Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover County Heirlooms

Summer Eats: Kohlrabi Slaw, from COUNTY HEIRLOOMS

By Natalie Wollenberg and Leigh Nash

"I’ve always been impressed that seeds will produce all the food you need to live. It’s miraculous."

read more >
Book Cover Cedar and Salt

3 Great Recipes from the 2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist

By Kerry Clare

Foodies, take note! Great recipes from celebrated cookbooks.

read more >
Book Cover On Nostalgia

Launchpad: On Nostalgia, by David Berry

By Kerry Clare

"Berry’s subject is a wide-ranging one, but he pulls off the impressive feat of covering plenty of ground in a concise …

read more >
Literatures, Communities and Learnings

Literatures, Communities, and Learning

By Kerry Clare

9 conversations with Indigenous writers about the relationship between Indigenous literatures and learning, and how thei …

read more >
The Chat with Faye Guenther

The Chat with Faye Guenther

By Trevor Corkum

Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing) is Faye Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction. These six stories expl …

read more >
Book Cover Little Secrets

Summer Reading Starts Here

By Kerry Clare

Summer is not cancelled, and summer reading isn't either. We've got thrillers, epics, drama, historical fiction, and so …

read more >
Cover Summer Feet

Picture Book Sneak Peek: Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher

By Kerry Clare

Summer starts HERE with this glorious celebration of childhood...and filthy feet.

read more >
Book Cover Mr. Frank

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Texts on Textiles

By Julie Booker

Exploring the art of sewing? Here are some tales to comfort and inspire.

read more >
COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Pondering the “What If” with Shari Green & Caroline Pignat

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Pondering the “What If” with Shari Green & Caroline Pignat

By Erika MacNeil

During this time of self-isolation and social distancing, books can sometimes be our only companions as the days stretch …

read more >
Book Cover Good Mothers Don't

Launchpad: Good Mothers Don't, by Laura Best

By Kerry Clare

"An unlikely page turner replete with hushed surprises, unexpected crescendos, endless love and boundless vitality."

read more >

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Heritage and Identity

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

*****

How do family and community traditions change over time? This Grade 2 unit on heritage and identity can be addressed using great picture books. The first three are useful for teaching timelines. 

My Family Tree and Me, by Dusan Petricic, traces a boy's genealogy through period “photos” (Petricic's beautiful illustrations) of members of his family. "Without my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, I would never have had Pops, my grandfather; who met his match in Nana, my grandmother." The first half of the story traces his father's side and the second half, his mother's, and the book is designed so it can be read in either order. One side of the family has red hair, so it's easier for the reader to figure out the familial connection.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is a superb story-within-a-story presenting the history of iconic literary creation Winnie the Poo …

Continue reading >

Lesley Crewe: Books for Difficult Times and Ordinary Moments

Lesley Crewe is one of Atlantic Canada's best-loved and bestselling writers, author of ten novels including Mary, Mary, Amazing Grace, Chloe Sparrow, Kin , and Relative Happiness, which has been adapted into a feature film. Her latest is Beholden—and here she shares a list of other books about people finding their way.

*****

All of these books are about making your way in the world. The beauty and horror of relationships, expectations, dreams and sorrows. How do any of us walk on, when life pushes you endlessly back and forth like the tide? We don’t want to be alone. Hearing stories about how others cope with their existence is reassuring, like having a lamp in the window. 

*

A Good House, by Bonnie Burnard

About the book: I loved the bits of ordinary small-town life revealed through the story of Bill and Sylvia Chambers. They were exactly like the people I grew up with. Not exciting or extraordinary, but their lives were important, regardless. It made me want to look at small things—the moments that make up our everyday lives, the ones we tend to i …

Continue reading >

Five Queer Memoirs to Keep You Going

On Rachel Matlow's memoir Dead Mom Walking, we have the following comment from Carolyn Taylor of the Baroness Von Sketch Show: "How am I laughing at someone's mother's cancer? How? We think we can't laugh about death, about cancer, about our mothers and their suffering . . . and we can't, but we can. And there's so much relief in that. I laughed, I cried, I laughed and laughed and laughed."

Books matter so much. Here, Rachel Matlow recommends five more to keep you going.

*****

Books have the power to calm and uplift us—exactly what we need right now in the midst of the anxiety attack that’s become life. So when you’re done watching Tiger King and taking a break from playing Animal Crossing, here are five queer memoirs to keep you going:

*

High School, by Tegan Quin and Sara Quin

All-night raves, facial piercings, Smashing Pumpkins—I was transported back to the late ‘90s in this visceral memoir from Tegan and Sara. Written from the perspectives of both sisters, the story chronicles their unglamorous teenage years in Calgary and start in music. Th …

Continue reading >

Stay Where I Can See You: The List

Book Cover Stay Where I Can See You

I had this idea for a book about a mother and daughter at that moment where they split apart: the emotional separation that must precede the physical one when a child leaves home. I knew the characters right away—17-year-old Maddie, burning to grow up, and her mom, Gwen, devoted yet unknowable—but I needed a world, and a drama, in which to place them. I heard about someone I knew winning a small amount in a lottery, and it shocked me somehow: Why them? What now? I decided that a win like that would be a good place to put my fictional family: a gain to contrast the loss. Stay Where I Can See You became a book about secrets, and the ebb and flow of fortune, and how those fortunes collide and coexist in a city.

I don’t look at books that are too similar to mine when I’m writing but this is a list of kindred stories that I’ve read over the years that circle similar themes, and probably worked their way into my brain and slid onto the page in ways I’ll never fully understand.

*

What We All Long For, by Dionne Brand

Brand deploys her poet’s pen t …

Continue reading >

Launchpad: Weekend Dad, by Naseem Hrab and Frank Viva

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 Weekend Dad, by Naseem Hrab and illustrated by Frank Viva, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes.

*****

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

Weekend Dad is a picture book about a little boy who visits his dad’s new apartment for the first time after his parents get divorced; the book isn’t just about a child’s experience of divorce, it is nearly entirely about a father’s love.

Describe your ideal reader:

It’s not j …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...