Fearless
The Story of George Chuvalo, Canada's Greatest Boxer


George Chuvalo only wanted one thing: to become a boxer. When Chuvalo stepped into the ring, he was fearless. In ninety-three professional fights between 1956 and 1979, boxing everyone from George Foreman to Muhammad Ali, he was never once knocked out. But this heavyweight boxing legend never had it easy. After losing many loved ones to drugs, Chuvalo has also become a role model out of the ring by speaking out and fighting against addiction.


Interest age: From 12 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.8
Lexile Reading Level: 730L

Adult Books

Forgotten Heroes

Winnipeg's Hockey Heritage


Ladies and Gentlemen, lace up your skates. In these pages find the origins of Canadian hockey and the birth of international hockey. This book is about hockey all over North America and is a tribute to our widely forgotten heroes, because remember, hockey began here, in Manitoba. From amateur sport to pros, we couldn't be prouder of our heritage. Richard Brignall has chronicled this incredible history. He draws a picture of the pioneer Manitoban and Canadian athlete from before the turn of the century to when the game caught fire everywhere.

Let's brag about the Winnipeg Victorias, with an edge of your seat performance when they captured the Stanley Cup, first in 1896, and then for many more years, they brought the Cup home again and again.And mention the Winnipeg Falcons too,notable winners of the Olympic Hockey Championships in 1920 that placed us on the map as the world's best hockey team, and the world's biggest fans. Right from the get-go, every game, home, or away, Manitobans filled arenas to capacity year after year.Forgotten Heroes delivers history,but moreover it's an exciting play by play ride of the war on ice.

Richard Brignall storms passionately through time and scores a goal with this, the definitive story of world hockey.

Wear a helmet when you read this, hockey fan or not.

Summit Series '72
Eight games that put Canada on top of world hockey


It wasn't until Canadian teams started losing in international tournaments in the mid 1950s that an epic hockey rivalry between Canada and the Soviet Union began. Canadians believed hockey was "their game." So Canadians were in for a rude awakening when they lost Game One of the 1972 Summit Series to the Soviets.


The eight-game tournament quickly became a "war on ice" fuelled by competing Cold War ideologies. Hockey fans will enjoy reading about: small-town teams that represented Canada in international tournaments before there was a Team Canada; Father David Bauer and the first National Hockey Team; the birth of Hockey Canada; Canada and the Cold War; Canadian style of play in hockey versus the Russian style of play; and Bobby Clarke's dirty slash on Kharlamov.


Interest age: From 12 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.0
Lexile Reading Level: 780L

Middle grade - young adult

Small Town Glory
The story of the Kenora Thistles' remarkable quest for the Stanley Cup


How did the Kenora Thistles become, against all odds, the smallest team and the smallest town ever to win the Stanley Cup?

This famously scrappy hockey team was founded in the rough and tumble town of Kenora, Ontario, at the end of the 19th century. A decade later, playing far away from home, in Montreal, the fiery teenagers whom the Montreal Star dubbed "the fastest that have ever been seen anywhere on ice" out-skated and out-played their older, more experienced opponents to win the coveted hockey championship trophy.

Sports novelist John Danakas and journalist Richard Brignall team up to tell the true story of the ultimate underdogs in this a little-known chapter from Canadian sports history.

Interest age: From 12 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.5
Lexile Reading Level: 900L

Richard Brignall

Forever Champions
The Enduring Legacy of the Record-setting Edmonton Grads


Between 1915 to 1940, the Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Club ("the Grads") went from a small-city, girl's high school team to world champs with an unparalleled winning record. Sports journalist Richard Brignall tells the story of this talented upstart team, whose sportsmanship and unwavering determination inspired generations of female athletes.

Interest age: From 12 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.6
Lexile Reading Level: 750

Big Train
The Legendary Ironman of Sport, Lionel Conacher


Lionel Conacher excelled at football, hockey, baseball, boxing, wrestling, and lacrosse. He taught himself how to play and he worked hard, and it paid off. He supported his struggling family, never giving up or letting people down. He was given the nickname Big Train because he was unstoppable on the football field when he ran through the opposition. In 1921 Conacher joined the Toronto Argonauts, and in 1926 he played professional baseball for the Toronto Maple Leafs. After retiring from sports, Conacher was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1949. Richard Brignall tells this fascinating story of the man who could do it all.

Interest age: From 11 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.6
Lexile Reading Level: 790L

Real Justice: A Police Mr. Big Sting Goes Wrong
The Story of Kyle Unger


On the night of June 23, 1990, teenage friends Kyle Unger and John Beckett made a last-minute decision to attend a music festival near Roseisle, Manitoba. They were loners, not the popular kids at school. But on this night they seemed to finally fit in. They had fun, played games, drank, and hung around bonfires with other people. The next morning, a sixteen-year-old girl was dead. By the next week, Kyle was charged with her murder. Due to insufficient evidence he was let go, but the Mounties were convinced he was the killer.

They laid a trap, called the Mr. Big operation, for Kyle. With offers of money, friends, and a new criminal lifestyle, the RCMP got Kyle to confess to the murder. But the confession was false -- he had not been the killer. He was convicted and sent to prison.

For the next twenty years Kyle fought for his freedom. He was finally acquitted in 2009.

This book tells the story of an impressionable but innocent teenager who was wrongfully convicted based on the controversial Mr. Big police tactic.

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.9
Lexile Reading Level: 840L

Champion For Health 

How Clara Hughes fought depression to win Olympic gold


Clara Hughes has won multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games. As a cyclist and speed skater, Clara pushed through pain to get to the finish line, trying to have her best race every day. Few knew that the same determination and focus were also needed to fight her own personal battles. Abusing drugs and alcohol from her early teens, Clara used sport to turn her life around in a few short months. But after becoming one of the world's top athletes, her world came apart as her depression threatened to rob her of her Olympic dreams.

Clara's inspiring story does not end with winning gold. Using her fame as a platform, she has devoted time and resources to helping children gain access to sports in the world's most troubled regions. And she has become a symbol of the fight to remove the stigma from mental illness by cycling thousands of kilometres in all kinds of weather to raise awareness. Clara is a remarkable athlete, but it is her strength and courage off the track that have made her a true champion.


Interest age: From 12 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.8


China Clipper
Pro football's first Chinese-Canadian player, Normie Kwong


Normie Kwong's parents immigrated to Canada from China in the early 1900s. For them, and many other Asian immigrants, moving meant having to face both the government's anti-Asian policies and society's attitude of Chinese exclusion. But Normie overcame it all and, despite his small stature, in 1948 he became the youngest footballer ever to play in a Grey Cup game.


Nicknamed the "China Clipper" as a nod to both his Chinese heritage and his record-setting speed on the football field, Kwong went on to become a hero and popular sports role model for generations of football fans in the West. After retiring from football, Kwong entered politics and was later appointed Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.


Interest age: From 12 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.9
Lexile Reading Level: 780L

Big League Dreams
Baseball Hall of Fame's first African-Canadian, Fergie Jenkins


This is a history of black major league baseball players and the crumbling of the colour barrier in sport, and the story of how Fergie Jenkins rose to the top to become Canada's first inductee into the American Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fergie Jenkins grew up in the era when Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball, and Willie O'Ree became the first black NHL player. Inspired by these professional athletes, and with doors now opening for young men like himself, Fergie went on to have a remarkable career in major league baseball.

Former sports journalist Richard Brignall traces the ups and downs in Fergie's career, from his humble roots in Chatham, Ontario, to his time with the Phillies, the Cubs, the Red Sox, and the Rangers. Along the way, Brignall examines what it meant for a man to be black in the United States versus Canada in the 1960s and 70s.

Interest age: From 11 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.8
Lexile Reading Level: 770L