Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


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The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the debut novel by Eva Jurczyk, is up for giveaway right now

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For some writers, their first book is their best book, but for all writers, their first book offers a glimpse of the setting, subject matter, or style that will make their later works so beloved.

Everyone on this list of esteemed Canadian writers has well-loved popular works, but going back to their debuts will give you literary cred, allowing you to say that you knew all about them before they were big.


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, by Mona Awad

Awad’s debut, set in the terrible suburb of my youth, is a novel in thirteen vignettes about a girl and her relationship with her body, about the way that women are looked at and the way they look at themselves. Awad is best known as the author of the delightful and unhinged Bunny—the New England-set campus horror novel—but there’s a tenderness in her debut that I’ve never been able to shake from my memory.


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A Note of Appreciation: Ontario Public Library Week

written by librarian Linda Ludke

Anyone who works in a library will undoubtedly have stories to tell about memorable items dropped off in book return chutes — in addition to books. At London Public Library, my finds throughout the years have included bacon used as bookmarks, misplaced dentures, and a squashed straw hat.    

But nothing tops the absolute thrill of discovering an unexpected, heartfelt, handwritten note addressed to library staff like these recent treasures:



These letters mean the world to us. This past year and a half has been challenging and ever-changing, as we’ve moved from curb-side pick up to virtual programming to welcoming our community back in person. Library staff are so grateful for the ongoing support we’ve been shown. We thank everyone for their patience, understanding, and appreciation.

This year, Ontario Public Library Week is celebrated from October 17 – 23. It’s a time when libraries and library partners raise awareness of the valuable role libraries play in all of our lives: a place of connection, belonging, and …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: What I Miss About the Library

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month. This month she, like many of us, is working from home—and missing the library. 


Book Cover Franklin

“My” library, where I spend each morning, is a long room with bookshelves all around the perimeter, beneath sky blue walls. Meeting tables are hexagonal and fit together like a beehive. A spinning holder of graphic novels stands as a leaning tower. Someone, long ago, built castle turret bookshelves, which punctuate the picture book area. They house popular series such as Arthur, and Elephant and Piggie, with small stuffies as clues to favourite authors. Various tiny Franklins cluster near Paulette Bourgeois’ books. A jumbo-sized Madeline slumps next to an ever-smiling Curious George, cotton poking through his midriff. A grey and white chickadee is perched near Frank Glew’s That Chickadee Feeling. More characters used to live here but I came in one morning to find Captain Underpants without underpants, Angelina Ballerina disrobed and Stuart Little with his tail between his legs.

In the corner is a den—a set of three carpeted stairs and a sloppy green couch donated by a family that couldn’t bear to set it out for garbage. Read-alouds are performed smack in the middle of t …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews Lisa Moore



This week on The Chat, we turn our attention to YA fiction. We’re in conversation with novelist Lisa Moore, author of the acclaimed new YA novel Flannery. The novel tells the story of Flannery Malone, a precocious, headstrong, 16-year-old living and loving in contemporary St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The National Post says "Flannery is a fully realized and nuanced protagonist, contradictory in all the most consistent ways." Publishers Weekly calls "Flannery ... precocious and independent, a pragmatic heroine with a fierce attitude, quiet patience, and indomitable survival instinct."

Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of February, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and selected as one of The New Yorker’s Best Books of the Year. Her novel Alligator was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Fiction Prize (Canada and the Caribbean). She is a three-time finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, most recently for her novel Caught, which was a national bestseller. Lisa has written for Elle and The Guardian, and her …

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Books and Ghosts: Tomes of Terror

Book Cover Tomes of Terror

Books and ghosts: how could we not feature Mark Leslie's new book, Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries, on 49th Shelf during the week leading up to Halloween? It's a collection of true tales about spooky places rife with books and ghosts, and even some less spooky places where you'd least expect a ghostly encounter—like a Smithbooks located in a suburban shopping mall. We're pleased to share that story with you here, as well as another about a library reportedly haunted by a young woman whose face has been glimpsed peering out from the tower window. 


Goosebumps at Smithbooks

Smithbooks, Sherway Gardens

Etobicoke, Ontario

The ghostly residents of many beloved bookstore locations that are now closed continue to haunt the hearts and minds of both patrons and staff members. These spirits are all the more memorable if, like any good customer, they display a penchant for a particular author’s books.

I was intrigued to chat with an old bookseller colleague about an experience that she had when she worked at a bookstore than has been closed now for about 14 years. Even though Shannon left the store back in 1998, she kept with her a fond and deep love for the bookstore, her fellow staff members, and the customers of the Smithbooks at Sherway Gardens.

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