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A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

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Book Cover Sleep Dragons All Around

CanLit's Favourite Cakes

By Kerry Clare

For Family Literacy Day, we're celebrating delicious cakes (with recipes!) from classic Canadian picture books.

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Embracing Winter with Inuit Games & Activities

Embracing Winter with Inuit Games & Activities

By Monique Cadieux

Settling into the winter months here in Southern Ontario means we try to enjoy some outdoor activities in the snow, as w …

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Book Cover Disfigured

Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Art, bees, cooking, design, education, fairy tales, graphic memoirs, and so it goes. There's something for everyone in o …

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Book Cover The Towers of Babylon

Great Books for the Moment

By Kerry Clare

A handful of recent releases you'd be lucky not to miss.

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The Chat with Andrea Miller

The Chat with Andrea Miller

By Trevor Corkum

This week, we’re in conversation with Andrea Miller, author of the collection Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, an …

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Yuck a Love Story

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Descriptive Language

By Julie Booker

Beautiful books that exemplify descriptive language for Grades 1–6.

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Book Cover All That Belongs

On Our Radar

By Kerry Clare

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry and YA: books with buzz worth sharing.

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Four Fast-Paced, Captivating Middle Grade Books Any Student Will Love

Four Fast-Paced, Captivating Middle Grade Books Any Student Will Love

By Geoffrey Ruggero

If you’re looking for a great story, where the main characters are relatable, look no further than the Orca Currents c …

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Book Cover The Subtweet

Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

The fiction selection for the first half of 2020 is shaping up beautifully! Here's what we're excited about.

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The Chat with Laisha Rosnau

The Chat with Laisha Rosnau

By Trevor Corkum

What happens when an author decides to create a novel based on the real lives of three reclusive women in early twentiet …

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CanLit's Favourite Cakes

Today is Family Literacy Day, a national event that annually celebrates the importance of families engaging in literacy activities together, sharpening skills and building relationships. Literacy activities including reading picture books together—and baking from recipes! Which leads to even deepening relationships as families eat cake together. Picture book cakes, no less!

Of course CanLit's all-time favourite cakes would include the one from Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman (nom nom), or the cake that Rilla, in abject humiliation, had to carry across town in Rilla of Ingleside.

But in the spirit of Family Literacy, we're sticking to our favourite cakes from picture books. With links to recipes, even. Enjoy!

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Sleeping Dragons All Around, by Sheree Fitch and Michele Nidenoff

About the book: Sheree Fitch has read this book to audiences from sea to sea to sea in Canada, in the Himalayas, and along the eastern coast of Africa. Her first two books, Toes in My Nose and Sleeping Dragons All Around, launched her career as a poet, rhymster, and a "kind of Canadian female Dr. Seuss." Fitch has won almost every major award for Canadian children's literature since then, including the 2000 Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work Inspirational to Canadian Children. She has …

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Embracing Winter with Inuit Games & Activities

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Settling into the winter months here in Southern Ontario means we try to enjoy some outdoor activities in the snow, as well as finding ways to reclaim the warmth when we come back inside. With my family, this means good novels and board games, with my students it means books to engage our imaginations and activities to keep us moving.

In my classroom, we have been learning about some of the ways that communities in Canada embrace the winter months. Learning about the rich history of Inuit games and activities enjoyed by the communities across Nunangat has inspired my students to want to know more. I knew exactly how I could satisfy their curiosity.

I was fortunate enough — and thrilled — to be one of the teachers who won the 49th Teachers/Inhabit Education Nunavummi Reading Series giveaway. I received a box of gorgeous books. In the box, were books that I knew would be the perfect additions to the collection of books that I use to integrate Indigenous histories and perspectives into my classroom program. One, in particular, had a special role to play.

Last week, I gathered my students on the carpet and …

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Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Nonfiction Preview

Art, bees, cooking, design, education, fairy tales, graphic memoirs, and so it goes. There's something for everyone in our nonfiction preview, featuring exciting debuts and new books by Jenna Butler, Jordan Abel, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Donald Savoie, Lauren McKeon, and more!  

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From Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel comes Nishga (April), an autobiographical meditation on the complicated legacies that Canada’s reservation school system have cast on his grandparents’, his parents’ and his own generation. Coalesce (April), by mixed-media artist Barry Ace, is a fusion of distinct Anishinaabeg aesthetics of the Great Lakes region, using refuse from Western society’s technological and digital age to intentionally shift an object’s materiality and its accepted paradigm within the physical world. And Artistic Glass: One Studio & Fifty Years of Stained Glass (January) is a full-colour large format art book contextualizing the history of stained glass in Canada, showcasing the life and work of Josef Aigner, an artist and master craftsman whose 50-year career has had a lasting impact on the Canadian art landscape.

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Great Books for the Moment

There's always something to be excited about in the world of Canadian books—the literary festival circuit, hot spring releases, summer reads, fall books, awards season, holiday reading, and so much more. Literally, it is our job to be enthusing about books all year round and to bring you a taste of everything that's happening across the country in literary fare. It's always the most incredible whirlwind and it almost never stops. 

Except right now.

Mid-January, and it's cold outside. Over the last week, we've been snowed in from coast-to-coast (although most particularly in Newfoundland. Wow!). We're in that sweet spot between the Best Books of 2019 lists and the Most Anticipated Books of 2020, which is possibly the closest we'll ever get to living in the moment. So why not stay here for a while? And to keep you company, we're recommending a handful of 2019 books you'd be lucky not to miss.

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A Dark House and Other Stories, by Ian Colford

About the book: In Ian Colford's latest collection, people get themselves and those they love into situations awkward and sometimes dangerous, doing what they think is best for all. A man kidnaps his young son from his ex-wife and the road trip west quickly spirals out of control; a destitute mother makes a risky alliance with …

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The Chat with Andrea Miller

Andrea+Book+AMH-FullRes_1

Ever wondered what it’s like to meet Thich Nhat Hanh? Hoping to start your own meditation practice or dip your toes into mindful awareness?

This week, we’re in conversation with Andrea Miller, author of the collection Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life (Pottersfield Press). It’s a fantastic and accessible selection of essays, articles, and interviews exploring the Buddhist life.

Andrea Miller is the deputy editor of leading Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar and the editor of three anthologies for Shambhala Publications, including Buddha's Daughters: Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West. She's also the author of two picture books: The Day the Buddha Woke Up (Wisdom Publications, 2018) and My First Book of Canadian Birds (Nimbus Publishing, 2018). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Mindful Magazine, The Best Buddhist Writing series, The Best Women’s Travel Writing series, The Globe and Mail, Saltscapes, and many others. Miller lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and two children.

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Trevor Corkum: Awakening the Heart is a collection of essays, art …

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