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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Valentine’s Day Picture Books

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

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Kiss Kiss, by Jennifer Couelle, with fun illustrations by Jacques Laplante, is the perfect book for a Kindergarten or Grade One classroom. The rhyming text covers kisses for every occasion: “Kisses that say ‘hi’ look just like those that say ‘goodbye… A morning kiss can feel so right—like sunshine after a rainy night.”

Kids could contribute a page to a class Kiss, Kiss book after brainstorming the kinds of kisses in their lives. What sounds do kisses make? “Big ones like…smooch! And little ones like…peck!” might spark an onomatopoeia (sound words) lesson. How about a lesson on counting by twos? “A kiss is sweet, when 4 lips meet.” Or the plural form: “If you have lots of love to send, add ‘es’ at the end.”

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Book Cover The Secret Life of Squirrels a Love Story

Kids will be mesmerized by the illustrations of The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story, by nature photographer, Nancy Rose. It’s one in a series of books featuring photos of squirrels in miniature sets const …

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P.K. Page: I could do with the good solid reality of you

Book Cover Where the Nights Are Twice As Long

Under the covers of Where the Nights Are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski , Leonard Cohen, John Barton, and Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country's English literary history.

We are pleased to feature this excerpt, a love letter from P.K. Page to F.R. Scott, a letter full of longing and love from one poet to another. And learn more about the anthology at http://wherethenights.tumblr.com. 

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P.K. Page to F.R. Scott Friday, June 30, 1944

Friday

I’m sorry to write rot.

1x1 has just arrived. Lambie-pie how swell of you. I have been gobbling it up & not understanding but getting the feeling & going back & regobbling & understanding better & all in all feeling it’s my birth day or yours or something. Cummings seems to be a sort of carrier pigeon flying back & forth between us.

I have decided to leave here on the 14th & that is definite. Will arrive at New River the same day — or night rather — if I can connect with a bus. I’m quite excited about it. From now on I’m going to try to work like stink on the histories to make enough money …

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Homesick Love: Guest Post by Méira Cook

Book Cover House on Sugarbush Road

"The books that I have responded to most over the many years of 'reading myself Canadian' are those written by immigrants. Not necessarily diasporic writers but immigrants of the soul. Those who, like me, are always looking for a place to land. Those who circle writing like a runway. Those who touch down, take off."

When I was a graduate student taking a class with the incomparable Robert Kroetsch, a charismatic and intuitive teacher, I remember in particular a gnomic phrase that he uttered in the middle of one of our Wednesday afternoon seminars at the University of Manitoba. Now that I think of it, much of Kroetsch’s tremendous impact as a teacher came from the terseness of his declarations—his utterances on literature were aphoristic, oracular and always provocative. After one of his Delphic pronouncements there was inevitably a pause and then (how long after? minutes, years?) a babble—of dissent, agreement, agony, epiphany, despair.

It was the winter term and there always seemed to be a blizzard raging outside the seminar room with its clanking radiators and ice-blooming windows. Sometimes I felt as if the wind had tugged us loose from our moorings in that classroom on the third floor of the old Arts Building and was spinning us high above the prairies in …

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