Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!
It can be very difficult to tell two stories in one book, especially in a work of nonfiction, but this is something Jael Richardson does masterfully in her debut book The Stone Thrower. In this beautifully written memoir, Jael sets out on a path of discovery to find out how her father, football legend Chuck Ealey Jr., became one of the best quarterbacks in history and why he chose to end his illustrious career. While conducting this exploration of her father’s life, she also explores her own life and what it was like to grow up as a young Black woman in Canada. Even though this book is a tale of two stories, there are common themes that feature prominently in both.
Resilience, true grit, and determination are key components of this book and they are also traits that teachers attempt to instill in their students; which is why it is such an excellent resource and educational tool in multiple curricular areas. Physical Education, History, English, and Global Studies courses could all use this book as it covers the sport of football, provides historical context of the civil rights movement, and looks at …
We’re leading off the fall in conversation with Naben Ruthnum, author of Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race. Curry is part of the Exploded Views nonfiction series published by Coach House Books.
In this compelling essay, Ruthnum critically examines a range of key works by brown writers. He casts his gaze upon novels, travelogues, recipes, and other pop culture signifiers to argue that “the distinctive taste of curry has often become maladroit shorthand for brown identity.”
Naben Ruthnum won the Journey Prize for his short fiction, has been a National Post books columnist, and has written books and cultural criticism for the Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, and the Walrus. His crime fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Joyland, and his pseudonym Nathan Ripley's first novel will appear in 2018. Ruthnum lives in Toronto.
Cheryl Foggo is the author of Dear Baobab, illustrated by Qin Leng (Second Story Press). Dear Baobab is about a young boy, Maiko, who moves to North America from his village in Tanzania. He begins to identify with—and converse with—a little spruce tree that grows too close to his house. Rather than destroyed, the tree is ultimately relocated to a forest with the care of Maiko and his new family. It's about displacement, adopted homes and familial support. This summer, Quill & Quire gave Dear Baobab its highly-coveted Starred Review.
I had a chance to correspond with Cheryl about her personal and political journey as a writer, and the absence of people of colour in children's lit.
Julie Wilson: I've been thinking a lot about conversations I've had of late with editors and authors about the over-saturated publishing marketplace. Are there too many books? What constitutes a "necessary" book? Is that a dangerous question to ask? I consider your latest book, Dear Baobab, necessary and essential, yet it clearly comes from a personal place. Do you consider yourself a political writer? For instance, when writing this book, were you consciously responding to an absence of stories about people of colour?
Cheryl Foggo: Although my impulse to write comes from a creative cor …