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Showing posts from March, 2019

Lock up your grief in The Yellow Suitcase

Inspired by the author's own family experience, The Yellow Suitcase is a young girl's journey to accepting the loss of her grandmother. It's reminiscent of a thirty-two hour journey from California to India, when Meera Sriram's children lost their grandmother. 

There's a mixed bag of emotions in this book, reflected in a simplicity and naïveté of child's perspective. 

In The Yellow Suitcase, Asha has travelled with her parents from California to India. She's done this journey before, with her yellow suitcase in tow, usually filled with presents for her grandmother; but this time, it's evident to the little one that things are not quite the same. For one, Grandma isn't waiting on the front porch like she usually did.

She wheels her tiny, yellow suitcase into her grandma's house, the same way that she has every time she's come to visit. This time, she's greeted with a sea of faces: some familiar, others strange. 

You can't have a book abou…

Canada Reads Day 3 - Tweets that moved

"In the end you can't help but question the absurdity of hate. You can't help but remember that the only thing that makes sense is kindness." defending by Max Eisen.

"What we do with the cards that we are dealt with is the ultimate test of the human spirit."

This remarkable memoir will make you proud to be from Canada, a country that welcomed Bakr and his family with open arms. on HOMES

I was a fan of the band before, but now I'm even a bigger fan of drummer -- he delivers his passion for the book HOMES by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, with such heart.

More Racism is a huge issue we have to tackle today. The books at

In their own words: Brother by David Chariandy

Brother is about two siblings growing up in a tough surburban context. Michael the younger brother is sensitive, needs protecting. Frances, the older brother is tougher, a black boy who understands what it means to be seen as a threat. Their mom, a single immigrant parent who works long hours to raise her sons. It's Scarborough of the 1990s, a landscape of high rises and hiphop. But then violence changes everything. It's a story about grief and loss, but also love and beauty and joy.
~ David Charindy

Dreams die. Sometimes naturally. Sometimes tragically. But what happens then. How do you keep living? And what if? What if it was your brother, your life, your dreams dying? Brother asks a lot of questions, but never preaches. Rather it illuminates lives that are seen, but never heard. We've all heard the headlines, but Brother takes you beyond. Into the struggle of single mothers, into systemic racism that occurs right here in Canada, into loss, grief, kinship. All the books th…

In their own words: Homes by Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah: My story Homes about my life from Iraq to Syria, escaping the civil war in Syria. And from Syria all the way to Canada. 

In their own words: A Chance Alone by Max Eisen

A Chance Alone is about terrible destruction; entire Jewish communities were totally destroyed, including my family. We wound up being transported out to the death camps. My family was selected out, and my mother with her baby in her arms and my grandparents were simply walked into a gas chamber. My father had only seconds to give me a blessing and he told me that if I managed to survive that I must tell the world what happened. 
~ Max Eisen 

I don't have to remind anyone here what happened in New Zealand just 10 days ago. Hate crimes are surging around the world. Nazi salutes, swastikas, signs that were once unthinkable are being repeated like Kill All Muslims and Kill All Jews. And this isn't happening anywhere else; this is happening right here in Canada. A recent survey found that one in every five Canadian young people don't even know what the Holocaust is. At the very same time, in our very own country, hate crimes have skyrocketed. by up to 47%. If hate spreads like a…

In their own words: Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins

Suzanneis about my grandmother who left her two kids for a life. I was angry about this woman because she hurt my mother so much. I didn't want to know much about her. But then she died, and I felt I needed to know about who was the woman before my mother. Who was that ghost? I went to her apartment and found that she was a lot more complex. She was a free woman, an independent thinker, who tried to paint, to be a poet, who had a lot of lovers and who went to the revolution in the US. Who was totally free, but she was yet not happy. I discovered that she was really more than the one who left. 
~ Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins

Suzanne is a fascinating character study that makes us realize that we are not solely defined by our actions. 
 The book written in the second person, starts as a hatred letter towards Suzanne, and ends up being an homage to a unique woman who had the courage to go beyond the norm of her times. This is the poignant story of a mother who fe…

The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong

"Sometimes the things we must talk about are the most uncomfortable," @mrjoezee said on the first day of #CanadaReads debates. 

The battle of the books

The battle of the books begins. 
Who will take the most coveted #CanLit prize? Who will be eliminated in today's round of debates? 

Watch the debates live here:

Do you have a favourite to win?

Artists: Their Lives and Works

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Pablo Picasso

Is there a cure for toxic patriarchy?

Sophie Mackintosh's novel The Water Cure was nominated for the Man Booker Prize, and it's easy to see why. There is a fluidity to her writing that sets the reader afloat on a mystical journey. 

Margaret Atwood refers to The Water Cure as, "a gripping, sinister fable!" 

The novel begins with a "loss" of the patriarchal figure in a household full of women. The story is mainly told from the viewpoint of three sisters, Grace, Lia and Sky. Their father, who is not so subtly referred to as "King", left for the shore a few days prior in search of supplies, but has not returned. It is presumed that he will not. 

It's a kind of mourning the family is not accustomed to. While water therapy, is one of the ways the children are used to being healed, in this care it is clear that it is not an option. Their mother (whom they refer to as "Mother") initially panics and her solution to ease their pain is giving them small blue insomnia tablets three to …

Princess Puffybottom...and Darryl

Life is glorious for Princess Puffybottom, until an unwanted stranger arrives. 

Darryl obviously hasn't been read the list of rules when he arrives. He's also a puppy and perhaps perhaps the rules don't apply to him. 

Darrly the messy, annoying little puppy, just continues to put Princess Puffybottom in bit of a tizzy, and she's sure that he won't last in the household. So she patiently waits for the day when he will be banished. 

Just when she thinks that day has come, she realizes that it's a hoax. Now it seems that getting rid of Darryl has become impossible. But then, he starts to grow on her. 

This picture book by Susin Nielsen and Olivia Chin Mueller. You'll know Susin by some of her favourite younger reader books like We Are All Made of Molecules. This picture book takes on the relatable narrative of a classic cat and mouse game, and turns it into a playful teaching lesson; a love story masked in a picture book format.

"Darryl was not bright. Darryl w…