Books

Coming in September 2017 from Orca Currents: Payback, the fourth book in the Dylan O’Connor series which takes place in the northern town of Bridgewood. What sort of sketchy characters have started stalking Dylan lately, and why is one of them always showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time? The more Dylan tries to ditch Eliot, the more he sticks around. And the black pickup truck with the thumping bass that’s begun tracking him can only mean one thing. Dylan is in more trouble now than he’s ever been before.

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When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it–but Clem’s  friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

“…Author Deb Loughead has a good ear for teenage dialogue and an astute understanding of how peer pressure can manipulate kids into doing things they know are wrong. She keeps the suspense building steadily as Clem tries to cope with her inner turmoil and follow the clues to the truth…” Quill & Quire

“…A nice page-turning mystery, The Secrets We Keep neatly captures the angst and emotion of adolescence, while highlighting the increasing isolation of the digital age. Loughead hits the sweet spot of suspense, dangling carrots to maintain interest and momentum, with an uncanny knowledge for the exact moment when a revelation is necessary…her skillful use of clues and red herrings will engage many a late night reader.” National Reading Campaign

“…Besides the complicated plot, Loughead also explores important themes like the complexity of abusive relationships, the nature of honesty, guilt and responsibility, how the cognitively challenged are treated inner society, and the impact technology can have on relationships…” CM Magazine

“…Though The Secrets We Keep is not a mystery, there is a problem to be solved and secrets to be exposed, and Deb Loughead never lets the reader’s adrenalin level subside…The Secrets We Keep has both the strong plot and character development to hook teen readers but its strong message about connecting and disconnecting, both personally and digitally, make the story one worth reading and heeding.”  CanLit for Little Canadians

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Rise of the Zombie Scarecrows ebook by Deb Loughead

Dylan O’Connor is making a movie, Rise of the Zombie Scarecrows, with his best friend Cory, and his girlfriend, Monica.  Their plan is to film on Halloween. Everything is falling into place–until unscripted zombie-scarecrow events start to terrorize the town.  Dylan’s got to figure out what is going on before his film career becomes the walking dead.

 Booklist – May 1, 2015

“This slim volume is nonstop plot…[and] the mystery is solidly executed…Will interest reluctant readers with a bent towards crime solving.”
Publishers Weekly – April 3, 2015
“Readers will find this book to be a perky Halloween prank-filled mystery…Snappy dialogue, a fun premise, and a not-too-obvious ending keep this tale moving briskly.”
CM Magazine – February 6, 2015
“The characters and the teen drama they face are very relatable. Loughead’s writing is easy to follow, containing simple dialogue, and the conflict introduced in the form of the vandal works well to add tension to the boys going behind Nicole’s back…An enjoyable story.”
Resource Links – February 1, 2015
“The extracts from Dylan’s screenplay are well done—short, carefully woven into the narrative, and interesting, especially to would-be movie makers. There is much to admire in this brief novel—engaging characters, and a plot with suspense and mystery.”
Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books Fall 2015

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Beyond Crazy cover

Being in a band is Stelle’s salvation. It is her escape from the chaotic clutter at home and her mother’s depression. Pounding away on the drums in the basement of her dad’s new house lets her forget her troubles for a few hours. But, as soon as she leaves, it’s as if the world is going crazy all around her. One bandmate’s parents refuse to acknowledge their son is gay, her band’s only potential lead singer dresses like a vampire, and even her best friend has been on edge lately.  It takes a series of strange, confused conversations between Stelle and her elderly grandmother to help her unlock the unhappiness at the heart of her family. (James Lorimer, Side Streets, 2014)

“Stelle is a character that I found myself cheering for and hoping for. I wanted to see her succeed and have an easier life and this is thanks to the author who has done a fine job of telling us and showing us just how kind she is to the people around her…A winner.” Tina at Bookshipper.blogspot.ca

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Dylan O’Connor and his group of close friends attract the attention of the police when a summer bonfire gets out of control.  Dylan almost loses a job opportunity at a local inn because of his antics, but he’s saved by the lies of Heather, an employee at the inn.  When he’s caught on camera stealing towels from a summer cottage after a harmless prank, Dylan and his friends become suspects in a number of cottage robberies.  In his attempt to clear his name, Dylan finds himself in more than one sticky situation.  (Orca Currents, 2013)

“Caught in the Act is a fabulous addition to the Orca Current library, with characters who speak and act like the teenagers who hang out in our upstairs TV room, or inhale all the food from our fridge as they walk out the door.” Karyn Huenemann, Karynslitreviews.wordpress.com

2013 Resource Links “The Year’s Best”

Caught in the act cover art

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Maddy isn’t finding it easy adjusting to grade nine.  There’s so much more competition on her track team, and friendships she took for granted in middle school are being challenged.  When she stumbles across a friend being bullied, Maddy suspects something nasty is going on.  Her coach announces a team member has been robbed, and Maddy believes the two incidents are connected.  Now everyone on the team is under suspicion.  Will Maddy’s track team work out their issues before their big race? (Orca Sports, 2012)

Sidetracked book cover

“…The story flows easily, despite the numerous issues that Maddy has to face. The issues are interwoven smoothly and clearly and do not jump from one to another without a logical progression. Maddy, herself, is a likeable character with a good head on her shoulders, but she also has moments when she falters and isn’t perfect, making her a good – and realistic – role model. Overall, the story and its lessons are not preachy, which is beneficial in conveying the message of Sidetracked to its readers.” Kalina Lafreniere, CM Magazine

YALSA Quick Picks Nominee, 2013

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Marti’s family escaped city life to live out their dreams in the country, back where her mom grew up.  Now she has it all: horses of her own to ride and care for, and the beautiful Northwood Trails practically next door, which includes some of the most fantastic countryside around.

But several things threaten to break up her idyllic summer.  There’s getting stuck with some annoying ‘city boy’ named Caleb, for one thing, as well as Granddad’s heart condition and the threat of bear attacks.  Marti sure has her work cut out for her, solving all the problems in her world.  (Pony Club U.S., Stabenfeldt, Norway)

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Fourteen-year-old Daisy Howson is a take-charge kind of girl, maybe even something of a control freak. She means well— she just wants everything to run smoothly, especially on her relay team.

But when someone tries to sabotage the boys’ relay team Daisy suspects her own team may be involved. Can she sort it all out and fix everything up again before the city championship meet?

Told in the first person, Just Run offers readers a close up view of Daisy’s theories about what is going wrong with everyone else’s life; her mom and dad’s, her fellow team mates. Problem is, those theories not only lead Daisy off track, they might lead the reader astray as well, making for a surprise ending!  (Lorimer, 2011)

Just Run is a “Junior Library Guild Selection”, Fall, 2011

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Dylan O’Connor and his friends cause a car accident when they pack snowballs with rocks and throw them at a passing car.  When his friends flee, Dylan goes to the scene of the accident to make sure the driver is okay.  Dylan is sighted and, rather than being punished, he is lauded as a hero. As his lies pile up, so does the hype about his heroics and his fear of being exposed.  Will everyone in town be able to forgive Dylan for what he did?

Resource Links Best of 2010  “This  book is full of teachable moments, most notably the idea that you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person.  There are also several well-written descriptions of true Canadian winter weather.  It is recommended for all public libraries and is a good addition to the Orca Currents Series.”   Jaclyn McLean

“A tightly packed tale about the effects of peer pressure…Loughead creates a very realistic teen dilemma….reluctant readers will keep plowing through simply to see if Dylan can undo all the damage he has caused.” –H. H. Henderson, Heritage Middle School, Deltona, FL (School Library Journal)    (Orca Books, 2010)

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 A Pocketful of Fur
When Max Harper’s dad brings home a baby squirrel in his pocket, it’s one animal too many in their messy, overcrowded household. After Woody the squirrel begins wrecking the house even more, Max decides to set him free outdoors. Suddenly the whole neighbourhood is in chaos, with a fearless baby squirrel on the loose investigating pockets and scrounging food. Even worse, someone has been hired to get rid of the problem.
By enlisting the help of his best buddy Blake, as well as a strange old woman who the boys befriend after much trepidation, Max finds a way to save woody from capture by the wrong person and to release him into a safer habitat.
*Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice*

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A Pocketful of Rocks
I knocked. Nobody answered. I knocked again, harder. Nobody answered. So I opened it. I opened that door. “Are you crazy?” Griff said. It was an amazing room. There were tables everywhere with artifacts on them that the curators were preparing for display. Except that there wasn’t a curator in sight. I wandered from table to table, looking at all the cool stuff, and wishing that it could be my job some day. But Griff wasn’t looking at anything. He had his hand on the doorknob and he was starting to panic. “Let’s get out of here,” he kept whispering. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Luke. Someone’s going to catch us!” “Okay, okay,” I finally said. “Let’s go. Maybe we’ll run into someone outside.” We did. Just as Griff opened the door. The man who was standing there did not look amused. He was tall and gangly, with his hair tied back in a long pony tail. His skin was tanned and he looked rugged, just like an archaeologist should look. “Are you an archaeologist?” I asked him. Griff rolled his eyes. “What are you two doing in here?” he said. “Can’t you read? This room is off limits.”
Luke is fascinated by rocks, all kinds of rocks. When he finds a mysterious looking rock on the shore of Lake Ontario, he is sure it holds a secret. The rock keeps disappearing, but Luke is determined to solve the mystery. Despite the sneers of the class bully, Luke finally finds the answer at the museum. Along the way, he learns an important lesson about the things that really matter.
Reading Level: Grades 4 – 6 ISBN #: 0-9686899-7-3 Hodgepog Books, 2001
*Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice*

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All I Need
A popular children’s poetry book for the classroom!
‘From dust bunnies to mud puddles, the topics covered in this fun, read-aloud poetry collection are sure to engage young readers. Loughead uses a variety of poetic forms including rhyming couplets, free verse and concrete poetry. She plays with language and line spacing to great effect. Her verse is by turns funny, as in “Scritchy Scratchy” (“Itchy, scritchy scratchy,/ each and every part -/lying on an ant hill/isn’t very smart!”); eerily atmospheric, as in “Grandma’s Cellar Door” (“And the dark is always seeping/from underneath the crack,/and stretching spooky fingers/to try to drag me back”); and reflective, as in “Small Wonders” (“I wonder about the inchworms/dangling from a tree/on threads so fine,/ they’re invisible to me”).
The poems appeal to all the senses and offer images such as snow “twirling in circles and sticking to my hair”, and “the ocean lick[ing] my toes, wrap[ping] its salty tongue around my ankles”. Children will be inspired to write from their own experiences.
Accompanying the poems are Mary Camozzi’s ink and coloured pencil sketches. The animal illustrations are the most engaging and offer a variety of perspectives, including a closeup of a dog’s snout and ants zig-zagging across the page.

Loughead’s poetry is rhythmic and celebrates the power of imagination. The title poem is a tribute to reading.’ -Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
Published by The Manitoba Library Association ISSN 1201-9364
Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice

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Animals on Parade

Originally published in ‘Chirp Magazine’, this collection features the talents of many beloved writers and illustrators such as Sheree Fitch, Marie-Louise Gay, Dennis Lee, Barbara Reid, Mother Goose, and me, Deb Loughead! Be sure to read the last poem first!!

Review: Animals on Parade is a collection of twenty-one kids’ verses, from old favorites by Mother Goose to contemporary poems – all previously published in Chirp Magazine. Bright, cheerful illustrations by a variety of artists enliven the parade through these rhythmic pages.

It begins on a high note with Sheree Fitch’s Thinking Happy Thoughts (about things like puddle splashing and a chocolate lab) and ends on a dry one, with a camel in Deb Loughead’s A Sunny Land. Some of my favorites are Dennis Lee’s The Dinosaur Dinner (the waiter is a T-Rex), Gwen Molnar’s Going Up? (about life in a high rise), and Joanna Harvey’s Snowflakes (‘Try to catch them with my tongue, / Snowflakes falling one by one.’)

Enjoy this sweet, lyrical compilation, that’s full of happy thoughts, sunny days and rainy nights, stars and fireflies – and a big dose of imagination. Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

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Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls

Stories a girl can get a grip on! A brash new collection of fifteen original stories about girls who challenge convention, and girls who wish they could. These young women make us think about taking pride in wearing our bodies just the way they are. Hilarious, edgy, comforting, intense, these stories are full spectrum, from the crazy antics around town of a giant ‘regina’ to bittersweet moments with a mom who has cancer…These stories are about holding back and letting loose, about sex and glamour and common sense. Fifteen stories selected and edited by Deb Loughead & Jocelyn Shipley, published by Sumach Press, September 2008 http://www.sumachpress.com
Cleavage is included on the AMELIA BLOOMER LIST 2010 (bibliography of feminist books for young readers). The Amelia Bloomer Project is part of the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibility Round Table.  (Sumach Press, 2008)

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Grandpa’s Mumbling House

What happens when Sophie has to stay at that house by the seashore with her Grandpa for a whole week, all by herself? An old house that likes to “mumble and grumble in its sleep”, where nothing feels like home.” Sophie soon learns that the sea can be both a friend and an enemy. This Grade Six language arts personal recount text, available through Thomson Nelson in Canada, is thoughtfully illustrated by Stefan Messam, and beautifully captures the fluctuating moods of the seashore. Included within the pages of the narrative are language arts activities related to the story. At the end there is a template to help students plan and create their own personal recounts.

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Hey Diddle Diddle

Available through Scholastic Canada’s “Literacy Place for the Early Years” series, this humorous rhyming play for Grade One, with its vivid and detailed illustrations by Cindy Revell, is based on the nursery rhyme of the same name. An excellent addition to the classroom, each package comes with one large lap book as well as six child-friendly small books. A CD of the play in song form as well as cloze reading, plus a sturdy teacher’s guide are also included. Order at 1-800-268-3848.

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Island Bound

Hannah is suddenly uprooted from everything familiar when her family moves from their home in Toronto to the island of Bermuda. While struggling to fit in to island life and deal with her inner conflict, Hannah finds herself caught up in a mystery that she, her brother Jake and friend Maya must solve. Pearson Education, New Zealand, 2007

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Pet Fair

“There was a knock on my bedroom door. “Time for some stories,” Dad said. “Just a minute! Don’t come in! I’m getting dressed,” I said. I looked under my bed. No frog. I looked under my desk. No frog. I looked in my slippers. No frog. I looked under my bookshelf. No frog! Not even a ribit! “This is not good,” I said again. Dad knocked at the door. “Are you ready?” he asked. It’s getting late.” “Come on in,” I said. I jumped in bed and pulled up my covers. Dad started reading but I didn’t hear a word. I just sat there and wondered where my frog was. Maybe he had hopped outside. Maybe he had gone back to the pond. I wondered where I’d find him. I hoped that Mom wouldn’t find him first! There was a loud scream down the hall. “Oh, oh,” I said. “Too late.”
Steve needs a pet to take to the school pet fair but because of his allergy, it can’t have fur or feathers. And he sure doesn’t want to bring his boring fish named Frank and Fred. His friend Jon assists him in his quest for the perfect pet. His parents find a few unusual creatures unexpectedly lurking around the house until Steve discovers a pet that everyone approves of. But it’s also a pet that will surprise everyone!

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Struck

“First there was a brilliant flash of what could only have been lightning. I shrieked as a sharp pins-and-needles jolt shot up my arm. I was so shocked that I dropped the umbrella. My hands were shaking, my while body vibrating. And my heart was thumping hard. It was almost like a brush with death.”

Claire’s life is in need of a major overhaul.  She’s failing math, her depressed mother won’t get off the couch and the boy of her dreams is dating her nemesis Lucy.  Just as Claire is wishing her life were better, lightning strikes.  Soon her life changes, and Claire has everything she though she ever wanted.  It doesn’t take long before she starts to worry that the cost of good fortune may be too high.  Be careful what you wish for!

“Young readers will relate to Claire in both her frustration with her life and then her pleasure at having her luck reversed…The lesson in following your conscience is well presented.  Recommended.”  Jo Drudge, Educational Reviewer, Rome city, Indiana.  LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION    (Orca Books, 2009)

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Swimming Lessons

“…I didn’t like water. I didn’t like swimming pools. And I didn’t want to take swimming lessons. Ever.” Find out why Steve has such a huge problem with swimming lessons and water, and how his friend Zain helps him to solve it. (Illustrations by Mike Polito) Available now through Scholastic’s Literacy Place for the Early Years Grade 3 guided reading program. Sold in packages of 6 with a teaching plan included. Order at 1-800-268-3848.

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The Grasshopper And The Ant

This rhyming play based on the Aesop fable, is available for Kindergarten children through Scholastic Canada’s “Literacy Place for the Early Years” series. The bright and wacky illustrations by Joanne Stanbridge complement the simple text. Each package contains one large lap book, six small books perfect for little hands, a hilarious CD with song and cloze reading, and a sturdy teacher’s guide. Fun for every classroom! Order at 1-800-268-3848.

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The Thing I Saw Last Night

It began as an ordinary walk in the park. Then along came an out-of-this-world adventure! “Then suddenly it stepped out / From behind the maple trees,/ And the sight that stood before me / Made me wobbly in the knees!” This spooky rhyming story is available through Scholastic’s “Literacy Place for the Early Years” series. The Grade Two shared reading package consists of one big lap book, a six-pack of small book version, an audio CD with fluent & cloze readings and an original song, a teaching plan, and customizable plastic storage bag. Wonderfully eerie illustrations by Graham Ross complement the text. Order at 1-800-268-3848.

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The Twisting Road Tea Room

“The little girl could have been me, about six years ago. Long spindly legs, sallow skin, heart-shaped face, chubby cheeks, mousy hair. But it was the sight of HIM that made me crank my neck around in an unnatural way, then shriek in anguish like I’d just been stabbed. It was the sight of HIM that made me lose control of my mountain bike and crash full-tilt into the back of a parked car. Fade to black…”
Emma’s father has recently died and Emma and her mom, Maggie, are having a hard time coping with their grief and making ends meet living in Toronto. Out of the blue, the two of them inherit a house in Nova Scotia. Maggie is convinced that moving there will give them a new start. Emma isn’t so sure, especially when they arrive to find that they must share their new home with a stranger. The house’s history, including a mysterious presence, reveals secrets that make life in a small town surprisingly exciting.
Norwegian, Swedish and German translations from Stabenfeldt, 2005
Resource Links Book of the Year 2001

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Time and Again

Kate Owens has a problem. She’s sick and tired of playing second-fiddle to her baseball-star younger brother, but their mom’s obsession with Kyle’s success is turning Kate resentful and rebellious. Escape to the uncomplicated tranquillity of a summer of bird-watching, swimming and lazing at her grandparents’ farm in the Ottawa Valley seems just what she needs. But a Shady Oaks, Kate tumbles into a whole new set of complications. Gramps is ill, their beloved farm is up for sale, and Gram is miserable. Her old friend Sarah has her own issues which put a strain on their relationship. Then the discovery of a mysterious letter from the past launches Kate on a troubling journey into her family’s history.

Haunted by ghostly presences, Kate struggles to unravel the clues to the past and to find some way of saving the farm with the help of Ethan and Mark, teenage farmhands also summering at Shady Oaks. But how much can she trust them? In the gripping climax of the story, past and present intertwine, and Kate learns she must rely on her own strengths and instincts.

“…Mystery lovers will enjoy the blend of modern conflicts, historical fiction,and ghostly visits.” Julie Webb, Shelby County H.S., Shelbyville, KY

Published by Sumach Press, 2004, Stabenfeldt Norway in Norwegian and Swedish, 2006

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