Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Me Toma and the Concrete Garden

Picture Books We Loved in 2019

By 49th Shelf Staff

Picture books...they're not just for kids. They make perfect books for readers of all ages.

                              …

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Book Cover Paintings for Sale

Books for the Holidays

By 49thShelf Staff

Some interesting books for the particular people on your holiday gift list!

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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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Picture Books We Loved in 2019

Picture books...they're not just for kids! They make perfect books for readers of all ages. Here are some of our favourite titles from this year.

*****

A Little House in a Big Place, by Alison Acheson and Valériane Leblond

About the book: Every day, in a little house in a little town in the middle of a big place, a girl stands at her window and waves to the engineer of the train that passes on the nearby tracks. The engineer waves back and his wave and her wave together make a home in her heart. The little girl is curious about the engineer, about where he came from and where he goes. Which makes her wonder if she might go away, too, some day. This beautiful free verse picture book explores the magic of a connection made between strangers, while also pondering the idea of growing up, and what might lie beyond a child's own small piece of the world.
Alison Acheson has created a deceptively simple, warm story that will stay with readers of all ages long after they've closed the book. Children everywhere will relate to the girl at her window—what child hasn't waved to the driver of a train, truck, or bus and hadn't been thrilled to have the wave returned? Valériane Leblond's illustrations echo the girl's feelings for the prairie, the “big place” where she lives, …

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Books for the Holidays

Some interesting books for the particular people on your holiday gift list!

*****

For Your Favourite Foodie

Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field, and Sea, by DL Acken and Emily Lycopolus

About the book: Homegrown, modern recipes that feature the most treasured local ingredients from Vancouver Island’s forests, fields, farms and sea.

Off the shore of Canada’s west coast lies a food lover’s island paradise. Vancouver Island’s temperate climate nurtures a bounty of wild foods, heritage grains, organic produce, sustainable meats and artisan-crafted edible delights. This thoughtfully curated, beautifully photographed cookbook brings Vancouver Island’s abundant food scene into the kitchens of home cooks everywhere.
While celebrating such treasures such as fresh blackberries, foraged chanterelles and fiddleheads, freshly harvested spot prawns or oysters, line-caught spring salmon, grass-fed beef, and cultivated foods like heritage red fife wheat, the book's recipes highlight the most sought-after ingredients on the island and honour the producers and artisans dedicated to sustainable and ethical producing and harvesting.

Try recipes like Craft Beer–Braised Island Beef Brisket, Nettle and Chèvre Ravioli, and Beetroot and Black Walnut Cak …

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

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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With December comes one of my favourite weeks of the fall, the Hour of Code. This year it takes place during December 9–15th and provides an excellent opportunity to introduce coding skills to your students. I usually run the Hour of Code for a two-week period, when students can participate in a variety of analog and digital coding activities. Depending on experience, they may start with the basics or try to code an animation, video game, website, or app. When I started running the Hour of Code a few years ago, my knowledge of coding was minimal. By sharing this fact with my classes and learning together with them, we created a community in which we could help and support one another as we worked through the process. Kids are always excited to try Hour of Code activities and many use their new skills throughout the year. If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of books to help introduce and/or reinforce coding concepts with your students.

A good place to begin the coding conversation is with an exploration of technology. When kids understand the purpose for coding, learning to code becomes a …

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2019 Poetry Splendour

Poetry advocate and community builder Vicki Ziegler recently put a call out on Twitter asking readers to share what poetry titles had helped make their literary year, and the response was so great that we wanted to share it. Let's celebrate the poetry splendour of 2019!

*****

Following Sea, by Lauren Carter

About the book: Spanning almost two hundred years, Following Sea finds anchor in the submerged regions of the heart. With great care, Lauren Carter wades into family histories and geography, all the while charting her own territories. Carried by the ebb and flow of language, Carter's second collection explores issues of infertility, identity, and settler migration, offering a tender examination of home. Urgent and intimate, Following Sea leads us along the shoreline of Carter's Manitoulin memories to show us what she has carried up from the depths.

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Dunk Tank, by Kayla Czaga

About the book: In the title poem of Kayla Czaga’s sophomore collection, a teenage speaker is suspended between knowledge and experience, confidently hovering there before the world …

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A Grateful, Pay-it-Forward Diverse Booklist

December 3 is International Day of Disabled Persons, and we're proud to be marking this day with a recommended reading list by one of CanLit's foremost disability activists, Dorothy Ellen Palmer, whose latest book is the memoir Falling For Myself. An underlying message of this powerful, fierce, and often funny book is the importance of solidarity, allyship, and community, which Palmer celebrates properly here in the collection of authors and books that she's assembled.

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One of the things that continually feeds me as a reader is the work of other authors I respect, those who continue to share, collaborate, and produce fabulous, thought-provoking diverse books, often will little thanks. With this list I want to thank and boost the books I loved recently published by those authors who kindly took time from their working days to write a blurb for my memoir, Falling for Myself. They reflect the best of the craft and community of CanLit.

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All Inclusive, by Farzana Doctor

About the book: A story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, …

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