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Launchpad: Murmurations, by Annick MacAskill

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

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Today we're launching Murmurations, by Annick MacAskill, whose previous book was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the J. M. Abraham Poetry Award (Atlantic Book Awards).

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Murmurations is a book of love poems, heavy on the bird imagery.

Describe your ideal reader.

Any reader is my ideal reader! But to play fair: anyone who’s wondered what lovers and birds have to do with each other, or w …

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Launchpad: Show Me the Honey, by Dave Doroghy

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching the memoir Show Me the Honey, by Dave Doroghy, a lighthearted, self-deprecating account of one fledgling beekeeper’s misadventures.

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s a humorous self-deprecating book about the challenges of raising bees; and how the real rewards of the hobby are derived from simply studying these fascinating bugs, and not from the meagre honey yields.

Describe your ideal reader.

People interested in our ecology, folks interested in t …

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Launchpad: Sea Otters, by Isabelle Groc

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Sea Otters: A Survival Story, by Isabelle Groc, which no less than Dame Judi Dench calls "an important story, one that gives us hope...Young people will be encouraged to see that positive change can happen, and that we can all do something to help preserve our planet."

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Book Cover SEa Otters a Survival Story

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Sea Otters: A Survival Story, illustrated with my photographs, looks at the history, biology, behaviour and uncertain future of sea otters, their journey from …

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Launchpad: Lost Lagoon, Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Lost Lagoon/ Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland, which Shaena Lambert calls, "an extraordinary love spell cast by a master magician."

The Elevator Pitch for Lost Lagoon/lost in thought.

An up-close prose poetry account of The Human’s relationship between Stanley Park’s lagoon wildlife and Vancouver’s fast-paced urban living.

Describe your ideal reader.

Sinks into the soundscape of Tord Gustavsen’s The Other Side; savours reading Tanya Tagaq’s Split Toot …

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Launchpad: Gold Rush, by Claire Caldwell

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Gold Rush, Claire Caldwell's follow-up to the acclaimed collection Invasive Species. John Irving writes, "Claire Caldwell is an environmental doomsayer, but she’s also a comedic, antic storyteller, and she’s great at dark endings. Wilderness women are her storytellers; they speak with the melancholy of country music."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Gold Rush explores what it means to be a woman in the wilderness, from the …

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Launchpad: Prairie, by Candace Savage

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching the revised edition of Candace Savage's Prairie: A Natural History of the Heart of North America, which the Globe and Mail says is "...impelled with its sense of the miraculous in nature."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Prairie: a Natural History of the Heart of North America is a love letter to the largest ecosystem on the continent, revealing beauty and fascination that are hiding in plain sight.

Describe your ideal reader.

Happiest with a garden trowel in …

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Launchpad: West Coast Wild Babies, by Deborah Hodge

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today, we're bringing you Deborah Hodge's West Coast Wild Babies, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, the follow-up to West Coast Wild, which was shortlisted for the Silver Birch Express Award and winner of The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s spring on the Pacific west coast and new life is stirring! Meet the wolf pups, bear cubs, whale calves, eaglets and other baby animals who begin their life in this wild and …

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Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Book Cover A Forest in the City

A Forest in the City, by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Pierre Pratt, is the first in Groundwood Books’ new series ThinkCities about sustainability and urban systems. It looks at how trees in the city help mitigate climate change and help us all stay healthy and well. Author Andrea Curtis marks its April publication with a list of books for young people about trees. 

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Trees and nature have provided balm for the stress and anxiety of our lives since, well, forever. But perhaps no more so than in the midst of this pandemic. There can be little that is more soothing than to inhale the smell of green things growing, to gaze up at the swaying branches of a forest and know that these giants persist despite it all. But when self isolation and physical distancing has got your family cooped up, the next best thing might just be reading picture books (fiction and nonfiction) about trees. Here’s a list of some standouts in the category.

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Picture Books

 

The Night Gardener, by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

This fantastical and moving story of a topiary genius, who c …

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Great Companions: Because Two Books Are Better than One

As fascinating as books themselves are the connections between books, the curious ways in which books inform and echo each other, creating strange synergies completely outside their authors' purview. In celebration of these connections, we've paired recent Canadian books of note, creating ideal literary companions. Because the only thing better than a book you can't wait to read is TWO of them. 

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To Speak for the Trees, by Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Treed, by Ariel Gordon

Poetry and botany meet in these two books that celebrate the wonder and awesomeness of trees. 

About To Speak for the TreesWhen Diana Beresford-Kroeger—whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O'Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions—was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O'Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom and the Ogham alphabet, all o …

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Wild Books About the Natural World

By August, your children may be more engaged with the natural world than ever after six weeks of digging in the mud, jumping off big rocks, plucking baby tomatoes from the vine in the garden, and climbing trees. So it's never been a better time for this fantastic list of awesome middle-grade nonfiction from Rachel Poliquin, whose new book is Moles

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With her Supersonic Snout Fingers and Blood of the Gods, Rosalie the Mole is the star of the second instalment in my Superpower Field Guide Series. Yes, Rosalie is a squinty-eyed mole, but don’t underestimate this unlikely hero. One part silly, two parts science, and jam-packed with full-colour illustrations by Nicholas John Frith, Moles will introduce middle-grade readers to their new favourite subterranean superhero. 

I love clever nonfiction that entertains kids while it teaches. And I love that the genre is undergoing a quiet but explosive revolution—particularly in the realm of nature books. Smart and funny authors and superb illustrators are transforming unexpected subjects like supernovas, head lice, and bacteria into serious fun. Here’s a list of highly entertaining and visually stunning nonfiction books sure to make middle-grade readers love the natural world around them.    

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Books Beat Boredom: 8 Things for Your Kids to Do this Summer

Beat boredom with these engaging titles that suggest amazing ways to engage with and have fun in the natural world. 

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1) Plant an avocado tree!

Sprout, Seed, Sprout!, by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff

About the book: One day, when a boy sees his dad cut an avocado in half, he decides to plant the fruit’s seed and grow it into…an avocado tree! One glass of water, two careful hands, and three pointy toothpicks later, it’s time to wait…and wait…and wait…for it to grow.

At long last, the boy and his faithful pet cat see one root, two roots, three roots emerge! Three scoops of soil, three sprinkles of water, and a lot more waiting…lead to one sturdy stem, two clapping hands, and three grateful cheers. The avocado tree starts to appear! One, two, and three years later, the tree grows taller still.

This charming story is told with lots of rhythm and repetition, paired with playful illustrations full of funny details about the trials of coaxing a seed into a plant. Readers will come away with a sense that the struggle to be patient and stick it out can be worthwhile, even when a result seems impossible.

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2) Go hunting for sea glass/beach glass treasures!  

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Reading Beyond Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! These books celebrate nature and the wonders of the world around us, underlining why it matters so much that we take care of what we've got. 

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Birds, by Robert Bateman and Kathryn Dean

About the book: At a time when bird species are disappearing rapidly, the poignant beauty of Robert Bateman's paintings is more urgent than ever. It reminds us why Bateman was compelled to study and paint his subjects and why we must work to secure their futures.

Bateman has sketched and painted bird life in every corner of the globe. His special relationship with some of the planet's most beautiful and fascinating creatures is captured here in an elegant volume that will appeal to bird lovers and art lovers alike.

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Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies, by David R. Boyd

About the book: In Cleaner, Greener, Healthier, David R. Boyd sets out to remedy Canada’s environmental health problems. He begins by assessing the environmental burden of disease, identifies its unequal distribution, and est …

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