Margin Notes



Newly published, this book will resonate with any parent of a child that turns into a monster when hungry. My younger daughter was once that child and now, at the age of twenty-three, still fights the wolf when waiting for dinner to be served. Inspired by Andy’s own children when hangry, Wolfboy is the hilarious story of a young wolfboy prowling amongst the hills, forests and streams searching for his dinnerHe becomes more and more hangry as the search drags on, until he spots a pair of long ears, “Rabbits, rabbits, where are you?.  Read to find out what happens when he is ready to feast! 

The illustrations are sculpted by hand using clay and are truly unique. The detail is exceptional and inspiring for any young author/illustrator looking to express their ideas using a medium other than paper and pencil. You will appreciate the author’s note on creating the artwork and a quick YouTube search will bring up a short clip of Andy demonstrating his artistic process. 

Young children will truly enjoy this gem of a book as well as searching for hidden bunnies throughout the illustrationsA fun read aloud with great word choice to delight readers, old and young.  

Also, of note is the wonderfully scary Book Trailer which, for horror movie fans, is delightfully enticing and worth checking out 



Charming as a Verb by Ben Phillipe follows Henri Haltiwanger a star student, debater, and charmer. Henri is a first-generation Haitian who lives to please his parents, his teachers, and his classmates. He is used to getting what he wants by charming his way into it, and he will do anything it takes to get into his dream school, Columbia University, so he can fit in with his wealthy New York neighbours and friends. When one of his most intense classmates, Corinne, discovers his dog-walking business is not exactly what it seems to be, she blackmails him into helping her become popular in their prestigious school. Soon their mutual agreement starts to turn into a friendship, and things start to get a little more complicated.

Especially relevant in a high school setting, this book explores the pressures teens experience during the college application process, and how the expectations of parents can add a layer of stress to an already tense situation. The book also addresses inequality in the education system and how wealthier teens have access to certain advantages whilst applying for colleges.

If you are looking for books with strong female characters, look no further. Corinne was a delight of a character that challenged the male lead and a lot of female character tropes. This book also had great conversations around what it takes to be yourself when you feel like you are being pulled in multiple directions and would resonate with teenagers in high school who are trying to find their place among their peers. It also would be a great springboard for conversations around the choices we make when we are faced with societal pressures. Though Henri is a character who makes some not-so-great decisions, the way the author deals with them could lend nicely to teenagers who are also struggling to make choices and be themselves. Overall, this was a great own-voices YA novel that would be a great addition to a classroom library.

Lauren Sieben is a High School ELA teacher at John Caldwell School in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Her favourite activity is reading books. Her second favourite activity is talking about them.



The long awaited and much anticipated sequel to Dread NationDeathless Divide by Justina Ireland does not disappoint. The continuation of this historical fiction with zombie twist and post-Civil War post-Apocalypse (as described in a July 2019 MarginNotes post by Jill Davidson) saga picks up where Dread Nation concluded.  Jane McKeene, her classmate Katherine Devereaux, and Jane’s past love Jackson have fled Summerland along with a rag-tag ensemble of characters in hopes of escaping the undead hordes by finding shelter and safety in Nicodemus.  Because Nicodemus is a fortified town founded by freed slaves and Quakers, they also hope to escape the racial inequality and cruelty they experienced in Summerland. Unfortunately, the road to Nicodemus is paved with danger and heartache for Jane and her companions.   

While the dangers and racial intolerance of Summerland follow Jane and Katherine to Nicodemusthey begin to forge deep friendship and mutual respect for one anotheras they continue to battle shamblersinjustice and unlikely foes until they are torn apart by tragedy. Jane and Katherine both continue west eventually making their way to California. One as a bounty hunter with a legendary reputation and the other working as security on a passenger steamship. Katherine continues to be driven by a chance of a better life in San Francisco and later in Haven, a small mountain town, and Jane by a deep-seated need for revenge against someone she thought was an ally and friend.  

Deathless Divide, like its predecessor, Dread Nation, continues the fast-paced and fascinating tale.  The unlikely blend of history, social commentary, and the undead continues the themes of racism, power, greed, and gender inequality. Once I started it, I did not want to stop listening and when finished, I could not stop thinking about the characters and what might come next.



Aaron Blabey’s ever growing popular graphic novel series, The Bad Guys, released its 12th edition called, “THE ONE,” in November, 2020.

The Bad Guys series is based on a group of animals destined to be bad, trying to prove they are indeed good. This series captures the reader with the funny, hilarious, and sometimes insulting dialogue between the characters that is sure to bring belly laughs from the reader.

In the 12th Bad Guys edition, readers that are fans of this series will question what they have known about Snake prior to now and wonder what is going on with him. Readers will also be very surprised to find out there is more than meets the eye with Agent Fox! (the BAD GUYS: THE ONE, by Aaron Blabey. Published by: Scholastic In, 2020)