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The Kids: Are They Alright?

Created by 49thShelf
  • Age: 4 to 100
  • Grade: k to 17
tagged: philippa dowding, firefly, mental health
(A recommended reading list by Philippa Dowding, whose latest novel for is FIREFLY.) ** What is it like for a child who lives with a parent or who knows an adult struggling with a crisis of mental health, addiction, or homelessness? Canadian children’s authors have written many moving, thoughtful books about kids coping with parents or adults in crisis. While writing my latest book Firefly, I read a lot of them (mostly pretty choked up). I couldn’t include them all, but here is a list of some of my favourite titles from recent years.

Showing 1-8 of 10 books

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Firefly

by Philippa Dowding
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: self-esteem & self-reliance, homelessness & poverty

Firefly lived in the park across from her mother’s home. It was safer there. But after the bad night happens, and her baseball-bat-wielding mother is taken away, social services sends Firefly to live with her Aunt Gayle. She hardly knows Gayle, but discovers that she owns a costume shop.

Yes, Firefly might be suffering from PTSD, but she can get u …

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The King of Jam Sandwiches

by Eric Walters
edition: eBook
also available: Paperback
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: homelessness & poverty, self-esteem & self-reliance, depression & mental illness

? “Tug at the heartstrings and tickle the funny bone…This warm tale is definitely one for the keeper shelves. Highly recommended.”—School Library Journal, starred review
Thirteen-year-old Robbie leads a double life. It's just Robbie and his dad, but no one knows that his dad isn't like most parents. Sometimes he wakes Robbie up in the middl …

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Safe Harbour

by Christina Kilbourne
edition: eBook
also available: Paperback
  • age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
tagged: homelessness & poverty, friendship, general (see also headings under social themes), mental illness

2021 Red Maple Award — Shortlisted

As far-fetched as her father’s plan sounds, sticking to it is easy for Harbour — until it isn’t.

Fourteen-year-old Harbour is living in a tent in a Toronto ravine with her dog, a two-month supply of canned tuna, and an unconventional reading list. She’s not homeless, she tells herself. She’s merely waiti …

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Summerwood/Winterwood

by E. L. Chen
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 14 to 100
  • Grade: 8 to 17
tagged:

In Summerwood, twelve-year old Rosalind Hero Cheung can't wait to spend the summer in Toronto with her teenaged sister Julie and their famous author grandfather. Years ago Walter Denison wrote a series of bestselling children's novels about a magical land called the Summerwood. But to Hero's dismay, Walter is cold toward his granddaughters and Juli …

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Aunt Pearl

by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
edition: eBook
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k to 2
tagged: homelessness & poverty, depression & mental illness

Acclaimed author Monica Kulling brings sensitivity to this bittersweet portrayal of a loving family affected by homelessness, beautifully illustrated in Irene Luxbacher’s rich collage style.

Aunt Pearl arrives one day pushing a shopping cart full of her worldly goods. Her sister Rose has invited her to come live with her family.

Six-year-old Marta …

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Fifteen Point Nine

by Holly Dobbie
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 13
tagged: bullying, sexual abuse), self-mutilation, self-esteem & self-reliance

No one at school knew that fifteen-year-old Aggie and her mother were hoarders until the Idiot Boys. That made her even more a target of bullies than she was before.

At home, aka The Dump, her loneliness and despair are further punctuated by her mother’s alcoholism, neglect, and paranoia.

But Aggie is a warrior and she devises a plan to fight back …

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Son of a Trickster

by Eden Robinson
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover Audiobook (CD)
tagged: coming of age, native american & aboriginal, contemporary

CANADA READS 2020 FINALIST
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
More than ten years after her Giller-shortlisted title Monkey Beach, Eden Robinson returns with a striking and precise coming-of-age novel, in which everyday teen existence meets Indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics and cannibalistic river otters.

Meet Jared Martin: sixteen-year-old pot cookie deal …

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Mine!

by Natalie Hyde
edition: Paperback
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: homelessness & poverty

A hilarious, high-stakes quest to redeem a family name! Bonus: there may be gold.

Chris Dearing comes from a long line of losers and a history of bad luck that's plagued the Dearing family for generations. His only hope runs through the wild rivers of the forbidding North. What is up there other than moose snot and mosquitos the size of bats, you as …