Posts Tagged ‘ice hockey’

Storytime Standouts Looks at a New Picture Book: The Hockey Song

Posted on October 9th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks at The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors, published by Greystone BooksThe Hockey Song written by Stompin’ Tom Connors and illustrated by Gary Clement
Hockey-Theme Picture Book published by Greystone Books

OH! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hockey game.

An outdoor game of pick up hockey is the setting for this fun, energetic tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ widely known anthem. The well-lit rink is in a city and it glistens beneath the stars on a wintry evening. It feels as though it would be a the centerpiece of a community, drawing players from far and wide for a casual, drop in game.

Engaging illustrations show us the game from ice level and above, depicting players from various races who are young and old, petite and burly and male and female. It is fun to see more than one multi generational family group; moms and dads enjoying the game with their children.

The game begins with just two players on the ice but soon swells and, by the end of the song, the rink is crowded with enthusiastic hockey players. Some wear familiar NHL-style jerseys while others are dressed less traditionally. Some wear hockey helmets and others have toques, headphones, pony tales and stocking caps. Young readers will enjoy playing eye spy and noticing all sorts of interesting details about the dozens of players who finish the game.

Very good fun for children aged four and up. The Hockey Song would be a great gift for a hockey-loving grandparent to share with a newcomer to the game.

The Hockey Song at Amazon.com

The Hockey Song at Amazon.ca

Score with this Young Adult Mystery: Breakaway by Michael Betcherman

Posted on August 20th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts writes about young adult mystery: Breakaway by Michael BetchermanBreakaway written by Michael Betcherman
Young adult mystery published by Razorbill an imprint of Penguin Canada



Read our interview with Michael Betcherman

Those of you who visit our website regularly will know that I am a mother to two teenage boys and that one of my sons is a hockey player. Very often friends will comment about the challenges of encouraging teenage boys to read. We’ve been fortunate with our boys, they both enjoy reading and are good readers. Unfortunately, for some kids, it is not so easy. I often wonder if some reluctant readers simply have not found a book that matches their interests.

Last month, while on holiday, I had an opportunity to read Michael Betcherman’s first mystery novel: Breakaway. It was a finalist for the 2013 John Spray Mystery Award.

Set in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Breakaway tells the story of a 16 year old Midget hockey player whose father is wrongly convicted of murder. Nick Macklin’s dad (a former professional hockey player) has been convicted for killing another former NHL player who once viciously cross-checked him in the head. and ended his playing career.

Nick is devastated by his father’s conviction and is determined to uncover the truth but it is not an easy job. Nick’s anger and disappointment with his dad’s conviction results in problems at school, the loss of good friends and his involvement with minor hockey.

He remembered something his mother once told him. “Tragedy is part of life. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. The trick in life is get as much joy as you can.” As long as dad was in jail, tragedy would be part of his life.

Bit by bit, as time passes, Nick begins to recover from the shock of his dad’s conviction. He starts to focus more on his schoolwork, he becomes more social and he resumes playing hockey but his obsession with investigating the crime and finding the murderer does not falter.

Young adults, especially those who play hockey will enjoy Breakaway’s hockey theme. The book references NHL, WHL and minor hockey teams, rinks and the dynamics of playing a sport at high level. At the heart, this is a story of loyalty and determination as Nick Macklin remains steadfast in his determination to uncover the truth.

Recommended for youth aged 14 and up.

Note: This book has been published with two different covers. The cover shown above is the American cover. This photo features the Canadian cover (adjacent to a rather nice pool).Breakaway by Michael Betcherman poolside

Breakaway at Amazon.com

Breakaway at Amazon.ca



Meet Author Jacqueline Guest

Posted on July 17th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts interviews author Jacqueline Guest Jacqueline Guest is an international award winning author with eighteen published novels. She has presented across Canada and in the United States to audiences of all ages including the University of Calgary; Manitoba Association of Teachers of English; Alberta Association of Library Technicians; MASC Conference Ottawa; University of Victoria; Cultural Diversity Institute North Central Teachers Association; Young Alberta Book Society; Wordsworth Writing Camp; Dreamcatcher Aboriginal Conferences; Saskatoon Reading Council Teachers Conference; Batoche Historical Site; the Edmonton Young Offenders Centre; Mamawenig; Back to Batoche Days; Fort Calgary’s Metis Cultural Festival, the American Indian Library Association, plus a host of other conferences and engagements. Jacqueline is the current Creator in Residence for the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. She has been Writer in Residence for the Marigold Library System and is the proud recipient of the 2013 Indspire Award for the Arts. With her experience in writing, editing, promotion, touring and the business aspects of being a writer, Jacqueline feels sharing her expertise can help new authors achieve their goals faster and with better results.

Twitter account @JacquelineGuest

Author website

Tell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

The Comic Book War by Jacqueline GuestThe Comic Book War is a great novel for readers of all ages. It tells the story of how one teenaged boy discovers a cosmic link between his comic book superheroes and his three brothers fighting overseas in WW2. It all starts when a meteorite falls from space in front of his eyes and he is able to find it…

This novel will make you believe in ‘What if?’, the biggest question in the universe. What if cosmic links do exist? What if we are all connected? What if we can tap into those connections to protect our loved ones?

This story is more than a coming of age novel, it shows us how we all cope with stress in different ways.

The Comic Book War at Amazon.com

The Comic Book War at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favourite? Why do you suppose that person’s work resonated with you?

Mark Twain was, is and always will be my favorite author. I have many other stars on my book shelves too numerous to mention, but Twain’s stories continue to entertain and resonate with me even after all these years.

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

First books are always hard, but don’t give up! Learning to write at a professional level is just like learning how to perform an athletic event at an Olympic level – it takes years of practice and dedication to achieve your goal, but it is so worth it. We will always need new books to inspire and entertain, and new writers coming up now will provide those wonderful books.

Outcasts of River Falls by Jacqueline GuestWhen did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

I have always wanted to be a writer, but was afraid to say it out loud when I was growing up in case I was ridiculed. After all, published authors don’t come from a small village like Turner Valley, Alberta, they come from New York, or Toronto, or Vancouver- big cities with fancy schools. Well, I’m here to tell you, authors do come from small towns everywhere and you don’t need an agent or fancy letters after your name. You just have to believe- and be willing to pay your dues.

If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing / illustrating process look like?

Writing a novel is like running a marathon. It is hours of grueling practice, then many more hours honing your skills, and finally putting all that practice to work as you sit in front of your computer for hours on end, creating a world where not only your characters can live, but your readers too. I sit for long hours writing, oblivious to everything around me, eating chips with one hand while the other hand juggles a cup of tea as I pound on the keys. It’s not magic, it’s hard work. ;)

I call the room where I write a ‘Scriptorium’, (I even have a sign on the door!). People who have 9-5 jobs work in an ‘office’; a writer doesn’t have such nice tidy hours, which is why I like ‘scriptorium’ better.

Tell us about your experiences sharing your book with children. Has anything unusual / endearing / funny / unexpected happened?Rink Rivals by Jacqueline Guest

One of the coolest experiences I have had was working at a First Nation’s school when a young boy in Grade 5 came up to me and told me he read Rink Rivals, a hockey novel about twin boys who scrap on the ice and off. I said that was great, and he became excited, telling me he read all the pages, right to the end and he was going to read another book now and that it was the first book he had ever read in his entire life! That was the ultimate compliment.

How do you stay connected with your readers? Have you gone on book tours? Do you engage on social media or through a website? Do you visit classrooms, libraries or bookstores?

I love travelling to share my excitement about reading with students everywhere. To see a student’s excitement when they tell me about one of my books that they are reading and how the characters are so real, the adventure so exciting and the story so compelling, now, that’s worth the time, expense, long hours and effort. I wish I was better at social media and keeping my website up to date, but I’m not a tech type, and if anyone out there would like to work on my website for me, let me know!!!

If you weren’t an author / illustrator, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

I have worked every job under the sun to support my writing habit: house cleaner, retail clerk, waitress, day care worker, core analyst in the oil industry and about a million more jobs I shudder to remember. I know how fortunate I am to have this dream job of being a writer.

If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

I would pay to dine with Mark Twain. Not only handsome, but the most talented writer ever!

Does music play a part in your writing/illustrating? If so, what sort of music do you connect with your work?

When I write, it has to be absolutely quiet. No music, no TV, no distractions. (I even shut the chimes off on my wall clock because it was driving me nuts!)

Do you do school or library presentations?

I travel extensively to schools and libraries everywhere. I recently was at two schools in Tanzania while there volunteering to teach an adult writing class. I have various presentations geared to tandem with curriculums. Here’s some information:

Belle of Batoche by Jacqueline GuestThe Era of the Fur Trade explores Canada’s past with a session that includes over fifty artifacts such as beaver pelts, bone fishing hooks, horn sewing needles, plus we learn the uses of the Metis Sash, and the laws for the buffalo hunt. It is very interactive with students from the audience assisting me as we paddle down the river with our canoe laden with furs or demonstrating how old fashioned aboriginal toys worked. Belle of Batoche and Outcasts of River Falls are great companion reads for this session.

Dinosaurs! This is geared for students in Kindergarten and grade one/two who dig dinosaurs. The PPT session includes fossils of bones, trees, dino poop and an actual dinosaur egg and comes complete with a coloring handout.

Ghost Messages: A Voyage with the Author, a sixty minute PPT session, tandems with my novel Ghost Messages and deals with laying the transatlantic cable in 1865,an event which changed the world for all time because it changed the way we communicate. Those texters in the audience need to know how this communication explosion we live in today started. Students see an actual piece of the first transatlantic cable, plus students can win a prize by decoding and answering a secret Morse Code question.

The Comic Book War: WW2, Meteorites and Comic Book Superheroes involves my new novel The Comic Book War. Students learn about the home front war effort including savings stamps, rationing, victory gardens and a host of other helpful facts. Plus, we explore the possibility that we are all connected on a cosmic level. Could a meteorite found by our hero connect comic book super heroes here in Canada with three soldiers fighting overseas? ‘What if?’ the most powerful question in the universe!

Jacqueline Guest’s books are published by Coteau Books, Orca Book Publishers and James Lorimer and Company. She also works with Scholastic, Pearson Canada and Rubicon for short stories and levelled reading.

Meet Author Michael Betcherman

Posted on June 5th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts introduces author Michael BetchermanMichael Betcherman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He has numerous writing credits in both dramatic and documentary television, including several episodes of the popular CBC drama, Street Legal. He is also the author/creator of The Daughters of Freya and Suzanne, two groundbreaking online novels that were highly praised by numerous publications, including The Globe and Mail and The (U.K.) Guardian.

Michael has written two young adult mystery novels, Breakaway and Face-Off, both published by Penguin Canada. Breakaway was short-listed for the John Spray Mystery Award.




Author Facebook page
Author Twitter account @MBetcherman

Tell us about your latest published book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

My latest book is Face-Off, a Young Adult mystery published this February.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Storytime Standouts profiles Michael Betcherman, the author of Faceoff17 year-old Alex Petrovic came to Canada with his mother when he was an infant, after his father was murdered during a civil war in their home country in Eastern Europe.
He is playing goal for Team B.C. in an international hockey tournament against a team from the old country. After the game, he shakes hands with the opposing goalie, Stefan Divac, and finds himself staring at his identical double. His heart tells him Stefan is his brother but his brain tells him that can’t be – until his mother sees Stefan, and faints dead away.

Stefan had been with the boys’ father when he was murdered, and all these years Alex’s mother believed he was dead as well. Only now does she find out that he was rescued and raised by another family.

All his life, Alex has felt a part of him was missing, and when Stefan comes to live with him and his mother in Vancouver in order to pursue his hockey career, it seems like a fairy tale come true – until sibling rivalry rears its ugly head. When Stefan proves to be a better goalie than Alex, Alex’s life goes off the rails.

As Alex struggles with his personal demons, he and his brother get caught up in a mystery involving the two war criminals from their home country who were responsible for tearing their family apart.

I think the book has wide appeal. Although the background is hockey, readers don’t have to be hockey fans to enjoy it. There’s a very strong female character, Lara, who is Alex’s love interest, and a competitive kick boxer who plays a major role in the mystery. She is feisty and fearless and funny, and reminds me of my daughter. She’s probably the character I’d most want to hang out with.

Face-Off at Amazon.com

Face-Off at Amazon.ca

Michael’s first book, Breakaway was a finalist for the 2012 John Spray Mystery AwardBreakaway by Michael Betcherman

Breakaway at Amazon.com

Breakaway at Amazon.ca

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

I was extraordinarily lucky with my first YA novel, Breakaway. Everything came together relatively easily – if one discounts the time and effort it took to actually write the book, and the years I spent honing my craft.

Once the book was finished, I decided to look for an agent. That can be difficult these days – many agents aren’t accepting new clients – but the first agent I contacted agreed to represent me. She sent the book to five of the top publishers in Canada and a couple of months later Penguin offered me a two-book deal. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

I’ve got three pieces of advice for aspiring authors:
Number one: Make sure your book is as good as you can possibly make it before you send it out it into the world. Agents and publishers will only look at it once. I think it’s helpful to have friends and colleagues whose opinions you respect read the book before you submit it anywhere, but keep in mind this cautionary note from Neil Gaiman: “When people tell you that something in the book doesn’t work for them, they are usually right. When they tell you how to fix it, they are always wrong.”

Number two: Write about something that touches you, something you care about. Our emotions are what make us unique. If you write about something you feel strongly about, you will write something that’s powerful and that will move your audience.

Number three: Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. I wish I’d learned that lesson a lot earlier in life.

If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing process look like?

I work at home most of the time but that can get isolating, so I often go to a neighbourhood cafe for a couple of hours in the afternoon for a change of scenery – and to reassure myself that I’m not alone in the universe. In either place I alternate between staring off into space and tapping away on my laptop. Fortunately, as my writing process has evolved, I’m increasingly doing more of the latter than the former.

Everybody has to find the process that works best for them. Basically what I try to do is get the first draft out as quickly as possible, and then trust the creative process, trust that my imagination will find solutions for the problems that inevitably arise.

When I first started writing, I tried to have the whole story worked out before I started in on the actual manuscript. That’s probably because I’m a bit of a control freak. But it didn’t take long to realize that didn’t work. Everything would inevitably change once I started writing the manuscript which meant that I was wasting a lot of time trying to work things out in advance.

The main reason was that my characters hadn’t taken shape yet. Writers often say that at some point their characters take over, as if they were real individuals with wills of their own. I wouldn’t put it this way but what does happen, or at least what happens for me, is that as soon as I put my characters in a specific situation, it gives my imagination something concrete to think about, and I come up with all sorts of possibilities that I could never come up with when I was thinking about the story more abstractly.

Tell us about your experiences sharing your book with teens. Has anything unusual / endearing / funny / unexpected happened?

Last year I did a book signing at a boys’ hockey tournament. Getting boys to read is a real problem, and the parents were generally keener about the book than their sons. One man dragged his son over to the table. After I told them what the book was about, the father turned to his son and asked, somewhat plaintively, “Do you think you’d read this?” The boy thought it over for a few moments. “I’d start it,” he said finally, “but I wouldn’t finish it.”

Cracked me right up, but it underlines how difficult it is get boys to read. (By the way, the boy’s dad bought the book for him. I never did find out if he finished it.)

What are the biggest challenges of being an author / illustrator?

This may sound strange, but I think one of the biggest challenges is to write a compelling synopsis for your book. You may have written the greatest book in the world but an agent or a publisher won’t even read it unless they’re captivated by the synopsis. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to write. You have to distill your manuscript into a few short paragraphs that convey the plot, the main characters, the conflicts and the themes. I spent eight hours working on a ten-sentence synopsis for Breakaway. It was the most useful eight hours I ever spent. The agent I sent it to got right back to me, said she found the synopsis intriguing and that she had put my manuscript at the top of her reading pile.

If you weren’t an author, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

I always wanted to be a writer, but I came to it rather circuitously. I started out my working career as an entertainment lawyer and eventually became a consultant to the CBC series, Street Legal. Through that connection, I got the opportunity to write an episode of the show. The producer liked it, and hired me to several more, which gave me the encouragement I needed to give up law and write full-time.

I spent many years writing for television. I also wrote a couple of screenplays and two online novels. I had never thought about writing for young adults, but one day a few years ago I woke up with the idea that became Breakaway – a story about a boy whose father has been wrongly convicted of murder. I sat down and wrote 15 pages in less than an hour, something that had never happened to me before but which told me I was onto a good thing.

I love writing for this age group. It’s not about flowery language or description which I’ve never been keen on, it’s about telling a good story about characters people will care about.

Do you do school or library presentations?

I enjoy doing presentations at schools. I like to talk about writing, and the writing process, based on my personal experience, so the best fit for me is a senior grade (11 or 12) writing class where the students are interested in becoming writers.

I live in Toronto (Canada), so that’s the most convenient locale but would be prepared to go elsewhere.

Score a Winning Hockey Picture Book!

Posted on November 15th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Hockey Picture book

My youngest son has played hockey since he was five years old. For years, bedtime stories included books about playing hockey. Many of these stories include great messages about friendship, teamwork, bullying and working together toward a common goal.


hockey picture book Clancy with the Puck
Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a traditional story) published by Raincoast Books

Just as Casey could hit a baseball, Clancy is a star when it comes to hockey. When Clancy Cooke joins the Hogtown Maple Buds, hopes are raised for a Stanley Cup win. Alas, in the final moments of a playoff game, when Clancy takes a penalty shot, “The puck deflected off the post, like a comet to the sky. The Buds had lost the Stanley Cup – and the fans went home to cry.” A sure winner, especially for hockey fans and those familiar with the classic story of Casey at the Bat.

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.com

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Hockey CardThe Hockey Card Written by Jack Siemiatycki & Avi Slodovnick and illustrated by Doris Barrette
Hockey picture book published by Lobster Press

When Uncle Jack shares the story of the best hockey card he ever had, we take pleasure in a glimpse of the great Maurice Richard and a schoolyard duel against a tough hockey card shark. This is a book that made a lasting impression in our household – my youngest son is now a 13 year old bantam hockey player and just noticed me working on this post. He remarked, “Now that was a good book.”

The Hockey Card at Amazon.com

The Hockey Card at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Hockey TreeThe Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines
Hockey picture book published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and disappears into an ice fishing hole.

The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Moccasin GoalieThe Moccasin Goalie written and illustrated by William Roy Brownridge
Hockey picture book published by Orca Book Publishers

Danny, Petou, Anita and Marcel live in a small, prairie town and they love to play hockey. They play road hockey when the weather is warm and ice hockey when the temperature cools and their outdoor rink is flooded. Everything changes when a new team is organized for their town. The four friends can’t wait to be part of the fun. They are devastated when only Marcel is selected to play for the Wolves. Anita is refused a spot because she is a girl, Petou is considered too small for the team and Danny is refused a place on the team because his disability means that he cannot wear skates.

All three children are terribly disappointed to be left out but, as the end of the hockey season approaches, the Wolves’ goalie is injured and the coach asks Danny to play.

The Moccasin Goalie is the first of a three book series. The Final Game is the second book. Victory at Paradise Hill is the third. Gorgeous illustrations – many using a pointillist technique – beautifully depict the joy of outdoor wintertime play. The story itself invites discussion of fairness, friendship and overcoming challenges.

Highly recommended for children five years and older.

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.com

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book  Over at the RinkOver at the Rink – A Hockey Counting Book written by Stella Parthenhiou Grasso and illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a familiar song) published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Exuberant fun awaits in this hockey-theme adaption of Over in the Meadow. Young hockey fans will enjoy discovering all the elements of a great game – anthem singing, on ice- officials, a close score, players defending and scoring, earnest coaching, an enthusiastic mascot and excited fans. The wintry outdoor rink setting adds to the festive atmosphere.

Good fun for children four years and older.

Over at the Rink: A Hockey Counting Book at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book SplintersSplinters – written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Hockey Picture Book published by Tundra Books

Cindy loves to play hockey but it is an expensive sport to play and her family is poor.   Showing great determination and resourcefulness, Cindy is excited to finally earn enough money to join a neighbourhood team.  Unfortunately, at the rink, Cindy encounters three nasty Blister Sisters who make playing hockey very unpleasant. 

At her very first practice, she met the Blister Sisters. They could tell she was one good hockey player, and they were jealous.

They insulted her old equipment… Then they made her look bad on the ice… They could do this because their mom was the coach

Thank goodness Cindy has a fairy goaltender watching out for her. The fairy’s magic provides Cindy with a dazzling new uniform, gleaming skates and a Zamboni – to transport her to the all-star team tryouts. Cindy rushes to the rink and does not disappoint – she is a star.

Knowing that the magic spell will end once the final buzzer has sounded, Cindy rushes away from the rink, leaving a shiny skate behind.

Coach Prince is determined to match the shiny skate to the player who wore it during the tryouts.

Coach Prince went from locker room to locker room, trying the skate on every girl she could find. Finally she arrived at Cindy’s rink ensuring a happy ending for Cindy and her new team.

Splinters will have greatest appeal for children who are familiar with Cinderella. We love the idea of taking a familiar story, like Cinderella and retelling it with new characters and a contemporary setting. In a primary classroom, we suggest using Splinters as a jumping off point, inspiring young writers to imagine other situations for Cinderella to encounter.

Splinters at Amazon.com

Splinters at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book Z is For ZamboniZ is for Zamboni – A Hockey Alphabet Written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose
Hockey theme alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press

If hockey plays a part in your household, this enticing hockey alphabet book will appeal to the entire family. Young children will enjoy the simple rhymes while older children and adults will appreciate the more detailed information bordering the charming illustrations.

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.com

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.ca

Free Hockey Theme Printables for Kids

Hockey Theme Writing Paper

image of PDF icon  Hockey Theme Writing Paper for Kids

image of PDF icon  Ice Hockey Picture Dictionary


Child Trying out for Rep Hockey? Tips for Hockey Parents

Posted on May 11th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Child Trying Out For Rep Hockey - Storytime Standouts Shares 13 Tips

My youngest son has tried out for rep hockey for the past seven seasons. Here are my suggestions for families who are already thinking ahead to rep hockey tryouts…

  • Believe in your child and his ability to go through the rep hockey tryout process, accept the coaches’ decisions and keep working to improve (whether he makes the team or not). Your steadfast confidence in his resiliency will make a difference.
  • Will yourself to remain outwardly positive throughout the process. Notice your child’s effort, a great pass, his ability to do crossovers. You do not need to critique his tryout. Your job is to be a support team for your child.
  • The player who excels in Atom is not necessarily the player who will excel in Midget. Whether your child makes Atom A1 team or not, believe it. It is true and the same applies to PeeWee. The success a child enjoys initially may be fleeting and the disappointed child may one day be a 6’2″ star.
  • Keep in mind that the tryout process is stressful for the players, the parents and the coaches. No one likes to tell a nervous, possibly tearful ten year old that he won’t be on the team. No one likes to face the stares of annoyed parents. Encourage your child to understand this is difficult for everyone.
  • Check and double check your child’s hockey bag and make sure that everything that should be in there, is. We once arrived at the rink and discovered that my (very) young son’s undershirt was missing from the hockey bag. He refused to go on the ice without it. Don’t let missing garments or equipment add to an already stressful situation.
  • If at all possible, avoid using brand new equipment for the tryout. Check that your child’s skates are the right size and that they are sharpened. If he is wearing new gear, get him used to it in a preseason conditioning camp or save the new elbow pads for mid September
  • image of hockey player

  • Remember water
  • Understand that there are many factors that go into a coach’s decision. The A1 coach does not necessary keep all of the best players. In minor hockey it is not unusual for some younger players to ‘make’ the team while an older (possibly more skilled player) gets ‘cut.’
  • ‘Cut’ players can be called back up and players who think they have ‘made the team’ can be cut. Don’t assume anything, just encourage your child to continue doing his best.
  • Playing on an A2 or A3 team or going to ‘House’ is not necessarily a bad thing. Unless equal playing time is mandated, a third line player on the A1 team can see much less ice time than a first line player on an A2 team.
  • Be careful what you wish for. It is great to ‘make’ an A1 team but often there is more ‘drama’ on A1 teams and frequently the demands in terms of expense, travel and time commitment are much greater on an A1 team. On more than one occasion we have encountered situations where parents were thrilled to have their son make the A1 team and later wished he hadn’t.
  • Allow plenty of time for traffic and getting into gear. Remind your child, never be the last one onto the ice or the first one off.
  • Remember that your child is having an opportunity to tryout because of a huge team of dedicated volunteers. Be sure to take time to thank the folks who make minor hockey happen in your community. They are probably living at the rink during tryouts.


  • After reading my Tips for Hockey Parents, it may not surprise you to know, the first year of ‘rep’ hockey, my son played on an Atom A3 team. In his second year, he made it to the Atom A2 team. First year PeeWee, he made the A3 team and first year Bantam, he made the A2 team. Last season, he was a first year Midget player and he played on the Midget A1 team. He is determined, he has never given up and he works every day to become a better hockey player. My husband and I believe in him and we believe that all of his hard work and determination will be rewarded.

    It is a long road. Best of luck to you and your child.

    Splinters is an Icy, Hard-Hitting Take on Cinderella

    Posted on October 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    Storytime Standouts looks at Splinters, a picture book with a modern day hockey take on the Cinderella storySplinters – written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
    Picture book published by Tundra Books



    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    Cindy loves to play hockey but it is an expensive sport to play and her family is poor.   Showing great determination and resourcefulness, Cindy is excited to finally earn enough money to join a neighbourhood team.  Unfortunately, at the rink, Cindy encounters three nasty Blister Sisters who make playing hockey very unpleasant. 

    At her very first practice, she met the Blister Sisters. They could tell she was one good hockey player, and they were jealous.

    They insulted her old equipment… Then they made her look bad on the ice… They could do this because their mom was the coach

    Thank goodness Cindy has a fairy goaltender watching out for her. The fairy’s magic provides Cindy with a dazzling new uniform, gleaming skates and a Zamboni – to transport her to the all-star team tryouts. Cindy rushes to the rink and does not disappoint – she is a star.

    Knowing that the magic spell will end once the final buzzer has sounded, Cindy rushes away from the rink, leaving a shiny skate behind.

    Coach Prince is determined to match the shiny skate to the player who wore it during the tryouts.

    Coach Prince went from locker room to locker room, trying the skate on every girl she could find. Finally she arrived at Cindy’s rink ensuring a happy ending for Cindy and her new team.

    Splinters will have greatest appeal for children who are familiar with Cinderella. We love the idea of taking a familiar story, like Cinderella and retelling it with new characters and a contemporary setting. In a primary classroom, we suggest using Splinters as a jumping off point, inspiring young writers to imagine other situations for Cinderella to encounter.

    Splinters at Amazon.com

    Splinters at Amazon.ca

    Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books

    Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    Three familiar tales are given ingenious ‘make overs’ . Readers are sure to enjoy comparing these terrific picture books with the originals that inspired them.



    The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark written by Ken Geist and illustrated by Julia Gorton
    Picture book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic

    When Mama Fish sends Jim, Tim and Kim off to make their homes in the deep blue sea, a Big, Bad Shark is watching. It is not long before he knocks at a door and roars, “Little Fish, Little Fish, let me come in.” A really delightful addition to a picture book collection, youngsters will enjoy chiming in when the Little Fish replies, “Not by the skin of my finny, fin, fin!” Bold, bright illustrations compliment this clever adaptation and ensure a very happy ending.

    The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.com

    The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.ca


    Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
    Picture book published by Raincoast Books

    Just as Casey could hit a baseball, Clancy is a star when it comes to hockey. When Clancy Cooke joins the Hogtown Maple Buds, hopes are raised for a Stanley Cup win. Alas, in the final moments of a playoff game, when Clancy takes a penalty shot, “The puck deflected off the post, like a comet to the sky. The Buds had lost the Stanley Cup – and the fans went home to cry.” A sure winner, especially for hockey fans and those familiar with the classic story of Casey at the Bat.

    Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.com

    Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.ca


    The Three Snow Bears written and illustrated by Jan Brett
    Picture book published by Putnam Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin Books

    When Baby Bear’s soup is too hot and burns his mouth, he and his snow bear family leave their igloo and go for a stroll. Meanwhile, Aloo-ki is searching for her sled dogs. She happens upon the bear family’s igloo and is soon inside, tasting soup, trying on boots and sleeping in Baby Bear’s “just right” bed. Beautifully illustrated, this is a truly inspired adaption of Goldilocks’ story.

    The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.com

    The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.ca


    Atom Rep (Hockey) tryouts are underway… Paul Romanuk has scored a winner with this title

    Posted on September 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    Atom Rep (Hockey) tryouts are underway. Stinky gear is airing in my otherwise attractive front hall. meals and activities are carefully planned and pressure mounts as my youngest son attempts to “make” the top team in his division. It won’t be easy but we are cautiously optimistic that he will be successful.

    To be honest, I’m hoping this year the rep try-outs will be more efficient than last when we drove him to the rink eleven times before learning which team he would play on. He had a fantastic season and really wants to play for the same coach this year… My fingers are crossed.

    As summer winds down, I’m not really mentally prepared for the start of winter activities. Pulling my warm jacket out of the closet just doesn’t seem right. But, since nine year old thoughts have already turned to hockey, we picked up Scholastic Canada’s Book of Hockey Lists. It is a perfect choice for hockey-hungry nine year olds. We’ve checked out lists of player accomplishments, milestones, quotes and all sorts of interesting hockey trivia. The author, Paul Romanuk knows his audience and has scored a winner with this title.

    Scholastic Canada’s Book of Hockey Lists at Amazon.com

    Scholastic Canada’s Book of Hockey Lists at Amazon.ca

    Gosh, kids who love ice hockey deserve better than this…

    Posted on September 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    There are so many terrific books that I usually don’t bother to comment on those that disappoint. I’d much rather write about winners than losers……but, I’ll make an exception this time.

    Last evening I picked up Sigmund Brouwer’s Timberwolf Hunt. My youngest boy plays ice hockey and I was interested to see how this writer approached the subject. Intended for readers aged 7 to 9, this easy-to-read chapter book opens with a hockey dressing room practical joke and includes a comment that, “Santa Claus is not real.” It is unclear why the character makes this declaration. There are no other references to Santa Claus in the book. My question is, why bother?

    Before long, we meet a fill-in coach, whose son will play on the team so long as his dad is in charge. As one might expect, his son does not play ice hockey well and is not welcomed onto the team. Very quickly we learn that Coach Elwell doesn’t like to be interrupted nor does he put up with back talk. Unintentionally victimized by the aforementioned practical joke, he benches two Timberwolf players. When frustrated, he is not above kicking garbage cans or yelling at his hapless son.

    Throughout the book, the author makes numerous references to “Stinky – The Stinkiest Dog in the World” who is responsible for innumerable “long rude noises that don’t come from the front end…. ”

    Gosh, our kids deserve better than this. I know rude humor appeals to many boys (I’m raising two of them!), but this is ridiculous. For the record, I vote for books that depict volunteer coaches as hardworking, caring individuals who want only the best for the team (that’s the type of coach we’ve encountered). I also appreciate a book that celebrates accomplishments achieved through teamwork and effort. Authors who create funny situations are so much more clever than those who stoop to the same sad, odourous joke over and over again.

    Leave this one to gather dust on the shelf.

    A Pleasant Diversion But Lacks a Realistic, Empowering Solution: How to Outplay a Bully

    Posted on April 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    How to Outplay a Bully – written by Nancy Wilcox Richards and illustrated by David Sourwine
    Anti bullying chapter book published by Scholastic Canada


    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    “I sat down on the bench next to him. He didn’t even look at me. but I was so mad I had to say something. “Why didn’t you pass the puck?” I yelled. “I could have scored! I was right in front of the open net.”

    When a new adult moves into his neighbourhood, Tony Dunphy has an opportunity to learn hockey skills from him. When the neighbour tells Tony’s mom about a used hockey equipment store, Tony is very excited to get hockey equipment and join the Bayfield Blazers Hockey Team partway through the season. Unfortunately, it is not long until Berk, the team bully, notices Tony’s well-worn gear and chooses Tony as his victim. Berk is relentless with his verbal and physical abuse of Tony. He calls him ‘Tony Baloney’ and makes life miserable on the ice and in the dressing room. Tony is the only player excluded from the team chant. When the two boys become linemates, Tony is frustrated when Berk won’t pass to him.

    The Bayfield Blazers’ coach is aware that his team is not getting along well. He knows that some of his players need to learn about good sportsmanship so he arranges for a NHL player so visit the team. Tony is shocked when his neighbour is introduced. He has no idea that his neighbour is former NHL player, Bob MacMillan. With a message that, ‘Success is about more than winning. Good sports are winners,” Bobby encourages the entire team to make better choices.

    How to Outplay a Bully is a fun read for young hockey players. Having said that, I am concerned that How to Outplay a Bully relies on a ‘magical solution’ to solve the problem of bullying. Rather than have Tony seek and obtain help from an adult (his mom or his coach) or his teammates (the ‘bystanders”), he is essentially forced to cope with the bullying throughout half a season of hockey. The problem is really only resolved when the Bully discovers that Tony has a friend who used to play in the NHL. In my opinion, this story will be a pleasant diversion for a young hockey player but it will not help a youngster dealing with a bully.

    Note: not available at Amazon.com
    How To Outplay A Bully at Amazon.ca

    Hockey Picture Books Are Sure to Score With Young Fans

    Posted on January 27th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    image of cover art for Z if For ZamboniZ is for Zamboni – A Hockey Alphabet Written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose
    Hockey alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press

    If hockey plays a part in your household, this enticing hockey alphabet book will appeal to the entire family. Young children will enjoy the simple rhymes while older children and adults will appreciate the more detailed information bordering the charming illustrations.

    Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.com

    Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.ca

    The Hockey Card Written by Jack Siemiatycki & Avi Slodovnick Illustrated by Doris Barrette
    Hockey picture book published by Lobster Press

    When Uncle Jack shares the story of the best hockey card he ever had, we take pleasure in a glimpse of the great Maurice Richard and a schoolyard duel against a tough hockey card shark. This is a book that made a lasting impression in our household – my youngest son is now a 13 year old bantam hockey player and just noticed me working on this post. He remarked, “Now that was a good book.”
    The Hockey Card at Amazon.com

    The Hockey Card at Amazon.ca



    A Favourite Wintertime Picture Book – The Hockey Tree

    Posted on December 14th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

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    These days we are racing to meet all of my youngest son’s sports commitments. He is playing on the high school basketball team and he also plays “rep” hockey. This year the regular season and his hockey team’s Christmas tournament “collide.” He has ten different hockey commitments between now and next Tuesday – and has turned down the opportunity to ref this week (thank goodness).

    Storytime Standouts looks at a favourite wintertime picture book about ice hockey, The Hockey Tree by David Ward and Brian DeinesHockey is definitely his first love and, over the years, we have enjoyed several picture books about hockey together. He’s well past picture books now but I’m not.

    The Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines



    In light of the busy week ahead, I thought I would take a moment to write about David Ward’s The Hockey Tree. This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and into an ice fishing hole.

    The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

    Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

    A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

    The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

    The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

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