Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

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Coding Simplified: 7 Books to Help Your Students Learn to Code

Coding Simplified: 7 Books to Help Your Students Learn to Code

By Allison Hall

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to becom …

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Book Cover these ARe not the potatotes of my youth

2019 Poetry Splendour

By The 49thShelf Community

The books that shaped our community's literary year.

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Book Cover Falling for Myself

A Grateful, Pay-it-Forward Diverse Booklist

By Dorothy Ellen Palmer

Marking International Day of Disabled Persons (December 3) with a recommended reading list by one of CanLit's foremost d …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Sydney Smith

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Sydney Smith

By Trevor Corkum

Sydney Smith is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Book) for S …

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Book Cover Woman on the Edge

12 Books I Can't Get Out of My Mind

By Samantha Bailey

A list of fabulous fiction (and sneak preview of 2020's hottest books), by Samantha M. Bailey, whose debut novel, Woman …

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Book Cover the work

In for the Duration: Books About the Long Haul

By Maria Meindl

"What if I saw The Work as a historical novel? Maybe it’s not set far enough in the past to count as historical, but m …

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Five New Picture Books to Brighten Up Your Classroom

Five New Picture Books to Brighten Up Your Classroom

By Sarah Campbell

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to becom …

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Book Cover the Liszts

Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Self-Regulation, Organization, Initiative

By Julie Booker

The learning skills part of the report card is divided into areas such as Self-Regulation, Organization, Initiative—ha …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Erin Bow

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Erin Bow

By Trevor Corkum

Erin Bow has won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature (Text) for Stand on the Sky (S …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

By Trevor Corkum

Renowned CBC radio host Amanda Parris is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Drama for Other Side of the …

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Coding Simplified: 7 Books to Help Your Students Learn to Code

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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With December comes one of my favourite weeks of the fall, the Hour of Code. This year it takes place during December 9–15th and provides an excellent opportunity to introduce coding skills to your students. I usually run the Hour of Code for a two-week period, when students can participate in a variety of analog and digital coding activities. Depending on experience, they may start with the basics or try to code an animation, video game, website, or app. When I started running the Hour of Code a few years ago, my knowledge of coding was minimal. By sharing this fact with my classes and learning together with them, we created a community in which we could help and support one another as we worked through the process. Kids are always excited to try Hour of Code activities and many use their new skills throughout the year. If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of books to help introduce and/or reinforce coding concepts with your students.

A good place to begin the coding conversation is with an exploration of technology. When kids understand the purpose for coding, learning to code becomes a …

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2019 Poetry Splendour

Poetry advocate and community builder Vicki Ziegler recently put a call out on Twitter asking readers to share what poetry titles had helped make their literary year, and the response was so great that we wanted to share it. Let's celebrate the poetry splendour of 2019!

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Following Sea, by Lauren Carter

About the book: Spanning almost two hundred years, Following Sea finds anchor in the submerged regions of the heart. With great care, Lauren Carter wades into family histories and geography, all the while charting her own territories. Carried by the ebb and flow of language, Carter's second collection explores issues of infertility, identity, and settler migration, offering a tender examination of home. Urgent and intimate, Following Sea leads us along the shoreline of Carter's Manitoulin memories to show us what she has carried up from the depths.

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Dunk Tank, by Kayla Czaga

About the book: In the title poem of Kayla Czaga’s sophomore collection, a teenage speaker is suspended between knowledge and experience, confidently hovering there before the world …

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A Grateful, Pay-it-Forward Diverse Booklist

December 3 is International Day of Disabled Persons, and we're proud to be marking this day with a recommended reading list by one of CanLit's foremost disability activists, Dorothy Ellen Palmer, whose latest book is the memoir Falling For Myself. An underlying message of this powerful, fierce, and often funny book is the importance of solidarity, allyship, and community, which Palmer celebrates properly here in the collection of authors and books that she's assembled.

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One of the things that continually feeds me as a reader is the work of other authors I respect, those who continue to share, collaborate, and produce fabulous, thought-provoking diverse books, often will little thanks. With this list I want to thank and boost the books I loved recently published by those authors who kindly took time from their working days to write a blurb for my memoir, Falling for Myself. They reflect the best of the craft and community of CanLit.

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All Inclusive, by Farzana Doctor

About the book: A story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Book) for Small in the City, published by Groundwood Books.

The jury says "Small in the City is visually stunning. The feeling of winter in the city from a child’s perspective is rendered with remarkable feeling and sensitivity. But the genius of the book turns on the collaboration of the pictures and the text—the voice, the pacing and the gentle but striking exposition live up to the brilliance of the illustrations. A tour de force.”

Sydney Smith is an author/illustrator of children’s books. He has illustrated numerous acclaimed children’s books, including Town Is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, and the wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by JonArno Lawson, which won the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award and many other honours. Smith has received the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award three times. He studied drawing and printmaking at NSCAD University. He lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his wife and two children.

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THE CHAT WITH SYDNEY SMITH

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12 Books I Can't Get Out of My Mind

I can’t fall asleep unless I’ve torn through the pages of an excellent novel first, and I probably read three or four books a week. I devour commercial fiction in all different genres, and it’s not easy to narrow down my favourites. But the following twelve books, in no particular order, are the reads that I just can’t get out of my mind because they’re that spectacular.

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The Arrangement, by Robyn Harding

I’ve inhaled all of Robyn Harding’s books, but The Arrangement really hooked me right from the first line. Take Natalie, a desperate art student; a sugar baby website; Gabe, a rich, older man; add in a murder, and you’ve got the most tantalizing story-line. It's a fantastic, emotional, twisted, perfectly paced read, set against a vivid New York City backdrop, and is so seductive I couldn’t put it down.

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Hurry Home, by Roz Nay

R …

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