Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Krista Foss

The Chat with Krista Foss

By Trevor Corkum

With Half Life (McClelland & Stewart), Krista Foss has delivered a spectacular sophomore novel, one that entangles compl …

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Book Cover The Memory Collectors

8 Books for Fans of Fabulism

By Kim Neville

A recommended reading list by Kim Neville, whose debut novel is The Memory Collectors.

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Book Cover The Octopus Has Three Hearts

Exciting Fiction to Read This Spring

By Kerry Clare

New books by Camilla Gibb, Marissa Stapley, Wayne Grady, Uzma Jalaluddin, and more! Sme of the novels and short fiction …

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Book Cover Outside You Notice

New Picture Books for Spring

By Kerry Clare

A selection of gorgeous new picture books celebrating new life, hope, nature, and mindfulness.

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Book Cover Half Life

She Blinded Me With Science

By Krista Foss

When wonder and inquiry are subverted and held up to the light by these writers, the results are often uncomfortable, al …

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Book Cover Fairy Science

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Celebrating STEM

By Julie Booker

This list includes all kinds of STEM’ers—science enthusiasts, builders, inventors, real life engineers—in both fic …

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Book Cover The Hill

Pairs Well: Ali Bryan's Awesome YA Reading List

By Ali Bryan

Celebrated novelist Bryan shares great titles to complement her latest book.

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Book Cover Glorious Birds

Why Is Harold and Maude Considered a Cult Film?

By Heidi Greco

The critic Roger Ebert dismissed it with a measly one and a half stars. Variety claimed that “It has all the fun and g …

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Book Cover New Girl in Little Cove

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Reader

By Damhnait Monaghan

An expat reading list by the author of new book New Girl in Little Cove

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The Chat with Carol Bruneau

The Chat with Carol Bruneau

By Trevor Corkum

For anyone who adores the work of famed painter Maud Lewis and has wondered about her life, Carol Bruneau’s new novel …

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Five Perfect Picture Books for Spring

Here comes the sun, along with an excellent crop of new picture books to read in the warmth of its rays. 

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Book Cover Mr King's Machine

 

Mr. King's Machine, by Geneviève Côté

About the book: When Mr. King the cat discovers that one of the pretty flowers near his home has been chewed by a caterpillar, he is NOT happy. He decides to build himself a Caterpillar-Catcher to track down the culprit who did it. “VOOM! VOOM! VOOM!” But as he speeds up and down the hillsides, Mr. King doesn't notice that the Caterpillar-Catcher is spewing nasty smoke into the air and knocking down the other pretty flowers in his path. Now it's his animal friends who are NOT happy. They explain to Mr. King that his machine is making things worse, not better. And why chase a caterpillar anyway? Caterpillars turn into butterflies, and butterflies help the flowers to grow! Will Mr. King be able to turn things around so everyone will be happy again?

Why it's a perfect book for spring: This is the third book in Côte's Mr. King series, each one with an environmental slant. And this one celebrates butterflies, pollinators, and growing gardens by planting seeds—you don't get more seasonal than that. 

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Spring Books

Book Cover Roslyn Rutabaga

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

*****

Dirt, butterflies, flora, and native stories make this spring book list.

In Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on the Earth, by Marie-Louise Gay, Roslyn wants to dig a hole to the South Pole to meet a penguin or two. Instead she encounters a worm, a mole, and a dog, upset with her for digging up his bone-cupboard. (Roslyn thinks she's found a triceratops' toe-bone.) All the creatures Roslyn meets try to dissuade her from her quest, except her father who joins her with a picnic lunch. Gay's humour and understanding of young readers is perfectly rendered through dialogue and playful illustrations. Age 3+

Bye, Bye, Butterflies!, by Andrew Larsen, has just the right amount of text for the age 4+ crowd. Besides being a story about how to hatch monarchs, it's about a father and son being quiet enough to witness a special moment. Endearing big-eyed characters are illustrated by Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli with a splendid full-circle ending by Larsen. Includ …

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Big Fiction

Fall book season is exciting with its televised ceremonies and fancy galas, but spring is just as interesting, with regional and specialized prizes highlighting fantastic authors and books from across the country. As you make your summer reading plans, make sure to add some of these great books to the mix.

*****

Season of Fury and Wonder, by Sharon Butala

Nominated for the 2020 Alberta Literary Awards

About the book: “There are things that it is impossible to learn when you are young, no matter how much you read and study.” The season of fury and wonder, in Sharon Butala’s world, is the old age of women. These stories present the lives of old women—women of experience, who’ve seen much of life, who’ve tasted of its sweetness and its bitter possibilities, and have developed opinions and come to conclusions about what it all amounts to. These are stories of today’s old women, who understand that they have been created by their pasts.

But there’s another layer to this standard-setting example of “cronelit.” Not content to rest on her considerable literary laurels, Sharon Butala continues to push the boundaries of her art. The stories in Season of Fury and Wonder are all reactions to other, classic, works of literature that she has encountered and adm …

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New Picture Books for Spring

A selection of gorgeous new picture books celebrating new life, hope, nature, and mindfulness.

*****

Outside, You Notice, by Erin Alladin, illustrated by Andrea Blinick

About the book: A lyrical nonfiction celebration of the outdoors pairing childlike observation with facts about the natural world

Outside,
 you notice things.

Time spent in the outdoors stirs a child’s imagination. Nature sparks wonder, wonder leads to curiosity, and curiosity brings about a greater knowledge of the world and one’s self. In Outside, You Notice, a meditative thread of child-like observations (How after the rain / Everything smells greener) is paired with facts about the habits and habitats of animals, insects, birds, and plants (A tree’s roots reach as wide as its branches).

Author Erin Alladin invites young scientists and daydreamers to look closely and think deeply in this lyrical nonfiction text, celebrating all the kinds of “outside” that are available to children, from backyards to city parks to cracks in the sidewalk. Illustrator Andrea Blinick portrays these spaces bursting with small wonders with a child’s-eye view, her naïve and nostalgic style capturing the joy of endless discovery.

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12 Books You're Going to Love This Spring

It's April, and the spring books are bursting forth like flowers. Here's a nice stack of particularly excellent blooms.

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Book Cover Bad Things Happen

Bad Things Happen, by Kris Bertin

About the book: The characters in Bad Things Happen—professors, janitors, webcam models, small-time criminals—are between things. Between jobs and marriages, states of sobriety, joy and anguish; between who they are and who they want to be. Kris Bertin's unforgettable debut introduces us to people at the tenuous moment before everything in their lives change, for better or worse.

Why you're going to love it: Bertin's award-winning stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines across the country, and this debut collection has received a starred review in Quill & Quire. Short story fans will appreciate the diverse parts of this collection, how Bertin takes a variety of approaches and somehow they work. 

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Mister Nightingale, by Paul Bowdring

About the book: When self-described mid-list Newfoundland author James Nightingale makes a brief sojourn to his St. John’s home for the re-releas …

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