter Olympic sports in the world. Meet some of the most inspirational skaters in history. Discover how skates are crafted to allow skaters to glide, stop, twist and turn with amazing ease. Delve into the secrets behind the skating world’s rivalries and greatest partnerships. Find out how skaters ward off dizzy spells during their dazzling spins, how to improve your performance as a skater and more! The book includes a “Rules and Regs” section and glossary. Illustrations and photos accompany the fun and fascinating text. This is the fifth instalment in the How Sports Work series.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Winning GoldWinning Gold: Canada’s Incredible 2002 Olympic Victory in Women’s Hockey
Written by Lorna Schultz Nicholson
James Lorimer, 2010
IL: Ages 10 and up RL: Grades 5-6
When women’s hockey became an official Olympic sport in Nagano, Canada’s female team was expected to win gold. When they brought home the silver, it was a huge upset. As they headed into the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, they’d been on an eight-game losing streak to the favoured American team. What no one knew was that the players had harnessed a special tool to help them win — the power of belief.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

Tim Horton: From Stanley Cup to Coffee CupsTim Horton: From Stanley Cups to Coffee Cups
(Larger than Life)
Written by Don Quinlan
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010
IL: Ages 8 and up RL: Grades 4-5
In a brilliant career that spanned 22 seasons, Tim Horton achieved what many hockey players only dream about. He is viewed as one of the legends of the game. As impressive as his career was, it was his work ethic, sense of humour and dedication to his team, friends and family that made him stand out. Includes full-colour and archival photographs, statistics and illustrations throughout.
Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores

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Author Corner: An Interview with Lorna Schultz Nicholson

By Kate Abrams

Image courtesy of Lorna Schultz NicholsonA self-described “jock,” Lorna Schultz Nicholson grew up loving athletics as much as she loved reading and writing. Today, she has combined her passions into a successful career as an author and speaker. We asked Lorna about her books, how she connects with students during her very popular presentations, and what she thinks about the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

You do a lot of school author visits. Do you have any tips on keeping students engaged during presentations?
This is a good question, as every presentation is different and sometimes the children are so engaged (a presenter’s dream visit) and other times there are little ones tapping the floor or making sounds with the Velcro on their shoes, over and over. I always try to make eye contact to let the kids know they’re important to me. Animated gestures and tons of energy go a long way in keeping kids engaged. I move around a lot, and that keeps their eyes following me. I also like to ask the kids questions so [that] they are part of the presentation. Of course, they have to raise their hand to answer. And…I always have a few games up my sleeve if I feel I’m losing them, even if it’s just to get them up and stretching.

What do kids usually like the most about your books and presentations?
Oh gosh, I’m kind of blushing here. Okay, so I would have to say my energy and animation and passion. I love presenting to children of all ages because I adore them.  And that includes teens too. I love the energy of children (especially teenage energy and angst), and how they think and the questions they ask and the things they say. One kid put up his hand and said to me, “You really like us.” This made my heart sing because it was true and he saw my passion. All of my books are lively, and because I do write about a lot of sports I am able to read with a lot of energy.

You’ve written books about athletics for kids of all ages, both fiction and non-fiction. What’s the best part of writing about sports?
I love the action and the drama that goes along with sports. There are so many highs and lows, and that always makes for good conflict in a story. We writers love conflict. I’m so thrilled when readers tell me they actually felt as if they were at the arena watching a game when reading one of my scenes. That’s exactly how I want them to feel. Plus, I was such a jock when I was young, so I feel that I have combined a childhood love with my love of writing and that makes me a very happy person. By the way, I love my job. My children asked me, “Mom, when are you going to retire?” My answer was a shocked, “Never!”

Which of your books would you recommend for teaching about the Olympics?
I think my non-fiction books Winning Gold and Fighting for Gold are really good for teaching about what athletes have to go through to win that gold medal.  Winning Gold is about the Women’s Hockey Team in 2002 and how, even with so much adversity, they won. Fighting for Gold is about our 2006 Men’s Paralympic Sledge Hockey Team. I did so much research for this book that I could have written [a book] that was four times the length. The guys on this team have overcome so much to play their sport. I admire them so much.

All of my Podium Sports Academy books teach about the drive and determination an athlete has to have to get to the Olympics. All the characters in this series are young hopefuls. They all want to make it and they are training and competing at the same time as going to high school and dealing with teen drama. So fun to write!

AND…I do have a new children’s picture book that just came out: Puckster Goes to the Olympics. Puckster is Hockey Canada’s polar bear mascot (honestly, there is a Puckster). In this book, Puckster travels to the Olympics as the team’s stick boy. This book for the younger group (ages 4-8) is totally entertaining and probably not realistic, but it is a fun read and will give any child the feeling of being at the Olympics.

With Sochi 2014 starting next month, what do you look forward to the most during the Olympics?
What can I say? Hockey, of course, will be my number one sport to watch. Men’s and Women’s. I’m a true fan of both teams. But I have tickets for speed skating and figure skating and I’m so excited for both of these sports as well. I love the figure skating because it is such an art. And I will admit that I’m really looking forward to experiencing Russia hosting the Olympics. I’m a writer, how could I not want to experience these games? I’m just so blessed that I have this opportunity to go over to Sochi. This will be my fourth Olympics and each one has been different. (Of course, Vancouver 2010 is my favourite so far—the energy was unbelievable.) Russia will be fascinating, and I’m curious to see what the ambiance will be like.

Visit Lorna’s website:

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Hurry! Book Week is Coming Soon!

Join us in celebrating TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and bring the magic of books and reading to children all across Canada! The next TD Canadian Children’s Book Week touring program will run from Saturday, May 3 to Saturday, May 10, 2014. The deadline for applications to host an author at your school has been extended to January 31, 2014. Click here to find out more.

Book Week 2014 Writing Contest for Kids & Teens
Young writers from across Canada, in grades 4 to 12, are invited to submit their stories and/or poems (fiction or non-fiction) to the Book Week 2014 Writing Contest for Kids & Teens. Judging is done by noted writers from across Canada and one winner from each grade will receive a $250 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice. Two honourable mentions from each grade category will also receive $50 gift certificates. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2014. Click here for more information.

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Amy’s Marathon of Books

If you haven’t heard the news yet, CCBC volunteer Amy Mathers is running a new kind of marathon this year… a Marathon of Books! Throughout 2014, Amy will be reading one Canadian teen book a day, in order to raise $100,000 for a new teen book award. Here she answers a few of our questions.

What was your motivation for starting the Marathon?
[CCBC Library Coordinator] Meghan Howe invited me to the 2012 Canadian Children’s Literature Awards Gala, and I loved it, but there was no teen book award to speak of. I was trying to think of a way to raise money to fund a teen book award and I came up with the Marathon of Books during the summer.

How do you hope people will get involved?
I’m encouraging teens and other teen book lovers to take the 13 Book Challenge by reading one Canadian teen fiction book from each province and territory. That way they can contribute to the new award by doing their own fundraising and perhaps write their own reviews.

I think people want to know… How do you read a book AND write a review every day? What is your routine like?
The night before I put the book I will be reading the next day on my bed. Then in the morning when I wake up I get my breakfast and I immediately begin to read. Sometimes I’m done by lunch, but sometimes I’m not. It depends on how many commitments and distractions I have that day. Usually in the afternoon, I write my review, and hopefully by the evening I have some free time. I have to be pretty focused to get everything done though.

Among the books you’ve read for your Marathon, which is your favourite so far and why?
It’s difficult to pick a favourite because the books are good for different reasons. But if I were starting a list of essential Canadian teen fiction to read, I would pick Seven for a Secret by Mary C. Sheppard for Newfoundland & Labrador and Last Chance Bay by Anne Laurel Carter for Nova Scotia. Both books have an historical setting and contain a vivid depiction of life in the provinces they are about.

Encourage your students read along with Amy. Visit the map to track her “travels” across Canada and check out reviews of her book choices. They may inspire readers in your classroom to follow her lead. Find out more about Amy’s Marathon of Books at

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Book News January 2014 Issue Is Now on Sale!

The Winter 2014 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News is out now. Check your local newsstand or purchase it on our website.

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Next Month…

Our February newsletter will focus on Black History Month. What do you have planned for your class or library? Email us and we’ll share some of your suggestions or event information!

We would also love to hear your feedback or suggestions for future newsletters! Send us an email if you have any ideas.

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