Off the Page

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

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Equity & Access for All Students

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Equity & Access for All Students

By Jonelle St. Aubyn

In this day and age of widespread use of technology, it’s easy to forget that there are real issues when it comes to t …

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Book Cover Polar Vortex

Launchpad: Polar Vortex, by Shani Mootoo

By Kerry Clare

A novel that's gorgeously wrought and excruciatingly (in the best way!) unputdownable. 

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Book Cover, Lean Out, by Tara Henley

Lean Out: A Conversation with Tara Henley

By Kerry Clare

"Life is uncertain and anxiety-producing. But there are glimpses of a different world that may come out of this crisis." …

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Book Cover The Union of Smokers

Launchpad: The Union of Smokers, by Paddy Scott

By Kerry Clare

"An entirely new kind of story told by a gutter-mouthed, chain-smoking twelve year old, who announces in the opening par …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: An Achievable, Accessible #ActivityOfTheDay

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: An Achievable, Accessible #ActivityOfTheDay

By Jennifer Byrne

The times we find ourselves in right now are uncertain and unprecedented.  But what always sticks with me is this saying …

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Book Cover Junebat

Launchpad: Junebat, by John Elizabeth Stinzi

By Kerry Clare

"To the poetics of the queer everyday Stintzi adds their ‘Junebat,’ a multitudinous concept of such explanatory powe …

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Book Cover Stay Where I can See You

Stay Where I Can See You: The List

By Katrina Onstad

"I had this idea for a book about a mother and daughter at that moment where they split apart..."

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Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

By Allison Hall

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping wi …

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Book Cover A Forest in the City

Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

By Andrea Curtis

When self isolation and physical distancing has got your family cooped up, the next best thing might just be reading pic …

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The Chat with Amanda Leduc

The Chat with Amanda Leduc

By Trevor Corkum

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space (Coach House) is a brilliant and startling book of essays by Am …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Equity & Access for All Students

diarybanner_650w

Welcome to the third post in the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

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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Written by Peel District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jonelle St. Aubyn

When the news came in that school would be closed for an additional two weeks after the March Break, I was a little stunned but not terribly concerned. Not because I wasn’t taking the outbreak of COVID–19 seriously, but because I had hope that it would be under control soon and that we would all be returning to work after this extended break. The next morning at school, I announced to my students that there would be no limit on the number of books that they could take out and that no fines would be accrued over the time that they were off. At my sc …

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Launchpad: Polar Vortex, by Shani Mootoo

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, great insight, and short and snappy readings 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 featuring award-winning writer Shani Mootoo whose new release is Polar Vortex, an intense, propulsive read about a love triangle that turns out to be even more complicated than that, a novel that's gorgeously wrought and excruciatingly (in the best way!) unputdownable. 

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

Priya has not come clean with her partner Alexandra about her old university friend Prakash, with whom she had a long push-and-pull relat …

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Lean Out: A Conversation with Tara Henley

A  few weeks ago, I couldn't read, so overwhelmed by the anxiety of the current moment, obsessively scrolling news feeds, desperately seeking answers to find a way out of so much fear. Books—once my refuge, my safest harbour—were impossible to focus on, reading almost didn't seem relevant any more...but then I picked up Tara Henley's Lean out: A Meditation on the Madness of Modern Life, and it brought me back to books and reading in the most amazing way—what a gift.

This is truly a book for the moment, and for the future. And it was a pleasure to get to ask Henley some questions about her work.

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49th Shelf: In your book, you include a quote about there being two kinds of girls: "Those who read Madeleine L'Engle when they were small, and those who didn't." But there IS another kind—because I'm the kind of girl who spent last year reading all the Vicky Austin books (The Young Unicorns, OMG!). Your book also includes an epigraph from L'Engle. Can you talk about her work, and how it has informed your approach to your own book? 

Tara Henley: I consider anyone who reads Madeleine L’Engle, at any time, to be a kindred spirit! I read her books during formative years, and her writing shaped how I thought about the world and my place in it. L’Engle radically …

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Launchpad: The Union of Smokers, by Paddy Scott

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, great insight, and short and snappy readings 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 featuring Paddy Scott, whose debut novel is The Union of Smokers, described as "an entirely new kind of story told by a gutter-mouthed, chain-smoking twelve year old, who announces in the opening paragraph that he’s going to die today."

***

Book Cover The Union of Smokers

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

The Union of Smokers is a day in the life and a life in the final day of narrator Kaspar Pine, a young man who takes it upon himself to use his last hours on earth to educat …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: An Achievable, Accessible #ActivityOfTheDay

diarybanner_650w

Welcome to the second post in our 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

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

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

***

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Byrne

The times we find ourselves in right now are uncertain and unprecedented. But what always sticks with me is this saying from Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

It is clear that for the disaster the world is experiencing right now, the frontli …

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