Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Andrea Miller

The Chat with Andrea Miller

By Trevor Corkum

This week, we’re in conversation with Andrea Miller, author of the collection Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, an …

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Yuck a Love Story

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Descriptive Language

By Julie Booker

Beautiful books that exemplify descriptive language for Grades 1–6.

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Book Cover All That Belongs

On Our Radar

By Kerry Clare

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry and YA: books with buzz worth sharing.

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Four Fast-Paced, Captivating Middle Grade Books Any Student Will Love

Four Fast-Paced, Captivating Middle Grade Books Any Student Will Love

By Geoffrey Ruggero

If you’re looking for a great story, where the main characters are relatable, look no further than the Orca Currents c …

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Book Cover The Subtweet

Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

The fiction selection for the first half of 2020 is shaping up beautifully! Here's what we're excited about.

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The Chat with Laisha Rosnau

The Chat with Laisha Rosnau

By Trevor Corkum

What happens when an author decides to create a novel based on the real lives of three reclusive women in early twentiet …

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The Chat with Brian Francis

The Chat with Brian Francis

By Trevor Corkum

Today, we’re in conversation with Brian Francis, author of the acclaimed YA novel—and Governor General’s Award-nom …

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Six Books that Demand to Be Read Aloud

Six Books that Demand to Be Read Aloud

By Fatma Faraj

Inspired by my recent reading of The Enchanted Hour by Meghan Cox Gurdon, I am always looking for the next great read al …

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Books of the Year 2019

Our Top Fiction of 2019

By 49th Shelf Staff

At 49th Shelf, this was the fiction that made our literary year.

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The Chat with Andrea Miller

Andrea+Book+AMH-FullRes_1

Ever wondered what it’s like to meet Thich Nhat Hanh? Hoping to start your own meditation practise or dip your toes into mindful awareness?

This week, we’re in conversation with Andrea Miller, author of the collection Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life (Pottersfield Press). It’s a fantastic and accessible selection of essays, articles, and interviews exploring the Buddhist life.

Andrea Miller is the deputy editor of leading Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar and the editor of three anthologies for Shambhala Publications, including Buddha's Daughters: Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West. She's also the author of two picture books: The Day the Buddha Woke Up (Wisdom Publications, 2018) and My First Book of Canadian Birds (Nimbus Publishing, 2018). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Mindful Magazine, The Best Buddhist Writing series, The Best Women’s Travel Writing series, The Globe and Mail, Saltscapes, and many others. Miller lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and two children.

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Trevor Corkum: Awakening the Heart is a collection of essays, art …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Descriptive Language

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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These beautiful books exemplify descriptive language for Grades 1–6.

Once Upon a Northern Night, by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is the perfect mentor text for descriptive language. While a little boy sleeps, a snowy night scene is painted for both the boy and the reader.

“Once upon a northern night/pine trees held out prickly hands/to catch the falling flakes/that gathered into puffs of creamy white,/settling like balls of cotton,/waiting.” Check out Pendziwol’s description of deer: “They nuzzled the sleeping garden/with memories of summer.” And “... a great gray owl gazed down/with his great yellow eyes/on the milky-white bowl of your yard.” There are also some beautiful examples of alliteration.

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Another go-to text for vivid language, When the Moon Comes, by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James, captures a nighttime hockey game in the woods.

“End to end and around we fly, the long black stripes of our shad …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" features books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

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"...the pleasure and potency inherent in this lovely novel."

All That Belongs, by Dora Dueck

Reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press, by Karen Chisvin

Most of the discoveries Catherine makes on her pilgrimage confirm what she has already known or always remembered... There is not a lot of excitement or poignancy in these discoveries, but that does not diminish the pleasure or potency inherent in this lovely novel. It is, after all, much more than a story about digging up and coming to terms with one’s past, and even more than a story about the lingering effects of trauma and pain, and grief and guilt.

Read the Review

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"Cities are spaces in which new and better worlds can be imagined."

Feminist City, by Leslie Kern

Reviewed in the Hamilton Review of Books by Sue Ferguson

This world isn’t built for women, literally. Our cities are designed and built in ways that perpetuate and accent women …

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Four Fast-Paced, Captivating Middle Grade Books Any Student Will Love

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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If you’re looking for a great story, where the main characters are relatable, look no further than the Orca Currents collection. These books are known as Hi/Lo readers: short, high-interest novels with contemporary themes written specifically for middle-school students reading below grade level. (Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 5.0. Interest level ages 10–14.)

There really is something for everyone in this collection. The wide range of topics that are addressed in these books includes: fitting in, racism, gender equality, technology addiction, bullying, and self-image. Both the topics and characters will appeal to many readers. The main characters are always down-to-earth, real people, that many middle-school students can relate to. Whether it’s the new student, the child with a difficult home life, or the one struggling to develop relationships with peers, these characters will help your students to grow. I’ve placed a number of these books into the hands of students, and each time, they come back asking for more.

Although the Orca titles are aimed at students reading below grade level, I recommend these books to all students. We can all enjoy a fast-paced, captivating read every now and then, and that is what is so great about the Currents series.

Here are a few that I’ve read, and loved, recently:

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Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Fiction Preview

The fiction selection for the first half of 2020 is shaping up beautifully! Here's what we're excited about.

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Part literary Western and part historical mystery, Ridgerunner (May) is the follow-up to Gil Adamson’s award-winning and critically acclaimed novel The Outlander. Jean Marc Ah-Sen’s second book, after Grand Menteur, is the story collection In the Beggarly Style of Imitation (April). Keepers of the Faith (April), by Shaukat Ajmeri, is a Romeo and Juliet story with a twist, set in modern India, in a Shia Muslim community that lives under the thumb of a clergy dictating every facet of their lives. Marianne Apostolides’ latest novel is I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind (April), a book that asks what it means to be human—to be physical creatures endowed with a conscious mind, aware of our finitude—and to love. And in Alone in the Wild (February), Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Set in the mid-1930s, Filthy Sugar (May), by Heather Babcock, tells t …

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