Off the Page

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

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: A New Way to Celebrate the Forest of Reading

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: A New Way to Celebrate the Forest of Reading

By Jennifer Byrne

Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading program, celebrating Canadian books and authors. In the eye …

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Covers of books celebrated this spring by regional awards

Big Fiction

By Kerry Clare

Fall book season is exciting with its televised ceremonies and fancy galas, but spring is just as interesting, with regi …

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Book Cover Sister Dear

10 Unapologetically Twisted Reads

By Hannah Mary McKinnon

Ten crime reads to help you discover why authors in Canada have their own hashtag (#ReadTheNorth), and deserve a place o …

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Book Cover Murmurations

Launchpad: Murmurations, by Annick MacAskill

By Kerry Clare

Populating her poems with birdsong and murmurings of the natural world, MacAskill highlights how poets and lovers share …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

By Erika MacNeil

This is the second pair in a series of interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, …

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Book Cover One Earth

Launchpad: One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, by Anuradha Rao

By Kerry Clare

This is a book to be celebrated and shared!” —Elizabeth May

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Book Cover In Veritas

Launchpad: In Veritas, by C.J. Lavigne

By Kerry Clare

“The perfect mix of incandescent writing and enthralling storytelling. C.J. Lavigne has given us something we can beli …

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Book Cover See you On the Internet

Avery Swartz on How to Win with Digital Marketing

By Kerry Clare

Avery Swartz on why digital marketing matters now, what she's learned from her own missteps, and special advice for publ …

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Book Cover Grandmother School

Launchpad: Grandmother School, by Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney

By Kerry Clare

"How great a treat it will be to read this book in a grandmother’s lap."

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Book Cover Maknho and Memory

Launchpad: Makhno and Memory, by Sean Patterson

By Kerry Clare

The story of "the Ukrainian Robin Hood."

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Great Companions

As fascinating as books themselves (and oh, are books ever fascinating) are the connections between books, the curious ways in which books inform and echo each other, creating strange synergies completely outside of their authors' purview. In celebration of these connections, we've made great pairings of recent Canadian books of note, creating ideal literary companions. 

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All About Abodes

Home, by Carson Ellis, and A View from the Porch, by Avi Friedman 

Carson Ellis's smash-hit picture book explores the meaning of home as it considers all kinds of homes—a ship, a shoe, a home on the moon?—and shares the same preoccupations as Avi Friedman's new collection of essays. 

About Home: 

Influential artist Carson Ellis makes her solo picture-book debut with a whimsical tribute to the many possibilities of home.

Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio. A meditation on the concept of home and a visual treat that invites many return visits, this loving look at the places where people live marks the picture-book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and artist for the indie band the Decemberists.

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Nature and Ecology Books to Read This Spring

Welcome to January! If you love to be outside, then these books are for you, situating you amid the wonders of nature and winter with the turn of every page. If the outdoors are too cold for your liking, however, than this reading list is still the ticket, enabling you still to partake in winter adventures (and even some warmer ones) from the comforts of your favourite cozy chair. 

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Winter Sports, by Lady Aberdeen

Part of a series of work by Canadian women writers between 1639 and 1914, Winter Sports was a journal written by Lady Aberdeen, who was the wife of Canada's Governor General during the late 19th century. She writes about learning to enjoy sledding in Ottawa, partaking in winter festivals and other activities that would have been foreign to her as an Englishwoman living in Canada. 

Lucy Tries Short Track, by Lisa Bowes, illustrated by James Hearne

This is the second book in the Lucy Tries Sports series (with Lucy Tries Soccer forthcoming in the spring). In this volume, Lucy attempts speed skating and discovers that skimming across the ice at …

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Books for Earth Day

A round-up of fantastic books for readers of all ages and across genres, about nature, ecology, and conservation. 

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Between Breaths, by Robert Chafe

About the book: Jon Lien was once a respected researcher and a risk-taker, swimming into dangerous waters to save whales and the fishing gear they were trapped in. But now Jon’s confined to land, living his last years in a wheelchair with brain damage after an accident and illness.

The man who rescued over 500 whales around the world stretches his mind in memories of release and salvation. His powerful story swims backward through time, as he goes from worrying his wife and frustrating his friend, to being a reckless starter and adventurer, to lecturing university classes, to his very first encounter with a whale.

Robert Chafe crafts a raw portrayal of the true story of Dr. Jon Lien, Newfoundland’s “Whale Man,” into a tale of perseverance, control, and compassion.

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Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature Since the '60s, by Mark Cheetham

About the book: Dedicated to an articulation of the ear …

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Reading Beyond Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! These books celebrate nature and the wonders of the world around us, underlining why it matters so much that we take care of what we've got. 

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Birds, by Robert Bateman and Kathryn Dean

About the book: At a time when bird species are disappearing rapidly, the poignant beauty of Robert Bateman's paintings is more urgent than ever. It reminds us why Bateman was compelled to study and paint his subjects and why we must work to secure their futures.

Bateman has sketched and painted bird life in every corner of the globe. His special relationship with some of the planet's most beautiful and fascinating creatures is captured here in an elegant volume that will appeal to bird lovers and art lovers alike.

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Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies, by David R. Boyd

About the book: In Cleaner, Greener, Healthier, David R. Boyd sets out to remedy Canada’s environmental health problems. He begins by assessing the environmental burden of disease, identifies its unequal distribution, and est …

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Launchpad: Music for Tigers, by Michelle Kadarusman

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 and great insight 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 launching Music for Tigers, by Michelle Kadarusman, whose Girl of the Southern Sea was nominated for the Governor General's Award. 

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Book Cover Music for Tigers

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

A middle-grade novel about a young violinist from Toronto who discovers that her family secretly harbours a sanctuary for extinct Tasmanian tigers in the remote Australian rainforest.

Describe your ideal reader.

Budding activists who love nature and wildlife.

What authors/books is your work in conversation w …

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