Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Image Book Auction to Support Prisoners

The Book Auction to Support Prisoners

By 49th Shelf Staff

"This year has marked a sea change in how we perceive racism and our justice system, and we hope this event will further …

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Book Cover The Barren Grounds

Launchpad: THE BARREN GROUNDS, by David A. Robertson

By Kerry Clare

"David A. Robertson has written such a fine, beautiful novel. He manages to combine hard truths about our history with a …

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Book Cover TreeTalk

TreeTalk-ing or, "How I Became a Serial Poetry Monogamist"

By Ariel Gordon

"I knew I wanted to do more than just sit in a booth, eating chicken and waffles, and writing. It had to do something th …

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Book Cover The Orange Shirt Story

Books for Orange Shirt Day

By Julie Booker

Books to connect younger readers with the tragic legacy of Canada's residential schools.

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The Chat with Emily Urquhart

The Chat with Emily Urquhart

By Trevor Corkum

In The Age of Creativity (House of Anansi Press), Emily Urquhart challenges us to reconsider our thinking around artisti …

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Book Cover Noopiming

Launchpad: NOOPIMING, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

By Kerry Clare

"This is bold storytelling drawing upon a rich history to present a possible future. Simpson is generously gifting reade …

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Book Cover Brighten the Corner Where You ARe

Fiction We Can't Wait to Read This Fall

By Kerry Clare

29 books that should be on your radar.

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Super September Giveaway!

Super September Giveaway!

By Kiley Turner

Did we call it this because of the alliteration? Maybe, but more because the books up for grabs here are SO GOOD. Enter …

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Book Cover Crosshairs

Launchpad: CROSSHAIRS, by Catherine Hernandez

By Kerry Clare

"Crosshairs asks us what we will do to resist and build a better future when faced with such momentous and dangerous tim …

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The Chat with Bahar Orang

The Chat with Bahar Orang

By Trevor Corkum

Bahar Orang’s Where Things Touch is a stirring, wholly invigorating meditation on beauty and memory. Part prose, part …

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"Easy as pie. NOT!" Sharon McKay on Transforming Her Novel into a Graphic Novel

Book Cover War Brothers

Transforming War Brothers from a novel into a graphic novel was easy as pie and it only took a week! NOT! Here’s what really happened:

Comic book writer J. Torris (Bigfoot Boy, Jinx) gave a copy of War Brothers (the novel) to artist Daniel Lafrance. Dan was inspired enough to make a few sketches. He then drew ten pages of sequential art to include in a proposal. Holding my breath, I showed them to Rick Wilks, Director of Annick Press. Here’s where I say, “and the rest is history.” But wait!

I had a huge learning curve ahead of me. Dan had to carry me like a sack of potatoes. Yes, the words in the book are mine, but it was Dan who figured out how to transform them into a meaningful and powerful graphic form.

Initially, I was worried about the level of violence in the story. Make no mistake, there is NO gratuitous or unjustified violence in this book. It’s all real and happening right now. It’s not possible to write about child soldiers without showing the brutality, and reminding the reader that these children are both perpetrators and victims.

Page from War Brothers

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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Reviewing Sadia

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many challenges. Balancing school work, extra-curriculars, and relationships, all while trying to discover yourself is a daunting task. Sadia faces pressure from her family, peers, and herself, while trying to figure out where she fits in.

When the new school year begins, Sadia’s best friend has started de-jabbing. This poses a real dilemma for Sadia as she has difficulty understanding why her friend would all of a sudden start lying to her parents.

This novel can serve as inspiration for many of our students. Living in a multicultural society means accepting everyone for who they are. Traditional rules need to be adjusted, and Sadia’s story serves as a prime example. She loves to play basketball and is a vital member of her school team. At an annual tournament, some of the opposing teams take issue with a piece of Sadia’s clothing — her hijab. Just when she thinks there is no hope, Sadia receives inspiration from an unlikely source.

Curriculum Connections

During the sto …

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Sparking Conversation in the Classroom: The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Reviewing The Big Dig

The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington is the perfect young adult novel to spark meaningful discussions on a variety of topics. Teachers are familiar with the difficulties that students face when they have to move and change schools. This story can help ease the transition as readers can relate to the main character, who is faced with the challenge of making new friends and adapting to a new community. Each of the three main characters is unique in their own way. Although their personalities would seem to naturally clash, they accept each other’s differences and forge a very strong friendship.

It’s 1977, and shortly after dealing with the loss of her mother, Lucy is sent by her father to live with her Great-Aunt Josie for the summer. There, she meets two friends, Colin and Kit, and they create everlasting friendships. Together, they attempt to help Lucy uncover the truth she is seeking.

Harrington does a fantastic job of bringing the reader into Lucy’s head. As the reader follows fourteen year-old Lucy to Nova Scotia for summer break, the author makes you feel as if you are with her, e …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Erin Bow

erin bow (credit StudioJ)

Erin Bow has won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature (Text) for Stand on the Sky (Scholastic).

The jury says “In writing that is both evocative and perfectly pitched for young readers, Stand on the Sky tells the heartfelt and gripping tale of a Kazakh girl who, despite cultural barriers, struggles to train a wild eagle. With its authentic voice, the novel transports the reader to the steppes of Mongolia and opens up a fascinating world where age-old tradition is overturned by one young girl’s bravery and determination.” 

Erin Bow is a former physicist turned poet and writer of stories for young people. Her first novel, Plain Kate, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her second, Sorrow’s Knot, won the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and her third, The Scorpion Rules, won her a second Monica Hughes Award and was the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for young adults. Erin publishes equally lauded poetry under her maiden name, Erin Noteboom. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with author James Bow and their two tween-aged daughters.

 

THE CHAT WITH ERIN BOW

Congrats on your GG Award, Erin. How does it feel to be recognized in this way by your peers?

I’m so thrilled. Stand on the …

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Walters Rules YA Fiction

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Eric Walters is a well-known Canadian author who has published an astounding 100 books (and counting). Only a writer who can adapt to the changing interests of readers can maintain such a long and distinguished career. His most recent pieces of Young Adult fiction, specifically involving catastrophic events, are very appealing to the modern young adult (and young adult at heart) reader.

Do you remember where you were during the blackout of 2003? The Rule of Three series will bring those memories back and take you on a wild ride of what it could have been like if ALL the computers on Earth crashed! Sixteen-year-old Adam is at the heart of the chaos and it’s his unique hobby that may be the key to the survival of his community. Friends, family, and neighbours (with secret pasts) will have to contribute all of the their knowledge and skills if anyone is going to survive. But who can you trust when your life—and the lives of loved ones—are on the line?

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The Randomizer

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