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Books of the Year

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Books of the Year 2010: Books for Young People

The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest
Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read (Orca Book Publishers)

There are numerous books exhorting ­children to help save the environment, but surprisingly few address the question, Which one? Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read provide a compelling answer in The Salmon Bears, a rare look inside B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. Filled with McAllister’s stunning photographs of the black bears, spirit bears, and grizzlies that co-exist there and depend on the salmon to live, the book is a powerful argument for the preservation of an endangered natural wonder. It’s also a book that puts its money where its mouth is: all of the author royalties go toward bear conservation ­efforts in B.C.

Prisoner of Dieppe: World War II
Hugh Brewster (Scholastic Canada)

Blood and Iron: Building the Railway
Paul Yee (Scholastic Canada)
Getting boys to read can be an uphill battle, but in many cases the real difficulty is getting them to read anything that gives off the slightest whiff of being good for you. Many boys will happily read about ­zombies, werewolves, hockey players, and other supernatural creatures, but what about the Dieppe invasion or the building of the Trans­Canada Railway?

Having engaged a generation of young girls with its successful Dear Canada historical fiction series, Scholastic attempts to thread the boy-reader needle with I Am Canada. Hugh Brewster and Paul Yee turn out to be excellent choices for kicking off the series, even though Brewster had never before written fiction, and Yee’s chosen subject seems like an unlikely attention-grabber. As reviewer Jean Mills wrote in October’s Q&Q, Prisoner of Dieppe and Blood and Iron succeed despite the odds. [I]f future instalments adhere to these high standards, she says, Scholastic will have another winning series on its hands.