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Children's Fiction General

Johnny Kellock Died Today

by (author) Hadley Dyer

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
Jan 2018
Recommended Age
10 to 14
Recommended Grade
5 to 9
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2007
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Johnny Kellock Died Today has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.

About the author

HADLEY DYER was born in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia,and now lives in Toronto. She has been active in the children’s book scene formany years as a reviewer, publicist, editor and librarian for the CanadianChildren’s Book Centre. She is currently the children’s editor at JamesLorimer & Co., and writes for such magazines as Canadian Family, OWLand Toronto Life

Hadley Dyer's profile page


  • Unknown, OLA Best Bets
  • Unknown, TD Children’s Literature Award Finalist
  • Unknown, Red Maple Award Finalist
  • Unknown, CLA Children’s Book of the Year Award Winner
  • Unknown, CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Finalist

Librarian Reviews

Johnny Kellock Died Today

First-time novelist Hadley Dyer has gotten it right with this realistic and intriguing story. Rosalie Norman is 11 years old, and the afterthought in an already grown-up family. Confronted with “the world’s oldest mother,” Rosalie uncovers family secrets as she discovers her own special place in the world.

Historical novels are often in danger of being too remote to be accessible, but Dyer does an exceptional job of drawing the reader into the community. The detailed description is vivid and entertaining, and adds flavour and a level of timelessness to the story, making readers feel as though they are in 1959 Halifax where the novel is set.

The character development is also strong in this novel. Rosalie is outspoken, sensitive, honest, and intensely likeable, and a thoroughly contemporary heroine. Her journey of self-discovery is one with which readers will easily identify. Tied in with her growth is the mystery for which the novel is named. Rosalie is frustrated in knowing that her family is keeping secrets from her, and in being treated like a child. She knows that something is going on regarding her cousin, but the grown-ups in the family refuse to tell her, thus sending her off on her own to unravel the mystery.

Also well presented is the lesson which Rosalie learns regarding Gravedigger, so named because of his job in the cemetery. Rosalie is unhappy when she finds out he’ll be working at her house over the summer, but as she gets to know him, their friendship forms, and she learns the dangers of believing in rumours.

Overall this is an excellent book. The prose is elegant and poetic, and Hadley Dyer certainly is an exciting new addition to a rich field of talent.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2006. Vol.29 No. 2.

Johnny Kellock Died Today

A fresh new voice sets her first novel in Halifax, 1959. As Rosalie searches for her missing cousin, she learns something about love and the secrets that bind her family.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Hadley Dyer