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Changing the world one paper at a time

At the start of the novel, we meet ten-year-old Cassie, who lives in Winnipeg. It is 1919, and the Great War and Spanish Influenza have taken their toll. Cassie's family is by no means well off, but she can especially see the impact it has had on her best friend Mary, whose mom works fourteen hours a day, just to make ends meet. There are so many others in this kind of situation and it's no surprise that a general strike is bound to happen. Workers are fed up with the abhorrent working conditions including low wages and long hours. And the impact of this decision has a ripple effect on the whole community.

A soup kitchen that’s opened up to serve families in need, may just be the saving grace for Mary and her mom, who find work there. But, Cassie wants to do her share too and help in any way she can. An opportunity for a papergirl comes up. Actually in 1919 Winnipeg, the job really is dominated by boys, but the feisty Cassie convinces her brother that she’s up for it. She insis…

Far Away by Lisa Graff

Far Away takes a deep dive into the world where the real and supernatural meld together, delivering an unlikely book for young readers that makes the implausible, plausible. 

It takes a few pages into the book to understand just what CJ's situation is. She recalls her fifth birthday, and she was wondering if they were going to have birthday cake. Her mom instead insisted that she had something better for CJ. Nothing's better than cake, CJ thought at the time. And when she was told what it was - caraway pudding - CJ was less impressed at first, until her mom told her a story, of why she was named CJ (Caraway June). 

A bit of background. CJ's Aunt Nic is a psychic who travels from town to town giving readings. CJ's mom passed away when she was born, although her presence is a constant in CJ's life. Hence, the constant conversations with her mom and celebration of birthdays. 

You'd think that this would be a difficult topic for young readers to grasp, but far from it…

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

“She's only a number now. When Charlotte Smith's wealthy parents commit her beloved sister Phoebe to the infamous Goldengrove Asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness. She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman 99.”

Love letter to future readers

When asked in a famous questionnaire devised by the great French writer Marcel Proust about his idea of perfect happiness, David Bowie answered simply: "Reading."

Have you got 15 mins? Time to learn a new language.

He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


I read somewhere that to possess a second language is akin to possessing a second soul. There's no need to sell the benefits of learning a new language to anyone. Everyone is well aware of these --whether there's a sense of intellectual prowess, such as boosting brain power, or showing off enhanced abilities such as decision making, learning a new language is advantageous. So, then knowing this, why isn't everyone spending time learning a new language? 

Ask anyone why they aren't  and a common culprit emerges: time. With everyone's busy schedules, whether it's balancing work and family, or checking all your smartphone notifications 😉, it's not surprising that that there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do something that actually will be fun, beneficial in the long run, and world expanding. Okay, we don't have time, but we do have 15-minutes to spare a day, s…

Design Your Next Chapter by Debbie Travis

"Please write in this book", Debbie Travis advises. "This is your handbook, both practical and personal. Fill in the blanks, tick the boxes, circle the words and write the truth to yourself." 

And "the truth" is exactly what Debbie Travis wants you to find in your own life.  She shares lessons she's learned along the way, sprinkled with uplifting stories others have shared with her. 

If you are looking for decorating ideas from this book, please turn the page. This is definitely not what Design your Next Chapter is about. Debbie Travis insists that it's a book for those who have reached a point in their life where they are unhappy, and are looking to change the course of their current journey. It's supposed to inspire those who are stuck or feel blocked in their daily routine. Who feel uninspired in how they are living day in and day out. What if you have the courage to come to a full stop, take a look around, and then map out the journey to a c…

A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne

What does a 65-year-old German novelist and a young aspiring writer have in common? An inspired love of the art of writing, may be the most logical explanation. But is there something else? Something even more personal?
Erich Ackermann is gay and has spent his entire life in solitude, writing books and working as a professor. Until recently his books seemed to have gone fairly unnoticed. These books have a common theme - loneliness - somewhat mirroring his life. But, fate has intervened and changed the course of his writing career. Now, he's famous; recognized by the literary community as an author to pay attention to. He’s on a book tour when his path crosses with the young charming, seemingly available, Maurice Swift.
Taken by his beauty and demeanour, Erich is undeniably attracted to Maurice who charms the socks off of him, by appealing to his writer sensibilities. Erich obliges, and takes Maurice under his wing, even offering him an opportunity to travel with him on his book …