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

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Book Cover Big Reader

A Taster: Spring 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

Life stories, family, baseball, and retreat. These highlight the nonfiction we're most looking forward to this spring. 

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ICYMI: Don't Miss These Beauties

ICYMI: Don't Miss These Beauties

By Kiley Turner

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on our attention spans, making it possible to miss really great fiction. These books caug …

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Book Cover Small Courage

Small Courage: Parenting Memoirs

By Jane Byers

A recommended reading list by Jane Byers, whose new queer parenting memoir is out now.

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The Chat with Kimiko Tobimatsu

The Chat with Kimiko Tobimatsu

By Trevor Corkum

Author Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrator Keet Geniza have teamed up to create Kimiko Does Cancer, a timely graphic memoir …

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Book Cover Best Canadian Poetry 2020

A Record of Literary History: Best Canadian Poetry 2020

By Marilyn Dumont

An excerpt from Marilyn Dumont's introduction to BEST CANADIAN POETRY 2020.

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Book Cover Book of Donair

The Donair: Canada's Official Food?

By Lindsay Wickstrom

Excerpt from BOOK OF DONAIR explores how a bitter rivalry between Halifax and Edmonton helped propel the donair to be de …

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Book Cover My Ocean is Blue

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Questions, Questions

By Julie Booker

Great picture books that engage with questions and encourage readers to think about answers.

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Book Cover Gutter Child

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Spring Fiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Exciting debuts, and new releases by Christy Ann Conlin, Pasha Malla, Eva Stachniak, Jael Richardson, and more.

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Book Cover Better Luck Next Time

Patriarchy Lies: Women Are Funny

By Kate Hilton

A funny woman reading list by the author of new novel Better Luck Next Time.

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 The Chat with Eve Lazarus

The Chat with Eve Lazarus

By Trevor Corkum

Eve Lazarus has drawn back the curtain on some of Vancouver’s secret places. Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City …

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Back to School Books from Preschool to University

Whether you're a preschooler, an elementary school student, heading off to a school for the arts, feeling exam pressure already, ready to tackle college or university or the world beyond it, and especially if you're a teacher, we've got a back to school title for you. 

*****

A+ for Big Ben, by Sara Ellis and Kim LaFave

About the book: His sister is a big kid in grade five. His brother is a big kid in grade three. Ben is a little kid in preschool. He can’t swim; he can’t use chopsticks; he can’t even see out of the car window. If only he could bring home a real report card like the older kids do, then Ben would be happy. But there are no report cards in preschool. Sometimes older siblings remember what it was like to be little, however, and Ben’s brother and sister are about to present Ben with his very own report card, grading him on all the activities that little brothers do best.

Award-winning author and illustrator Sarah Ellis and Kim La Fave team up to produce a book that is a triumph for little siblings everywhere. The engaging text, lively illustrations, and board book format are perfect for eager readers with little hands, big hearts, and bigger dreams.

Why it's worth tucking into your backpack: You don't have to go to school to know it's back to school …

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Back to School Reads

Book CoverT Move It, Miss Macintosh

New books on back-to-school, schooling, academia, and/or books featuring school busses on their covers. Welcome to a new school year! 

*****

Move It, Miss Macintosh, by Peggy Robbins Janousky and Meghan Lands

About the book: Kids aren't the only ones who get nervous on the first day of school!

It's the first day of school and Miss Macintosh is certain about one thing: she isn't going! As she snuggles back under the covers, the doorbell rings. In comes Mr. Bellweather, the school principal who assures her that all kindergarten teachers have first day jitters.

Soon, other teachers arrive to help get her out the door. Mrs. Burger, the lunch lady, makes sure she has a good breakfast; Mrs. Sketcher, the art teacher, helps her pick out clothes. Still, Miss Macintosh is anxious. What if she can't find her class? What if no one likes her?

When she finally stands at the front of her class, she can tell that the children are nervous too. That's when she comes up with an idea to put everyone at ease—including herself.

A perfect read-aloud to children who may be anxious about school, this book will get them laughing and reassure them as they get ready for the big day.

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Launchpad: Grandmother School, by Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney

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 Grandmother School, by Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney, which comes highly recommended from CM: Canadian Review of Materials. Their reviewer writes, "How great a treat it will be to read this book in a grandmother’s lap."

*****

Book Cover Grandmother School

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

Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney: It's a story about grandmothers in a village in India who go to school for the first time in their lives.

Describe your ideal reader.

Rina Singh: A six or a seven year old who will …

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Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Self-Regulation, Organization, Initiative

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

*****

The learning skills part of the report card is divided into areas such as Self-Regulation, Organization, Initiative—habits that affect all areas of academic achievement. It’s sometimes difficult to find fun ways of explicitly teaching these skills. Here are some great picture books to help.

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Self-Regulation

The inverse idea of kids teaching their parents how to follow the rules is realized in The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten, by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Mike Lowery. A little girl’s mom spends the day butting in line, calling out of turn, slamming her scissors in frustration, and traipsing across the classroom in her outdoor shoes. When given a chance to change her behaviour, the mom rises to the challenge.

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Similarly, a boy’s father must learn to pay attention and show good sportsmanship in The Day Dad Joined My Soccer Team, also by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Mike Lowery.

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