funforthewholefamily

NVCL Reads: Canadian Graphic Novels for Children

The great part of graphic novels is that all levels of readers can enjoy them. Listed below are some of these novels by Canadian authors worth a read and exploration. Did you know that graphic novels are great for reinforcing language, memory sequencing and creative writing skills? Not only that but they are fun to read. Stay calm and read on with some our recommendations for the #NVCLreadsGraphicNovel category in our Canada 150 #NVCLreads bingo contest!

toweroftreasureThe Tower of Treasure, by Scott Chantler

As an acrobat in a traveling circus, 14-year-old orphan Dessa Redd flies through the air with ease. Still, she is weighed down by troubling memories. But when her ragtag circus troupe pulls into the city of Kingsbridge, Dessa feels a tickle of hope. Maybe here in the royal city she will finally find her twin brother — or the mysterious man who snatched him away when they were just children.  Meanwhile, Topper, the circus juggler, recruits Dessa and the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the three thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa’s long-lost brother. Scott Chantler’s fast-paced story will engage readers while his bold-lined art with richly detailed backgrounds is a tribute to classic comic books.*


luzmakesasplashLuz Makes a Splash
, by Claudia Davila

Residents of the city of Petroville are suffering through the hottest and driest summer on record. Desperate for a way to cool off, Luz and her friends head out to Spring Pond to go swimming. But when they arrive, they’re shocked to discover the pond has virtually disappeared! It turns out a multinational company has purchased the nearby land and is using the water from the spring to make their soda. Meanwhile, back in the city, the gardens in Friendship Park are withering and at risk of dying because of the lack of rain. And now the city has imposed water restrictions in order to conserve. Luz and her friends are just kids, but is there anything they can do to help save two of Luz’s favorite places?*

claireandthewaterwishClaire and the Water Wish, by Jessica Poon

Summer’s over and Claire’s a bit nervous about starting at a new school. She doesn’t care about being popular — she just wants to fit in. Claire is thankful to have her best friend, Jet. But the girls quickly grow apart when Jet wins a digital camera. Jet’s bitten by the shutterbug and seems only interested in snapping photos with the cool kids. Tired of Jet’s antics, Claire strikes up a friendship with Sky, a girl from the local Lovesick Lake community. She learns that the water in Sky’s lake is undrinkable. The community suspects someone’s been secretly dumping waste in it for years. But when the three friends stumble across the polluters’ trail, will they be able to put their differences aside in time to save Lovesick Lake? The Claire graphic novels are built on stories of strong friendships and action-packed fun. Young girls will love to share the adventures of Claire and her friends — and then try the activities at the end of each book!*

thatonespookynightThat One Spooky Night, by Dan Bare-el

This collection of graphic short stories written by Dan Bar-el contains three separate tales of strange and surprising events that all happen one Halloween night. In Broom with a View, a girl’s broom for her witch costume mistakenly gets switched with a broom belonging to a real witch. Featured in 10 000 Tentacles under the Tub are two rambunctious boys who fight sea monsters while trick-or-treating as aqua-heroes, only to discover that their biggest challenge still awaits — in the bathtub. In The Fang Gang, everything gets turned around for four wannabe vampire girls when they meet up with the real thing. Naturally, all the parents are clueless about what’s going on (though in one, the pet dog is in on things!). The stories are just spooky enough and tempered with a touch of silly humor.*

hideandshriekHide and Shriek, by Sean O’Reilly

In this installment from the Mighty Mighty Monsters series, the monsters need to make some rules before they play Hide and Seek:  No flying like a vampire bat, no sniffing like a werewolf, and absolutely no magic!*

 

 
-Linda

* Descriptions from the publishers

 

NVCL Reads: Colour in the Title

To help you with one of our trickier #NVCLreads Canada 150 Bingo contest categories, here are our picks for Canadian books with a colour in the title!

 

Through Black Spruce, by Joseph Boyden (2008)throughblackspruce

From internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden comes an astonishingly powerful novel of contemporary aboriginal life, full of the dangers and harsh beauty of both forest and city. When beautiful Suzanne Bird disappears, her sister Annie, a loner and hunter, is compelled to search for her, leaving behind their uncle Will, a man haunted by loss.While Annie travels from Toronto to New York, from modelling studios to A-list parties,Will encounters dire troubles at home. Both eventually come to painful discoveries about the inescapable ties of family. Through Black Spruce is an utterly unforgettable consideration of how we discover who we really are.*

As a Giller Prize winner, Through Black Spruce could alternately be used for #NVCLreadsWinner

 

blackberrysweetjuice

Black Berry, Sweet Juice, by Lawrence Hill (2001)

In Black Berry, Sweet Juice, Book of Negroes and The Illegal author Lawrence Hill movingly reveals his struggle to understand his own personal and racial identity. Raised by human rights activist parents in a predominantly white Ontario suburb, he is imbued with lingering memories and offers a unique perspective. In a satirical yet serious tone, Hill describes the ambiguity involved in searching for his identity – an especially complex and difficult journey in a country that prefers to see him as neither black nor white.*

 

orangefish

The Orange Fish, by Carol Shields (1989)

Emerging from these twelve beautifully articulated stories are portraits of men and women whose affairs and recoveries in life take us into worlds that are both new and yet unnervingly familiar. A smile of recognition and a shock of surprise await readers of these finely crafted stories. From the magical orange fish itself — enigmatic and without age — to holiday reunions; from the passions and pains of lovers and friends to the moving uncertainty of a Parisian vacation, this exquisite collection is bound to delight and enchant Carol Shields’ fans everywhere.*

bluebeardseggBluebeard’s Egg, by Margaret Atwood (1983)

In this acclaimed collection of twelve stories, Margaret Atwood probes the territory of childhood memories and the casual cruelty men and women inflict upon each other and themselves. She looks behind the familiar world of family summers at remote lakes, ordinary lives, and unexpected loves, and she unearths profound truths. A melancholy, teenage love is swept away by a Canadian hurricane, while a tired, middle-aged affection is rekindled by the spectacle of rare Jamaican birds; a potter tries to come to terms with the group of poets who so smother her that she is driven into the arms of her accountant; and, in the title story, the Bluebeard legend is retold as an ironic tale of marital deception.*

Bluebeard’s Egg could alternately be used as an #NVCLreadsMargaret

 

greengrassGreen Grass, Running Water, by Thomas King (1993)

Strong, Sassy women and hard-luck hardheaded men, all searching for the middle ground between Native American tradition and the modern world, perform an elaborate dance of approach and avoidance in this magical, rollicking tale by Cherokee author Thomas King. Alberta is a university professor who would like to trade her two boyfriends for a baby but no husband; Lionel is forty and still sells televisions for a patronizing boss; Eli and his log cabin stand in the way of a profitable dam project. These three—and others—are coming to the Blackfoot reservation for the Sun Dance and there they will encounter four Indian elders and their companion, the trickster Coyote—and nothing in the small town of Blossom will be the same again…*

Green Grass, Running Water could alternately be used for the #NVCLreadsFirstNations category

And for the Kids:

bluehippopotamusThe Blue Hippopotamus, by Phoebe Gilman (picture book)

A young hippo falls madly in love with an Egyptian princess. Desperate to be with her, the hippo asks a magician to change him into “something she could love.” The magician reveals that he’s unable turn a hippo into a human, but can turn him into a toy, and he grants the hippo the power to turn himself back into his real self whenever he chooses. The excited hippo accepts this offer, and becomes the princess’s new toy – but will this be enough?*

 

redisbestRed is Best, by Kathy Stinson (picture book)

First published in 1982, Red is Best is not just a Canadian classic, but an overall children’s classic about a child’s insistence that everything is better in red – stocking, mittens, jackets, cups, and most definitely boots.

 

silverwingSilverwing, by Kenneth Oppel (novel)

A relatively recent classic but a classic nonetheless, Silverwing is the story of Shade, a young Silverwing bat. He’s the runt of his colony, but he’s determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life.*

 

 

anneofgreengablesAnne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (novel)

A list of books with colours in the title obviously wouldn’t be complete without this Canadian icon. Also, it was first published in 1908 so this classic Canadian book will be 100 next year! What better time to revisit it?

 

 

Happy (and colourful!) summer reading!
– Kat

 

* descriptions from the publisher

 

NVCL Reads: Indigenous Canadian Authors

Is it Canada 150, or 15,000? Let’s take time to sit with this question and consider the knowledge that the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada goes back so much farther than 150 years on this land. There are many titles I would love to share with you to celebrate Indigenous Canadian authors. I hope you are inspired to continue searching for more amazing titles and share your favourite authors in the comments section. Below you will find work by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors. Pick up a book of poetry by Métis author, Marilyn Dumont, an adventurous Young Adult historical fiction novel based on traditional Inuit knowledge, by authors Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, read to your kids about dipnetting in the Cariboo Chilcotin region in Willie Sellar’s children’s picture book, or delve into challenging coming of age novels by Richard Van Camp and Eden Robinson for the #NVCLreadsFirstNations category in our #NVCLreads Canada 150 Bingo game.

Leading off this list is the work of award winning author, Richard Wagamese, who passed in March this year:

medicinewalkMedicine Walk, by Richard Wagamese

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He’s sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they’ve shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son’s duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner. What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon’s end.

 

skraelingsSkraelings, by Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Young Adult)

In this adventurous novel–set in the ancient Arctic, but told by an inquisitive and entertaining contemporary narrator–a wandering Inuit hunter named Kannujaq happens upon a camp in grave peril. The inhabitants of the camp are Tuniit, a race of ancient Inuit ancestors known for their strength and shyness. The tranquility of this Tuniit camp has been shaken by a group of murderous, pale, bearded strangers who have arrived on a huge boat shaped like a loon. Unbeknownst to Kannujaq, he has stumbled upon a battle between the Tuniit and a group of Viking warriors.

Could alternately be used for #NVCLreads200 or #NVCLreadsArtic!

 

areallygoodbrowngirlA Really Good Brown Girl, by Marilyn Dumont (Poetry)

Marilyn Dumont’s Métis heritage offers her challenges that few of us welcome. Here she turns them to opportunities: in a voice that is fierce, direct, and true, she explores and transcends the multiple boundaries imposed by society on the self. She celebrates the person, clearly observing, who defines her own life.

Could alternately be used for #NVCLreadsPoetry

 

dipnettingwithdadDipnetting with Dad, by Willie Sellars (Picture Book)

BUMP, BUMP – SLAP, river sockeye salmon are pulled onto shore! Set in the beautiful landscape of the Cariboo Chilcotin region, Dipnetting With Dad, is a delightful and colourful story of a father teaching his son the Secwepemc method of fishing known as dipnetting. Together they visit the sweat lodge, mend the nets, select the best fishing spot and catch and pack their fish through rugged bush back to the family home for traditional preparation. Willie Sellars captures family values, the importance of storytelling, community living and coming of age in one of BC’s oldest cultures.

monkeybeachMonkey Beach, by Eden Robinson

The story grips the reader from the beginning. It is the morning after the narrator’s brother has gone missing at sea; the mood is tense in the family house, as speculations remain unspoken. Jimmy is a prospective Olympic swimmer, seventeen years old and on the edge of proposing to his beautiful girlfriend Karaoke. As his elder sister, Lisa, faces possible disaster, she chain-smokes and drifts into thoughts of their lives so far. She recalls the time when she and Jimmy saw the sasquatch, or b’gwus – and this sighting introduces the novel’s fascinating undercurrent of characters from the spirit world. These ghostly presences may strike the reader as mysterious or frightening, but they provide Lisa with guidance through a difficult coming of age.

 

lesserblessedThe Lesser Blessed, by Richard Van Camp

The Lesser Blessed tracks the exploits of Larry Sole, a Dogrib teenager living in the small Northern town of Fort Simmer. After losing much of his memory in a violent accident, what he loves more than anything is reading, hearing and collecting stories. With no interest in booze or sports, he floats on the edges of high school life, sustained by his love of Iron Maiden and a hopeless passion for school hottie Juliet Hope. When good-looking, trouble-seeking Johnny Beck moves into town, he shakes up Larry’s dreamy existence, bringing him face to face with memories that he’s done his best to lose.

 

This list is in no way comprehensive, so I hope that each of these titles will be a jumping off point for you to continue to explore and enjoy the work of Indigenous Canadian authors.

-Kate

NVCL Reads: Written by a Margaret

Margaret_Atwood_2015Whether you love her or loathe her, there’s no denying that when many of us think of Canadian literature, we think of Margaret Atwood.  And with a hit TV show — and the Trump administration in full (golf) swing — there’s no denying our Margaret’s work is enjoying a renaissance.  If you’re planning to read #NVCLreadsMargaret this summer, you may look no further than The Handmaid’s Tale, or you may want to get your hands on Atwood’s Angel Catbird graphic novels, or her books for children.  However, if you decide you’d like to branch out from Atwood, Canada has several awesome Margarets for you to choose from.

stoneangelThe next most obvious choice is Margaret Laurence, best-known for writing books you have been forced to read in high school (The Diviners, The Stone Angel) and loved anyway.     Her earlier works, like This Side Jordan, are set in Ghana, where the Laurences lived for a few years.

mr jonesMargaret Sweatman is yet another solid choice.  She’s even won the Margaret Laurence Award for fiction (thus effectively doubling her Margaret-ness).  We recommend Mr. Jones. “Set in a time of rampant paranoia, Mr. Jones peels back the veneer of Canadian politics to reveal a nation willing to sacrifice its own. It is a fearful time, a time of “peace” at the onset of the nuclear age.” (description from publisher)

Sweatman’s works also work for #NVCLreadsHistorical or #NVCLreadsWinner

momentary darkIf poetry (#NVCLreadsPoetry) is more your speed, try Margaret Avison’s Momentary Dark, “a celebration of the world, but not without edge and a quiet challenge to care for a damaged earth and all its citizens equally, including a veritable populace of city trees graciously and beautifully linking the earth and the sky” (description taken from the publisher).

This would also work for #NVCLreads200 and  #NVCLreadsPoetry

cougar annieAnd finally, if you like your Margarets with a healthy dose of non-fiction, you might want to check out Margaret Visser, Margaret Horsfield, or Margaret Macmillan.  In her Massey Lecture, Beyond Fate, Visser “investigates what fate means to us, and where the propensity to believe in it and accept it comes from.”  Horsfield meanwhile takes local history as her muse, writing extensively about Tofino and Clayoquot Sound.  Like Horsfield, Macmillan is inspired by history.  She focuses mainly on the late 19th and early 20th century, and is best known for her book 1919: Six Months That Changed the World.

 

Whatever your reading tastes, we’ll bet there’s a Canadian Margaret for you.

-Patricia

**For those of you just joining us for NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo, please download your bingo card from our website.  Five lucky winners will each receive a $25 gift card to a local bookstore!

NVCL Reads: Pets

Being a pet owner is one of life’s greatest joys. Although it’s a big commitment and a lot of work, the experience teaches you a lot of good and beneficial things. A loving pet has the ability to convert even the most anti-animal person into an animal lover; be it dog, cat, bird, or even a moose.  The bond between people and pets can be just as powerful as a bond between family members.  Here are some pet books by Canadians to share with your child as you play #NVCLreads bingo or just for fun.

DogDayA Dog Day for Susan by Maureen Fergus

Spencer and Barney decide to teach Susan how to be a real dog. With Barney as a role model, they take her to the off-leash dog park to develop skills like barking at buses, cyclists and squirrels, eating garbage, resisting grooming, and refusing to come when she’s called. Susan returns from the park covered in burrs, having shed her dignity and grace enough to fully embrace her inner dog.

DogsinCarsDogs in Cars by Felix Massie

Join these canine critters as they zoom around town in their dogmobiles. Count to one hundred through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to great danes, while they wreak havoc on the streets in some pretty recognizable locomotives.

NobodysCatsNobody’s Cats by Valerie Ingram

Based on the true story of how one little black kitty came in from the cold by a project that was started to help community cats in the small town of Burns Lake in rural northern British Columbia.

 

EmilyCarrEmily Carr & her dogs: Flirt, Punk & Loo by Emily Carr

This delightful book combines 25 stories about dogs with 16 playful drawings by famous Canadian writer, artist, and animal lover Emily Carr. She tells of her joys and tribulations raising Old English sheepdogs, from her decision to start a kennel to the sad day when she had to close it. With each story Carr brings the affectionate and loyal nature of her canine companions to life, making this book an ideal choice for any dog lover, child, or adult.

FarleyFarley and the Lost Bone by Lynn Franks Johnston

This children’s tale features fan favorite sheepdog Farley as he digs in Elly’s flowerbed, under Michael’s model railway set, and inside Lizzie’s sandbox until he remembers the special spot where he buried his tasty bone.

**This title also works for Author Has Spoken at North Shore Writers Fest #NVCLreadsNSWF

MooseMaking the Moose out of Life by Nicholas Oldland

Why not a moose for a pet? Here is a comic-adventure story of a mild-mannered moose who learns how to take life by the antlers. This moose may live in the wild, but he doesn’t act it — he watches from the sidelines as his friends have fun. Every now and then, he wonders if he’s missing out on anything. When the moose finally takes a chance and goes on a solo sailing trip, a raging storm carries him far from everything he knows. Will he curl up in a ball and cry, or make the most of it? The moose’s unlikely hero-journey is a lighthearted, contemporary fable that celebrates living life to the fullest

So what pet will you get, eh?

-Diane

Our Favourite Canadian Reads II

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you. If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

DeniseDenise, our Senior Public Services Assistant, loves Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery.  She says, “I love Anne; her perseverance in the face of adversity inspires, her creative spirit is a source of motivation and her tenacity should be modeled at all times.”

 

curveoftimeOne of our pages Janet is a big fan of The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchett.  She loves “the images of summer vacations on the BC coast in the 1930s – a story of a strong young widow with five young children – packed them all up and spent quality time exploring the coast.”  Janet adds, “We give a copy of this book to all our BC visitors and people always comment afterwards about how much they enjoyed the book.  I own at least two copies at all times.”

davidDavid, our Web Specialist, says his favourite Canadian novel is What’s Bred in the Bone, the 2nd novel in Robertson Davies’ Cornish Trilogy. “Set in part in Germany during the Second World War, it’s an engrossing tale of one Frank Cornish’s journey from childhood in rural Ontario – and from a family with a dark secret – to greatness as an artist, art forger … and spy. Davies’ inimitable novels combine witty, erudite, and elegant prose with highly imaginative and entertaining stories. A great summer read!”

mikale_HayBlogger and Community Librarian Mikale loves Late Nights on Air“Set in 1975, Elizabeth Hay’s story of the lives of the employees of a small CBC radio outpost in Yellowknife, and their accompanying summer canoe trip into the Artic is perfection. It reads like a role of 35mm film, with loons calling over the lake as a soundtrack.”

And finally, the always succinct Sandy, one of our Auxiliary Librarians, recommends “Bonnie Burnard’s A Good House for its clarity, conciseness, honesty and wit.”

We’d love to hear your favourites.  Please share in the comments!

-Patricia

 

 

 

Our Favourite Canadian Reads

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you.  If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

Fereshteh 22Our Multicultural Services Librarian, Fereshteh, raves about Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.   Why? “After so many years,  I can still remember the story  vividly, this book transports the reader to a  world filled with colour , taste, smell and unforgettable characters challenged by their human condition and unpredictable destiny.”

Audrey AdminAudrey, our Administrative Assistant’s all-time favourite Canadian book is The Diviners by Margaret Laurence.  “This classic book, part of the Manawaka series, is not only well written and engrossing, it also accurately depicts small town Canadian life which is familiar to me, being from a small town myself.  I have also visited her homestead in Neepawa, Manitoba!”

Timothy StewartOne of our Auxiliary Public Service Assistants, Timothy, chose a non-fic pick: “My most recent favourite is The NHL: A Centennial History by D’Arcy Jenish. It is well written book with plenty of stories of  how the NHL grew from a struggling league based out of Montreal and Toronto into the predominant hockey league of the modern era.”

Wiedmann, Margaret1As did Margarete, our Special Services Coordinator, who chose 52 best day trips from Vancouver by Jack Christie as her pick. “Jump in your car and go out and explore this great area.  It has so much to offer.  Many of these places can be reached by bus too.  Jack gives some great short adventures usually within ½ hour of the North Shore.  Once you are at you location, you can walk or hike the location, and see its many sight or just sit and enjoy your surroundings.  The book also allows you to plan side trips on the way to your destination.

Why not a new location every day for the summer, or at least a weekend getaway, without the coast of lodging.  Staycation at its best.”

Bear 150And finally our beloved Bear wanted to share his favourite book, Winston of Churchill, though he was pretty quiet on what made it a favourite.  (I wonder why…)

Have a 5-star Canadian read you’d like to share?  Sound off in the comments below!

-Patricia