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Books for Remembrance Day

New stories of war and military history are still being told. On the occasion of Remembrance Day, we're sharing these 14 recent books approaching war and remembrance from a variety of perspectives. 

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A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton - Teyoninhokarawen, edited by Carl Benn

A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812 presents the story of John Norton, or Teyoninhokarawen, an important war chief and political figure among the Grand River Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) in Upper Canada. Norton saw more action during the conflict than almost anyone else, being present at the fall of Detroit, the capture of Fort Niagara, the battles of Queenston Heights, Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippawa, and Lundy’s Lane, the blockades of Fort George and Fort Erie, as well as a large number of skirmishes and front-line patrols. His memoir describes the fighting, the stresses suffered by indigenous peoples, and the complex relationships between the Haudenosaunee and both their British allies and other First Nations communities.

Norton’s words, written in 1815 and 1816, provide nearly one-third of the book’s content, with the remainder consisting of Carl Benn’s introductions and annotations, which enable readers to understand Norton’s fascinating autobiography within …

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The Chat with Kathy Page

Kathy Page high res credit Billie Woods

Last November, Kathy Page won the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award for her compelling and thoroughly entertaining novel Dear Evelyn.

The tender story of a decades-long romance between Harry and Evelyn, the novel explores how time transforms our most intimate relationships. The Writers’ Trust jury writes, “By integrating themes that are universally understood by readers and skilfully crafting endearing characters that surprise and delight, Page has created a poignant literary work of art.”

Kathy Page is the author of ten previous books, two of which, Paradise & Elsewhere (2014) and The Two of Us (2016), were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Other works include Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2005, The Story of My Face, longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002, and Frankie Styne and the Silver Man. Born in the UK, she moved to Salt Spring Island with her family in 2001, and now divides her time between writing and teaching at Vancouver Island University.

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THE CHAT WITH KATHY PAGE

Trevor Corkum: Dear Evelyn is a gorgeous, complicated portrayal of the 70-year relationship between Harry, a World War Two veteran, and his wife, Evelyn. Can you speak more about how these characters came to life for you?

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Sally Ito on The Emperor's Orphans and Family History

In The Emperor's Orphans, poet and translator Sally Ito tells the story of her own family's history in Japan and Canada, and the wider story of Japanese-Canadians being "repatriated" to Japan during World War Two. In this list, she shares other stories of family history that inspired her on her writing journey. 

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October is Family History Month, which makes for a perfect month to be launching my new book of creative nonfiction, The Emperor’s Orphans, about my family’s history in Canada and Japan. When I sat down to write this book, I initially thought I was writing about my family but it turned out my family was writing about (or to) me—either through the story-telling voice of my Nisei great Aunty Kay or the fastidious pen-wielding scribe of my Japanese grandfather, Toshiro Saito. These “ancestors” from the past shaped the writer-me into existence, leading me to discover who I am as a Japanese Canadian woman. 

There are some great creative nonfiction titles I read along the journey of writing this book that are listed below. Hope you find them and be inspired as I was by them. 

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on War

Book Cover Hana's Suitcase

With Remembrance Day falling next week, our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker, shares some titles that reveal the realities of war to younger readers. 

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Whilst browsing through the stacks for this piece, I found a novel read aloud to me in grade five about a boy who escapes from a concentration camp. The whole plot came rushing back, along with the terror that something so horrifying could happen to a kid, a kid like me. I found myself asking: when should a child learn about war, real war? I've watched the expressions of eleven-year-olds listening to Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine. It felt as if I were witnessing a loss of innocence.

I spent the weekend reading nine books about war, which I will rate on a scale of tears, beginning with those that didn't make me cry.

The Sky is Falling by Kit Pearson is the first in a trilogy set during WWII. When a German war plane crashes in their English village Norah and her brother, Gavin, are sent to Toronto to live far from danger. As "War Guests," Gavin is the favoured one, leaving Norah to struggl …

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