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Fierce: The Secret Life of Miss Freeman

Book Cover Fierce

Fierce: Women Who Shaped Canada, written by Lisa Dalrymple with illustrations by Willow Dawson, is a collection of fascinating biographical stories about ten women who've shaped the story of Canada. "Often relegated to the sidelines of history, the women highlighted in this book were performed feats that most people would never even dream of. You may not know their names now, but after reading their stories, you won’t soon forget them." This book is geared toward middle-grade readers, but readers of all ages will find much to discover in its pages. 

We're excited to share an excerpt from the story of Alice Freeman, the Toronto school teacher who led a double life...

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Alice Freeman

February 1888 Toronto, Ontario

Though the students at Ryerson School loved Miss Freeman, none of them knew her secret. At the end of the day, when they went home to their chores and their beds, she became Faith Fenton, investigative reporter for the Empire newspaper in Toronto, Ontario. She spent her nights doing things that surely no teacher would do—like interviewing famous actresses or visiting jails and homeless shelters, before walking home alone down dark city streets in the early hours of the morning. By the time her students arrived back at school, Miss Freeman was standing …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

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Book Cover White Elephant

White Elephant, by Catherine Cooper

Reviewed by Sarah Murdoch in The Toronto Star

Dr. Richard Berringer has long dreamed of bringing his medical skills to the poor of Africa. So now he, his sick and unhappy wife, Ann, and their difficult 13-year-old son, Tor, have pulled up stakes in Nova Scotia and settled in Sierra Leone, on the cusp of civil war... This self-assured debut novel, with its difficult characters operating at cross-purposes, can be hard to read. Yet it is so deftly executed that it’s impossible to turn away.

Read the review here

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Book Cover Tell

Tell, by Soraya Peerbaye

Winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Prize for Poetry:

From the Griffin Judges' citation: The true miracle of Tell is not merely its choice to sing of such things, but its ability to sing in such a way as to urge the rea …

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Illustrator's Gallery: Willow Dawson and The Wolf Birds

Wolf Birds Cover

This month we're focussing on winter, the outdoors, nature, and issues of survival. The Wolf-Birds, by Willow Dawson, encompasses all these themes. In a story set deep in the wild winter wood, two hungry ravens fly in search of their next meal. A pack of wolves is on the hunt, too. Food is scarce, but, if they team up, the ravens and wolves just might be able to help each other. The Wolf-Birds takes an honest, unflinching view of survival in the wild, highlighting the fact that one animal’s life helps many others live. Based on scientific data and anecdotal reports from Aboriginal hunters, the book explores the fascinating symbiotic relationship shared by wolves and ravens. Because ravens follow and scavenge food from wolves—which scientists believe hints at an ecological relationship thousands of years old—ravens have been dubbed “wolf-birds.”

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Wolf Birds Image 1

 

Image from the Wolf Birds

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How Frieda Wishinsky Found Avis Dolphin

Book Cover Avis Dolphin

It is because truth is stranger than fiction that it turns out Avis Dolphin was the name of an actual person before she was the subject of Frieda Wishinksy's latest book. Avis Dolphin is her story, about a young girl's journey from Canada to England on the ill-fated Lusitania during WW1. Avis is lonely and afraid until she meets a kindly professor whose stories of a magical island help her face an uncertain future. And when the Lusitania is attacked, Avis must draw on all her newfound strength to cope with the confusion, terror, and despair.

How can she survive the sudden devastation of the ship? Will the people she cares about, especially the professor, live through the horror and danger? Wishinsky's story is complemented by the art of Willow Dawson, graphic novel illustrations depicting the stories the Professor tells to Avis. 

In this guest post, Frieda Wishinsky explains how she learned about making stories from history come to life. 

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I "found" Avis Dolphin while researching shipwrecks for a non-fiction book. As soon as I read about this 12-year-old who survived the torpedoing of the ocean liner Lusitania on May 7, 1915, I was intrigued. Her story was even more engaging than her name but I had many questions that the facts and official accounts didn’t an …

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Read a Book, Share a Story! TD Children's Book Week 2012

Children's Book Week Poster

"Read a Book, Share a Story" is the theme of TD Children’s Book Week 2012, which kicks off on May 6 and sends 29 Canadian authors, illustrators and storytellers across the country to share their work and bookish passion with the public through readings held in public libraries, community centres, bookstores and local schools.

“We are thrilled that, with TD’s support, these authors, illustrators and storytellers will help children across the country discover the joy of reading,” says Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director of The Canadian Children's Book Centre, TD's partner in the venture.

Book Cover Hyena in Petticoats

This is the 35th year that Children’s Book Week has taken place. In 1977, the event began with just 11 participating authors, including the much celebrated Dennis Lee (of Alligator Pie fame, among many other books), who remembers “the excitement as so many writers starting to come out of the woodwork. Publishers, librarians, teachers and parents were realizing that good stuff was coming from their own time and place.”

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