Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules (2015)

Henry K. Larsen — star of Susin Nielsen’s last novel — was a savvy young fellow: “I know I can’t change my stupid red hair or my stupid freckles. But I can lower my freak flag.”

Tundra Books, 2015

In contrast, Stewart — star of her most recent novel — flies his freak flag […]


Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Series

At the beginning of the novel, where an epigraph might appear, is a note from the author, explaining that Uglies was shaped by a series of email exchanges between Scott Westerfeld and author Ted Chiang about his story “Liking What You See: A Documentary”.

At the end of Ted Chiang’s collection Stories of Your Life, […]


Being a Good Girl

The word ‘goodish’ entered my vocabulary thanks to an observation that Carol Shields makes of two female friends in The Republic of Love. (General increased usage of -ish also ensued.)

“They love the word ‘goodish,’ as in goodish sunsets, goodish travel bargains, goodish men.”

The title and cover of Suzanne Sutherland’s When We Were Good brought that to […]


Being a Daughter, Being Audacious

At first glance, readers might not spot similarities between J. C. Carleson’s The Tyrant’s Daughter (2014) and Gabrielle Prendergast’s Audacious (2013).

Knopf – Random House, 2014

Laila, the 15-year-old daughter of an assassinated dictator, flees to North America with the aid of authorities who recognize the family’s vulnerability with shifting political power in their […]


Black History Month: Four Courageous Women

Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, Claudette Colvin, fifteen years old, stayed in her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

It was March 2, 1955, but in the intervening years, this story has been all-but-forgotten. Phillip Hoose‘s work is essential reading.

Based on fourteen lengthy […]


Saving the Owls: Who Knew

Admittedly, I chose There’s an Owl in the Shower because I had read Jean Craighead George’s classic My Side of the Mountain.

I knew of her reputation for including ecological and environmental themes in the stories she has written for children.

But when I realized that it had been published in 1995, inhabiting that curious space […]


Sita’s Ramayana: A Feminist Retelling

As if it wasn’t enough to take The Ramayana and present it in images, this volume retells the ancient epic through the eyes of a woman. This is Sita’s Ramayana.

House of Anansi, 2011 Artwork by Moyna Chitrakar

The original Sanskrit text is attributed to the poet Valmiki, and it is comprised of 24,000 verses which tell […]


The Winter Book

When I was a girl and allowed to choose my own books for a special occasion, I always selected an anthology. If I’d spotted a book like Rotraut Susanne Berner’s The Winter Book, it would have been a shoe in.

First, my choice was practical: they were larger books.

(Well, if someone is buying you […]


“A compelling up close perspective”: Loon

Nearly two weeks ago, author Susan Vande Griek and illustrator Karen Reczuch took home the $10,000 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction for Loon.

Groundwood – House of Anansi, 2011

This post’s title comes from the jury’s description of the book, and the cover alone, with its rich, tapestry-like image, declares that this bird […]


Yellow, Black and Braille: Two books for young(ish) readers

Pamela Porter’s backlist landed all-of-a-piece on my TBR with I’ll Be Watching.

Groundwood Books – House of Anansi, 2008

Yellow Moon, Apple Moon is aimed at the earliest readers. It provides a lovely transition-from-board-books option.

[Next on my Pamela Porter list, if you’re curious, arranged in order of readers’ ages: Sky (prose, 8-12) and The Crazy Man (free […]