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Children's Fiction Post-confederation (1867-)

Secret Signs

by (author) Jacqueline Guest

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Post-Confederation (1867-), Homelessness & Poverty, Runaways
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


The Depression has ruined Henry Dafoe's life: his father has left the family farm to look for work, his mother is sick and now she's decided to send Henry to Nova Scotia to work on his uncle's fishboat. But Henry has other ideas. He runs away from home to join his father, which proves more difficult than he imagined. Alone and scared in a strange city, he befriends an old hobo named Clickety Clack, who agrees to take him to find his father. As they make their way across the country, Clickety Clack teaches Henry about the secret signs that hoboes use to communicate with each other.

About the author

Award-winning author JACQUELINE GUEST is the author of numerous Lorimer novels, including the Arthur Ellis Award nominee Wild Ride and A Goal in Sight, which was shortlisted for a Golden Eagle Children's Choice Book Award. Many of her novels have also been Canadian Children's Centre Our Choice selections including the SideStreets novel At Risk, and the Sports Stories novels Hat Trick, Free Throw, and Soccer Star. Jacqueline Guest lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta.

Jacqueline Guest's profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Our Choice
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award

Excerpt: Secret Signs (by (author) Jacqueline Guest)

This was not how he'd imagined today would go, but he wouldn't let anyone, not even his mother, tell him what to do. Like his hero, Tom Sawyer, Henry would seek his fame and fortune in the wide world. Maybe he couldn't hitch a ride on a Mississippi riverboat, but he could take a page out of Tom's book and live by his wits and by his own rules.

Editorial Reviews

"Canadian history and geography spring to life in this charming tale of a boy seeking his fame and fortune in the wide world...driven by crisp dialogue and suspenseful situations. Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Young readers...will be treated to a good adventure story and a bit of history as well....Highly recommended."

Canadian Book Review Annual

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