Off the Page

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

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: On Reopening Schools Without Libraries

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: On Reopening Schools Without Libraries

By Jennifer Byrne

We’ve waited so long for some sense of a return to normalcy. Now, with schools on the cusp of reopening, they do so un …

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Book Cover Gaptoothed

Filling the Gaps, Minding the Gaps: the Unconventional (Mostly) Small Town Girls of CanLit

By Robin Durnford

An amazing recommended reading list by Robin Durnford, whose new poetry collection is Gaptoothed.

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Book Cover Kid Sterling

Kid Sterling: Books on Jazz and Justice

By Christine Welldon

Christine Welldon introduces her debut novel, Kid Sterling, and she marks its release with a list of inspiring books tha …

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book cover eat salt/gaze at the ocean

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Poetry Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, an intriguing selection of debuts, collected works, and excellent new releases.

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Shelf Talkers: Books for Summer 2020

Shelf Talkers: Books for Summer 2020

By Robert J Wiersema

Here are our booksellers’ picks for your endless summer days. And if you exhaust this list, remember, more recommendat …

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The Chat with Madhur Anand

The Chat with Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Our first conversation this month is with writer Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes St …

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Awesome August Giveaway

Awesome August Giveaway

By Kiley Turner

We hope you've had some wonderful summer escapes by now – we all deserve some magic this season! Today, we're highligh …

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Book Cover Blue Sky Kingdom

Let's Get Out of This Town: Literary Travel

By Kerry Clare

Journey through place and time with this collection of new and forthcoming travel books, spotlighting some of the best t …

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Book Cover Bird's Eye View

Ann Eriksson Launches BIRD'S EYE VIEW

By Kerry Care

"Anyone, young or old, who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their neighbourhood or on the other side of …

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The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

By Trevor Corkum

Writer John Elizabeth Stinzi has the distinction of publishing two fabulous debuts a week apart this past spring. On The …

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Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

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Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

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Written on March 28, 2020, by Peel District School Board Teacher-Librarian Allison Hall

It’s day fourteen of my family’s self isolation and I’m struggling to maintain a schedule and a little bit of normalcy. I have a never ending list of ‘I shoulds’—I should clean the house, I should paint the cupboards, I should update my library website with home activities for students—but I can’t find the motivation needed to complete any of these tasks.

I spent the week of March Break in a state of shock and panic. There were knots in my stomach and chest that wouldn’t loosen. I convinced myself that I was physically unwell. I woke up ea …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: An Achievable, Accessible #ActivityOfTheDay

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Welcome to the second post in our 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

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Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Byrne

The times we find ourselves in right now are uncertain and unprecedented. But what always sticks with me is this saying from Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

It is clear that for the disaster the world is experiencing right now, the frontli …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Equity & Access for All Students

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Welcome to the third post in the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Peel District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jonelle St. Aubyn

When the news came in that school would be closed for an additional two weeks after the March Break, I was a little stunned but not terribly concerned. Not because I wasn’t taking the outbreak of COVID–19 seriously, but because I had hope that it would be under control soon and that we would all be returning to work after this extended break. The next morning at school, I announced to my students that there would be no limit on the number of books that they could take out and that no fines would be accrued over the time that they were off. At my sc …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Three Middle Grade Novels to Nurture Student Connection

Welcome to the fourth post in the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Geoffrey Ruggero

If you’re looking for middle grade reads with strong, inspirational, female protagonists, then pick up any one of these absorbing novels by Michelle Kadarusman. She combines her intimate knowledge of places she has called home, with elements of art and nature, and the difficulties of growing up, to create stories that create a connection between reader and character.

Whether sneaking around a quiet library, dealing with the hustle and bustle of a big city market, or standing in the depths of a jungle, Kadarusman’s intense attention to detail makes the reader feel as though they are immersed in the setting. Students will be swept away to different parts of the world in each of her novels, and they will no doubt look to make deeper connections to the learning that comes with reading her books.

During a time when teachers are looking f …

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: How are Public Libraries & Librarians Responding to the Crisis?

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that looks at how educators and librarians are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Linda Ludke, librarian, London Public Library

It has now been over a month since my public library closed. I’ve tried several times to write this post, but my thoughts keep jumping all around as the ever-changing realities of this new world continue to sink in. My attention span is at a low, and I’m a jingly, jangly mass of misspent energy. I certainly haven’t learned a new language, taken up a long-neglected hobby, or baked bread; but I did take a shower today and can remember what day of the week it is, so I’m celebrating small victories.

One of the things I’m trying to grapple with is how much we are affected when we can no longer connect in person. Public libraries are all about community, accessibility, and engagement. Inside our walls we share not only books, but ideas, conversations, technology, resources, support, programs, information, and a public space that is freely welcome to all.

Ever since our …

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