Sigmund hasn’t forgotten his childhood struggles in English, and has remained true to his desire to inspire kids who haven’t yet discovered the joys of reading. His travels take him to nearly 100 schools each year. “I’d like to use my background as a novelist to help kids get excited about reading,” he concludes. “Once I found that talking to children about writing could open doors for them. I’ve been committed to doing that, and I will continue to do so. Kids who can read and write well when they get out of school have a lot better chance of reaching their dreams than kids who still struggle with it.” Sigmund explains, “From what I’ve seen, there aren’t’ a lot of books out there designed for 85 percent of the kids who are not avid readers. Most books are written for the 15 percent who love to read. I have a real concern about that. So, I will keep writing one novel a year – that takes six to seven months – and spend the rest of the year writing for reluctant readers and visiting schools.” Sigmund and his family live half the year in Nashville, Tennessee, and half the year in Red Deer, Alberta.
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Johnny Maverick and his friend Stu Duncan live in the small town of Howling where they play on the hockey team, the Howling Timberwolves. Tom Morgan, the new kid in the town, is a serious hockey player and star scorer. Tom is a lot more focused on the game than on befriending his new teammates. He bullies players like Stu, the good-humored, overweight math whiz who knows he has little talent for hockey but plays anyway. Stu endures Tom’s merciless insults, but after a while they have an effect, and Stu starts to think maybe he should just quit the team. Then Johnny dreams up a scheme that both respects Tom Morgan and ultimately puts him in his place. Johnny persuades Stu to go along with the plan, and the outcome is positive for everyone. The author hits many notes just right. There is plenty of mean banter between Tom, Johnny, and Stu, plenty of action, and a cleverly plotted resolution. The title is part of this Canadian publisher’s “Echoes” series for ages 7 to 9. At 54 pages, with 15 black and white illustrations, the book is also suitable and recommended for a young, accelerated reader or an older, reluctant one. 2006, Orca Book Publishers, $4.99. Ages 6 to 11. Reviewer: J. H. Diehl (Children’s Literature).
Hog Burnell is one of the top players in the Canadian WHL hockey team. The team is one round away from winning their division. To do this they must defeat a tough Russian all-star team. The money which could come from a series win would come in very handy for Hog but the glory of his team’s win is paramount for him. He is looking forward to the trip to Russia to compete until he learns there is a lot more at stake than the win. Hog is confronted with temptations and dangers which try his character. All Star Pride is one of a series of Orca Sports Series which include Jumper, Rebel Glory and Tiger Threat. The books are of similar length and style and are written by two authors: Sigmund Brouwer and Michele Martin Bossley. They are interesting, well researched sports stories which will entertain junior/intermediate readers, especially boys. The books would be a welcome addition to school and classroom libraries. (Orca Sports Series) Category: Fiction Grades 7-12. Thematic Links: Hockey; Sports. Resource Links Rating: G (Good, great at times, generally useful!), Gr. 6 up. 2006, Orca Book Publishers, 170p., Pbk. $9.95. Ages 11 up. Reviewer: Gail Lennon (Resource Links, February 2007 (Vol. 12, No. 3).
This short, fast-paced novel follows a team of high school misfits, the Sewer Rats, who are the champions of the underground paintballers. They are undefeated in battles fought in the sewer tunnels beneath the city. The book is narrated by the smallest Rat, Jimmy, who is terrified of small dark spaces, but uses an alter ego, the heroic Zantor, to help him through. The story line of this novel in the Orca Soundings series focuses on the addition of a new Rat to the team and the problems that result. The plot is predictable, but the book is nevertheless a fun read. Jimmy is the most thoroughly fleshed-out character, but the other Rats are less well developed, although each has his or her own stereotype-defying quirk. With pages of well-spaced print, this brief book should be an easy booktalk to reluctant readers. Those who are already voracious readers may be left wanting more, however. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Orca, 106p., $7.95 Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Beth Karpas (VOYA, August 2006 (Vol. 29, No. 3).
Reach For Your Dreams – It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you decide to go in life that’s far more important. Because of this, Sigmund Brouwer encourages students to reach for their dreams, giving them fun and practical advice for the reading and writing skills that are a foundation for future success.
Sigmund’s presentations are high-level energy for one-hour, but schools occasionally request 45 minutes. He especially reaches out to reluctant readers, and gears the talk to engage their attention. Audience size varies according to the school’s preference; quite often his presentations take place in the gym to the entire school, including kindergarten. (After the first half hour, the K-2 grades are dismissed, with the remainder of the presentation for the older students.) There are no restrictions on audience size except for the space limitations of the gym. Smaller schools are welcome to invite another school to share in the cost of the presentation.
Fee: Sigmund’s fees begin at $500, per session. Travel and lodging – Travel and lodging to be paid by sponsoring organization.
To learn more about Sigmund and his publications please visit www.coolreading.com.