Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Booksellers know the power of the perfect book; for many of them, that notion of sharing something they love is one of t …
Give AND Get! $500 in books for you and your favourite library if you win!
In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Sm …
Strong female characters dominate these dystopian tales for teens, with common themes of environmental decay, orphanhood …
I speak to Rhonda Mullins, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Translation for Twenty-One Cardinals (Les h …
Dawn Baker's art gives us a view onto Newfoundland...all year round!
Today, I chat with Governor General’s Award is Caroline Pignat, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Chil …
The thing about a picture book is that it has to keep kids riveted on the first, fifth, tenth, and even twentieth reading. So when we say that these are good ones, we really mean it. These books are tried, tested, and wonderful.
The Princess and the Pony, by Kate Beaton
Superstar Kate Beaton (Hark a Vagrant, Step Aside Pops) brings her characteristic wit to the the picture book set, along with her signature roly-poly pony. The pony is a birthday gift for spirited Princess Pinecone, whose Viking Father and Amazon Mom have a knack for choosing gifts that are just a little wrong—certainly this is not a proper horse for a warrior princess. But as ever, Pinecone becomes determined to make the best of things, bringing her pony into the gladiator ring anyway, discovering that there's more than one way to win a battle, and that there are surprising advantages to being cute and cuddly after all.
This is a princess book that will satisfy princess fiends and the princess-averse all at once. It's an empowering tale for any reader, plus it's got pony farts, so your kids are going to love it.
It’s that most wonderful time of the year. The air is crisp, the world outlined in the sharpness that only a Canadian cold brings. In the distance, you can hear the sound of sleigh bells...
Sorry. Those are cash registers.
This IS the most wonderful time of year, but it is also the most intense retail season of the year (as someone who spent more than two decades behind the till, I promise you those things can and do exist simultaneously. Surreptitious Baileys helps). Everyone is out looking for that perfect gift...
And that, really, is where those two things come together: people are packing into the stores to find a perfect gift for someone else. There’s something heartwarming about that gesture, about the whole season of generosity, that spirit of giving.
I’ve long been of the opinion that there is no more perfect gift than a book. And no, it’s not just because they’re easy to wrap. (Well, relatively. Somehow, even when I’m wrapping something that’s rectangular and all right angles, it still ends up looking like it was wrapped by a not-so-gifted marmoset. I blame the Baileys.).
A book is a way of making a connection, of bridging the distance between giver and recipient. A thoughtfully chosen book is a way of saying, “I know you.” A beloved book shared with someone else is a way of saying, “I want you to know me.”
It’s a beautiful thing. I’m misting up just thinking about it (though that, too, could be the Baileys.)
Booksellers know the power of …
Tell us about your favourite Canadian library and you could win a $250 book-shopping spree on 49th Shelf! Plus, 49th Shelf will also give the local or school library you love a $250 book-shopping spree of its own. There are over 80,000 books on 49th Shelf—so that's a lot of good shopping!
You can enter HERE. Sign in or become a member—it only takes a minute!—to enter the contest. Once you are in, you’ll see additional ways to enter for more chances to win.
The Give & Get Contest closes December 11, 2015. Thank you for your entries and good luck!
In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith, joint winners of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (Illustrated), for Sidewalk Flowers.
JonArno Lawson is the author of several award-winning books of poetry for children and adults, and is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. He has been most inspired in his work by his own children, and received a Chalmers Fellowship Award in 2007 to research children’s lap and bouncing rhymes cross-culturally in different communities across Toronto. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised nearby in Dundas, JonArno Lawson now lives in Toronto.
Sydney Smith discovered his love of children’s illustration while studying drawing and printmaking at NSCAD University in Halifax. Some of his first experiences illustrating children’s books were for the new editions of Sheree Fitch’s older books (Mabel Murple, There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, and Toe …
Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
Strong female characters dominate these dystopian tales for teens, with common themes of environmental decay, orphanhood, and the question of knowing who to trust.
In the award-winning Blood Red Road, by Moira Young, 16-year-old Saba lives in the middle of nowhere with her twin brother Lugh, her little sister Emmi and her Pa. But when her father is killed and her brother kidnapped, Saba must head out into the world to find him. She's captured by peddlers and taken to a “Big Wrecker” city where plague, hunger and war have felled skyscrapers and reduced society to chaos. She becomes enslaved as a cage-fighter who earns the title of '”Angel of Death,” because her opponents die and Saba never loses. A group of rebels help her escape so she can continue her quest to find her brother. This story is told with a distinctive voice, using clipped language, great dialogue and over-the-top characters, such as Lewis Ex Eye Vee, a crazed villain who has adopted the original Louis XIV, the Sun King's persona. The never-dull storyline includes a strong romantic plot thread that continues in the sequel. Grade 6+