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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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. 

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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."

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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! 

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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

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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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