Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!


Reviewing Sadia

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many challenges. Balancing school work, extra-curriculars, and relationships, all while trying to discover yourself is a daunting task. Sadia faces pressure from her family, peers, and herself, while trying to figure out where she fits in.

When the new school year begins, Sadia’s best friend has started de-jabbing. This poses a real dilemma for Sadia as she has difficulty understanding why her friend would all of a sudden start lying to her parents.

This novel can serve as inspiration for many of our students. Living in a multicultural society means accepting everyone for who they are. Traditional rules need to be adjusted, and Sadia’s story serves as a prime example. She loves to play basketball and is a vital member of her school team. At an annual tournament, some of the opposing teams take issue with a piece of Sadia’s clothing — her hijab. Just when she thinks there is no hope, Sadia receives inspiration from an unlikely source.

Curriculum Connections

During the sto …

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Colleen Nelson on Unlikely Friendships in YA

Just in time for back-to-school and a whole host of brand new faces in the halls, we bring you this list by award-winning YA novelist Colleen Nelson—inspired by her latest novel, 250 Hours—about the amazing possibilities of unlikely friendships. 

BONUS: Until September 2, you can enter to win your own copy of the book! Go here to find out how. 


My young adult novel, 250 Hours, is about an unlikely friendship between Sara Jean and Jess. Sara Jean, a “townie,” is the caregiver for her grandmother and trapped with a future she thinks she doesn’t want. Jess, on the other hand, lives with his mom in a trailer and he's obsessed with lighting fires. He is also desperate to head west, and will, as soon as he completes his community service hours. And then when Jess is ordered to clean out Sara Jean’s garage as part of his punishment, they discover secrets about the town’s history that draw them together.  

The unlikely friendship that develops between Jess and Sara Jean bridges a gap that has split their community for generations. Through their relationship, Jess and Sara Jean begin the slow process of healing.

Below are my favourite Canadian young adult novels that also feature unlikely friendships. 


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Best Dystopian YA

Award-winner Colleen Nelson's latest is the YA novel Pulse Point, written with Nancy Chappell-Pollack. In her list, Nelson shares other Canadian dystopian titles that inspired her. 


Pulse Point is my first attempt at any genre other than realistic fiction. Writing about an alternate world proved to be more difficult in some ways than writing about the one we actually live in, but it also stretched my creativity and posed a lot of questions about the way we do things and why.

Pulse Point takes a "cli-sci" approach to dystopia. In the book, climate change has made our world uninhabitable so people deemed genetically desirable are allowed to live in Cities, self-sustaining domed structures. My favourite part of reading dystopian books is learning the many versions of our world that authors create. 


Blood Red Road, by Moira Young

Narrated by an illiterate main character as she sets out to reunite her family, this book had me hooked after the first page. The dystopian world in Blood Red Road is brutal and harsh, but the tenderness between the characters …

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Colleen Nelson's Anti-Bullying Booklist

Book Cover Finding Hope

Canada's Bullying Awareness Week runs November 15-21, this year with the theme, "Stand Up to Bullying." The focus of Bullying Awareness Week is not about influencing the actions of others, but rather about understanding what we as individuals and community members can do to address the problem of bullying. And one thing that parents, teachers and librarians can do is make the following books, selected by award-winning YA author Colleen Nelson, available to the young people in their lives.

These are stories that can empower readers to "stand up to bullying" once and for all. 


Books about bullying are plentiful. Authors know that bullies make complex characters and if the plot involves a triumph over a bully, so much the better. The shift in power, the underdog standing up to his aggressor, makes readers want to stand up a cheer. But for many children and teens, there is no cheering section. Bullied children feel alone and trapped, unable to speak out. Bullying can be overt and aggressive or subtle and manipulative; on-line or in-person. It happens under the noses of parents and teachers and can have disastrous consequences. Books with an anti-bullying message have an impact. They show young people that there are ways out of bad situations, giving them the confi …

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