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Top Grade Fall 2012 Selections
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Top Grade Fall 2012 Selections

By Top Grade
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A list of the latest and greatest Canadian books for kids from grades K through 8.
Running

Running

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
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Running is a fast-paced story about friendship, redemption, and the triumph of love. Louie and Paul come from very different worlds. Yet they have one thing in common - tragedies have shattered their families. To bury their hurt, they run fast and relentlessly. A chance accident on the trails brings the two boys together, and an unlikely friendship grows. Joined by Annie, another loner who has secrets of her own, they form a threesome that runs like the wind in the hills above their town. But a …

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Excerpt

The trail they’d been running on wound through the wooded hills that surrounded the town of Craven Valley. Even with shortcuts, it was going to be a long trip back. Paul grabbed Louie’s hand and pulled himself up, wincing in pain as he tried to put weight on his right foot. “Damn it, Kid,” Paul muttered through clenched teeth. “I’m not sure this is going to work. Maybe you should leave me here and go get help.” Louie shook his head. “Nope.” Louie looked up at the sky. “Getting too late,” he said. “Dark soon and it’s getting cold. We need to get you out of here. We can do it.” He pulled Paul’s arm over his shoulder and helped him to a nearby birch tree. “Here, hold on.” Paul put his hand out and braced himself against the tree, holding his swollen ankle off the ground. Louie disappeared into the woods, returning a few minutes later with a sturdy fir branch. He was effortlessly whittling off the smaller branches with a large folding pocketknife, cleaning the limb into a presentable walking stick. Paul was impressed. “Chingachgook. Last of the Mohicans.” “Cree, actually,” Louie said, not looking up. “You’re a Cree? I thought they all lived up north.” “Some of us actually have cars and venture south occasionally.” “Funny guy,” Paul said. “What’s with the knife?Looks damned sharp.” Without a word, Louie handed the walking stick to Paul. He put the knife blade against his forearm and glided it forward. Hair curled off like he was using a razor. “My father’s,” Louie said. “Didn’t leave me much, but he did leave me this. He always kept a whetstone in the house. Sharpened this nearly every day. Used to tell me that a man should never leave the house without a sharp knife. So I never do.” He snapped the knife shut and pushed it into a pocket in the back of his running shorts. “Even when I’m running.” He paused. “Especially when I’m running.” “Impressive,” Paul commented, testing the stick. “And thanks for the crutch.” Louie glanced up, his dark eyes unreadable. “Anytime,” he said. “He pointed his chin at Paul. “Put your right arm over my shoulder.” Paul did as he was told. By leaning against Louie’s shoulder and using the stick to brace himself as he swung his left foot forward, they soon established a rhythm. They weren’t fast but they were steady. Uphill sections were the hardest, and occasionally Paul would catch his right foot on a root or inadvertently drop it onto the trail, causing pain to shoot up his leg. They shuffled along in silence for many minutes, both concentrating on synchronizing their steps, moving together to cover the most ground without causing Paul to lose his balance. “Do you live here?” Paul finally asked as they hobbled down a gentle slope. Louie was silent for several steps. Paul wondered if he had heard him, or if he was going to reply if he had. “Sort of,” Louie said at last. Paul looked quizzically at the side of Louie’s face. “What do you mean, ‘Sort of?’ You either do or you don’t.” They continued to limp down the trail, Paul’s right arm over Louie’s shoulder, planting his stick and hopping forward with his left foot. “I live in a foster home. I don’t really live anywhere.” Paul glanced over at Louie again. Louie’s eyes stayed on the trail ahead. “Oh,” he said quietly. “But you’re new here, right? At the school?” “Just transferred in this August.” “Transferred in?” “Yeah. My foster parents tossed me out of my last place. Quesnel. Said I was disobedient. Which I was. I told them they were pigs.” He shrugged slightly. “Which they were. That was my fourth place.” The two had established a loping rhythm now, Louie leading with his right foot, Paul hopping along with his left. “Your fourth foster home?” Paul thought about it. “So this is number five. Since, like when?” Paul thought he noticed Louie’s jaw tighten. “Since they grabbed us. Six years ago.” They were on an even section of the path now, their steps cushioned by wet brown leaves. “Why’d they take you away in the first place?” Paul asked, wondering if he was going too far. But Louie only shrugged. “Lots of things. But mainly because I’m an Indian.” Paul turned back toward the rough path, grimacing as his right foot struck the ground. “You said ‘us.’” Paul felt Louie’s shoulders tighten. “I have a brother and sister.” Then he said nothing and they jogged erratically along in silence once more. “I will get them back,” Louie almost whispered after several minutes. “If it kills me, I will bring them home.” They were nearer the town now and could see lights begin to flicker on in houses in the distance as the late September afternoon sky began to darken. As they hobbled over the crest of a hill, they heard a commotion below them. They stopped, panting after the climb. Suddenly a tall blond boy, trailed by four or five others, all in the blue and gold Craven Valley Secondary School shorts and singlets, burst out of a tangle of trees. The leader looked up the trail. “Hey, out of the way!” he shouted, charging up the hillside. “We’re training,” he added contemptuously. Louie and Paul moved slightly to the side of the trail and watched as the boys ran smoothly by them, no one saying a word. “Thanks for the help!” Paul yelled angrily as the last boy disappeared over the hill.

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Love You to Death — Season 3

Love You to Death — Season 3

The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries
edition:Paperback

Returning to the haunting hideaway of Mystic Falls, the fictional setting of the CW hit Series The Vampire Diaries, this new guide promises to further satisfy the show's many loyal viewers. Garnering huge ratings for the network week after week, The Vampire Diaries’ mix of horror, romance, drama, and self-aware humor has maintained a growing fan base through its third hit season. This volume follows in the footsteps of the two previous guides by featuring insightful explorations of each episod …

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Accro d'la planche

Accro d'la planche

(Skate Freak)
edition:Paperback

Dorf a toujours été fidèle à sa devise : « Si ça en vaut la peine, fais-le. Si ça n'en vaut pas la peine, fais-le quand même. » Mais il a déménagé à la ville et le terrain est différent. Il ne peut plus faire rouler sa planche oû bon lui semble et il a de la difficulté à s'intégrer à sa nouvelle école. Ses tricks audacieux lui assurent le respect des voyous du coin, mais il devra faire appel à une autre forme de courage s'il veut vraiment changer sa vie.

Dorf is all about …

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Haze

Haze

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Bram's friend Jeremy wants to go public with information about a hazing-related student death. The morning after he tells Bram this, he's injured in a hit-and-run accident. Now Jeremy is in a coma, and Bram is trying to follow the trail that he left. The trouble is, Abby, Jeremy's sister, is convinced Bram's swimming coach is to blame. Bram knows Coach is innocent, but can he prove it? And what will happen if he's wrong?

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The Sharks called us "pond scum."
    I breathed deep, like I always did before a race, filling my nose with the smell of chlorine. The Sharks were about to see that this pond scum could swim.

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Harry Flammable

Harry Flammable

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Flames follow high schooler and aspiring movie star Harry Flanagan wherever he goes.

Despite a disastrous attempt at driving a bike through a burning refrigerator box in second grade, high schooler Harry Flanagan never gives up his goal of becoming a movie star or at least a stuntman. However, since the bicycle episode, it seems as if fires pop up everywhere Harry goes, earning him the infamous nickname of "Harry Flammable."

Now a shed at Harry’s school has been set on fire, destroying Work Ex …

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Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree

The story of the first black player in the NHL
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover

Willie O'Ree quietly made NHL history at the Montreal Forum on January 18, 1958, when he became the first black player to take to the ice. In the dressing room before the game, his Boston Bruins teammates told him not to worry. If any one of the Montreal players said anything to him, they'd have his back.

There was a round of applause when O'Ree stepped onto the ice, and newspapers ran the story. The colour barrier in the NHL had been broken, yet it would be sixteen years before the next black pl …

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Rosewood Confidential

Rosewood Confidential

The Unofficial Companion to Pretty Little Liars
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

The dark deeds, ugly secrets, and flashy fashion of Rosewood are captured in this tribute to the hit TV show Pretty Little Liars. Featuring background information and insight into the cliques and mysteries of the award-winning show, it is a stylish guide that will satiate the many fans of the first two seasons and serve as an invaluable resource for show newcomers. The first companion book of the show, it features an episode guide, biographies of the stars, and the story of how a New York Times …

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