On The Page: Assigned Reading (Part One)

With Spring Break just around the corner, the LMPR team thought it the perfect time to reminisce about assigned school readings  – specifically those that may have seemed tedious at the time, but stuck with us through the years for one reason or another.

This week we take you to a land of make believe,  through a disastrous shipwreck, and into the dangerous Canadian wilderness.

Sarah Cruickshank –  The Cay by Theodore Taylor 

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Theodore Taylor’s The Cay was one assigned reading that, since growing up, has stayed with me. It tells the story of a child named Phillip living through World War II, who is left shipwrecked on a small island after the boat he is travelling on with his family is torpedoed. His only companion on the island is a fellow survivor named Timothy.

Most memorable are the incredible visuals that Taylor has braided into this story – an impressive feat given that Phillip, our narrator, is rendered blind from the attack. Especially haunting is a chapter in which our two characters bind themselves to a tree in order to survive a violent hurricane – a scene so powerful, it’s often represented on the book jacket.

Brian Paterson – Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


I’m not certain whether it’s true across all of Canada, but where I grew up, you didn’t getthrough Elementary school without reading Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.

It’s a riveting tale of survival, in which a thirteen year-old boy (coincidentally named Brian) finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness following a bush plane crash.  Equipped with only a thin windbreaker and a hatchet, he must push himself past extremes to survive.

As a young reader, I loved its danger, adventure, and relatable protagonist. As an adult, I appreciate the complex acknowledgement of nature’s dual identity as a place of great beauty, but also danger. Hatchet instilled a caution, foresight, and respect for wilderness that has kept me from harm on many adventures.

Shona Wercholuk – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge_to_TerabithiaWhen I was in grade six I was fortunate enough to have one of those teachers that you never forget – a mentor that perfectly challenges you to help mould you into the best version of yourself.  With these challenges came a hefty reading list and on this list was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

The novel tells the heart-wrenching story of an unlikely friendship between the artistic, Jesse Aarons and his neighbour, Leslie Burke. The two friends create a magical forest kingdom where they can escape the problems of their everyday life.

This book stuck with me for a number of reasons – the foremost being it was the first book that took me through a roller coaster of emotions and started my love for mournful fiction.

Check back in next week for Part Two of LMPR’s Assigned Reading edition of On the Page.  

Categories: MPMG