Canadian Children's Book Centre Review - Fight for Justice

Canadian Children's Book Centre
Reviewed by: Gillian O'Reilly

Except for his problems with a local bully, 10-year-old Justice Stonyplain lives a good life in the city with his twin sister Charity and his mother. He especially loves going to the reserve--a place where he can run free and explore--to see his Kokum and Mushom, his mother's parents. His Mushom has taught him many skills and the two of them enjoy doing things together. In fact, when his teacher asks the students to do a presentation on a city or important place, Justice picks the reserve. When his classmate Trey starts picking on Justice--and sometimes Charity--at school and in the neighbourhood, Justice doesn't know how to respond. Should he be 'the man of the house' and protect his sister? Should he stop being 'wimpy' and try to take revenge? Should he try to avoid the bullies and, if so, how? One thing he is sure of: he can't tell his mother or the teachers. While Justice struggles with this problem, there are lots of small victories and joys in his life--taking his first jump off the high diving board with his daredevil friend Vance, getting so excited about his project that he actually enjoys the presentation. There is also the growing realization that other children may not have the strong family that he does. In the end, he and Charity are forced to tell the adults about the bullying, but it is Justice's own strength and action (built on what he has learned from his Mushom and his mother) that solves the problem. This is a first novel from Regina author and elementary school teacher Lori Saigeon and she draws on her experiences teaching in inner city schools. She marries a universal story--dealing with a bully--with the particular details of a Canadian city and the reserve in a gentle, positive and authentic tale.

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