2017 Golden Oak Award™ Nominated Titles
10 Ships That Rocked the World
Written by Gillian Richardson, Illustrated by Kim Rosen
Ships have sailed through human history for thousands of years. Sometimes, their dramatic voyages have even changed the course of the world. For centuries, ships have brought cultures together in peace or conflict, played a role in wars and revolutions, and transformed societies.
Climb on deck for 10 ocean adventures, starting with the groundbreaking exploits of Zheng He’s 15th-century treasure ships and navigating unknown waters with Vasco da Gama’s São Gabriel. Sail on the Lady Penrhyn with the first convicts exiled to Australia, and on USS Susquehanna’s pivotal mission to Japan. Witness the tense confrontations of the Holocaust survivor ship Exodus 1947 in Israel and the Komagata Maru in Canada, and the standoff when Somali pirates seized the oil tanker Sirius Star.
You’ll discover how even small ships can make big waves, like the tiny yacht Granma, which played a major role in Cuba’s revolution, the ill-fated submarine H. L. Hunley, and Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, a key player in the environmental movement.
With a rich variety of photos, maps, and striking illustrations, 10 Ships That Rocked the World reveals the crucial role ships played in some of history’s most significant dramas.
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
Written by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, Illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Michel Chikwanine was five years old when he was abducted from his school-yard soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a soldier for a brutal rebel militia. Against the odds, Michel managed to escape and find his way back to his family, but he was never the same again.
After immigrating to Canada, Michel was encouraged by a teacher to share what happened to him in order to raise awareness about child soldiers around the world, and this book is part of that effort. Told in the first person and presented in a graphic novel format, the gripping story of Michel's experience is moving and unsettling. But the humanity he exhibits in the telling, along with Claudia Dávila's illustrations, which evoke rather than depict the violent elements of the story, makes the book accessible for this age group and, ultimately, reassuring and hopeful. The back matter contains further information, as well as suggestions for ways children can help. This is a perfect resource for engaging youngsters in social studies lessons on global awareness and social justice issues, and would easily spark classroom discussions about conflict, children's rights and even bullying.
Michel's actions took enormous courage, but he makes clear that he was and still is an ordinary person, no different from his readers. He believes everyone can do something to make the world a better place, and so he shares what his father told him: “If you ever think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”
Written by William Kowalski
Kat is a tough, independent woman who makes her living as a professional poker player. She is single, childless and happy about it. But when her best friend, Josie, commits suicide, she names Kat as the temporary guardian of her ten-year-old son, David, until his father can come for him. In the few weeks that David is with her, Kat finds herself changed in ways she had never thought imaginable. With the old poker adage "bet with your head, not your heart" ringing in her head like a warning bell, Kat nevertheless finds that all the money and success in the world don't mean a thing unless you have someone to share it with. and that maybe there is more to life than winning after all.
Written by Judith Graves
Raven is cunning, aggressive and whip-smart—she’s had to be to survive. She was taken in at a young age by the boss of a car-theft ring, who rescued her from a life of hell. For too long she’s believed she owes him everything and used her uncanny urban climbing skills to train young recruits for what she believes are victimless crimes. Until Raven discovers that his compassion for the kids he wrangles into the ring is just a front, and they are all merely tools of his trade, nothing more. When he’s responsible for the death of Raven’s young “apprentice,” she finally sees him for what he really is—and sets out to bring him down.
Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World
Written by Kathy Lowinger
The 1800s were a dangerous time to be a black girl in the United States, especially if you were born a slave. Ella Sheppard was such a girl, but her family bought their freedom and moved to Ohio where slavery was illegal; they even scraped enough money together to send Ella to school and buy her a piano. In 1871, when her school ran out of money and was on the brink of closure, Ella became a founding member of a traveling choir, the Jubilee Singers, to help raise funds for the Fisk Free Colored School, later known as Fisk University.
The Jubilee Singers traveled from Cincinnati to New York, following the Underground Railroad. With every performance they endangered their lives and those of the people helping them, but they also broke down barriers between blacks and whites, lifted spirits, and even helped influence modern American music: the Jubilees were the first to introduce spirituals outside their black communities, thrilling white audiences who were used to more sedate European songs.
Framed within Ella’s inspiring story, Give Me Wings! is narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking readers through one of history’s most tumultuous and dramatic times, touching on the Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction Era.
Written by Melanie Florence, Illustrated by François Thisdale
A young mother, one of the many missing indigenous women, watches over her small daughter as she grows up without her nimama. Together, but separated, they experience important milestones: the first day of school, first dance, first date, a wedding, and new life.
A free-verse story of love, loss, and acceptance told in alternating voices, Missing Nimama shows the human side of a national tragedy.
An afterword by the author provides a simple, age-appropriate context for young readers. Includes a glossary of Cree terms. Typeset in a dyslexia-friendly font.
Next Round: A Young Athlete's Journey to Gold
Written by John Spray
Arthur Biyarslanov’s journey to competitive boxing has not been easy. As a small child he fled Chechnya with his family, dodging bullets and rocket fire and fording a freezing river. As a young Muslim refugee he faced hardships and hostility in his new homes in Azerbaijan and Toronto. Soccer became his refuge, and he learned two languages by playing the game with his new friends. In Toronto, he joined a league and quickly became their star player. A broken leg left him weakened and he turned to boxing to keep his strength up. Soon it became his new love. After many hours of hard work, he started to win his bouts. And by the age of twenty the “Chechen Wolf” was a champion amateur boxer, winning gold for Canada, his new homeland, at the 2015 Pan Am Games. That medal earned him a shot at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro—the next round for this talented boxer and determined survivor.
A Year of Borrowed Men
Written by Michelle Barker, Illustrated by Renné Benoit
When World War II “borrows” the men in seven-year-old Gerda’s family, the German government sends them three new men in return: Gabriel, Fermaine, and Albert, French prisoners of war who must sleep in an outbuilding and work the farm until the war is over. Gerda knows they are supposed to treat the men as enemies, but it doesn’t seem fair. Can’t they invite them into the warm house for one meal? What harm could it do to be friendly?
Writing from her mother’s childhood memories of Germany during World War II, Michelle Barker shares the story of one family’s daring kindness in a time of widespread anger and suspicion. Renné Benoit’s illustrations bring warmth to the era, showing the small ways in which a forbidden friendship bloomed: good food, a much-loved doll, a secret Christmas tree. Family photographs and an Author’s Note give further insight into the life of Gerda, the little girl who proved that it isn’t so far from Feinde (enemies) to Freunde (friends).