Reviews of Ann Alma's books
Kids Who Grow Their Own Food
Master gardener Brian Minter, Ph.D. says of this book:
"I love this book — maybe it's just the kid in me, but it's fun, easy to read and entertaining. I particularly like the personal touch with the young folks featured in the book as it makes the reader feel very connected. The photos are helpful, the graphics great and the patchwork of bulletins cool. It's also interesting that Ann included chickens — I remember well that they were a part of gardening way back when. Ann has done a marvelous job and in today's world if we can reconnect kids to plants and edibles, then that's a worthy feat in itself."
"Thank you for sharing the children's insights about gardening - all that info and great photos to capture what is taking place is such a good idea. It is the kind of book you can pick up again ... a resource-filled book for both kids and the adults in their lives." —
Earla Legault, retired Agassiz librarian.
"...a delightful look at gardening! Even the experienced gardener will learn from the information that encourages environmentally sound gardening skills. A fun and easy read for the whole family!" — Kathy Baker, editor, The Mustard Seed.
"Great for connecting kids to gardening. This book will get kids interested in creating their own garden. In today's world where indoor activities are often the norm developing a special place outside for children is crucial for developing values connected to the environment." — Tracey, elementary teacher, Robson, B.C
"This is an inspired book. Who would have guessed that children could have so much fun gardening. It is colorful, exciting, and educational. Kids will be drawn to it. I am an adult gardener and I am learning from reading it."— Marilyn, retired teacher.
"It is such a timely topic and you manage to convey so much good gardening know-how." — Nan Froman, Groundwood Books Senior Editor, from manuscript.
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BRAVE DEEDS: How One Family Saved Many from the Nazis
"Fear of discovery by or betrayal to the occupied Nazis is present day and night, and it is made palpable through the eyes, ears and voice of the young narrator. The bravery of the Braals is more than apparent in the hiding of so many under such difficult circumstances, but it is played out movingly in the dailyness of life at Het Buitenhuis, in the provision of meals almost from thin air, and comfort and courage from a seemingly bottomless well." Globe and Mail, Susan Perren.
"This device [of using a fictional narrator to tell the real events] works well in Alma's capable hands... The ... narrative is an engaging and informative story that inspires without being saccharine or preachy. Including such resources as an epilogue, historical notes, and a glossary means that the book will be a useful educational source as well. BRAVE DEEDS makes a fine contribution to Holocaust and Second World War literature for children." Quill & Quire.
"What comes through in Alma's story is that under the circumstances, domesticity itself was a victory. ...every scene...is a triumph. The Braals didn't just save the lives of these children. They gave them childhood itself. Alma brings this heroic domesticity to life in a way that's both informative and engaging." The Toronto Star, Deirdre Baker.
"Award-winning author Ann Alma has paid careful attention to detail... BRAVE DEEDS ...is large in ideas and important for understanding ... that human goodness is still to be found in the midst of evil. ...Almost every page has a photograph of people or events described in the story, reminding and engaging readers in the truth of the book's events. BRAVE DEEDS is an informative resource ...a tribute to people of courage.... Highly recommended." CM magazine, Betty Klassen.
"The history is thrilling... What will excite kids are the facts, fully explained in a long historical note, accompanied by a map, and the many archival black-and-white photos showing young people... The Dutch setting will interest Anne Frank readers." Booklist, Hazel Rockman.
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Skateway to Freedom
"Alma has written an enjoyable story with distinctive merits... Josie is a well-drawn, likeable character." Quill and Quire.
"Through all the challenges she describes Alma maintains a delicate touch, staying firmly inside the consciousness of an eleven-year-old girl. The book is composed of small, powerful scenes... crisply written scenes that build a portrait of real contemporary heroism, examples of which surround every school child in this country." The Children's Reader.
"...tells Josie's story in a straightforward manner that clearly portrays the loneliness of being a stranger in a new land. Her description of Josie's escape... is realistic and suspense-filled; equally compelling is her depiction of Josie's first day at school. Alma has made her main character so likeable and real that the reader is left with a great sense of satisfaction upon finishing her story. Highly Recommended." Canadian Book Review Journal. (Univ. of B.C.)
"Josie and her parents are nicely rounded and sensitively imagined characters. It's a pleasure to make their acquaintance. ...it achieves a satisfying balance between significant challenge and convincing response." Books in Canada.
"...description of life in Canada for a recent immigrant family is sympathetic and realistic. This is definitely an exciting and well-written work." b.c. books
[Skateway to Freedom] "presents an enlightened and emotional account of a family's triumph over the danger, poverty , language barriers, and culture shock often experienced by refugees and immigrants." Library & Archives Canada; The Sports Page.
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Summer of Changes and
Summer of Adventures
"Excellent, enduring, everyone should read it! This book is full of pathos, optimism, and love written in a very realistic and appealing style. I recommend that all elementary school libraries obtain this book." Resource Link.
"Alma never soft-pedals the seriousness of schizophrenia, and the resolutions to Anneke's problems do not come easily. The novel is quite realistic... Alma has created a spunky, lively and sympathetic character... good for any child trying to cope with loss or events out of the usual (and that's just about everyone). The prose is clear and direct, and the details about nature are fascinating." Times Colonist (Victoria, BC)
"...the books are very much adventure driven. The resourcefulness of the protagonist is reminiscent of novels like My Side of the Mountain. The books are fast-paced and extremely well written. The author's ability to draw likeable characters is equally strong. ...adoptive family are real and touching ...liked the way the author incorporated painful Canadian history into the second novel. Highly Recommended." CM magazine.
"...she has written realistically enough that adults would find themselves intrigued by the descriptions and suspense. ...Alma captures the world of children's beliefs and thoughts with captivating descriptions and beautiful wording." Kootenay Express. (Nelson, BC)
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Under Emily's Sky
"...a boldly imagined book, with good character development. Lee's frustrations are realistically portrayed and readers will identify with her." Quill & Quire
"...makes this story surprisingly poignant. ...Alma eases the rawness of feelings with humour and magic. Its edginess will catch the fancy of pre-teen female readers, while the story will speak to the heart of any youth dashed by family hardships." The Vancouver Sun.
"Every word rings true in an exciting tale that manages to explore Canadian history, time travel and family relationships all at once." The Sunday Daily News.