Title: Annaleise Carr
Author: Annaleise Carr as told to Deborah Ellis (Note: I believe this link to Ms Ellis' page is correct, but the book is not listed on her page. If this is incorrect, please advise and I will correct it.)
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company., Ltd. Publishers
Year: September 1, 2014
Pages: (Nook e-Book via NetGalley): 63
Follow on Twitter: Annaleise
[Disclaimer: I was provided a free e-book copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. Visit NetGalley for more information.]
This was a short book about a young girl (14) who got an idea in her head one day to swim across Lake Ontario in order to raise money for a camp (Camp Trillium) specializing in helping children who have cancer. It is not a long book, 63 pages, and it was easy to read because the paragraphs are nicely separated and the print was large (at least on my Nook version it was).
The book is laid out nicely and actually takes the time to build in intensity as the reader waits to see if Annaleise will be permitted to do the swim by her parents, if she will raise the money she wanted to raise, and if she will complete the actual swim. There are eleven chapters that build this intensity for the reader–insofar as a book of this nature can build intensity–before concluding with a helpful epilogue, glossary, bibliography, and index (important tools I always look for when reading a book!)
The glossary will be helpful to younger readers who may not understand all of the language being used in the book; although, I found that even though there was help from a professional author (I don't know what percentage) the book comes across very much in the language of a fourteen year old girl. She has an enthusiasm about herself and took this challenge very seriously–that enthusiasm comes across very well in the book. To me it seemed genuine and not feigned for the sake of an audience.
I also liked that the book contained a variety of pictures for the reader to enjoy. It helped me to know who I was reading about and what I was reading about too.
Throughout the book, there are intermittent sub-headings within each chapter such as 'What is Cancer?' After this sub-heading, the author gives us a paragraph or two of definition. I was happy to learn about many of the challenges that come with such an ambitious undertaking. She was blessed to have so many supporters working with her to make the attempt.
Finally, I was pleased that the author and publishers didn't decided to squelch the young lady's faith. There were a couple of times when she made reference to her faith or to a Bible verse which was refreshing. Some teachers/schools may struggle with this aspect of the book, but it doesn't come across as preachy or condescending. It is matter of fact like everything else in the book.
All in all I enjoyed the book. It took me about two hours to read and I believe it will be a wonderful addition to any classroom library. The book will be useful for helping students see a progression of thought and perhaps also for making predictions (given that the end of the book has a rather surprising twist!) I recommend this book for students fourth grade and up. It will be a book of courage and hope for those struggling against cancer and perhaps inspirational for other young people who want to help or make a difference in the lives of others.