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Books to Inspire

My grandfather, the late Senator Calvin Ruck, was a storyteller. He’s also one of the most inspirational men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Amazing Black Atlantic Canadians: Inspiring Stories of Courage and Strength was born out of a desire to share some of those stories that he told me as a young girl (including his own). They are stories of courage, strength, hope, and overcoming the odds to do great things.

The following recommended reading list features books that have inspired me to push harder, to dream bigger, and most importantly, to love myself entirely as I am. The titles range from simple children’s picture books to gritty memoirs that put it all on the page and leave you energized to kick up the dust, to take on the world, and to do away with the status quo. The power of the written word is quite remarkable, and I’m so grateful these authors have chosen words that have, and will continue to, inspire so many. 

 

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The following recommended reading list features books that have inspired me to push harder, to dream bigger, and most importantly, to love myself entirely as I am.

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Save the World for Me, by Maxine Tynes

I can still remember the exact moment I heard Maxine Tynes read her beautiful poetry. I was captivated by her words, her composure, and her beauty. That’s the moment when I knew I wanted to write. And I wanted my writing to inspire; just like Maxine Tynes inspired me in that moment. Save the World for Me is a book of poetry Maxine wrote for younger readers. But anyone, young or old, can read the words in these poems and be inspired and uplifted.

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My Hair is Beautiful, by Shauntay Grant

As a mother of two young children, most of the books I have the time to read at the moment are board books that are filled with beautiful pictures and simple sentences. As soon as I heard about this book by Shauntay Grant I knew I needed a copy for my daughter’s library. I love the simplicity of the book. My daughter loves the beautiful, happy little girls that are featured on each page. I want my daughter to love her curly hair and to embrace it fully and this book promotes just that.

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Pocket Rocks, by Sheree Fitch

I cried the first time I read this book because I was so moved with the simple message and thought about how it could inspire so many children who feel just like its main character, Ian Goobie. I’ve been a hype girl for author Sheree Fitch since she read to my Grade 2 class many, many years ago. I was so excited to share her beautiful books with my own children, and have now fallen in love with her rhymes all over again. Pocket Rocks is a children’s book that seriously tugs at the heart strings. The book introduces a world of fantasy and imagination that makes day-to-day realities just a little bit easier for young Ian.

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From the Ashes, by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes tells the incredible story of Metis-Cree man, Jesse Thistle, who was abandoned by his parents when he was just a toddler. From addictions and homelessness to racism and prejudices, Thistle's challenges evoked so many emotions for me. It’s a memoir that will break your heart and then mend it together again. It tackles some big issues that many minorities are all too familiar with. But it gives so much hope, so much strength, and demonstrates how the resilience of one can overcome what may seem like insurmountable obstacles.

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Home Body, by Rupi Kaur

I heard an interview with Rupi on CBC and she was talking about her own anxiety and depression and how she was working through these deep and overwhelming feelings while working on Home Body, which is her third book. I love Rupi’s honesty and Home Body really hits on the importance of self-love. “…everything i need, already exists in me…”. I think we all need to remind ourselves of that truth daily. This is a love letter that could be read over and over again.

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Understorey Magazine (Issue 12): African Nova Scotian Women

When it comes to book recommendations, I may be breaking the rules with this one, but I couldn’t not include this publication when talking about literature that inspires. In 2017, I was asked to guest edit a special issue of Understorey Magazine that would feature all African Nova Scotian women. To say the request was a great honour would be an understatement. The issue features beautiful poetry, images of sculptures and quilts, paintings and short stories. It’s a celebration of artistic works created by some truly inspiring African Nova Scotian women.

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About Amazing Black Atlantic Canadians:

This fascinating, full-colour illustrated book features over 50 amazing Black people from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, sharing their incredible stories and accomplishments, past and present.

Among these amazing Black Atlantic Canadians are people who saved lives, set sports records (Delmore William "Buddy" Daye), achieved international superstardom (Measha Brueggergosman), made change in their own neighbourhoods (Quentrel Provo), overcame injustice (Viola Desmond), and enacted many other inspiring deeds of courage and perseverance. With dozens of profiles on both historical and contemporary Black people from Atlantic Canada, Lindsay Ruck celebrates the accomplishments of some of our region's amazing Black heroes.

Featuring informative sidebars, an index, and 20 colour illustrations from artist James Bentley.

March 15, 2021

Books mentioned in this post

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Amazing Black Atlantic Canadians

Inspiring Stories of Courage and Achievement

by Lindsay Ruck, illustrated by James Bentley
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: cultural heritage, prejudice & racism, african american

This fascinating, full-colour illustrated book features over 50 amazing Black people from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, sharing their incredible stories and accomplishments, past and present.

Among these amazing Black Atlantic Canadians are people who saved lives, set sports records (Delmore Willia …

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Save the World for Me

by Maxine Tynes
edition: Paperback
tagged:

Maxine Tynes is a poet who has lived all her life in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She is the author of 'Borrowed Beauty' and 'Woman Talking Woman'. In 1988, Maxine was named the Milton Acorn People's Poet of Canada for her lively and intense writing. She teaches English at Cole Harbour High School.

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My Hair is Beautiful

by Shauntay Grant
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 0 to 3
  • Grade: p
tagged: african american, girls & women, body

Natural, knotty, fluffy, frizzy, twisted, tangled, pony, puffed!

A celebration of natural hair, from afros to cornrows and everything in between, My Hair is Beautiful is a joyful board book with a powerful message of self-love.

Governor General's Award-nominated author Shauntay Grant brings her unique spoken-word style to this fun read-aloud, featu …

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From the Ashes

My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

by Jesse Thistle
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook Audiobook Audiobook
tagged: personal memoirs, indigenous studies, self-esteem

*#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
*Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction
*Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards
*Winner, High Plains Book Awards
*Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
*A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
*An Indigo Book of the Year
*A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year
In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once …

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Home Body

by Rupi Kaur
tagged: women authors, canadian, love

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers comes her greatly anticipated third collection of poetry.

rupi kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a colle …

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