Off the Page

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

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Books to Inspire Storytelling (With Tech Tools to Capture the Tales)

Books to Inspire Storytelling (With Tech Tools to Capture the Tales)

By Allison Hall

At the beginning of each summer, as school is winding its way to the end, I inevitably pull out my books of ghost storie …

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Book Cover The Chai Factor

Reading Resilient Women

By Farah Heron

Stories of strong, resilient women finding ways to thrive.

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The Chat with Anthony De Sa

The Chat with Anthony De Sa

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our summer edition of The Chat in conversation with Toronto writer Anthony De Sa. His new novel, Children of …

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Book Cover The Work

Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

The novels, story collections, and drama that readers will be loving in the second half of 2019. 

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Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

By Rob Wiersema

In a lot of ways, reading is the perfect summer reading project: you get to accomplish something AND you don’t have to …

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Book Cover Seaside Treasures

Books Beat Boredom: 8 Things for Your Kids to Do this Summer

By Kerry Clare

Engaging titles that also suggest amazing ways to engage with and have fun in the natural world. 

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Book Cover Simon and Louise

Super Summer Reading Guide

By Kerry Clare

20 titles that are sure to delight you. 

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Logo Read By the Sea Festival

Your 2019 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

By Kerry Clare

Good things are happening across the country! 

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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

By Geoffrey Ruggero

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many …

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Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

tagged : shelf talkers

Some of us – many of us – have a conflicted relationship with summer.

On the one hand, we anticipate the season as one of leisure, with extra daylight to spend on patios or beaches, the heat preventing us from doing anything too onerous. A time to savour the slow passage of the day, the lingering of the evening.

And yet, when summer arrives, we are suddenly taken up with the idea of projects. Extra daylight means more time to get things done. Too hot? You’ll be so happy when it’s done, whatever “it” is. Building a new deck? That’s a perfect project for summer. Growing vegetables? Sure, summer. Getting your life in order? Well, we’ll start it this summer.

And readers are no different. Summer is the season of “beach reads” and of ambitious summer reading projects. The latter is a hold-over, I think, from those glorious summers of our childhoods, when the library ran their summer reading programs. (Did anyone else get a tingle reading those words? I bet you did.) One summer, I swam the Great Lakes. Another, I walked across the Sahara. All without leaving my room or the shade of my grandmother’s apple tree, my preferred spot for reading.

In a lot of ways, reading is the perfect summer reading project: you get to accomplish something AND you don’t have to break a sweat in doing it! You can savour the leisure of summer AND feel the faint edge of righteousness that comes with a job well done!

This time around, the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers colum …

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Books Beat Boredom: 8 Things for Your Kids to Do this Summer

Beat boredom with these engaging titles that suggest amazing ways to engage with and have fun in the natural world. 

*****

1) Plant an avocado tree!

Sprout, Seed, Sprout!, by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff

About the book: One day, when a boy sees his dad cut an avocado in half, he decides to plant the fruit’s seed and grow it into…an avocado tree! One glass of water, two careful hands, and three pointy toothpicks later, it’s time to wait…and wait…and wait…for it to grow.

At long last, the boy and his faithful pet cat see one root, two roots, three roots emerge! Three scoops of soil, three sprinkles of water, and a lot more waiting…lead to one sturdy stem, two clapping hands, and three grateful cheers. The avocado tree starts to appear! One, two, and three years later, the tree grows taller still.

This charming story is told with lots of rhythm and repetition, paired with playful illustrations full of funny details about the trials of coaxing a seed into a plant. Readers will come away with a sense that the struggle to be patient and stick it out can be worthwhile, even when a result seems impossible.

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2) Go hunting for sea glass/beach glass treasures!  

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Super Summer Reading Guide

tagged :

Summertime is made for reading, and we're so excited to share these 20 titles which are sure to delight you. 

*****

Bunny, by Mona Awad

About the book: Samantha Heather Mackey couldn't be more different from the other members of her master's program at New England's elite Warren University. A self-conscious scholarship student who prefers the company of her imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort—a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other "Bunny," and are often found entangled in a group hug so tight it seems their bodies might become permanently fused.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies' exclusive monthly "Smut Salon," and finds herself drawn as if by magic to their front door—ditching her only friend, Ava, an audacious art school dropout, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into Bunny world, and starts to take part in the off-campus "Workshop" where they devise their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur, and her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies are brought into deadly collision.

Why we're taking notice: Because everyone's talking about this one! Awad (whose 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl was a finalist for …

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Your 2019 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

It has finally arrived, and you KNOW what we're talking about. SUMMER! Six perfect letters when laid out like that.

It's time to lay blankets on the grass or to haul out camp chairs and to sit under tents to listen to readings and panels and celebrations of books. It's Literary Festival Season, and good things are happening across the country. 

Read on to discover what literary festivals are happening near you.

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The Wordplay Festival is back July 3 in River John, NS, at Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery, featuring Jessica Scott Kerrin, Arthur Slade, singer-songwriter Anna Plaskett. It's all hosted by amazing emcee Sheree Fitch. 

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Festival fun continues on July 6 in River John, NS: Read By the Sea 2019 includes authors Elizabeth Hay, Kevin Major, Mayann Francis, Allan Cooper, and Colin Campbell. 

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The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival line …

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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Reviewing Sadia

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many challenges. Balancing school work, extra-curriculars, and relationships, all while trying to discover yourself is a daunting task. Sadia faces pressure from her family, peers, and herself, while trying to figure out where she fits in.

When the new school year begins, Sadia’s best friend has started de-jabbing. This poses a real dilemma for Sadia as she has difficulty understanding why her friend would all of a sudden start lying to her parents.

This novel can serve as inspiration for many of our students. Living in a multicultural society means accepting everyone for who they are. Traditional rules need to be adjusted, and Sadia’s story serves as a prime example. She loves to play basketball and is a vital member of her school team. At an annual tournament, some of the opposing teams take issue with a piece of Sadia’s clothing — her hijab. Just when she thinks there is no hope, Sadia receives inspiration from an unlikely source.

Curriculum Connections

During the story …

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