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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Books That Make the List

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Book Cover Today

Lists are used in different contexts. The Writing curriculum for Grades 1-6 asks students to identify different purposes for writing, to generate ideas, and to write short texts using simple forms. Lists are one of these forms. Similarly, in the Reading curriculum, students are asked to understand the use of different text features, such as lists. The following picture books are useful mentor texts.

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Today, by Julie Morstad, is packed full of choices and to-do lists. The illustrations are detailed and child-like, laid out like a pictorial menu. (Even the book’s large size resembles a menu.) It begins: “What should I do today? Where should I go? Should I stay close to home or go far away? But first, what’ll I wear?” There are hairstyles for the day, breakfast choices, possible activities, ways of travel, flowers to pick. The text is full of quiet surprises. i.e. a page is devoted to a single choice: “…maybe you’d like to be in the middle of a quiet, heavenly nowhere, talking with the minnows?”

About the book: Every day is full of endless possibilities— especially TODAY!

The simplest moment has the potential to become extraordinary in this beautif …

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Armin Wiebe: 100 Canadian Novels by 100 Canadian Authors That I Have Read

Armin's Shorts

For better or for worse, literary talk is all about lists these days, particularly with awards season in full swing. We are all over lists, ourselves: last week, for example, we blew up the Internet with Oddballs and Getting Weird, two lists that add new context (and genres) to the season's literary conversation. That said, lists can lack substance – and they're altogether arbitrary. But that arbitrariness is part of the fun, as Armin Wiebe makes clear in his post below.

How many books from Armin Wiebe's 100 Novels List have you read? And have you got your own list?

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Lists require rules, criteria to determine who or what gets on the list. Lists are sorting devices, tools to help us manage the chaos. Lists are exclusionary, an assessment of worthiness, possibly even a subtle shaming device. In the book world a title on a list shows that the book has been noticed. Authors and publishers strive to have their titles make the anticipation lists, those lists of books sure to be hot in the upcoming season. We want our books to make the best-seller lists, though really there can be only one “best” seller at a time, and then we want our title to get on the long lists and then the short lists for prizes so our book may get on to prize winners’ lists. Those with …

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CanLit Is Terrifying

Book Cover Book of Tongues

Fear not! (Or at least, fear less.) Because here is your guide to a most Canadian bookish Halloween, serving to guide you through the spooky day ahead, and provide great suggestions for appropriate seasonal reading. 

CanLit Zombie expert, Corey Redekop, can hook you up with a good read via The Canadian Weirdscape, made up of selections of the nation's most outlandish, strange, and mind-boggling fiction.

Book Cover The Thirteen

Check out The Fright List for some terrifying titles, including books by award-winning horror masters, Andrew Pyper, and Susie Maloney. 

How to Kill a Vampire

Are you in the unfortunate position of the monsters in your life being not-so fictional? To that end, you might appreciate our excerpt from Liisa Ladouceur's How to Kill a Vampire, part culture guide and all practical guide. Find out how useful your handy crucifix or holy water really will be once you're fa …

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Rebecca Silver Slayter on Myth-Making Books (and Myth-Breaking Books)

Book Cover In the Land of the Bird Fishes

Rebecca Silver Slayter, author of new novel In the Land of Birdfishes, offers up this fantastic recommended reading list.

I’ve always felt drawn to books that engage in some way with myth. It’s one of those instinctual attractions that I have to sort of reason my way backwards to explain. Myth aspires toward connection and toward consolation for disconnection, distilling the vastness and variousness of human experience to its heights and depths, as if there is something universal in those moments of extremity. Which of course is probably where the problems start. Sometimes I am suspicious of my attraction to myth, and wonder if it’s something I should cut down on, like salt. Probably if I were a more serious person, I would read only austere, searing realism, trafficking exclusively in accuracy of detail. But then I think there must be a lie in realism too, that it’s only another kind of myth about what life is and how it feels. And inversely, there must be something true in the stories we share between us (even if only in what they reveal about us and what we want to be true). That sharing is really what defines myth—that it becomes part of a collective way of looking at the world. And so maybe that is where the problems start: with religious or cultura …

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