Camp Outlook

Camp Outlook


By Brenda Baker


To have someone else, or something else, like God (maybe), decide for you that you won’t be like everyone else? That. Just. Sucks.

Shannon is thrilled when her mom becomes pregnant. After years of hoping and praying, her mom and dad are expecting again and Shannon will have a little brother or sister to play with. They will be a normal, happy family. Shannon likes normal. As an experienced middle-schooler, she knows that she does not want to stand out, to be weird or different. 

But when her baby brother is born, things do not go according to plan. Shannon doesn’t know how to cope. Isn’t God supposed to answer your prayers, especially the important ones? But God does not seem to be following the rules. So Shannon becomes an atheist. Twice. And she does something that is so out of character, not even she can explain it.

Shannon is sent – against her will – to Camp Outlook, which turns out to have its fair share of people who don’t exactly follow the rules. While there, Shannon has several bizarre experiences, crushes on the student minister (who happens to look like Jesus), and starts to re-consider how important being “normal” really is.

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About the Author

Brenda Baker, both a writer and performer, is best known as a singer for young audiences – she has recorded three CDs for kids. In 2005 Brenda founded Kids of Note, a choir for children with and without disabilities who love to sing. Brenda lives in Saskatoon with her husband, writer Arthur Slade, and their daughter.

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Product Information

  • Release: March 11, 2014

  • $11.95 Paperback

  • 256 Pages

  • 5.25 x 7.5

  • Children's Fiction

  • Ages 9-13 / Grades 5-8

  • Guided Reading: Z

  • ISBN: 9781927583357


  • Character Education
    > Empathy
    > Family and Friendship

  • Reflecting Diversity
    > Abilities

Awards for Camp Outlook

  • High Plains Book Award - Young Adult Book Winner

  • 2015/16 Red Cedar Book Award Finalist (B.C. Young Readers' Choice Award)

  • 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards - SaskEnergy Young Adult Fiction Award Winner

  • 2015 Saskatchewan Book Award - City of Regina Fiction Award Nominee

Praise for Camp Outlook

"This isn’t just a good book; it’s an important book that will stay with readers. It deals with self-image, change, disability, tolerance and friendship without ever becoming an issues book. Camp Outlook is a must-have for schools, and a must-read for everyone else." - Readerly: The National Reading Campaign

"With its authentic camp setting, page-turning plot, readable dialogue... Camp Outlook will surely appeal to children in the recommended age group and would provide a topic of substance for discussion." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"A believable and relatable portrayal of an adolescent girl struggling with a new normal." - Publishers' Weekly

"Without becoming preachy or heavy handed, Camp Outlook invites readers to think about their own attitudes and actions. For those who have family members with disabilities, there may be moments of recognition and validation; for those who don't, there are numerous opportunities for reflection and self-evaluation." - Resource Links

"Tone is an important part of such a story, especially since the language of young people is mutating daily, but Baker does a good job of rarely sentimentalizing any of Shannon's struggles. This is philosophy writ large in a young person's mind." - Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"Author Brenda Baker, who clearly brings first-person experience with the issues raised in this novel, manages—through Shannon—to explore in an explicit, matter-of-fact way the emotions that come with knowing one’s family will never again be what it was, and that a baby born with Down syndrome brings difficulties but can also bring great joy." - The Montreal Gazette

"In Brenda Baker’s Camp Outlook, rebellious Shannon’s sent to camp while her parents adjust to life with a new baby with Down syndrome. Baker’s energetic prose and loving exploration of Shannon’s existential questioning make this quick and emotionally compelling." - The Toronto Star

"Wow! What an exceptional voice. From the opening pages, you’ll fall in love with Shan, the wonderful, wise, brave protagonist of this wonderful, wise, brave novel. I couldn’t put Camp Outlook down – I laughed with Shannon, cried with her, and saw the world through her eyes when the book was done. Brenda Baker writes with great fluidity and poise, tackling big issues with humour, skill and page-turning plot. Terrific." - Alice Kuipers, author of Life on the Refrigerator Door and 40 Things I Want to Tell You

"Camp Outlook is a book that will make you smile 'like you've swallowed the sun.' It will also make your heart ache. Baker's brilliance as a writer is evident in every sentence. She tackles a tough situation with great sensitivity, infuses it with light and is never didactic. Shannon is one fiercely honest, funny, reflective, unsentimental character. Shipped away to church camp because her parents need some space, she unravels her tale. We fall a lot in love with her and the world she's discovering. This is simply one of the best books I've read in a very long time." - Sheree Fitch, author of The Gravesavers