Off the Page

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

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Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

By Allison Hall

On Saturday March 28th millions of people around the globe will turn off their lights and spend an hour without the use …

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Book Cover Sputnik's Children

The Books I Want to Read Again

By Kerry Clare

Rereading is comfort, and indulgence. It's a voyage back to the familiar, but one that's still rich with discovery, and …

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Neon BOOKS sign

How Do We Read When Words Fail Us?

By Kerry Clare

On the value of books and reading in a dangerous time.

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Book Cover Lost in the Backyard

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Catchy Beginnings

By Julie Booker

Great books with great starts.

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Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

By Kiley Turner

There's never been a better time to highlight some great posts from our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker.

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Book Cover The Birth Yard

A Sense of Place: THE BIRTH YARD Book List

By Mallory Tater

"The Birth Yard embodies a sense of place that I, as a woman, have always felt inside."

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Book Cover Last Impressions

"All of us are better when we're loved."

By Joseph Kertes

"Last Impressions will make you laugh out loud and cry out loud. What more could be asked of a book?" —Miriam Toews

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The Chat with Eufemia Fantetti

The Chat with Eufemia Fantetti

By Trevor Corkum

Today's chat is with Eufemia Fantetti, author of the brand-new memoir My Father, Fortune-Tellers, & Me, out now with Mot …

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1000 Islands Writers Festival Logo

Your 2020 Spring Festival Guide

By Kerry Clare

A round-up of literary festivals taking place this spring near you and across the country.

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Book Cover No More Nice Girls

Lives of Girls and Women

By Kerry Clare

22 books to celebrate for International Women's Day.

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Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

On Saturday March 28th millions of people around the globe will turn off their lights and spend an hour without the use of electricity to mark Earth Hour. The movement, in previous years, has helped spark initiatives like tree planting and the banning of single use plastics in different countries. It’s important to talk about Earth Hour so young people understand the reasons behind the initiative and encourage their families to participate. There are many areas of the curriculum that involve environmental issues and stewardship. The environment is a natural springboard to explore different models of learning such as inquiry, design thinking, and project based learning. Here are a few titles and activities for kids from grades K-8 that fit with a discussion of Earth Hour and what we can do to help protect our planet.

Inspired by true events, In the Treehouse by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Dušan Petričić is the story of a boy who plans and builds a treehouse with his dad and older brother. After a while his big brother doesn’t want to play anymore, he’d rather hang out with his friends. Until one night when the power goes out. The boy sees his neighbours actually come out of their houses and socialize. His brother joins him in the treehouse and they read …

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The Books I Want to Read Again

Rereading is comfort, and indulgence. It's a voyage back to the familiar, but one that's still rich with discovery, and this is the kind of experience I'm hungry for right now. I made this book list after cruising around my home library with a thought to which books I've long been meaning to read again and others that seem like perfect fare for our particular moment.

What are the books on your own shelves that you're looking forward to returning to? Share your favourites on Twitter or Facebook!

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Splitsville, by Howard Akler

About the book: A bookseller's love affair, start to finish, against the backdrop of a city in protest.

It's 1971. Hal Sachs runs a used bookstore. Business isn't so great, and the store is in a part of Toronto that's about to be paved over with a behemoth expressway. And then Hal meets Lily Klein, an activist schoolteacher who'll do just about anything to stop the highway. It's love at first sight. Until it isn't. And then Hal vanishes.

A half-century later, Hal's nephew, Aitch, waits for his baby to be born as he tries to piece together facts and fictions about Hal's disappearance.

Splitsville is a diamond-cut love letter to a city whose defining moment was to say 'no way' to a highway, and a look at the obsessions that carry down through a …

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How Do We Read When Words Fail Us?

Neon Sign that says BOOKS

Last week, I finally finished reading a book.

And that this is even remarkable speaks volumes about the strange times we're all navigating right now. Because usually I finish books in the way that most people finish wearing pants at the end of the day, or in the way that one might finish eating their lunch. Usually it's easy, automatic, even reflexive. I read therefore I am, but last week I didn't, and I wasn't, scrolling social media feeds and news blogs instead: refresh, refresh. When will there be good news?

Last week, it seemed like words were failing on all fronts, in print, online, and especially in my head. As I was reading every bit of journalism I could get my hands on in search of answers, in search of certainty, for all the chaos to coalesce into something that made sense, but there was nothing, only noise, and fear, and questions. What is going to happen next?

And I couldn't read. Which didn't make sense when I had all the time in the world, and all the books at my fingertips, a to-be-read pile that was taller than my child, and access to e-books for days. I'd even had two new releases delivered from my local indie bookshop straight to my front door, which should have been the best thing that had ever happened to me, but the books sat unopened on a chair …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Catchy Beginnings

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Hey! You! Want to help kids build great hooks into their stories?

The language curriculum for Grades 3–6 touches on the use of a strong opening, or "lead." Presented here is a smorgasbord of techniques, along with examples from novels and a few picture books.

Strategy #1: Start with an action

In these books, the author hooks us with a memorable action.

Lost in the Backyard, by Alison Hughes, begins, “I am lying alone in the dark forest, dying.”

About the book: Flynn hates the outdoors. Always has. He barely pays attention in his Outdoor Ed class. He has no interest in doing a book report on Lost in the Barrens. He doesn’t understand why anybody would want to go hiking or camping. But when he gets lost in the wilderness behind his parents’ friends’ house, it’s surprising what he remembers—e.g., insulate your clothes with leaves, eat snow to stay hydrated, build a shelter, eat lichen—and how hopelessly inept he is at survival techniques.

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Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

tagged :

homeschooling

There's never been a better time to highlight some great posts from our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker. These are chosen specifically because they relate to certain themes in Canadian curricula, so brand-new homeschoolers use them to keep "school" going even during this incredibly challenging time.

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Beautiful books to help kids in Grades 1-6 to understand and use descriptive language in their stories

Books about math for the smallest of folks and books on media literacy for them, too

Books to help kids in Grade 2 with their "Animal Classifications" unit

Books on structures for kids in Grade 4

Books on rocks and minerals to complement Grade 4 curriculum

Books to complement the Grade 6 unit on biodiversity and the Grade 6 unit on space

Books on flight to complement the Grade 6 unit on science and technology

Books to complement the Grade 3 and Grade 6 focus on biographies

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Other good links:

Funny books for kids

Books to help your kids get to sleep before midnight

Books that are great readalouds

Books for the young artist

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