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Tackling the Big Themes EXAMPLE

I’ve been dubbed a medical thriller or medical suspense writer. It’s true. Medicine plays a pivotal role in my work. And I apply my twenty-plus years of experience in working on the frontlines at a downtown ER to imbue my stories with authenticity. But I also use my fiction to deconstruct medical issues that are controversial, topical, and especially impactful. My goal is always to inform while, hopefully, providing nail-biting entertainment. I’ve tackled big themes, including the devastation of the opioid epidemic, the rise of superbugs, and of course, the threat of the next pandemic, which no longer seems a topic necessary for fictional treatment. My latest novel, Lost Immunity, addresses the deadly serious issue of vaccine hesitancy and its potential impact on a global outbreak. And I am fiercely committed to spreading that message any way I can.

I grew up inspired by realistic storytellers such as James Michener, Ken Follett, and Michael Crichton. I wholly believe that good stories can also educate. And maybe that is why is I am drawn to fiction writers who highlight vital social and scientific themes through their novels. And fortunately, there is an abundance of Canadian authors who do that exceptionally well. And here is my list of a handful of examples of that artful skill.

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Gutter Child, by Jael Richardson

I doubt this dystopian novel could be much more topical, especially considering the vast disparities in …

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Tackling the Big Themes

I’ve been dubbed a medical thriller or medical suspense writer. It’s true. Medicine plays a pivotal role in my work. And I apply my twenty-plus years of experience in working on the frontlines at a downtown ER to imbue my stories with authenticity. But I also use my fiction to deconstruct medical issues that are controversial, topical, and especially impactful. My goal is always to inform while, hopefully, providing nail-biting entertainment. I’ve tackled big themes, including the devastation of the opioid epidemic, the rise of superbugs, and of course, the threat of the next pandemic, which no longer seems a topic necessary for fictional treatment. My latest novel, Lost Immunity, addresses the deadly serious issue of vaccine hesitancy and its potential impact on a global outbreak. And I am fiercely committed to spreading that message any way I can.

I grew up inspired by realistic storytellers such as James Michener, Ken Follett, and Michael Crichton. I wholly believe that good stories can also educate. And maybe that is why is I am drawn to fiction writers who highlight vital social and scientific themes through their novels. And fortunately, there is an abundance of Canadian authors who do that exceptionally well. And here is my list of a handful of exampl …

Continue reading »

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Books With Sole(s)

Every month, our resident children's librarian Julie Booker brings us great stories from the stacks. 

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Book Cover A Good Trade

What’s the big idea? One of the current trends in education is to identify the underlying theme or message, to make connections with other stories and the larger world. Shoes allow for big ideas, relatable to readers as young as age four.

Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau's A Good Trade starts out simple. Kato, a young boy wakes on his mat in Uganda. He carries his gerry cans to the well for water, splashing his bare feet. Questions start to form in the reader’s mind. Why are the cattle-spotted fields guarded by soldiers? What is this "aid worker's truck" Kato peeks into? He spies a single white poppy and makes a trade for what he's seen: a pair of runners. The beautiful pictures and the one-sentence-per-page provide great starting points for discussing life in Uganda, world help organizations, and inequity in general. 

Book Cover Two Pairs of Shoes

Two Pairs of Shoes by Esther Sanderson is another simple tale that asks a big question. Maggie lives in two worlds—English and …

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