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