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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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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Notes from a Children's Librarian: On Fairness and Justice

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

*****

What's fair? Race, bullying and difficult choices are all addressed in these picture books about fairness for children from Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Readers as young as kindergarten can feel the injustice in Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged! Jody Nyasha Warner's simple, powerful language and Richard Ruknicki's colourful pictures portray an ordinary woman doing a remarkable thing: fighting for what's right. In 1946, Viola's car broke down in Nova Scotia. While her car was getting fixed, she went to the movies, where she was asked to sit in the balcony with other black people. When Viola bravely refused, the manager called the police and she was taken to jail and fined for not paying the proper ticket price, even though she'd offered to do so in the theatre. There's a useful postscript which gives some background about Viola's life.

The concept of equity also comes up in the postscript of The Stone Thrower, by Jael Ealey Richardson, illustrated by Matt Ja …

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Valgardson’s Reading List

In Valhalla’s Shadows is a thrilling crime novel with an extraordinary cast of characters set on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. In it, W.D. Valgardson shapes a portrait of small-town living while masterfully weaving in threads of Icelandic mythology as well as discussions of contemporary issues such as systemic racism within the justice system and the lasting effects of PTSD on first responders.

In this recommended reading list, he shares other titles that explores these themes and ideas. 

*****

Ten Years in Winnipeg, 1870-79, by Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey

This journal written during the turbulent years of Winnipeg’s birth gives a raw chronology of the events that would determine the city’s future, presents characters determined to wrest fortunes from the land, and provides insights into the machinations that made some people fortunes. There is nothing polished about the narrative and that is what makes it valuable. It is available online.

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The Book Auction to Support Prisoners

The Book Auction to Support Prisoners launched online today and runs until Sunday October 4, with more than 70 autographed and special editions including novels, memoirs, graphic novels, poetry collections by some of Canada's best known and most exciting writers, including Esi Edugyen, Heather O'Neill, Tanya Tagaq, Waubgeshig Rice, and more.

Auction proceeds will benefit Book Clubs for Inmates, the COVID 19 Emergency Prisoner Support Fund run by the Toronto Prisoner’s Rights Project, and the Jail Accountability & Information Line (JAIL) run by the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project.

The project was organized by novelist Thea Lim.

“We have been bowled over by our donor authors’ generosity," says Lim. "This year has marked a sea change in how we perceive racism and our justice system, and we hope this event will further extend that concern to the lives of people who are incarcerated.”

Visit the website to get bidding!

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