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On Our Radar: Internet Trolls, Black Histories, Mental Illness, and Hawaiian Shirts

"Each story holds a mirror to the sociology of now."

Wave Forms and Doom Scrolls, by Daniel Scott Tysdal

Reviewed by Lisa de Nikolits on Goodreads

About the book: In this heart-twisting collection of short stories, Daniel Scott Tysdal delves deep into the human experience. From the middle-aged man involved in a suicide cult to the young woman trying to write a poem for a friend who has recently died, to the daughter of a man who loses everything on a theme park, these stories are filled with beautifully drawn and often profoundly flawed characters. Throughout the collection, Tysdal looks unflinchingly at the darkness of society, at suicide, at internet trolls, at violence, but the powerful empathy of his writing brings significance to even the most tragic moments. These stories have intricate and unexpected plots, filmic descriptions and crisp writing, but what will stay with the reader is the way Wave Forms and Doom Scrolls breaks the reader's heart and then puts it back together again filled with compassion for these lost souls.

*

"But she clarifies that her lectures are not rooted in stories of Black hardship."

Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling, by Esi Edugyan

Profiled by Ian Williams in Maclean's

About the book: An insightful exploration and moving meditation on identity, art, and belonging from one of the most celebrated writers of the last decade.

What happens when we begin to consider stories at the margins, when we grant them centrality? How does that complicate our certainties about who we are, as individuals, as nations, as human beings? Through the lens of visual art, literature, film, and the author’s lived experience, Out of the Sun examines Black histories in art, offering new perspectives to challenge us.

In this groundbreaking, reflective, and erudite book, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and internationally bestselling author Esi Edugyan illuminates myriad varieties of Black experience in global culture and history. Edugyan combines storytelling with analyses of contemporary events and her own personal story in this dazzling first major work of non-fiction.

*

"...an open and direct account of her experiences through mental illness, one that is sharp, thoughtful and written almost as a notebook of slow return."

Myself a Paperclip, by Triny Finlay

Reviewed by rob mclennan on his blog

About the book:

Leaving a drawer open in here
is like leaving your fly undone
is like letting a scab hang off a healing wound.

In Myself A Paperclip, Finlay sketches the internal self and the external whir of the psychiatric ward, laying bare its daily rhythms. Memories, musings, echoes, and meditations on stigma coalesce: quarters dispensed into a payphone to listen to the stunned silence of a partner; Splenda packets and rice pudding hoarded in dresser drawers; counting back from ten as electrodes connect with the temple.

Deeply personal and reflective, Myself A Paperclip confronts abuse and experiences with debilitating mental illnesses, therapies, and hospitalizations, all shaped into the remarkable form of a serial long poem.

*

"Teachers can use this book when discussing friendship, family, and identity... Highly Recommended."

Book Cover Jordan and Max

Jordan and Max Showtime, by Suzanne Sutherland

Reviewed by Elizabeth Brown in CM: Canadian Review of Materials

About the book: Jordan had a tough time with the other kids at his old school. So, on his first day at Massey Elementary, he has a plan: to be absolutely invisible. His new classmates don't need to know that his grandmother is his best friend or that they put on shows together dressing up in elaborate costumes each night in their apartment. When he's forced to pair up with Max, a loud-mouthed loner with a love for Hawaiian shirts, Jordan's cover of invisibility threatens to be blown completely. But with the help of his partner's unique artistic vision, Jordan begins to see that his sparkling secret deserves to be revealed.

This partially illustrated early chapter book is a gentle exploration of friendship, gender performance and identity.

October 18, 2021
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