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The Miscellaneous Club > July 2018: Canada

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message 1: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Jul 01, 2018 09:47PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2601 comments Mod
This month, we will be reading books about Canada, or books by Canadian authors.
You may wish to look at this website: CCBC Book Awards (http://bookcentre.ca/programs/awards) for ideas; these are all books written by Canadian authors. They have a literature award, picture book award, non-fiction award, mystery award, science fiction and fantasy award, historical fiction award, a teen award, and a couple of awards for books written in French. Our fellow children's book aficionado, Manybooks, may also have suggestions to make.
I plan to read The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, which won a John Spray Mystery Award in 2016 (one of the awards listed above).
I hope that you all can find some of these award-winning books in your libraries.


message 2: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 02, 2018 06:53AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Have a lot to suggest! Unfortunately, there are more US books in Canadian libraries than vice versa.

I have a humungous amount of read and reviewed Canadian based picture books, but I am going to wait a few days before listing them.


message 3: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
I would be remiss if I did not first and foremost list my absolutely favourite Canadian author, L.M. Montgomery. And basically, I would recommend most of her fiction, and not just the Anne of Green Gables series (and I would also recommend many of Montgomery's short stories but with the caveat that they are not always meant for children but can for the most part be read by older children above the age of ten or so). But yeah, no list of Canadian fiction for children is in my opinion complete without listing L.M. Montgomery.

I have read most of Montgomery's fiction, but have not gotten around to actually reviewing all that many of her novels, as I read most of them years before joining Goodreads. I do highly recommend her and for her short stories, I for one absolutely love the series edited by the late Rea Wilmshurst (which titles I will list, as they are not nearly as universally known as L.M. Montgomery's novels)

Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans
Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side
Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories
After Many Days: Tales of Time Passed
Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence
Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement
Along the Shore: Tales by the Sea
At the Altar: Matrimonial Tales

From L.M. Montgomery's fiction, I of course recommend Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, although I personally actually have always enjoyed Emily of New Moon (and its sequels), The Story Girl (and its sequel The Golden Road) and for a stand alone one of Montgomery's last novels, Jane of Lantern Hill a bit more than the Anne series.

I also recommend Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea (with the caveat that the last story in Further Chronicles of Avonlea is really and truly disgustingly racist towards Native Canadians).


message 4: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 02, 2018 06:44AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Similar to the Dear America series, the Dear Canada series also features historical and fictional diaries (and thankfully, has not had the controversies with regard to cultural appropriation that the Dear America series has sometimes engendered).

There are now well of over third entries and of the ones I have read, I have liked most of them and some of them I have indeed very much loved. They are now also available as e-books, and the authors are for the most part well-known Canadian children's authors such as Jean Little, Janet Lunn etc. I am going to list the titles of the Dear Canada books I have reviewed so far, but I would and do recommend the entire series (including the short story collections for Christmas and stories of arrival).

To Stand On My Own: The Polio Epidemic Diary of Noreen Robertson, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1937
If I Die Before I Wake: The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor
Winter of Peril: The Newfoundland Diary of Sophie Loveridge (did not really like this one as much)
All Fall Down: The Landslide Diary of Abby Roberts

And once again, just like with L.M. Montgomery, I have actually read many of the Dear Canada series, but before joining GR, and thus I have not reviewed them and will need to reread them, however, I do very much recommend the series a a whole.


message 5: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 02, 2018 06:49AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Not particularly pleased that GR ate my last post!! So I am going to simply list those Canadian Middle Grade books I have read and often enjoyed in the past by title (do not feel like writing about them again, sorry, but you can easily click on the title for both book descriptions and my reviews, and many of these books do not have all that many reviews anyhow).


Booky: A trilogy
That Scatterbrain Booky
As Ever, Booky
With Love From Booky
Travels with My Family
OCDaniel
I Heard the Owl Call My Name
The Sparrow's Fall
Jeannie and the Gentle Giants
Adeline's Dream
The Ghost of Northumberland Strait
This One Summer
Pit Pony
The Island Horse
Two Much Alike
It Takes Two
Tumbleweed Skies
The Hungry Year
The Perilous Year
Kimberley of Millpond
A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 (illustrated but too long to consider a picture book in my opinion)
Hannah Waters And The Daughter Of Johann Sebastian Bach

Mary Anning's Curiosity (author is based in Vancouver even if the book is about Mary Anning)
This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall! (and the sequels, but I would suggest NOT reading the updated and changed editions as it really feels weird to read with especially the first three or four books, a decidedly late 70s, early 80s school story, with superimposed emails, computers, cell phones etc.).


message 6: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 14, 2018 08:18AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Am hoping to read the following Canadian middle grade books this month.

The Contest
Finding Grace
Home Free
There You Are
Connecting Dots
Lucy Maud and Me
The Margaret Trilogy
Before Green Gables


message 7: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2601 comments Mod
Thanks for all the suggestions!


message 8: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "Thanks for all the suggestions!"

Hope those interested are actually able to find some of these, as unfortunately, with Canadian children's literature, there are a lot more American children's books in Canadian libraries than vice versa (and while I am sure that most libraries will probably have Anne of Green Gables, with many of the other books I listed, I am unfortunately not so sure).


message 9: by QNPoohBear (last edited Jul 02, 2018 01:46PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 2268 comments Perfect! I have After Many Years on my nightstand. I got it for Christmas, packed it before reading it, and haven't gotten around to putting it on the shelf with the other short stories. My personal favorite LMM novel is The Story Girl. I adore Anne and she's very dear to my heart but Sara's stories mesmerized me.

I also enjoy the Dear Canada books. My favorite so far is Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope because it reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. My other favorite is Whispers of War: The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt. I've read that one several times and have it on my keeper shelf. Another really good one I enjoyed is Where the River Takes Me: The Hudson's Bay Company Diary of Jenna Sinclair. It's another one set on the U.S./Canada border and very interesting. There's a lot of great details about native Pacific Northwest culture.

Buffalo Hunt from the Our Canadian Girl series. It's not as well written as the American Girl books but similar.

Mystery at Chilkoot Pass takes place in the Klondike.

A book I read and enjoyed as a kid is The Root Cellar though I don't recall it being set in Canada!

Calico Captive was another childhood favorite set in New Hampshire and Quebec during the French and Indian War. a teenage girl is kidnapped from her home in Charleston, New Hampshire by the Abenaki Indians in 1754. This is a real life harrowing event that was based on the life of one of my ancestors from Deerfield, Massachusetts and doubtless countless other children.

Great authors to read include Jean Little, Kit Pearson and Julie Lawson. Also Maxine Trottier. I read Sister to the Wolf.

There are a few other books set in/about Canada that I know I've read, they just didn't show up in the library catalog under Canada--juvenile fiction.


message 10: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 09, 2018 07:09AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Perfect! I have After Many Years on my nightstand. I got it for Christmas, packed it before reading it, and haven't gotten around to putting it on the shelf with the other short sto..."

The Root cellar is definitely set in Canada, at least part of the story is.


message 11: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
It'll be interesting to see what's avl. in my new home in Missouri, so far south of the border.


message 12: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Perfect! I have After Many Years on my nightstand. I got it for Christmas, packed it before reading it, and haven't gotten around to putting it on the shelf with the other short sto..."

I also have very much liked Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope and Whispers of War: The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt, although my favourites (and ones I do have to reread in order to write a review) so far are Alone in an Untamed Land: The Filles Du Roi Diary of Helene St. Onge, Banished from Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angélique Richard and No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn.


message 13: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "It'll be interesting to see what's avl. in my new home in Missouri, so far south of the border."

I am assuming that you will at least find some L.M. Montgomery books, at least I am hoping you do.

How do you like Missouri so far?


message 14: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Although the author is I think American, I am currently reading a new middle grade biography on L.M. Montgomery, House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery. Have not read all that much of the book as of yet, but am kind of annoyed at the rather sloppy writing style and occasionally groan-worthy grammar and syntax gaffes (Liz Rosenberg really could do with an editor).


message 15: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
(Not in MO yet. Getting close!)


message 16: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "(Not in MO yet. Getting close!)"

Hope that moving will not be too much of a pain.


message 17: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2268 comments Manybooks wrote: "I also have very much liked Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope and Whispers of War: The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt, although my favourites (and ones I do have to reread in order to write a review) so far are Alone in an Untamed Land: The Filles Du Roi Diary of Helene St. Onge, Banished from Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angélique Richard and No Safe Harbour: The Halifax
.."


I haven't been able to get my hands on those yet. The books aren't available here in the U.S. except secondhand. I traded a friend for some and got some used on Amazon. I like the ones best that don't correspond with any of the Dear America books. I enjoy learning something different. I've read about half of the series so far. Here's the website for those who want to explore
http://scholastic.ca/dearcanada/

Tomorrow I'll try to find some of the others I've read. There's no a whole lot at the library yet Montreal is only about 5-6 hours away and Prince Edward Island was about a 2-3 day drive from Massachusetts. I think we traveled 3 days there and 2 back exploring a bit along the way.


message 18: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 02, 2018 06:59PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "I also have very much liked Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope and Whispers of War: The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt, although my favourites (and one..."

What I like about the series is that it is not afraid to tackle some of the not so stellar moments in Canadian history, such as with Banished from Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angélique Richard, the expulsion of the Acadians.


message 19: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
If you are looking for a fun and informative book on Canadian place names, I recommend Susan Hughes' Let's Call It Canada: Amazing Stories of Canadian Place Names, not spectacular, but a great introduction to Canadian place names and their often interesting stories of origin.


message 20: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 07, 2018 06:48AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
ALL of the picture books listed in the following comments are as far as I know either Canadian or penned by Canadian authors. As there are quite a lot of them to add (all ones I have read and reviewed and often but not always much enjoyed), I am just going to post the link as it would take too long to cut and paste reviews for about sixty odd picture books.

For those of you interested in these books, unfortunately, they are often not all that available outside of Canada.


message 25: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 21, 2018 05:29AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
While I did enjoy the sense of time and place in Lucy Maud and Me, I certainly did not love the book, and probably appreciated it more because I am such a fan of L.M. Montgomery's fiction. Yes, the author does realistically portray and feature how L.M. Montgomery seems to have been at the end of her life, but there is a bit too much showing and telling and too little story and finer nuances (and especially the death of the main protagonist's friend Peter from polio and the subplot with the grandfather's housekeeper do feel rather tacked on). NowI did quite enjoy Lucy Maud and Me, but I do wonder if readers not into Montgomery (or those who have actually never heard of her) would find this book all that engaging. Still three stars, but really mostly recommended for fans of L.M. Montgomery (but with regard to setting and description, Mary Frances Coady does truly bring 1940s Toronto quite to life).


message 26: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Jul 08, 2018 01:58PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2601 comments Mod
Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski
The author lives in Toronto, so I am going to guess that the Earth-bound parts of the story are set there. However, when Holly is mistaken for the Princess of the Galaxy, and kidnapped by a bunch of space pirates, most of the rest of this humorous, action-packed story takes place on spaceships and other planets. This book probably will not win any of Canada's prestigious book awards, but it is a fun, delightful read for those who like science fiction and space opera.


message 27: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski
The author lives in Toronto, so I am going to guess that the Earth-bound parts of the story are set the..."


It does sound like fun!


message 28: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Finding Grace


(view spoiler)


message 29: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Perfect! I have After Many Years on my nightstand. I got it for Christmas, packed it before reading it, and haven't gotten around to putting it on the shelf with the other short sto..."

I also need to read After Many Years, but I fo not think I will enjoy it as much as the Rea Wilmshurst edited short stories, as I also did not all that much enjoy The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories (too much love and matchmaking).


message 30: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2268 comments I'm halfway through After Many Years. Many of the stories were published in the Western Christian Advocate and are moral tales for the young. Reading them after reading Louisa May Alcott's "moral pap for the young", they're more palatable. Some of the stories were reworked as chapters or ideas for later novels like Jane of Lantern Hill and Anne of Windy Poplars. They're not any better or worse than what I remember the short stories in the Rhea Wilhurst volumes. These stories are part of the same project. They were uncataloged and undiscovered for many years.


message 31: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
The Contest

(view spoiler)


message 32: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
Well, our new home won't let me get a library card with just a PO Box so I have to wait until we find a home. And apparently the library doesn't belong to any sort of consortium, so I may be limited to their own rather small collection. (I will check with the university's library, though, where my son is attending school.)


message 33: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 11, 2018 02:49PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Well, our new home won't let me get a library card with just a PO Box so I have to wait until we find a home. And apparently the library doesn't belong to any sort of consortium, so I may be limite..."

Too bad, and what a pain for you! Hopefully, you can get a university library membership of some kind.


message 34: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
The Margaret Trilogy

(view spoiler)


message 35: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
There You Are

(view spoiler)


message 36: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Before Green Gables

(view spoiler)


message 37: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 15, 2018 05:04PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
I also just read Acadian Star, but sorry, I really disliked this novel, as it showed little to no sense of time and place and the writing style is really grating (with very undeveloped characters and even once Meg travels back in time to 18th century Nova Scotia, there is very little actual history and Acadian culture described and shown).

Am still planning to read a couple more books on the Acadian Expulsion, like Winds of L'Acadie and Lightning and Blackberries which look to be much better and with more historic details (and hopefully with considerably less simplistic and annoyingly over emotive writing).


message 38: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Lightning and Blackberries

(view spoiler)


message 39: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Jul 17, 2018 03:13PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2601 comments Mod
Wild One by Jane Whittingham
Wild One by Jane Whittingham
Just saw this picture book today on display at my library. I didn't realize until after I had looked at it, that it was first published in Canada. A little girl acts like various animals throughout her day. It has sort of scribbly, but exuberant, watercolor and ink illustrations. Perfect for toddlers and young pre-school children.


message 40: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 20, 2018 09:07PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
While I enjoyed Anne, Shieldmaiden of Green Gables for about the first ten pages or so, the book really fell pretty massively apart very soon and lastingly, and considering all the violence and gratuitous talk of sexual assault, this Viking based mash up of L.M. Montgomery's classic and loved Anne of Green Gables is also in my opinion not even suitable for younger readers anymore either. Not recommended!


message 41: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
It's embarrassing to admit how much I learned from the simple non-fiction book Canada, part of the "One World, Many Countries" series that's probably aimed at 7-9 yo children. Good series for homeschoolers and school libraries, I believe, with straightforward text, bright pictures, and several appendices to teach children 'the parts of a non-fiction book.'


message 42: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "It's embarrassing to admit how much I learned from the simple non-fiction book Canada, part of the "One World, Many Countries" series that's probably aimed at 7-9 yo children. Good ..."

I hope my local library has a copy, as while I am interested, the retail price is a bit steep.


message 43: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2268 comments After Many Years switches from cute children's moral tales to silly romances about halfway through. UGH The romances are pretty awful but some were reused later in her novels. Does anyone remember if there is an LMM story or novel .... spoiler for one of the stories in this collection

(view spoiler)


message 44: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 22, 2018 09:23AM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "After Many Years switches from cute children's moral tales to silly romances about halfway through. UGH The romances are pretty awful but some were reused later in her novels. Does ..."

Too bad, silly romances and matchmaking are the two things that sometimes drive me a bit batty with L.M. Montgomery.

And that story sounds like one I read in Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence, although in that story, a man and a middle aged spinster aunt work together to beautify a house (a ploy by the man and the aunt's niece to soften up the aunt who is against the two of them marrying because she hates men, due to having been jilted, which though later does not turn out to be the case at all, I think it was called Miss Sally's Letter).


message 45: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
Manybooks wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "It's embarrassing to admit how much I learned from the simple non-fiction book Canada, part of the "One World, Many Countries" series that's probably aimed at 7-9 yo ..."

Oh, it's not aimed at residents, even very young ones, at all. I mean, the kind of things I learned you take for granted, for example that Montreal is very heavily influenced by the French language and architecture (I always assumed Quebecois were alone in their special status).


message 46: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "It's embarrassing to admit how much I learned from the simple non-fiction book Canada, part of the "One World, Many Countries" series that's probabl..."

Actually, aside from Quebec, there are pockets of French in many provinces, and New Brunswick is actually the only Canadian province that is, at present, officially bilingual.


message 47: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
See that! Too many of us Americans know far too little about Canada!


message 48: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 22, 2018 04:00PM) (new)

Manybooks | 8821 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "See that! Too many of us Americans know far too little about Canada!"

Although true, I would also bet that many of us Canadians also know far too little about the USA, especially at the local and state level. I thunk it would be nice if both countries strove to be a bit more inclusive and less on a high horse.


message 49: by QNPoohBear (last edited Jul 22, 2018 05:23PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 2268 comments Has anyone read Fog Magic? It is enchanting if you read it from the perspective of your inner child. I always longed for something like that to happen to me. I still do! It takes place in Nova Scotia.

Winds of L'Acadie is kind of fantasy novel-it has a time travel element. I enjoyed the history behind it a lot more than the plot.

The Hollow Tree is an interesting look at the Revolutionary War with some great historical details and a compelling plot. I read this one more than once, I think.

I enjoyed the Suzanna Snow Mysteries by Angie Frazier. They're written for 9-12 year olds and not adults but there's local color about the town on the shore, adventure and a mystery.

I also really liked Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance but don't remember it being specifically set in Canada.

I'm going to pick up a few more books on Canada at the library this week.


message 50: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6847 comments Mod
We read Fog Magic in the Newbery club. It didn't engender much discussion; it seems that readers either 'feel' it or don't. It def. belongs on this list, though!

As does The Root Cellar; thank you for reminding me. That seems to have more universal appeal as it's not too subtle, but more of a straightforward time travel adventure.


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