Quick Facts

Are you working on a research project and looking for information on one of Canada’s Prime Ministers? Perhaps it’s the Socials 10 Fathers of Confederation assignment?

Have no fear — check out the MEI Secondary Library Pinterest Board: Social Studies — we have Quick Fact Sheets with biographical information from Sir John A. Macdonald to Stephen Joseph Harper.

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biography blitz

Are you someone who reflects on your past year and set goals for the upcoming year?
Why don’t you stop by MEI Secondary Library and grab a Biography to see what others have experienced and accomplished in their lives?

 

 

Konrad, Anne. Red quarter moon : a search for family in the shadow of Stalin.
Anne Konrad’s Red Quarter Moon is the gripping account of her search for family members lost and disappeared within the Soviet Union. Konrad’s ancestors, Mennonites, had settled the Ukrainian steppes in the late 1790s. An ethno-religious minority, they became special objects of Soviet persecution. Though her parents fled in 1929, many relatives remained in the USSR. Konrad’s search for these missing extended family members took place over twenty years and five continents – on muddy roads, lonesome steppes, and in old letters, documents, or secret police archives. Her story emerges as both haunting and inspiring, filled with dramatically different accounts from survivors now scattered across the world. She aligns the voices of her subjects chronologically against the backdrop of Soviet policy, intertwining the historical context of the Terror Years with her own personal quest. Red Quarter Moon is an enthralling journey into the past that offers a unique look at the lives of ordinary families and individuals in the USSR.

 

Nazanin. The tale of two Nazanins : a teenager on death row in Iran and the Canadian who vowed to save her.
The Tale of Two Nazanins weaves together the lives of two women — one a Canadian at the height of her career, the other a teenager on death row in Iran — and a fight for justice that, if only for a moment, brought the Iranian regime to its knees. An inspiring story of the bonds of sisterhood, this extraordinary book speaks to the power of every individual to foster positive change in the world.

 

Pemberton, Stephen J. A chance in the world : an orphan boy, a mysterious past, and how he found a place called home.
Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence. Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger. In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and begins to hope that one day he might have a different life — that one day he will find his true home. A Chance in the World is an unbelievable true story of a wounded and broken boy destined to become a man of resilience, determination, and vision. Through it all, Steve’s story teaches us that no matter how broken our past, no matter how great our misfortunes, we have it in us to create a new beginning and to build a place where love awaits.

 

Dobson, Edward G. Seeing through the fog : hope when your world falls apart.
More than ten years ago, doctors diagnosed Pastor Ed Dobson with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and gave him two to five years to live. Ed’s journey since then has been one of thanking God for each new day — and remembering that life isn’t over yet. In Seeing Through the Fog, Ed offers wisdom for anyone going through painful circumstances. he knows firsthand the journey of questions, discouragement, and loss. But more than anything, this book is about what happens when suffering allows us to see, perhaps for the first time, the beauty of our lives. This is a book of hope.

 

Tebow, Tim. Through my eyes.
Headache — Given a chance — The early years — Preparing a foundation — A fair farewell — Overcoming, Philippines, football, faith, and Otis — Where to go, where to go? — Running down a dream — Getting my feet wet in the Swamp — Ending up in the desert — Starting over — Communication problems — The Heisman — Doing the right thing — An inauspicious start — The promise — A promise fulfilled — Matching their intensity — Finishing strong — The draft, Denver, and eternal direction. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football traces his path to success, discussing his childhood as the son of Christian missionaries and how his faith combined with his drive to succeed have made him the person he is today.

 

McConnon, Aili. The road to valour : a true story of a Tuscan cyclist and secret World War II hero.
Road to Valour is the inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II.

 

Henderson, Paul. The goal of my life : a memoir.
An autobiography of Canadian hockey player Paul Henderson, discussing his childhood in Ontario, and his professional career with the NHL.

 

Ten Boom, Corrie. The hiding place.
The one hundredth birthday party — Full table — Karel — The watch shop — Invasion — The secret room — Eusie — Storm clouds gather — The raid — Scheveningen — The lieutenant — Vught — Ravensbruck — The blue sweater — The three visions. A thirty-fifth anniversary edition of the biography of Corrie Ten Boom, a leader of the Dutch underground who hid scores of Jews from the Nazi’s during World War II.

 

Zar, Rose. In the mouth of the wolf.
The author describes her experiences in wartime Poland and how she survived the Holocaust by passing herself off as an Aryan.

200 years and going strong

Charles Dickens would be 200 years old this year…and even though he died 142 years ago, we’re still talking about him! Yesterday, the National Post wrote an article called “Ten things you might not know about Charles Dickens“:

1. He had a thing for nicknames
Dickens not only named many of his ten children after his favourite authors but he also appointed nicknames to each other them including “Chickenstalker,” “Skittles,” “Lucifer Box” and “Plorn.” His own nickname? “Boz.”

2. He was obsessive-compulsive
Looking in the mirror and combing his hair was an obsession of Dickens. He would do this hundreds of times each day as well as rearranging furniture in his home because if it wasn’t in the “correct” position, he wouldn’t be able to concentrate. He also made sure that his bed was always aligned north-south, he believed that this would improve his writing. He’d touch certain objects three times for luck and was so fixated on cleanliness that he would frequently clean other people’s homes too.

3. Study secret
Inside Dickens’ study was a secret door designed like a bookcase. The shelves were filled with fake books that had witty titles such as Noah’s Arkitecture, a nine-volume set called Cat’s Lives and a multi-volume series called The Wisdom of Our Ancestors that dealt with subjects like ignorance, superstition, disease and instruments of torture. There was a companion book that went with The Wisdom of Our Ancestors called The Virtues of Our Ancestors that was super narrow.

4. He practiced hypnotism
Dickens was always interested in mesmerism and often practiced on his wife (a hypochondriac), his children and friends — to great results.

5. He was epileptic
At a young age, Dickens suffered from epilepsy and applied that to some of his characters, describing three, specifically, as having seizures. For a time where little was known about this disorder, doctors were impressed by how accurate and descriptive he could be. The characters that had seizures were Edward Leeford (Oliver Twist), a headmaster (Our Mutual Friend) and a maid (Bleak House).

6. Spontaneous Human Combustion
Dickens believed that humans could die from spontaneous combustion and even wrote in his novel Bleak House that one of the characters, Krook, died from it.

7. A Christmas Carol
Most of the characters in A Christmas Carol were based on people he actually knew, like Ebenezer Scrooge (a counselor in Edinburgh). This was also Dickens’ first unserialized piece of work.

8. Train crash
In June 1865, Dickens and his mistress Nelly Ternan were in the Staplehurst rail crash. They were in one of the eight cars that didn’t crash into the river below and he helped out some of the other passengers to safety before running back to save the manuscript for his novel Our Mutual Friend.

9. Canadian connection
Dickens’ son, Francis Jeffrey Dickens, was a member of the North-West Mounted Police from 1874 – 1886.

10. There’s a Charles Dickens amusement park
Dickens World in Kent, England is a Dickens themed attraction that promises to “take you back to an authentically themed Dickensian England.”

Sounds like an interesting fellow hey?
Makes you want to come on down to the library and check out something he wrote doesn’t it?!

would you dare?

The Newbery Honor author, SUSAN CAMPBELL BARTOLETTI, brings us a compelling page-turner. “Just as the Nazis are rising to power, Helmuth Hübener, a German schoolboy, is caught up in all the swashbuckling bravado of his time. The handsome storm trooper uniforms, the shiny jackboots and armbands, the rousing patriotism — all serve to draw him into this bright new world full of promise and hope. In the beginning, Helmuth’s patriotism is unwavering. But every day the rights of people all over Germany are diminishing. Jews are threatened and their businesses are being destroyed, the truth has been censored, and danger lurks everywhere. Anybody can turn on you. The world has turned upside down: Patriotism means denouncing others, love means to hate, and speaking out means treason. Silence becomes everyone’s guilty secret. How much longer can Helmuth keep silent? Now Helmuth sits in a German prison, awaiting his precarious fate. Told in flashback with breathtaking suspense, this homage to an extraordinary real-life hero magnificently explores one person’s responsibility to humanity, freedom, and truth.” {amazon.ca}

biographies, autobiographies, & memoirs, oh my!

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90 minutes in heaven : a true story of death & life by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey.

Summary — The author, a pastor, describes his near-death experience after a car accident in 1989, explaining that he went to Heaven and was brought back to Earth by a miracle, and discusses the impact of the event on his life.

Dancing with Max : a mother and son who broke free by Emily Colson ; prologue & epilogue by Charles W. Colson.

Summary — Emily Colson shares the story of her experiences as the single mother of a child diagnosed with autism, and tells how she developed her own visual communication system for working with Max.

The devil in pew number seven by Rebecca N. Alonzo with Bob DeMoss.

Summary — Rebecca Nichols Alonzo recounts the events surrounding her father’s murder, describing how a church member who refused to give up control when Robert Nichols took over as pastor tormented and threatened her family, until the night that Rebecca’s life was shattered forever.

Life, in spite of me : extraordinary hope after a fatal choice by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer.

Summary — The author shares the story of how she survived a suicide attempt and found hope and peace in her life.

Life without limits : inspiration for a ridiculously good life by Nick Vujicic.

Summary — The author, a man who was born without arms or legs, describes how he overcame his disabilities to live an independent, fulfilling life and provides advice to the reader on ways to discover their purpose in life.

The red scorpion : the true story of a ruthless Russian mob boss’s dramatic redemption by Rami Kivisalo and Marko Joensuu.

Summary — Rami Kivisalo, the son of Finnish missionaries in Tanzania, provides an account of how he came to be part of the Russian mafia’s inner circle in charge of illegal drug and arms trades, and discusses events that led to his religious conversion.

Shattered : struck down, but not destroyed by Frank Pastore with Ellen Vaughn.

Summary — Cincinnati Reds pitcher Frank Pastore stepped onto the mound in Dodger Stadium to throw another fastball — something he’d done thousands of times since childhood. But this time was different. The batter connected and the ball came rocketing back to the mound, shattering not only Frank’s pitching elbow — but also his dream of getting rich and famous through Major League Baseball. This is a story of how the fragments of broken dreams can be reassembled into even bigger and better things. This is a story that shows how all of us can come to know we’re in God’s good hands. Even when we’re shattered.

Two wars by Nate Self.

Summary — The author, a former Ranger captain, tells his story and the story of those in his unit, as they fought their way through hostile territory in Afghanistan, describing his personal struggles, professional duty to his country and his men, and the long-term effects of the war on terror.

Unshaken : rising from the ruins of Haiti’s Hotel Montana by Dan Woolley with Jennifer Schuchmann.

Summary — Dan Woolley, an interactive strategies director for Compassion International, recounts the nearly three days he spent trapped beneath the rubble of Haiti’s collapsed Hotel Montana. He details his survival methods — including using an iPhone app to treat his life-threatening injuries, conversations with strangers buried nearby, letters to his family, and the small and large decisions he made that affected his chances of surviving the 7.0 Haiti earthquake that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

a former terrorist’s memoir

THE BLOOD OF LAMBS : a former terrorist’s memoir of death and redemption by Kamal Saleem with Lynn Vincent.The blood of lambs

“The Blood of Lambs reveals the true inside story of the making and mind-set of a Muslim terrorist. Though his ties with terrorism were severed more than twenty years ago, it was not until 9/11, when radical Muslims rained terror on American shores, that Kamal Saleem stepped out of the shadows and revealed his true identity. Today, he is a different kind of warrior. He now stands on the wall and shouts to America, “Open your eyes and fight the danger that lives among you.” Kamal is now an American citizen and has embraced the Christian faith he once sought to destroy. He consults with federal law enforcement agencies and speaks on the dangers of radical Islam at venues across the country.” [Amazon]