Focus. Click. Wind
What if your country is fighting a war that deliberately kills innocent people, and your government wants you to be part of the murder machine?
It’s 1968, and the Vietnam War has brought new urgency to the life of Billie Taylor, a seventeen-year-old aspiring photojournalist. Billie is no stranger to risky situations, but when she attends a student protest at Columbia University with her college boyfriend, and Senator Bobby Kennedy is assassinated, her mother decides to move to Canada. Furious at being dragged away from her beloved New York City to live in a backwater called Toronto, Billie doesn’t take her exile lightly.
As her mother opens their home to draft evaders and deserters, Billie’s activism grows in new ways. She discovers an underground network of political protesters and like minds in a radical group based in Rochdale College, the world’s first “free” university. The stakes rise when she is exposed to horrific images from Vietnam of the victims of Agent Orange — a chemical being secretly manufactured in a small town just north of Toronto.
Suddenly Billie has to ask herself some hard questions. How far will she go to be part of a revolution? Is violence ever justified? Or does standing back just make you part of the problem?
Groundwood Books 2023
These Are Not the Words
Groundwood Books 2022
I’m Miranda Billie Taylor.
I make sense of the world with words.
Miranda is called Missy for short, and she lives in the most exciting city in the world. She goes to a great school where she learns about poetry, music and plays. She has a best friend she has known forever, and two cats named Stan and Ollie.
Most of all, Missy has cool parents. Her mother goes to art school, and her father is a drummer who works in advertising and takes Missy on secret midnight excursions to Harlem and the Village so she can share his love of jazz. Missy and her father write poems for each other — poems that gradually become an exchange of apologies as his alcohol and drug addiction takes over their lives.
Based on the events and people of Amanda West Lewis’s own childhood, this poignant and poetic story is set against the thrum and grit of New York City’s legendary jazz scene in the 1960s.
Groundwood Books 2022
“I couldn’t resist reading it straight through. I just loved it. Truly, a stunning story. “ Kathi Apelt
" ...a splendid, genuine, and beautifully told story, written with authority and an ear for music and truth..." Louise Hawes
Red Deer Press 2016
In 1939, Peter Gruber is a young boy with a booming black market business in Hamburg, Germany. Peter’s resourcefulness helps him survive crushing poverty until world events destroy everything he has ever known. Childhood is left far behind, and Peter has to survive a different kind of horror – pledging allegiance in an elite training camp for SS officers in Nazi Germany. Inspired by a true story, The Pact sheds light on indoctrination, propaganda, insidious racism and a child’s basic sense of morality.
* Listed on the 2017 USBBY OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL BOOKS LIST
* Selected for the 2017 ILA YOUNG ADULTS’ READERS CHOICES LIST
* Nominated for 2017 SNOW WILLOW AWARD
*Listed by Amazon as the #1 Release in Teen & Young Adult Discovery & Historical Fiction
Listed in the Canadian Children's Centre 100 Best Books for Spring, 2017
September 17: The Sinking of the S.S. City of Benares
Red Deer Press 2014
SEPTEMBER 17 is a novel based on real events. In 1940 a group of children are evacuated from England on the SS City of Benares, a requisitioned luxury liner bound for Canada. Like a floating palace, the ship carries them away from the war to new lives in the safety of a far away country. But when their ship is torpedoed in the middle of the Atlantic, their hopes and dreams are shattered.
Told from the perspective of the children, their journey becomes an adventure story of loss, survival and astonishing bravery.
*Nominated for the OLA 2015 Silver Birch Award
*Nominated for the 2014 IODE Violet Downey Award
* Nominated for the 2014 Red Cedar Award
* Listed in the Canadian Children's Centre 100 Best Books for Spring, 2014