Off the Page

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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In Conversation With: Cheryl Foggo on the Personal, Political and Creating Space for Characters of Colour in Children's Literature

Cheryl Foggo is the author of Dear Baobab, illustrated by Qin Leng (Second Story Press). Dear Baobab is about a young boy, Maiko, who moves to North America from his village in Tanzania. He begins to identify with—and converse with—a little spruce tree that grows too close to his house. Rather than destroyed, the tree is ultimately relocated to a forest with the care of Maiko and his new family. It's about displacement, adopted homes and familial support. This summer, Quill & Quire gave Dear Baobab its highly-coveted Starred Review.

I had a chance to correspond with Cheryl about her personal and political journey as a writer, and the absence of people of colour in children's lit.

Julie Wilson: I've been thinking a lot about conversations I've had of late with editors and authors about the over-saturated publishing marketplace. Are there too many books? What constitutes a "necessary" book? Is that a dangerous question to ask? I consider your latest book, Dear Baobab, necessary and essential, yet it clearly comes from a personal place. Do you consider yourself a political writer? For instance, when writing this book, were you consciously responding to an absence of stories about people of colour?

Cheryl Foggo: Although my impulse to write comes from a creative cor …

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Joanne Schwartz and Danny Christopher on The Legend of the Fog, their Inuit picture book with Qaunaq Mikkigak.

The Legend of the Fog (Inhabit Media).

About The Legend of the Fog, from Inhabit Media: In this traditional Inuit story, a simple walk on the tundra becomes a life-or-death journey for a young man. When he comes across a giant who wants to take him home and cook him for dinner, the young man's quick thinking saves him from being devoured by the giant and his family, and in the process, releases the first fog into the world. Written by Cape Dorset elder Qaunaq Mikkigak and Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award–nominated author Joanne Schwartz, this action-packed picture book brings a centuries-old traditional tale to life.

Writer Joanne Schwartz is a children's librarian at the Toronto Public Library and has a special interest in picture books. She is the author of Our Corner Grocery Store , illustrated by Laura Beingessner, and City Numbers and City Alphabet, with photos by Matt Beam. She lives with her two daughters in Toronto.

Julie Wilson: The Legend of the Fog is one of the most gorgeous, haunting books I've read in a long time. And it isn't the first time you've collaborated with another creator for a book. What draws you to these partnerships?

Joanne Schwartz: In my two previous books, City Alphabet and City Numbers, published by Groundwood Books, I collaborated with writer/photographer Matt Beam. I …

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Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook

Alice Eats

Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook is a collaboration between cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal and illustrator Pierre A. Lamielle. In their book, the duo re-imagines the familiar classic by Lewis Carroll by way of the food Alice encounters on her way through Wonderland. Pierre's illustrations and Julie's recipes are accompanied by the full text of the Alice story, guaranteeing that you've probably never seen another cookbook quite like this one.

(The recipes are great too—I can vouch for the Sunken Dark-Chocolate Cake, which I made last week and was totally delicious…) 

Pierre and Julie answered a few questions about their book, and were kind enough to share two recipes for your enjoyment. 

*****

49th Shelf: When I think of culinary Alices, I think of Alice Waters, and "Alice’s Restaurant." But here, you’ve gone and given the most literary of Alices her very own cookbook! Can you tell us about the role that food plays in the Alice in Wonderland story?

Pierre: When we think about food in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland we tend to immediately think of Eat Me cakes or the Drink Me drink. But there are food references throughout her adventure, from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party to the Queen's tarts. Alice runs into food throughout Wonderland; sometimes it helps h …

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