#IMWAYR February 28, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 

I don't know about you, but I am getting exhausted from living in interesting times. 

Thankfully we had a delightful respite last weekend when my sons brought the two eldest grandchildren up for a visit. It was pure joy to watch the almost five year old cousins build magical worlds together. Also, I got to read books with them. 

Before my aunt died of cancer, she gave me three quilts to finish for her. They have sat in a box for the last decade or so. Then my cousin's daughter became pregnant. I knew that there was a baby sized quilt in the box so I dug it out. Aunty Marge had started hand quilting it. I finished the centre pieces. (You can really tell the difference between her work and mine.) I was given quilting rulers for Christmas so I messed around with them on scrap fabric before using them to quilt the rest of this. It might not be what I would have made from scratch, but it's much more precious for having originally come from the new baby's great grandma. I'm sure Aunty Marge would have been delighted.

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak
by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd June 13, 2020  🍁

This board book is a perfect example of what happens when rhyming poetry works in a picture book. Children will love the bright illustrations and the sounds that nature makes.

The Year We Learned to Fly
by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael López (Illustrator)

It was interesting to read this to my two grandkids. To be honest, I think it was over their heads. I tried to unpack it for them, but I'm not sure it worked. I suspect this would be a better book to read with older readers who would have enough background knowledge to find more meaning in it.

Grumpy Unicorn: Why Me?
by Joey Spiotto September 03, 2019

I read this with my granddaughter. It didn't do much for either of us. Maybe I'm to old and she's too young. 

We Shall Overcome
by Bryan Collier (Illustrations) December 28, 2021

Collier's artwork gives new meaning and power to this classic song. I made a few connections while reading the book, but was happy to have more pointed out to me in the notes in the back matter.

The Big Bath House
by Kyo Maclear & Gracey Zhang (Illustrator) November 16, 2021  🍁

My grandson, granddaughter, and I really enjoyed this book. Nobody was concerned about the nudity and we all appreciated the many different body shapes and sizes. They made connections to visiting with their grandparents and going to the swimming pool.

My Two Border Towns
by David Bowles & Erika Meza (Illustrator) Sepember 07, 2021

A boy and his father travel across the border to the town next to it. They have a list of things to purchase and spend some time visiting family. I was completely surprised by the stop on the way home that put much of the purchases of the day into perspective.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle
by Amy Young July 05, 2016

Lucy sees an ad for a unicorn - only 25 cents, and sends in her order. While she waits she fantasizes about all the things she will do when it arrives. When Sparkle arrives, he isn't exactly what she expected. "He had spots. His ears were too long. He smelled funny. Oh, and he had fleas." On top of all this, he has a propensity for eating everything nearby. He does not act like a unicorn at all. She decides to send him back. Of course, Sparkle, a very special kind of unicorn, ends up worming his way into her heart.

Bowwow Powwow : Bagosenjige-niimi'idim
by Brenda J. Child, Jonathan Thunder (Illustrator) & Gordon Jourdain (Translator) May 01, 2018  🍁

This bilingual picture book (English and Ojibwa) educates readers about Powwows. It's told through the perspective of Windy Girl and her pet, Itchy dog. Uncle tells her stories about Powows and she finally gets to experience one. In the evening she dreams of dogs participating in the different kinds of dances. The cartoonish art is bold and full of joy.

Princess Hair
by Sharee Miller

I read this with my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter. We loved the different kinds of hairstyles highlighted for black girls. Like her father and mother, she has straight hair. Unpacking this book required me explaining that most black children have very very curly hair and these are styles for them. We both wished we could do some of these styles with our own locks.


I introduced my two oldest grandchildren to Mary Anning. Both were fascinated by this simple biography. The next day when it was time to read more books, my grandson wanted to read it again. 
Now that's a sign of a great book.
I think I have become a fan of this series of nonfiction for young readers.


Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
by Kate DiCamillo & Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator) May 9th 2006

The grandkids are fans of Mercy Watson. So am I.
Mercy ends up trying to take control of Mr Watson's convertible while Mr Watson is driving it. Disaster is averted with the aid of Baby Lincoln, who stowed aboard in search of adventure and folly.

I would certainly purchase this book for my Canadian school library. Some of the other books in this series focus primarily on American history, but this one is global in its scope. I appreciated the humour in spite of the essentially dark subject matter. The last section on covid is really well done.
The book is full of all kinds of nonfiction text features that make the book a pleasure to read and add to the understanding of the topics.


Last Night at the Telegraph Club
 by Malinda Lo & Emily Woo Zeller (Narrator) January 19, 2021

I pretty much adored this book.
I am in awe of how Malinda Lo has integrated real people and historic events into this gripping historical fiction.
I had to stop reading every once in a while because I was terrified of what would happen to Lily Hu should she get caught at the Telegraph Club. Mostly, I couldn't stop listening. 

Everyone expects Luka, Marya Lupu's brother, to be chosen to become a wizard. On the day someone comes to test him, it turns out to be a disaster and Marya is blamed. The next day she is told that she must attend a school for troubled girls. Something diabolical is going on at the school and it's up to Marya and her friends to figure out just what it is.
I loved this so much I'm desperately hoping for a sequel!

The Smartest Kid in the Universe
 by Chris Grabenstein & Kirby Heyborne (Narrator) December 1, 2020

This is part science fiction, part mystery, and full on hilarious. 

State of Terror
by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Louise Penny & Joan Allen (Narrator) October 12th 2021  🍁

I enjoyed this fun, albeit at times terrifying, political mystery. I especially liked the ending that connected to Louise Penny's fictional community of Three Pines.


"Spíləx̣m are remembered stories, often shared over tea in the quiet hours between Elders."
I now live on the traditional lands of the Syilx people. I'm doing my best to learn more about who they are and what they have endured. 
Nicola I. Campbell integrates family, community, culture, land, and Canadian history into this personal memoir. The labyrinthian interconnections are articulated through poetry, prose, journal entries and essays. They are imbued with raw honesty. Many of the poems are stand alone stunning.
Throughout her work Campbell addresses living with and overcoming loss and grief - a grief deeply embedded into a culture through systemic racism and violence. At the same time, it's a story of rejuvenation, healing and moving forward.


Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) & Michael Curran-Dorsano ( Narrator) 🍁
Mary Anning's Curiosity by Monica Kulling 🍁
Powwow, A Celebration Through Song and Dance by  Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane 🍁


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Whatever else strikes my fancy - maybe more books about Mary Anning.


#MustReadFiction 4/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 1/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 13/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5

Indigenous Authors 5/25 one in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 56/250

#IMWAYR February 7, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 

Recently, reading anything except news has been hard. 
If you are not Canadian, you might not be aware of what's going on here in our country. It's distressing.
A group of truckers and others (99.9%white) with organizers connected to right wing, white supremacy, occupied our capital city. The citizens of Ottawa are tortured with noise and diesel fumes twenty four hours a day, and harassed for wearing masks. Roads are blocked so that ambulances can't get through. Other cities learned from the errors made in Ottawa, so this weekend, convoys planned in other large centres were thwarted by police and local protestors. On Sunday, more than a week after it began, Ottawa declared a state of emergency.

I am hoping that by the time you read this, the worst of it will be over. 

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


5 stars

Bright Star
 by Yuyi Morales September 07, 2021

This book is is visually absolutely stunning.
My heart swelled at the beauty of the illustrations of the natural world of the Sonoran Desert. At the same time it aches because of it's destruction by the stupidity of some humans.

by Yuyi Morales September 4, 2018

I reread this book after finishing up The Last Cuentista
I've gone through this book at least four times. Each time I find something I missed and end up loving it more. It's an homage to the power of libraries, of stories, but even more, its overflowing with the power of love.


These days I've been reading graphic novels for the Cybils awards. By the time this is posted, we will have decided the winners. As soon as it becomes official, I will create a post sharing my thoughts on all of them.

I finished this last week.


I started out listening to this book but then it became so tense I downloaded an ebook and finished it that way. 
No wonder this won the Newbery. What a story! I am not a huge dystopian literature fan (I get easily terrified) but this book grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go until I finished it. I was deeply, emotionally connected to Petra Peña. 
A comet is headed towards earth and Petra and her family leave the planet on a spaceship. They have been chosen to be part of a group who will survive and continue the human race on a new world. Unfortunately the ship has been infiltrated and taken over byThe Collective, a political group who think that everyone must be the same in order to avoid the conflict that made life on earth dangerous. In their efforts to achieve this, art and storytelling have been banned. 

I'm kind of gobsmacked by this adult book which is a fictionalized account of true events. In 1615, Johannes Kepler's mother was accused of witchcraft. Kepler ended up taking a year off his other work to defend her against these charges.
Aspects of this book are hilarious if you are a fan of black humour. It all seems so absurd until it isn't anymore.
Katharina Kepler was a somewhat cantankerous, illiterate old widow who was left well off after her father's death. People envied her for this and for her son's success. One aspect of this book that distressed me is how financial gain became a factor in why people made the claims they made against her. When she was finally imprisoned, her property was sold to cover the cost of her captivity. Her detractors then complained that there would be nothing left for them.
This book is terrifying in what it shows us about modern day witch hunts and the capacity for people to be riled up over rumour, lies and misinformation. It shows us the consequences of living in the middle of a world of scientific illiteracy and absence of logical and critical thinking. 
But then, I guess we don't need to read a book to figure this out.


Spílexm: A Weaving of Recovery, Resilience, and Resurgence by Nicola I. Campbell

History Smashers, Plagues and Pandemics by Kate Messner

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu


Solimar by Pam Muñoz Ryan
and whatever else strikes my fancy


#MustReadFiction 3/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 1/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 8/100 one in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5

Indigenous Authors 2/25 one in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 38/250