Canadian poet Shirley Camia presents a harrowing but exhilarating examination of life before adolescence. In a series of razor-sharp sketches, Camia's piercing observations are offered as a perfectly balanced counter-weight to the sing-song melody of innocence. Camia and Vancouver illustrator Cindy Mochizuki offer an individual reckoning that unpacks for the reader the universal truth that fear and danger respect no age and ignore all boundaries.
"If childhood was a room, Shirley Camia's Children Shouldn't Use Knives paces off the corners, fiddles with the light switch, and breaks the blinds. Camia writes 'the dawn has a skeleton rattle,' and we see all the moments of boredom and crisis, the lights and darks, all the joys and confusions of being young, of being alive." --Ariel Gordon, author, Stowaways, winner of the 2015 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry"Children Shouldn't Use Knives is like bittersweet chocolate, darkly evocative and tender-tough in its imaginings. Her scant, spare words interpretatively arrayed with Cindy Mochizuki's visual musings and prefaced with excerpts from well-known children's writers provide the reader with a truly rich reading experience." --Sally Ito, author, Alert to Glory"Shirley Camia hangs her poems on the coat hooks of famous writers. The ones who respected children enough to show them the shortcut through the dark woods. Each poem, slight and vulnerable as a seven-year- old, examines the courage it takes to grow up. Illustrated by Cindy Mochizuki with evocative sketches, this book will haunt you with your own half-remembered past." --Janet Trull, author, Hot Town and Other Stories"This is a work to be read slowly. One must absorb the words, the visuals, the sensations and sentiments - ones that touch our most tender selves. The book uses poetry to link childhood readings and intimacies with tales that reveal truths in the most poignant way." --Leanne Dunic, author, To Love the Coming End"Disturbing but delightful. Children Shouldn't Use Knives And Other Tales reads and looks like a nightmare version of a Shel Silverstein book." --Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg English professor, award-winning author and poet"Disturbing but delightful, Camia's sharp, stark poems unfold crumpled childhood memories and meditate on the beauty of their horror." --Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press"Camia peddles in subtle ambiances rather than ornate descriptions and so the slight poems tremble while casting long and enigmatic silhouettes--the collection is a shadow puppet show where small hand gestures become animated monsters. Mochizuki's complementary illustrations conspire to create a shadowy, dreamy atmosphere." --Adele Barclay, Room Magazine