Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
The books that played a role in inspiring The Conjoined.
Books to get kids inspired to write.
Our favourite babies and toddlers in Canadian literature.
I’m pleased to be in conversation with Jael Ealey Richardson, who co-wrote The Stone Thrower with illustrator Matt Jam …
With the arrival of September, Canadian litfest season goes full-throttle. Here are all the details on what's going down …
This week on The Chat, I’m in conversation with Vancouver writer and theatre artist Carmen Aguirre. Her powerful secon …
Back to school is the best time to hit the books—the picture books, that is!
This month we're pleased to present the picks of authors Caroline Adderson (Ellen in Pieces), Kate Taylor (Serial Monoga …
Jen Sookfong Lee's new novel, The Conjoined, is getting fantastic buzz this fall, and intriguing readers with its rich and compelling premise. A woman mourning the recent death of her mother is cleaning out her parents' house when there's a grisly discovery: the bodies of two girls in freezers in the basement. The woman cannot fathom how this happened, but knows it's connected to two foster children her mother cared for years before, and in order to understand, she must put the pieces of a very fractured history together.
Here, Lee shares with us books that played a role in inspiring The Conjoined. And because we liked the book so much, we even let her include a few non-Canadian titles (but shhh, don't tell anyone. We don't want to get a reputation).
I’m not going to lie: this is an idiosyncratic list of books that in some way contributed to the writing of The Conjoined. I had flirted with the idea of writing a literary crime novel for years, partly because I love crime fiction and partly because the very best and very worst of humanity bubbles up whenever a crime has occurred. And there’s nothing I like better than exploring what grosses people out! Anyway, here is my list of books that in some crooked way inspired me to write my hybrid of a novel.
Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
Inspiring kids in the primary grades (kindergarten included) to get writing is easy with these literary gems.
Chester, by Melanie Watt, is the first in a trilogy for a sophisticated young reader. A power struggle between author and character takes the plot hostage. Chester, the cat, trumps Watt's mouse-story by attacking the mouse's happy home, substituting mouse pictures and cheese for cat pics and fish snacks. Watt fights back (her story is in black font as opposed to Chester's red scrawl) with a scary bulldog, and a downpour of rain, which smudges Chester's version of the story. Watt gets the final word by drawing the humiliated cat wearing a cinch-waisted tutu.
The feud ramps up in the sequel, Chester's Back!, with Chester graffiti-ing Watt's author photo. The author counters with open auditions for Chester's replacement. The cat's egomaniacal needs are finally satisfied (or so he thinks) when Watt makes him a star, but not the kind of star he intend …
In their new book, You Are Two, Sara O'Leary and Karen Klassen celebrate the milestones of a child's second year—the terribleness notwithstanding.
This new book follows up the delectable You Are One, and You Are Three is forthcoming in the spring. In celebration of this latest release, we want to similarly celebrate babies and toddlers, in particular our favourite ones from Canadian literature.
This list is just a start of course. Tweet us or leave a comment with suggestions of your own.
Maggie, from Anne Marie McDonald's Adult Onset:
Never has the toddler meltdown been as perfectly captured as it is in Adult Onset via Maggie, youngest child of our protagonist, who is so furiously, terrifyingly two. Do not leave this child unattended near a pair of scissors, and if you dare to make her put on her winter books, you're only asking for trouble.
The trick is not to mind it. She has seized the little foot once more and manages to get the Bean book onto it, but as she reaches for the other boot, Maggie kicks off the first and looks at her with frank an …
It's back to school this month, so on this week’s Chat, we’re talking children’s literature. I’m pleased to be in conversation with Jael Ealey Richardson, who co-wrote The Stone Thrower with illustrator Matt James. The book recounts the story of her father, renowned CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey, and the meteoric rise of his football career against a backdrop of racism and inequity.
CanLit for Little Canadians called The Stone Thrower “a story of grit, visual and inspirational, in its truest form while Quill & Quire said the book is " ... an inspirational true-life tale that will resonate with dreamers big and small."
Author photo credit: Trayc Dudgeon
THE CHAT WITH JAEL EALEY RICHARDSON
Trevor Corkum: The Stone Thrower is an adaptation of a memoir you wrote about your father called The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’ …
"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere.
All The Things We Leave Behind, by Riel Nason
Reviewed by Becky Robertson at Quill & Quire:
Riel Nason’s All the Things We Leave Behind is a novel of hauntings: characters are haunted, variously, by people, nature, memory, and the way things were. Evoking nostalgic reverie—bolstered by its summer 1977 setting—the story speaks to the latent recollections that eat away at us, whether they manifest in pangs of longing or waves of painful distress and regret.
The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, by Mark Leiren-Young
Author Q&A by Michael Ruffolo at The Tyee:
I am curious to find a justification as to why [orcas are not on equal footing as humans]. I couldn’t find one. I was asking people ‘what is it that makes a human human?’ and the answer seems very vague. Every answer seems to apply to an orca. I under …