Tag Archives: young adult

Summer reading for teens

No Way Out by Melanie Jackson

Hey there,

Our very first YA mystery title was written by Melanie Jackson, who lives in Vancouver, BC. It is a clever and suspenseful novel written for kids aged 11-15 who may be reluctant readers, and at a lower reading level.

The story centres around Sam Jellicoe, a 15-year-old boy from Vancouver who has to spend the summer in Winnipeg with his mother and her flashy new husband, Alvin. To escape the prairie heat Sam goes to a department store. When the power goes out, chaos ensues. A gunman takes Sam and several other people hostage. Sam must draw on his wits and acting skills, and above all, keep his cool.

NO Way Out is a great story to keep young adults reading when out of school, with its easy vocabulary and short chapters. Just in time for summer break!

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Big news!

Raw Deal unboxing

The much-awaited Young Adult novel by Melanie Jackson, Raw Deal, is finally here! We got the message that it was ready at the printers, and Louise went down to pick up a box. She did the honour of cutting open the box to reveal our newest title. How exciting! A big ‘Congratulations’ to our own Melanie Jackson. Click here to order your copy of Raw Deal today!

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Interview with author Don Sawyer (Part 1)

We recently had the privilege to interview Don Sawyer about his new young adult title, Running, which is coming out soon. Here is part one of that interview, we hope you enjoy it!

PF:  Tell us about your latest book, which is coming out very soon, I believe.
DS:  That’s right.  Running will be out before Christmas.  It’s being published by Playfort Publishing’s young adult imprint, Midway Press.

PF:  So tell us a little about the book.
DS: Running is a fast-paced story about friendship, redemption, and the triumph of love.  Louie and Paul come from very different worlds.  Yet they have one thing in common. Tragedies have shattered their families and the boys’ lives.  To bury their hurt they run—fast and relentlessly.  A chance accident on the trails brings the two boys together, and an unlikely friendship grows.   Joined by Annie, another loner who has secrets of her own, they form a threesome that runs like the wind in the hills above their town.  But a disastrous attempt by Paul to join the school’s cross country team and an explosive encounter with their star runner turns the alliance upside down.  So then we follow the three as they try to overcome their isolation and anger, become a real team, and hatch an audacious scheme.  I think young adult readers will find it engaging, thought provoking, and a damned good read.

PF:  Playfort distributes some of your other books.
DS:  You should know.  You’re the publisher.

PF:  I was trying to appear objective in this interview.
DS:  Oh, right.  They, er, you handle both The Meanest Teacher in the World and Miss Flint Meets the Great Kweskin.  Both are at the upper elementary levels, but they are being used successfully right through middle school. The stories (seven in each book) are fairly easy to read (written at about a grade 3 level), but more importantly they’re just plain fun. They focus on the dastardly Miss Flint and how her ever-resourceful charges at Haywood Elementary get even. Kids at all levels can relate since, it seems, everyone has had a teacher like Miss Flint.  I also completed a teacher’s guide with lots of ideas for using the stories creatively in the classroom with the emphasis on having fun. I’ve delivered dozens of readings and writing workshops using the stories, and they never fail to engage and entertain kids.  Lately we have been pioneering the use of Skype to conduct readings right across the country.

PF:  Describe your ideal writing environment.
DS: I have a great office with lots of light and a comfortable chair, and I also enjoy writing outside on my deck using a laptop. The big thing is being somewhere I’m not distracted by, well, life. This February, my wife and I rented a place on an island in southern Alabama. It was a kind of winter-averse writing retreat for me. I managed to finish off Running, a book I’d been working on for months, in about three weeks. I love being involved in my community, international development work, gardening, walking Farley (our SPCA refugee Lapphund), working out, and so on. But darn, it sure gets in the way of writing.

Part two will be posted next week. Check back to find out the best advice he’s ever received as an author and the advice he has for aspiring authors-to-be!

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