Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
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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Behind the Poem: "When You Learn to Swim" by Souvankham Thammavongsa

In his reviewGlobe and Mail Books Editor Jared Bland called the poems in Souvankham Thammavongsa's new book, Light, "by turns ethereal, beguiling and riveting in their dramatic exploration of the book’s thematic terrain," and noted that, "[t]his new collection confirms Thammavongsa’s place as one of the most interesting younger poets at work in the country." 

In this piece, she tells the story behind one of the poems from Light

*****

A few years ago, I took a class, swimming lessons for adults. We shared the pool with another class for children. They ranged in age, maybe four to six years old. They were really tiny, the shallow end of the pool came up to their chins or around their ears. They took to their lessons really well, with enthusiasm and each week, each would grow with confidence. The adults, the class I was in, had a hard time learning, believing that they could float at all. By the fourth week, some were just beginning to put their whole face in the water. It wasn't that they were scared of the water or experienced some trauma that made swimming difficult. It was that none of us trusted what we were told about ourselves and the water, that we would float, if we let go.

The children needed to be told this once and they plunged forward, floating. The …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a new monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

*****

Book Cover The Best Thing About Kindergarten

The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd, Illustrated by Qin Leng

From the blog Perogies & Gyoza:

"I'm sure there are some kindy kids who are apprehensive about their new journey, and for them I would recommend this book about the joys of kindergarten... It might seem odd to recommend a book about finishing kindergarten to kids who are just starting—but all kids of this age can identify with the excitement of the classroom and the love of a good teacher." 

Read the whole review here

*****

Accusation by Catherine Bush

From the Now Toronto review by Susan G. Cole: 

"You can record, videotape, photograph and do a ton of other things to document a situation. But you can never be sure whether you’ve discovered any actual truths. That’s the theme of Catherine Bush’s deftly rendered tale about a seasoned journalist trying to get to …

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