Reading Canadian

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Yes, Canada Day is over and I wanted to share some of my favourite Canadian books for readers of all ages. At the end, I also included a few Canadian books on my to be read shelf.

Canada ABC by Paul Covello

The teacher I worked with this year made this book available to the pre-kindergarten students and I was surprised by in their interest in this book. Many of the kids liked finding the Canadian flag. One time a child was building with animal blocks and I said that her tower reminded me of a totem pole. The child wasn’t sure what I referencing until I pulled out the book. After I heard the child telling her friends that she had made a totem pole. This is a nice book for early readers as it is a board book with bright detailed illustrations. You’ll be asked to read it many times.

Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch

I like reading this book to kids when the spring puddles are in abundance. Have you’ve ever noticed the magnetic attraction between kids and puddles?

Check out this man versus nature book when little Jule Ann goes against the massive mud puddle that enjoys jumping on her head.

This is good silly reading.

Cloning Miranda by Carol Matas

This is a good introductory book for young readers to the Sci-Fi genre. I read this book numerous times in late elementary and Jr. High. It would make for a great debate topic for young people.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This book is a beautiful collection of poetic thoughts. Kaur knows how to take sadness, hurt and anger and spin it into healing and love. Many times, I needed to stop and reread the text. These are words that should be framed.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This book was on my bookshelf for years before I cracked it open. My mom read it, my grandma even read it before me! It has to be one of my favourite books. The narrative is so compelling and emotive. I loved the real depiction of the Canadian experience of escaped slaves explored by Hill. It is not an easy read and yet an essential read.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

You cannot trust the protagonist in this novel, which makes for a compelling and intense read. It is based on an actual murder story that happened in Canada. There is also a movie recently made about this book.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Last year I was very interested in Atwood’s writing so I read three of her novels (Alias Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Heart Goes Last). The last one was my least favourite.

I know there is a mini series about this book right now, so the hype around this novel is high. Nevertheless, this is a scary good read. It is hard to place this book… thriller, historical, dystopian, future predictor. All in all, I would recommend this book.

TBR Canadian Books

Spork by Kyo Maclear

The author uses her own personal experiences being of mixed heritage to produce this picture book. It is the story of a spork who is trying to manage his identity within the kitchen.

The Rule of Three: The Neighbourhood (Book 1) by Eric Walters

I remember my elementary librarian recommending books by Walters. Many of my classmates read his books. He has written many books. I have never read one of his books (I was close once…).

This trilogy sounds intriguing. One day all things electrical and cybernetic stop working and chaos ensues in the main character’s town. Will the problem spread to the rest of the region and the country? Dun dun dun!

A Girl Called Echo (Pemmincan Wars Series) by Katherena Vermette

This is a time travel graphic novel. I’m interested in this book as my local library has a book reading challenge which listed reading a book by an Indigenous author.

Echo is in class one day when she is transported to a bison hunt in Saskatchewan. I like historical fiction time travel stories (e.g. Outlander the miniseries and Octavia Butler’s Kindred), so I look forward to reading this book.

Come From Away by Genevieve Graham

Firstly, this is not the book of the musical of the same title.

Secondly, Come From Away is my hotly anticipated BIG summer read. I don’t know much about this book. I know that it is set during WWII and centers around a young woman works in the family store when her brothers go to war. There were high ratings on goodreads about this book, so I hope it will be a worthwhile read.

Happy reading everyone!

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Reading Check-in

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Hey there,

The weatherman here has made a forecast of a big snowstorm to hit the city (I’m still waiting for this tempest).

In preparation of more snow, I gathered these lovely flowers to brighten the blog.

Anyways, we are into March and the books I’ve read thus far have been a little disappointing. Sometimes I wonder if it because my tastes have changed and the content of the books don’t match where I am in life (that’s sounded deeper than I meant to).

With that being said here are a couple books you could try out:

  1. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

This is Kaur’s second book of poetry. I really enjoyed her first book Milk and Honey, so I was excited to read this book. Kaur uses the life cycle of flowers (wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming) to discuss a variety of topics including love, migration, femininity, abuse, and family. This book disappointed me slightly as I had a harder time connecting because I felt the author was dumping too much on the reader.  The last two chapters of the book were special and stunning. She had some beautiful lines and creates thoughtful images with her words. This book is accompanied with illustrations.

2. Losing Cadence by Laura Lovett

This novel to brought to us by an author from Calgary, Alberta. I somewhat hesitate to recommend this novel because I thought the action was so incredible and inconceivable, that it bothered me as a reader.

However,  due to it’s grandiosity I was intrigued as to how the story would resolve (basically I stayed up late telling myself, one more page – until I finished the book) and I’ve made it a conversation topic with others (meaning my mom).

In the novel we meet Cadence, an accomplish flutist, who is abducted by a man she dated in high school ten years ago.  The story is told through flashbacks and present action. Essentially, it is a story of an unstable man forcing his love on a woman and how she tries to escape from him. I’ll stop there as I might divulge major plot twists. There is a second book that continues the story (Finding Sophie) and I have decided that I will read this book.

Well, the snow still hasn’t come. In any case – HAPPY READING!

 

 

My Favourite Books of 2017

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I’ve really enjoyed the majority of the books I’ve read this year. Here are six of the best in my opinion.

  1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, writes about his life growing up in South Africa and his identity. I don’t actually read many non-fiction/ memoirs, but I absolutely enjoyed reading Noah’s life story. It was hilarious, reflective, informative, and provoking. One of my best reads in a long time.

2. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This book was mentioned everywhere I went (e.g. at work, on my Goodreads account, in a sermon at church). I figured that I should read it and a friend actually gifted me the book. I would recommend this book as it is helpful in understanding yourself and others.

3. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Yoon is my new favourite author and this was the first book I read by her. I loved her writing style and her decision to create diverse main characters. I may have to re-read this one in 2018.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I bought this book as the wait list in the library was too long (also the price was good). The main reason I picked up this book was due to the trailers for the television series as it looked intriguing to me. I did manage to read the book before watching the show. In the reading of the novel I was more than intrigued by the world Atwood had developed.  I was disturbed, perplexed, and pensive. Mostly, I was left with the thought – could this really happen to women? And when I thought about how Atwood created this story, you realize that she pulled ideas from the trials and atrocities humans have encountered throughout the history of the world. While we try to not repeat the mistakes of the past, some things don’t change. That is truly scary.

5. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This is a debut novel for the author who writes her memoir in a graphic novel format. Bui reflects on her past (e.g. living in Vietnam, immigrating  from Vietnam in the 1970s, and her relationshio with her parents) while managing her emotions in being a new mother. I felt the author was open and honest about her story. The illustrations were also a moving method of depicting her life. I hope to read something else by Bui in the future.

6. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

This is another ‘first’ for me in terms of reading anything by this author. Long Way Down is a novel in verse about a young man confronting the issue of revenge when his brother is shot dead. While I am not a fan of the supernatural element of the novel (I guess it could fall with the ghosts of Christmas past of A Christmas Carol), Reynolds produces a work of impact. Essentially, he writes a novel that takes place within 60 seconds. Crazy. Cool. Creative.

So those were my top reads for 2017. I look forward to 2018 and as always HAPPY READING!

 

 

Books I’ve checked off the Reading Lists

20170701_210816Hello there!

It has been too long since I made a post. Here is my way of apologizing by giving you a quick update of some books that I have read and enjoyed. To refresh your memories I am trying to complete at least two reading challenge lists (1 – Smiths On the Coast‘s Walking Reading Challenge: Young Adult/Adult Edition, 2- Modern Ms. Darcy‘s 2017 Reading Challenge: Reading for Fun).

From the Smiths On the Coast Reading Challenge

Read a book with a kid: Mortimer by Robert Munsch

I had to read this book numerous times with the kids in the classroom. It was a fun read when they were able to recite the predictable moments in the story. Be aware that storytelling can get loud when reading this book.

A nonfiction book: Just Paint it! by Sam Piyasena

I really like this book. It is full of art techniques and information about artists who used/ developed the techniques. This book inspired me to go buy new paint supplies and try my hand at watercolour painting.

From Modern Ms. Darcy Reading Challenge

A book on the backlist of a new author: The Best We Could Do  by Thi Bui

This is an intense and emotional read. The author presents her family’s history of living and fleeing war – torn Vietnam through a graphic novel. Fantastic debut!

A juicy memoir: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

I was super excited to read this book. I absolutely enjoyed reading Noah’s life story of growing up in apartheid South Africa. It was hilarious, reflective, informative, and provoking. One of my best reads in a long time. I would recommend others read it for sure.

A book recommended by someone with great taste: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This book was constantly being brought up every where I went (e.g. during the pastor’s sermon at church, during a work meeting, while I was watching t.v.). I told myself I needed to read this book. Eventually, I asked my god sister if she owned a copy of the book and if I could borrow it. She gifted me with it as she found it such a beneficial read (thanks again!!). After reading the book, I have a better understanding of how I receive love and I have a clearer understanding of love languages of others in my life.

That’s all I’m sharing for now.  HAPPY READING!

My Reading Challenge 2017

img_4393Last year was the first time I attempted a reading challenge and unfortunately I was not able to complete it. So, after reading a few blogs on the topic of about tackling reading challenges (mainly modernmrsdarcy.com who is an awesome blogger) I discovered that my problem was that I did not commit to a plan. To resolve this, I did research about the books I want to read and wrote them down ahead of time. So, this year my goal is to complete 3 reading list goals.

Here is the first of my reading challenges I am going to accomplish (yes, accomplish…I’m going in with that much confidence) in 2017:

This is the READING FOR FUN challenge by Anne (the blogger on modernmrsdarcy.com)

  1. A book you chose for the cover : Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
  2. A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  3. A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
  4. A book you’ve already read: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
  5. A juicy memoir: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  6. A book about books or reading: –
  7. A book in a genre you usually avoid: The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
  8. A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read: –
  9. A book in the backlist of a new favourite author: The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
  10. A book recommended by someone with great taste: A Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
  11. A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet: Winter by Marissa Meyer
  12. A book about a topic or subject you already love: Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

Happy reading to all of you!

When Fiction Meets Real Life

small-great-things-hc-400wIn the early part of December I picked up a book entitled Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I have read a number of books by Picoult and I admire her writing, yet the plot line of this book caught my attention.

The story is about Ruth, an African American nurse who happens to be in care of a white supremacist couple’s newborn baby. The couple insist to the hospital management that they do not want any African American medical personnel to touch/care for their baby. The next day, Ruth finds herself alone with the baby when he goes into cardiac arrest. At first, Ruth does nothing as she is in a quandary; does she obey the instructions of family and hospital or does she touch the baby to save him?

She is snapped into action when she is told to begin CPR. In the end, the baby dies and the in true Picoult fashion we enter a court room to fully analyze and explore this story.

For some people, it is hard for them to accept white authors writing about racial issues from another ethnicity’s point of view, but Picoult manages to be respectful, true, and thoughtful. I think this book succeeds with the alternating POVs of the different characters; it helped to underline Picoult’s authenticity as an individual to tell this story. Picoult will never truly know what it means to be a black woman, yet the character of Kennedy (Ruth’s lawyer who is white and female) allowed her to be able to ask questions and explore the topic of racial injustice.

There is a scene in the novel between Ruth’s teenage son, Edison and Kennedy’s preschool daughter which impacted me:

“Edison?” Violet asks. “Is that a chain?”

… “Yeah, I guess so.”

“So that means you’re a slave.” She states matter-of-factly.

This exchange made me pause because only days before reading this passage a four year old I work with said to me these words:

“Why are you black? You need to change your skin so you can be white. That would be better.”

I wasn’t offended by this child’s words, after all he is only four. I was saddened and sighed because I knew this notion was learned, I knew that he was seeing skin colour in an order of hierarchy.

Ruth in the book had to give Violet a simple and clear explanation as to why black people in the past wore chains and how ownership led to slavery. I gave my student a simple explanation as to why my skin was darker than his.

“Some people have black skin, brown skin, or white skin. Everyone is different and that is okay, no one has to change.”

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From the book I got that it is the small exchanges and the small acts that make a difference in people’s lives. It might not happen in that moment or even in a year’s time. The point is you made an effort, you planted a seed. All seeds need time to grow.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Uppercase YA Greeting Card Exchange

Hey there,

This post isn’t about books, but rather about a bookish opportunity I am taking part in. The book box company Uppercase offered to host a greeting card exchange for those who like YA novels. #YACardSwap 

I thought this might be a fun thing to do as I really like making cards, sending cards and receiving cards. I’m excited to see what my exchange partner will send in the next few days and for her book recommendations for me.

Check out the letter I’m sending. Bon voyage!

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P.S.  -> An update on my reading challenge is coming soon.

Happy reading!