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What the Kite Saw: Stories of Children and Crisis

Book Cover What the Kite Saw

My new picture book, What The Kite Saw, illustrated by Akin Duzakin, shares what a young boy feels and does after soldiers seize control of his town and take his father and brother away. War has a brutal impact on children whenever adults (nations) resolve a conflict through military force. I gave this story a universal setting because, sadly, it could happen anywhere.

Children have their own unique ways of facing a crisis. Yes, they need protecting, but they are also resilient. They have inner resources, spunk and imagination. The young protagonists in the stories I’ve chosen face their crisis in ways I find inspiring with an idea they’ve imagined themselves. No adult guides the child. Regardless of the situation, these stories reflect a respect for the dignity of children.

Book Cover Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs, by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak is determined to learn to read and ignores her father’s warnings that residential schools are terrible places. After Margaret leaves the safety of …

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Aftershock: Books on Trauma and Resilience

Book Cover Aftershock

Alison Taylor is the author of new novel Aftershock.

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I noticed an odd thing, in the early days of COVID-19. As things were shutting down, kids being sent home from school and people forced to work at home, as stores closed to regular business and everyone was cooped up alone or with co-habitants, as reports came in from China, Italy, and Iran, and then Europe of overwhelmed hospitals and exponential infection rates, I don’t think it’s an understatement to say people were freaking out.

But what I noticed is that particular people among my friends, myself included, were actually coping fairly well. The commonality among us? As trauma survivors, we were always already waiting for something really bad to happen. And then it did. Rearranging our lives around something catastrophic was already old hat. Complicated mixtures of grief, guilt, loss and shame are just part of the resilience package. In moments of crisis, we don’t break down: we make sure everybody around us is okay. And then we make jokes.

So when I was asked to curate this list of books related to my own work or my own interests, I looked for a way to do both. As I write, I am mid-way through a new novel about intergenerational trauma, and when I’m not writing, I am obsessively watching what ap …

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Reading Resilient Women

The Chai Factor, Farah Heron's debut novel, is a fun and entertaining romantic comedy, but underneath the surface is a story of struggle, strength, and resilience. In this recommended reading list, she shares titles whose resilient heroines helped to inspire her own. 

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The Chai Factor is a romantic comedy following Amira Khan, a 30-year-old engineering grad student who comes home to finish her thesis in her grandmother’s house, only to find that her grandmother has rented the basement to a barbershop quartet. As one does, apparently. Hijinks and arguments about noise levels in the basement are inevitable, but what Amira doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the plaid-wearing baritone who is not what she initially assumed him to be.

But although laughs and swoony romance are front and centre in this book, it covers some pretty heavy topics like Islamaphobia, homophobia, workplace sexism, and living up to familial expectations. And at its core, it’s about a woman of colour’s resilience in a world that is not designed to be easy for her.

I’m primarily a romance writer and reader, but books from other genres about strong, resilient women finding ways to thrive amid the harsh realities of the world are huge inspirations for me. Here are some of my favourite …

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