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

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Book Cover Salma the Syrian Chef

Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Satisfying Endings

By Julie Booker

How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off!

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49thShelf Summer Reads

Introducing the 49th Shelf Summer Books List: Part 2

By Kerry Clare

Our summer reads extravaganza continues with PART 2 of our Summer Books List, and once again, each and every title is up …

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Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

By Spencer Miller

Welcome to the Association for Canadian publisher’s Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a blog and preview video seri …

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Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

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Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

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The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

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Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

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Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

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Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

By Trevor Corkum

“Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and …

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Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Satisfying Endings

How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off by covering the gamut of techniques—concluding with an important action or image, repeated text, dialogue, or one final word. Some come full circle with whole story reminders. 

Reading aloud just the beginning and final sentences of each book allows students to feel the full impact of each type of ending.

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An Important Action

Salma and the Syrian Chef, by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron, begins with Salma, in Vancouver, missing the rain in Syria. She longs to hear her mom’s laugh again, likening it to the sound of bicycle bells in the streets back home. She tries making a Syrian dish but her attempts to buy ingredients are thwarted by her lack of English. Salma “feels like an umbrella in a country with no rain,” so she draws her list of vegetables for the grocer instead. Then she draws a picture of her home, making it purple because “it’s okay to add new colours to my memories.” The final image in the book is that of a bike ride with her new friends (other refugees from the Welcome Centre), ringing their bells beneath a purple sky.

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An important image

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Introducing the 49th Shelf Summer Books List: Part 2

Summer Reads Part 2

Our summer reads extravaganza continues with PART 2 of our Summer Books List, and once again, each and every title is up for giveaway. Nine books at five giveaways each means FORTY-FIVE (45!) books up for grabs, so the odds are good, and the goods are AMAZING.

And if you can't wait, pick up these titles from your local bookstore or library shelf just in time for the long weekend!

*****

Probaby Ruby, by Lisa Bird Wilson

About the book: For readers of Tommy Orange's There There and Terese Marie Mailhot's Heart Berries, Probably Ruby is an audacious, brave and beautiful book about an adopted woman's search for her Indigenous identity.

Relinquished as an infant, Ruby is placed in a foster home and finally adopted by Alice and Mel, a less-than-desirable couple who can't afford to complain too loudly about Ruby's Indigenous roots. But when her new parents' marriage falls apart, Ruby finds herself vulnerable and in compromising situations that lead her to search, in the unlikeliest of places, for her Indigenous identity.

Unabashedly self-destructing on alcohol, …

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Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

TopGradeHeader_650pxw

Welcome to the Association for Canadian Publishers’ Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a blog and preview video series that features new releases from Canadian book publishers ideal for use in K-12 classrooms and school library collections. Throughout the year, we will dive into new titles, highlighting relevant curriculum links and themes.

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Written by secondary school teacher Spencer Miller

I never grew out of the books I read as a child, spending my time at university reading, researching and writing about all the books I loved growing up. During my studies of Children’s and Young Adult literature, I had the chance to learn from experts, educators, authors, and young readers across the country about what makes books for kids so special. After graduating last spring, I moved to Montréal to complete my first full year as a secondary teacher. Through all the ups and downs of Covid, one thing remained constant for me and my students: our love of stories. Stories carried us through this difficult year and on to meaningful learning.

I am always reading with my students in mind. Each time I open a new book, I consider how the story could be potentially life changing for a young person. Throughout this year, I will be sharing new titles from Canadian writers tha …

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

Our 2021 Fall Preview continues (have you seen our Most Anticipated Fiction yet?) with nonfiction, and exciting new books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so much more.

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In Return (September), Kamal Al-Solaylee interviews dozens of people who have chosen to or long to return to their homelands, from the Basques to the Irish to the Taiwanese, and makes a return of sorts himself, to the Middle East, visiting Israel and the West Bank as well as Egypt to meet up with his sisters. Gone Viking II (November) features a series of remarkable excursions occurring over before, during, and after the voyages recounted in Bill Arnott's previous memoir, Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. The original French-language edition of Made-Up (September) was a cult hit in Quebec. Translated by Alex Manley—like author Daphne B., a Montreal poet and essayist—the book's English-language text crackles with life, retaining the flair and verve of the original, and ensuring that a book on beauty is no less beautiful than its subject matter.

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CanLit Yearning

My novella Unlocking is mainly about navigating the secrets we decide to keep and the secrets we decide to share. Louise Till is shocked by the sudden death of her parents (which may have been by suicide) and her world is further upended by the inheritance of their hardware store and legacy. In her grief, she begins to collect copies of the keys she cuts for her neighbours, but doesn’t plan to use them. She eventually gives in to temptation and is propelled into a story of blackmail, break-ins, and secrets that do not belong to her.

At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, identity, sex, adventure, closure, etc.) that propels the characters forward and into unfamiliar places that are rich with literary potential.

*****

Disappearing in Reverse, by Allie McFarland

Described as a feminist piquaresque, McFarland’s debut novel masterfully weaves the past and the present (and all spaces in between) in a young woman’s search for answers. Devin died five years ago after getting an in …

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