Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Murmurations

Launchpad: Murmurations, by Annick MacAskill

By Kerry Clare

Populating her poems with birdsong and murmurings of the natural world, MacAskill highlights how poets and lovers share …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

By Erika MacNeil

This is the second pair in a series of interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, …

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Book Cover One Earth

Launchpad: One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, by Anuradha Rao

By Kerry Clare

This is a book to be celebrated and shared!” —Elizabeth May

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Book Cover In Veritas

Launchpad: In Veritas, by C.J. Lavigne

By Kerry Clare

“The perfect mix of incandescent writing and enthralling storytelling. C.J. Lavigne has given us something we can beli …

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Book Cover See you On the Internet

Avery Swartz on How to Win with Digital Marketing

By Kerry Clare

Avery Swartz on why digital marketing matters now, what she's learned from her own missteps, and special advice for publ …

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Book Cover Grandmother School

Launchpad: Grandmother School, by Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney

By Kerry Clare

"How great a treat it will be to read this book in a grandmother’s lap."

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Book Cover Maknho and Memory

Launchpad: Makhno and Memory, by Sean Patterson

By Kerry Clare

The story of "the Ukrainian Robin Hood."

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Book Cover The End of Me

Launchpad: The End of Me, by John Gould

By Kerry Clare

"John Gould's skill with the short form is miraculous in the way of bonsai, the grand made to bloom within the small. An …

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Book Cover Beneath the Bridge

Notes from a Children's Librarian: What I Miss About the Library

By Julie Booker

"When I think of the job of librarian, I think of time, layers of time."

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Book Cover The Home Stretch

Launchpad: The Home Stretch, by George K. Ilsley

By Kerry Clare

"A wonderful book—witty, tender, and lucidly written—about the caregiving of sons and the complicated inheritances o …

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Launchpad: Murmurations, by Annick MacAskill

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

launchpad logo

Today we're launching Murmuration, by Annick MacAskill, whose previous book was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the J. M. Abraham Poetry Award (Atlantic Book Awards).

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Book Cover Murmurations

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Murmurations is a book of love poems, heavy on the bird imagery.

Describe your ideal reader.

Any reader is my ideal reader! But to play fair: anyone who’s wondered what lovers and birds have to do with each other, or wh …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

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This is the second pair in a series of interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, Teacher-Librarian at Rogers PS in Newmarket, ON (York Region District School board). Catch up with the first pair, featuring Vicki Grant and Kevin Sylvester.

I met Deborah Ellis back in 1998 when she had just returned from one of many trips to Afghanistan where she was doing research for The Breadwinner. She came to share her experiences and I was struck with her fierce determination to carve a story that was both authentic and readable to as many readers as she could reach. Deborah’s extraordinary novels such as Looking For X and I Am A Taxi take a hard look at a variety of social justice issues, and the human condition is always at the heart of her storytelling.

I met Richard Scrimger when he came to my school for an author visit. Richard’s books have been nominated many times over for various awards (Zomboy, Th …

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Launchpad: One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, by Anuradha Rao

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, which Elizabeth May calls "a book to be celebrated and shared!”

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

One Earth is a nonfiction book with colour photos that tells the stories of 20 Black, Indigenous and people of colour who are environmental defenders.

Describe your ideal reader.

Loves nature and/or is looking for diverse role models. Perhaps doesn’t tend to see themselves reflected enough in popular media, and …

Continue reading >

Launchpad: In Veritas, by C.J. Lavigne

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching new novel In Veritas, by C.J. Lavigne, which Tanya Huff has called “The perfect mix of incandescent writing and enthralling storytelling. C.J. Lavigne has given us something we can believe in. Learn to see the dragons.”

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s a literary urban fantasy about an Ottawa woman whose synaesthetic senses allow her to perceive multiple worlds, and maybe save a dying reality.

Describe your ideal reader.

Someone who loves fantastic …

Continue reading >

Avery Swartz on How to Win with Digital Marketing

Heads up, entrepreneurs! Want to learn how to find your customers online—and how they can find you? See You on the Internet: Building Your Small Business With Digital Marketing, by Avery Swartz, has the guidance and solutions you're looking for, presenting in a fun and inspiring read.

Today Swartz is talking to us about why digital marketing matters now, what she's learned from her own missteps, and special advice for publishers and authors looking to connect with readers. 

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49thShelf: Digital marketing—no longer just a nice-to-have, but necessary to engage with customers while the world is still on lock-down. What do you think businesses need to know about digital marketing at this particular (and most peculiar) moment?

Avery Swartz: For so many business owners, establishing a digital presence (or improving the one you have) often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. It can be such a chore! But now, with the world turning to the internet, it’s become clear just how important that digital presence is. Many organizations are playing catch-up, or feeling like they’re behind and they can’t catch up. I promise you—you can.

It’s so easy to get lost in the details of digital marketing. The tools can be overwhelming. There are so many apps and services …

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