Saturday, January 30, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This excerpt, together with the cover blurb from Gabrielle Zevin describing The Everafter as "a love story that transcends death," should be enough for readers to decide whether this book is for them or not. Sweet to the nth degree. A readalike that comes to mind is Heaven Looks a Lot Like a Mall by Wendy Mass.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Grade 10 at the new school was bearable because Dante was wrapped up in romance with Beth… but now Beth has moved away. It was a secret affair; nobody is out at Dante’s school and she hasn’t said anything about her sexuality to her parents, either. Somebody new has caught Dante’s eye, however. Parker has sled-dog blue eyes and no eyebrows. She quit school but comes by to pass out flyers. “WOOF, WOOF. YOU ARE NOT A DOG. WHY ARE YOU GOING TO OBEDIENCE SCHOOL?” When Dante joins Parker’s small circle of activists, she was hoping to escape from the hell of school. But is she jumping into the flames instead? Grade 7-12.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Six stories by Anik See (A Fork in the Road) make up this collection. The settings are unmistakably Canadian: Vancouver; Toronto; Calgary; and wilderness cabins near Ottawa and in the Rocky Mountain foothills. The language, too, is Canadian: "clicks" for "kilometres" and "T.O." for Toronto. They are about loneliness and regrets; searching for love and for meaningful connections with people.
A sleepless night is lyrically evoked: "The radiator clanks again, and a train passes on the tracks a few blocks away, and then everything is quiet, the kind of quiet where you think you can hear it all happening, all the things that have no sound. Minds working, persimmons turning sweet, fish breathing underwater, sleep." In the final story, "Postcard," the innovative use of white space on the page and experimental multiple narratives are also reminiscent of poetry.
The stories are told in first person. In the two that feature a male narrator, I was somewhat disconcerted by the gender switch, feeling like those stories would have worked better in a female (and therefore queer) voice. That is my only quibble, however. Altogether, they are as fresh as the scent of newly-chopped firewood and as polished as pebbles shining in the bed of a stream.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
My favourite poem is "Oxbow," one long sentence that begins: "This is the river that strayed, that slipped / aside, and, becalmed in its separate bed, / stayed, / this is the river / that feeds the rushes, the slow reeds / and heron, the river that sleeps / in a circle, and clasps within it / an island of ten white spruce, a hundred / aspen, / and a meadow / the span of an embrace / that we've claimed this afternoon ..." Torch River was shortlisted for a number of poetry awards, including the Lambda, and won the Golden Crown Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry.
Young Lydia Grace Finch writes letters home to her family during the Great Depression. She has been sent to live with her uncle in New York City, where she helps in his bakery. Like her namesake, her grandmother, Lydia Grace loves to garden and she brings this passion with her from the country to the city. Along with the irrepressible spirit of Lydia Grace herself, it is her delight in beauty and hope for the future that makes this such an inspiring book. Picture book for Grade 1-5.
Michael Yahgulanaas has created striking Haida artwork in red, black and white to illustrate a fable told by the Quechan people of Ecuador. The story is of a hummingbird who is the only creature to do anything about extinguishing a fire when a great forest is burning. The other animals all watch, but do nothing, while Dukdukdiya (the Haida word for hummingbird) flies back and forth with a single drop of water each time. She tells the others, "I am doing what I can." Yahgulanaas explains that in traditional Haida stories, it is often the most diminutive being that offers the most critical gift or the necessary solution.
The fable is suitable for all ages, from about age 4 through to adult. For older readers, this very slim book also includes inspirational messages from Wangari Maathai and the Dalai Lama about caring for the environment.