Kristina with a K

Kristina with a K is the story of a seventeen year-old who suffers a traumatic brain injury while distracted walking. Her willfulness, seen before and after the catastrophic event, is her glory and her downfall; it becomes her greatest asset in the gruelling struggle to rebuild her body and her life. The novel is a fictional account inspired by a young woman I met at Variety Village (athletic centre for people of all abilities) who is working hard to regain her strength and abilities after a similar accident.

Kristina passes through many stages characterized by egocentrism, anger, rebellion, pain, frustration, alienation, determination, victory and acceptance. While learning to live with disabilities, Krissy gains maturity and empathy by overcoming her long-standing negative attitude which was the greatest barrier to success and acceptance throughout her life.

A once wild and wayward teenager, Kristina boldly forges a new positive identity as she rebuilds her life. This novel will inspire young people of all abilities to tackle their own personal challenges with hope, resolve and courage!

 

Ravi's Revenge

Seventeen-year-old Ravi is ostracized in a merciless milieu, a typical suburban high school. He's an easy target for persecution on-line, at school and on the street. In trouble at home and at school, friendless and addicted to alcohol (his only escape), he is sent to a treatment center and is making progress until a series of ill-fated events brings the combustible cast of characters together in a harrowing climax.

 

"A powerful story showing the empathy factor disappearing" – Barry Penhale, Dundurn

 

 

Kimberley of Millpond

Kimberley of Millpond is based on Bernice's family's life in the actual town of Millbrook, Ontario in the 1950's. Her daughter, co-author, incorporated her own vivid memories with Bernice's vision for the book.  The setting and tone authentically depict small town life in Ontario at that time, complete with both eccentric and typical characters. The story focuses on the relationships of the 11 year old protagonist, Kimberley, her sister, Valerie, and three friends, Edie, Bobby and Jenny (and Kim's dog, Goldie). As in the Booky series, the main characters and events were inspired by real life. The book demonstrates how much life has changed since the 1950's (including an operator phone system, school corporal punishment and the advent of television) while childhood feelings remain the same. Cocooned in the safety of a small town in a more innocent time period, the children are free to roam the town or go to the pond on their own, which creates an exciting plot. The novel encompasses many relevant themes: family life, friendship, love, as well as poverty, child neglect, bullying, betrayal and dealing with death.

 

 

The Girls They Left Behind

 

Her last book for young adults was published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside two years after her death. (She had asked her daughter, Heather, to finish it if anything happened to her.) It is a moving story about a 17 year old girl (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Booky) living in Toronto during World War 2. Beryl,(who calls herself Natalie because she hates her name) faithfully writes letters to her favorite cousin, Carmen, who is flying covert missions over Germany. The book is dedicated to Bernice’s real cousin, Grant, who was as a tail-gunner who never returned. This book takes us back to that unique time period in Toronto when most of the men were away fighting the war in Europe and the women were left behind to carry on life on the home front, which wasn’t all bad, for it allowed them to enter the workforce. Like Booky, it is set during trying times, but the heroine is full of life and humour.

 

 

 

That Scatterbrain Booky,   With Love From Booky,   As Ever Booky

 The “Booky”(Boo-key)books are auto-biographical in nature and Bernice's most celebrated works. Booky has been called Canada's new Anne (of Green Gables).

"Bernice not only remembers the Toronto of yesteryear, she succeeds in recapturing exactly how it felt to be a funny, spirited, noticing kind of a kid, scampering through Toronto's Depression years on skinny legs and an empty stomach."(from Michele Landsberg's column, The Toronto Star.)

The three books are also combined into Booky, A Trilogy in which Booky grows into a teenager and meets her hero, Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, and falls in love with her future husband. The books have been made into 3 CBC movies: Booky Makes Her Mark, Booky's Secret Santa, Booky's Crush (starring Megan Follows, see "Other Credits")

 

A Pl

 

A Place For Margaret,   Margaret In The Middle,   Margaret On Her Way
 

The main character, Margaret, is fictitious, but the farm she lives on in Muskoka was a very real place where Bernice was sent as a child when she was ailing and needed to be fattened up over the summer holidays. Margaret has tuberculosis, so everyone is afraid to get too close to her except Starr, the big Clydesdale farm horse. They share a special bond and a secret signal. The three Margaret books are combined into The Margaret Trilogy.