Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Sports & Recreation

Annaleise Carr

How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer

by (author) Annaleise Carr

with Deborah Ellis

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2014
Sports & Recreation, Water Sports, Values & Virtues
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2014
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Over eight months worth of planning, hundreds of hours of hard physical training, amassing a team of dedicated crewmates, approaching sponsors and collecting donations -- and finally, swimming for twenty-seven hours across the cold, rough waters of Lake Ontario.

Why would a fourteen-year-old girl take on such a challenge?

For Annaleise Carr, the motivation came not from a desire for glory. Her ultimate quest was to raise money for her new friends at Camp Trillium, a charity that provides a camping experience for kids with cancer. What kept her going through the cold water, the exhaustion, and the terrifying night swim was the thought of those kids and their families that she was helping. In August of 2012, she became the youngest person to cross Lake Ontario, breaking the record set more than fifty years earlier by Marilyn Bell.

Readers will meet an extraordinary fourteen-year-old girl in this book. As she tells her story, it becomes clear how idealism and an intense desire to help others can lead a young teen to almost unimaginable achievements.

[Fry reading level - 4.8


About the authors

Annaleise Carr became the youngest marathon swimmer to cross Lake Ontario in August of 2012. She is the recipient of many citizenship and philanthropic awards, including the 2012 TVO Kids Super Citizen Award, the Ontario Lieutenant Governor's Community Volunteer Pin, the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Annaleise Carr's profile page

Deborah Ellis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including The Breadwinner Trilogy; The Heaven Shop; Lunch With Lenin; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees; and Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS. She has won many national and international awards for her books, including the Governor General’s Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers.Deborah knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of 11 or 12. Growing up in Paris, Ontario, she loved reading about big cities like New York. In high school, Deborah joined the Peace Movement, playing anti-Nuclear War movies at her school. Since then Deborah has become a peace activist, humanitarian and philanthropist, donating almost all of the royalties from her books to communities in need in Asia and Africa. Heavily involved with Women for Women in Afghanistan, Deborah has helped build women’s centers and schools, giving children education and finding work for women.In 2006, Deborah was named to the Order of Ontario. She now lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Deborah Ellis' profile page


  • Winner, Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award Winner
  • Commended, A Junior Library Guild Selection

Editorial Reviews

"Annaleise Carr is an incredibly motivated teen who wanted to do what she could to raise money for children with cancer. The book shows her determination to succeed. This is another simple text that my struggling readers may find engaging as they start the year."

NetGalley Reviewer

"Readers who love sports stories should enjoy Annaleise's narration of her preparation for the crossing and the challenge of the swim itself. Readers who have personal experience with life-threatening illness may be comforted and inspired by Annaleise's passion for helping others. And of course, many readers enjoy stories about record-breaking events and the effort that goes into preparing for them. This book will serve them all." Rated G - good, even great at times, generally useful!

Resource Links

"An inspirational biography on a young Canadian. Lots of photos and text boxes with supplemental information. Highly recommended."

Educator at Vancouver School Board

"Written in teen-friendly language, this title will inspire young adults to set and achieve goals."


"I absolutely loved it..."

NetGalley Reviewer

"In telling her story in partnership with the award-winning writer and champion of young women, Deborah Ellis, Carr has found yet another partner to help her to achieve new goals and share her inspiring story... At the core of the story though is Carr whose individual vision, determination, Christian faith and hugely supportive family and team helped her to meet the physical and mental challenges of the swim. 3.5/4 Stars."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Annaleise Carr was inspired by children with cancer and wanted to do something to help them so she decided to swim across Lake Ontario. The book details her physical and mental preparation in anticipation of her long swim, along with the financial struggles and legal details necessary to complete for anyone who would like to make such a crossing. Miss Carr is a true inspiration for children around the world. I would recommend this book for people of all ages looking to read something inspirational. Anyone looking for a book about perseverance and hard work will love this book."


Other titles by Deborah Ellis