Off the Page

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

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Coding Simplified: 7 Books to Help Your Students Learn to Code

Coding Simplified: 7 Books to Help Your Students Learn to Code

By Allison Hall

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to becom …

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Book Cover these ARe not the potatotes of my youth

2019 Poetry Splendour

By The 49thShelf Community

The books that shaped our community's literary year.

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Book Cover Falling for Myself

A Grateful, Pay-it-Forward Diverse Booklist

By Dorothy Ellen Palmer

Marking International Day of Disabled Persons (December 3) with a recommended reading list by one of CanLit's foremost d …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Sydney Smith

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Sydney Smith

By Trevor Corkum

Sydney Smith is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Book) for S …

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Book Cover Woman on the Edge

12 Books I Can't Get Out of My Mind

By Samantha Bailey

A list of fabulous fiction (and sneak preview of 2020's hottest books), by Samantha M. Bailey, whose debut novel, Woman …

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Book Cover the work

In for the Duration: Books About the Long Haul

By Maria Meindl

"What if I saw The Work as a historical novel? Maybe it’s not set far enough in the past to count as historical, but m …

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Five New Picture Books to Brighten Up Your Classroom

Five New Picture Books to Brighten Up Your Classroom

By Sarah Campbell

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to becom …

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Book Cover the Liszts

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

By Julie Booker

The learning skills part of the report card is divided into areas such as Self-Regulation, Organization, Initiative—ha …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Erin Bow

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Erin Bow

By Trevor Corkum

Erin Bow has won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature (Text) for Stand on the Sky (S …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

By Trevor Corkum

Renowned CBC radio host Amanda Parris is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Drama for Other Side of the …

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Giving a Canadian Book This Holiday Season? We can help.

Give-a-CDN-book image

The "Give a Canadian Book" meme began with an email and a blog post by writer Steve Pitt, and grew from there to make the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. And it's not hard to see why the idea has caught on-- the following argument is pretty persuasive:

"Have you noticed lately that most of the holiday gifts filling up Canadian store shelves are no longer made in Canada? Even gifts bearing the most recognizable Canadian symbols seem to come from some distant land. When Canadians buy foreign made gifts most of their money leaves the country taking jobs away from other Canadians.

One exception is Canadian books. Canadian books are written by Canadians for Canadians. Behind every Canadian writer is a Made in Canada team of editors, graphic designers, lay-out artists, publicists, printers, warehouse staff, delivery drivers and book sellers. Every year the Canadian book industry pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the Canadian economy which creates jobs and pays taxes.

Canadian books also offer unbelievable choice. From Romance to Home Renos, Humour to Who-dunnits, Canadian books are second to none anywhere in the world. No matter what the age, gender or personal interests are of all the people on your gift list, there is a perfect Canadian book for each of them."

And …

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Stranger in a Strange Land (by Laura Boudreau)

Laura Boudreau

The economy of a life reduced to a suitcase can be as romantic as it is alienating. Being on the move, as I have been for much of the last few years, changes you. It changes you because of the newness you encounter, certainly, and this can be tremendously rewarding. But all that newness also layers itself over the past, altering it. Or at least I have found that to be a sad and liberating truth of my own experience. All lands, even the ones I know best, are strange.

I am drawn to stories about travellers, and this list celebrates writers who explore the excitement, adventure, and anguish of life in parts unknown.

Book Cover Natasha

Natasha by David Bezmozgis: What a privilege to see my hometown of Toronto through the eyes of Mark Berman, a Jewish boy whose family moves to Canada from Riga, Latvia. When we first meet Mark he is six, and these early stories are my favourites of the collection — some of Mark’s first English words are “gaylord,” “shithead,” and “mental case,” and these “germs of a new vocabulary” are both cure and disease when it comes to t …

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In Conversation With: Playwright and Novelist Kate Cayley on the Jump from Stage to Page

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Kate Cayley, author of The Hangman in the Mirror (Annick Press).

This summer, I visited poet, playwright and novelist Kate Cayley in her home beside the train tracks where we recorded her reading from The Hangman in the Mirror. It was like sitting side-by-side on stage with an actor whispering to reach the back row. I had the same experience when I recorded Marina Endicott, in town for The International Festival of Authors, reading from her latest novel The Little Shadows. Both women have a performance background, so I went back to Kate to ask her about this distinction and how she went about adapting a stage play into what would become her first novel. We also talk about growing up unschooled and its impact on her artistic pursuits. (Please do listen to Kate read from her novel at the end of our interview.)

Julie Wilson: Your play After Akhmatova, opens with two women reciting lines of a poem to one another to commit it memory. Then they burn the poem. When we met this past summer, you had some interesting thoughts on poetry and performance. Am I correct that you desire more performance in poetry, rather than something understated?

Kate Cayley: This is an interesting question, especially when I think of "Requiem," the Anna Akhmatova poem which the two women recite to each other at the beginning of the play. In that instance, they …

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The God Edit: Guest Post by Barbara Stewart

Book Cover Campie

“Did you mean Two-Fingers Bob or Alligator Bob?” By (mostly) gentle consensus, nicknames are how anonymous 12-Step program members identify one Bob from another Bob, or Sailboat Mary from Big Boobs Mary, or Blue Judy from Tom’s Judy. You don’t get to pick your own handle. I once asked about mine and was disappointed to hear I was just “Barb.” How crushing. Nothing special set me apart from other Barbs? Only years later, well into my second decade of recovery did someone finally tell me. “We’ve always called you God-Barb.”

To my way of thinking, I had earned the moniker not because I was godly, but because I’d done so badly: a divorce followed by years of court dates and single parenting, followed by more years of bankruptcy, unemployment and depression. God became my go-to-guy, a heavenly Mike Holms with spiritual duct tape to fix the demolition job I’d done on my life. Finally in 2003, broke and homeless, I was hired to work as the camp attendant (nicknamed the “campie”) at an oilrig in northern Alberta. By then, the carpenter-saviour was embedded in my vocabulary and throughout my journal notes.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote, “Pain was the touchstone of all spiritual growth.” Perhaps the touchstone of all my g …

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2011 Culinary Book Award Winners, plus great links and recipes

The winners of the 2011 Canadian Culinary Book Awards were announced on November 7th at Toronto's Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Book Cover Locavore

Sarah Elton's Locavore: From Farmers' Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat took the Gold for Special Interest, English Language. Earlier this year, Locavore appeared on Margaret Webb's Canadian Bookshelf Food Books Reading List, where Webb called it, "Lively, compelling and warm-hearted journalism with a generous helping of rigorous research."

Book Cover Incredible Edibles

Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City by Sonia Day won the Silver Award. Check out Sonia Day's recent "The Real Dirt" column about growing (and taming) sorrel, and how to make it into soup.

Book Cover Flavours of Prince Edward Island

Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams and Austin Clement won Gold in Canadian Culinary Culture, English Language for Flavours of Prince Edward Island: A …

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