Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Legacy of Trees

Launchpad: Legacy of Trees, by Nina Shoroplova

By Kerry Clare

"A fascinating answer to why we should care about trees in the first place." —Wayne Grady

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Eric Walters' New Book Explores the "Now Normal"

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Eric Walters' New Book Explores the "Now Normal"

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Written, published and released during a pandemic: Eric Walters defies traditional publishing norms to create a book for …

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Book Cover The Abortion Caravan

The Abortion Caravan: A Ragtag Army of the Willing

By Karin Wells

The Abortion Caravan, intent on bearding prime minister Pierre Trudeau in his den and removing abortion from the Crimina …

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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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Richard Scarsbrook: The Authors That Made Me Want to Write

Book Cover Rockets Versus Gravity

Richard Scarsbrook's latest novel is Rockets Versus Gravity. He tells us about the books he read in school who taught him how to write. 

*****

Students and interviewers often ask me to list the books that have influenced me the most as an author, and this is always one of the most difficult questions for me to answer, because everything I’ve read has affected me in one way or another, and if I try to list all of the writers whose work I currently admire, I’ll inevitably forget someone and feel badly about it later.

So, instead, I’ll name some books that I was required to read during my formative years, books that also made me want to write (although I suspect that I am still in my formative years; I’m still learning, anyway).

**

Book Cover Alligator Pie

When I was in elementary school, I became obsessed with creating my own illustrated rhyming poems and stories, and one of the books responsible for this was Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie (“If I don’t get some, I think I’m gonna die!”). Although I don’t illustrate them anymore, and they rarely rhyme now, I still lo …

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Back to School: New Books on Learning and Education

New books about the past, present, and future of education. 

*****

UBC: The Next Century, by Tyee Bridge

About the book: The University of British Columbia has become one of the world's leading institutions of higher learning and research. This beautifully produced book is a lively celebration of the university as it continues its pursuit of excellence and achievement in a rapidly changing world.

As the University of British Columbia enters its second century of existence, UBC: The Next Century celebrates the many accomplishments of this vibrant institution. Among the top universities in Canada and the world, UBC is known for its diverse student body, its groundbreaking research and its intimate ties to its surrounding community. Notable alumni include Canadian prime ministers and Supreme Court justices, Nobel laureates, Rhodes scholars, Olympians, and leaders in every field, from business to music to journalism to law.

Accompanied by a rich array of photographs, short articles by Tyee Bridge capture the people, places, and pursuits that animate UBC, from the athletic feats of the UBC Thunderbirds to research in quantum matter to campus traditions like Day of the LongBoat and Storm the Wall. UBC: The Next Century will inspire pride in past, present, and future members …

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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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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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Shining Light on School Libraries With a $500 Holiday Contest

iStock_31319506_SMALL-1

Every year at 49thShelf.com we run a holiday contest that ends up with one lucky member winning a lot of books. This year is no different and our holiday contest is on until December 12th, so don’t miss your chance to win big!

This year we are using our contest to shed light on an important issue that is very close to our hearts (and we guess many of yours as well): school libraries.

Year after year, studies tell us that teachers and teacher-librarians spend hundreds of their own dollars to buy books and learning materials to help stock their classrooms and libraries’ shelves. Without teachers’ own contributions and school fundraising events, school libraries can turn into barren rooms that aren’t fun for children, diminishing the likelihood that these children will grow up with a love of—or even a capacity for—reading. This is especially true in low-income areas.

The Ontario Library Association confirms that, “Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

“Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

To support teacher-librarians an …

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