classroom resources

Please scroll down to find themes, resources and teachers’ comments linked to each book. 

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English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers might be interested in my easy reader How to Make Money When You’re Twelve (published by Caramel Tree Press for students learning English in Korea). My Orca Currents novels Manga Touch and Siege may also appeal to older ESL students. Many of my novels have been enjoyed by adult students of English in Japan.

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Discovering Emily and Emily’s Dream

Themes: Emily Carr, Canadian art and artists, self-expression, Canadian/British Columbia history, 19th century life

For ages 7-10 (both Emily books work well with grades 3-4 in particular and have also been used with adult ESL students)


– Click here for a downloadable teachers’ guide to Discovering Emily from Orca Books

– Click here for a downloadable teachers’ guide to Emily’s Dream from Orca Books

Discovering Emily and Emily’s Dream are also available to read online through Tumble Books

– Good website on Emily Carr’s home, family and art: Emily Carr at Home and at Work


There are so many kids like Emily Carr who have a spark somewhere inside them, but it doesn’t always show up in school. [Discovering Emily] inspired me to look for that spark in the kids I deal with every day.
– Annette Fung, teacher, British Columbia

[The grade four students] all seem to be captivated with Emily, and have looked for websites about her early life and her later work. [The books have] been a stepping stone to looking at other Canadian artists and their work. . . .The set has filled my language arts needs extremely well as a read-aloud for the class and a point for discussion.
– teacher, Newfoundland

Jacqueline Pearce’s books, particularly The Reunion and the Emily Carr stories, have been ideal for use with my adult students of English. The language, while simple enough for my students to grasp, is rich with descriptions of Vancouver Island’s history and environment, and the personalities of the characters are so real. My students laugh and nod as they get to know the characters, and they learn about the expressive qualities of the English language, something they could never find in most text books.
– Jean-Pierre Antonio, Suzuka International University, Japan

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The Reunion

Themes: friendship, World War II, multicultural experience and customs, Japanese Canadians, Sikh Canadians

For ages 7-10

Nominated for a 2003-4 Chocolate Lily Award


– Click here for a downloadable teachers’ guide to The Reunion from Orca Books

The Reunion is also available to read online through Tumble Books

– Background on the town of Paldi on Vancouver Island, where the story takes place.  Canadian Encyclopedia article on Japanese internment in Canada during WW II. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) article on Japanese internment.


I started to read [The Reunion] one evening and couldn’t put it down until it was finished. Not only did I enjoy the story, but I was fascinated with the local history. [The] book has deepened my appreciation for my community.
– teacher-librarian, Vancouver Island

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Dog House Blues

Themes: human-animal bond, bullying, responsible pet care, dogs, friendship

for ages 8-12

Nominated for a Langley Book of the Year Award, 2008


– Click here for the teachers’ resources section of the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) website

Dog House Blues has also been published by Scholastic Canada (2008) as part of its Social Responsibility Book Club – Bully-Free Zone in the Moving Up with Literacy Place resource for grade 4-6 classrooms. The book is available as part of a classroom set with this resource package. More info here.

– copies of the book can also be ordered through the author (see contact info)


The students are captivated with the characters, they empathize with the situations, and they make observations as we read.
– teacher, Newfoundland

Dog House Blues would be an excellent addition to school, classroom and public libraries.
– Resource Links

This novel provides a realistic examination of the feelings and actions often shown by bullies and people they hurt. . . . this is a recommended read for any girl who is dealing with bullying.
– Canadian Materials

This is a story full of hope, friendship and humour, with believable characters both animal and human.
– Canadian Children’s Book News

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The Truth About Rats (and Dogs)

Themes: human-animal bond, responsible pet care, rats and other small animals, stereotyping, multicultural experience, Chinese New Year celebrations

For ages 8-12

Nominated for a 2008 Hackmatack Award


– Click here for the teachers’ resources section of the BC SPCA website

– Good website with information, activities and lesson plans related to Chinese New Year: Teacher Planet – Chinese New Year

– Website with info on the animal currently being celebrated (it was the Year of the Rat in 2008) and links to other sites about Chinese New Year: Current Chinese New Year


The story is above average, the characters are well developed and the plot moves along at a good pace. . . . I enjoyed the well-rounded Conner character who played soccer, rode BMX, yet played piano, and joined the school animal club.”
– Canadian Materials

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Weeds and other stories

Themes: teen relationships and issues, urban nature and wildlife

For ages 12 and up (especially 12-15)

Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection 2004


[The stories] depict realistic responses to challenges, through the eyes and voices of teenagers. . . . Will encourage dialogue about important issues for young people.
– Steve Lloyd, high school teacher

These short stories work well when you don’t have time to do a complete novel study. . . . a great way of generating class discussion around teen issues, as well as themes relevant to humane education and relationships between people and urban wildlife. “The Door” and “We’re In” are particularly powerful stories about people and animals.
Paula Neuman, Humane Educator, BC SPCA

Teachers and students will find [these stories] useful for assignments requiring a short story that reflects the Canadian experience.
– Canadian Materials

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Manga Touch

Themes: friendship, belonging, travel, Japan

For ages 10-14 (high interest, low vocabulary)

Listed in Resource Links “best of 2007” and a starred selection in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s “Best Books for Kids and Teens 2008.”

A French version of this novel is also available: L’effet manga


– Click here for information about Orca’s resource guide for the Orca Currents Series


This is a great introduction to how Japan is experienced today. The characters have their strengths and weaknesses, which young readers can identify and grow with.
– Nichola Ogiwara, Nikkei Heritage Centre

This is another excellent title in a superb series for older students with low reading skills.- Resource Links

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Themes: War of 1812 (Canadian and US history), war, friendship, going without technology, moving beyond first impressions

For ages 10-14 (high interest, low vocabulary)


– Click here for information about Orca’s resource guide for the Orca Currents Series.

– General background on the War of 1812 in the Canadian Encyclopedia, and War of 1812 re-enactment website (includes links to articles and documentary videos). Old Fort Erie info on Parks Canada website.


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