My Canadian Favourites of the Year 2019

Ah, it’s the end of the year, and it’s time for the “best of” lists. I decided that I would share mine with a focus on my Canadian favourites. Canadian books are amazing, but alas they often find themselves overshadowed. 

So why aren’t Canadian books read more? This article sheds a bit more light on the reasons.

There are so many Canadian books that I have read that didn’t get a mention, as well as so many that I am wanting to read. However, these are a few that caught my eye this year:

Favourite Picture Book: “Small in the City” by Sydney Smith

There are few books that make me cry, although oddly enough, I am known to cry at happy endings instead of sad endings. Does anyone else do this? This book though, although the ending is ambivalent, did make me cry. I was happy to hear that it won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (illustration). It’s so subtle and complex!

Favourite Memoir/Autobiography: “To Speak for the Trees” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Ever since I saw her movie “Call of the Forest”, I have been a Diana Beresford-Kroeger fan. I blogged about it in this post.

I love nature and in particular trees, and Beresford-Kroeger’s message that trees matter really resonates with me.

This book swept me away on its journey of nature and spirituality. The author takes us back to her childhood where what she learned about the ancient Celtic teachings informed her later scientific concepts. The second half is all about the Ogham alphabet, something I hadn’t even heard of before I read the book. I don’t reread books much, but I just might reread this one.

Favourite Graphic Novels: “Three Thieves” series by Scott Chantler

This series isn’t new—the last of the seven book series was published in 2016—but I didn’t discover it until recently. I loved the series so much I read them all in one great big gulp! 

Dessa is on a mission to find her kidnapped twin brother. With the help of Topper and Fisk, she tries to find his kidnapper, Greyfalcon, while at the same time trying to outrun the Queen’s “Dragons’. There are so many twists and turns in this series by Waterloo writer Scott Chandler.

Favourite Middle Grade Book: “Stand on the Sky” by Erin Bow

I loved the movie “The Eagle Huntress”. So when I saw this book, I thought, “Wow, did she write it for me?” The book captivated me from beginning to end. No wonder it won a Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (text).

I got to express my appreciation to the author—yelling it out of the window of my car—while she was crossing the street to do her introduction at Margaret Atwood’s talk at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener, where she recited some fantastic poetry. Bow certainly is multitalented!

Follow Erin Bow on Twitter (@erinbowbooks) for some fascinating peeks into her writing process and the Governor General’s award ceremony.

Favourite Drabbles Book: “donkey drabbles”

I would be rather amiss if I didn’t mention a book dear to my heart in which I had a drabble published. The book “donkey drabbles” is a fundraising initiative for one of my favourite places, “The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada”. You can read about the book here.

As well, I attended some fabulous talks and festivals this year:

Favourite Workshop:  Ayelet Tsabari’s Creative Nonfiction Workshop

The author of “The Art of Leaving”, which I have bought and not yet read, was very generous with her knowledge of creative nonfiction writing. I blogged about the experience in this post.

Favourite Speakers: 

All the writers I saw were fantastic! There was not one disappointing talk I went to.

These writers I blogged about (and you can read about it, if you click on their names):

Guy Gavriel Kay and Marina Endicott

Eric Walters 

Emma Donoghue

Children’s Book Writers at the Eden’s Mills Writer’s Festival

Wild Writer’s Literary Festival Presenters

These writers I never got a chance to blog about, but I enjoyed their talks just as much:

Margaret Atwood, the grand dame of Canadian literature

Tara Mondou, author of “Little Girl in the Mirror”

“Zwei Writers” Heather Wright and Lori Wolf-Heffner 

Favourite Moments: 

Eric Walters at “Telling Tales” when he gave up the stage to the audience, so we could shelter from the rain while he stood out in the rain under his umbrella. You can view my picture here.

Jess Keating spelled my daughter’s name wrong when she signed her book. While she may be embarrassed by this, I was impressed that the quick thinking author turned the misspelled name into a doodle, and then wrote my daughter’s correctly spelled name after the doodle. My daughter loved it! I hope that I can remain this cool under pressure.

Other Favourites:

Favourite Bookish Journey: On the Trail of L.M. Montgomery, P.E.I.

Fantastic! I enjoyed every minute of discovering all the sites related to L.M. Montgomery and the books she wrote, such as “Anne of Green Gables”.

I blogged about it here.

Favourite New (to me) Website: 49th Shelf

I am not sure how long this website has been around, but it’s one I recently discovered, and since then I have visited again and again. This is a place where you can “Find your next great Canadian read”. There are regular columns about indie picks, children’s favourites, and writer’s stories. Perhaps it appeals to me so much, because it has lots of lists. I do love lists…

Favourite New Initiative: I Read Canadian Books

I learned about this initiative when I was at the “Telling Tales Festival” in September. According to the website, “We challenge the nation to “Read Canadian” for 15 minutes and to share their experience at their library, in their school, with their families and friends, or on social media.” I hope that you participate on February 19, 2020, so we can spread the word about our Canadian books and authors.

How about you? Do you have any Canadian favourites you’d like to share?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler


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