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Librarians get their Canada Reads say!

Earlier this month, we featured fantastic videos by four librarians from the Edmonton Public Library pitching their Canada Reads picks. We loved them so much that we rounded up more recommendations from librarians across the country!

Jane Pyper from the Toronto Public Library recommends: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill


Sharron Smith from the Kitchener Public Library recommends: The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

There is strength of both character and language in Urquhart's storytelling; as she chronicles the story of ordinary lives against the backdrop of extraordinary events, that are pivotal to the history of Canada, she reminds us that we must never forget the contributions of those who serve our country. The impact of WWI, both physically and emotionally, are powerfully described, as is the construction of the Vimy Memorial which honours the fallen.


Deborah Cryderman from the Stettler Public Library recommends: The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

The characters in this book were compelling to the point that two years later, I feel like I'm still friends with Digger and Sadie. Descriptions throughout the novel were vivid and intense. This is one of those books you "live" rather than read.


Lorna Toolis from the Toronto Public Library recommends: Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is a brilliant writer, whose books deserve a wider audience than they currently reach. Canadians are fond of science fiction memes, but more comfortable reading them in books not labelled with a rocket ship. Wilson's fiction is distinguished by original concepts and remarkable characterization. The characters in Wilson's novels have complicated relationships, the way real people do, and the core of his fiction revolves around these relationships. Their attempts to deal with their exotic circumstances are credible attempts by normal people to deal with the fantastic.

Wilson's novels have grown in maturity and depth since his first novel, A Hidden Place, was published in 1986. His most recent novel, Julian Comstock: A story of 22nd Century America, tells the story a young man, the nephew of the president, trying to survive love, war and family machinations in a vastly expanded United States. Success makes him a threat, and interferes with his ultimate ambition, to make a film about Charles Darwin. Wilson's book is amazing; funny, philosophical and kind. If you are only going to read one fiction book this year, pick up Julian Comstock, and let the book recommend itself.


Danielle Pilon from the Winnipeg Public Library recommends: Spook Country by William Gibson

Though I was tempted to pick something more "literary," I went with Gibson as essential because he's getting closer & closer to capturing in prose the vertiginous feeling of living in a fluid future/culture that changes under our feet.
 

Helena Dong from the Toronto Public Library recommends: Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton

Chanda's Wars is the sequel to the award-winning Chanda's Secrets and continues the story of sixteen year old Chanda Kabelo just months after her mother's passing. An orphan herself, Chanda is determined to take care of her little sister Iris and brother Soly. A fateful visit to her mother's family in the country results in a devastating turn of events. Iris and Soly are kidnapped by a dangerous rebel group with the intent to turn them into child soldiers. Chanda somehow rises above her feelings of grief, fear, and despair and launches on an incredible journey to recover her brother and sister. The extreme peril of her mission and the brutality she witnesses along the way are heart-stopping, but Chanda's resolve ultimately restores Iris and Soly to her. So young and so vulnerable, Chanda is yet a marvel of strength and courage. Her spirit, compassion, and willingness to let love lead her where it may are what make this novel about children caught in conflict, a hopeful and triumphant one in the end. Chanda's Wars is the winner of the 2009 CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award, a nominee for the 2009 OLA White Pine Award, and a Junior Library Guild Selection. Chanda's Secrets has been made into an award-winning movie. Life Above All is the winner of the 2010 Francois Chalais Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and has been selected as South Africa's official entry for the 2011 Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.
 

Halifax Public Libraries' Readers Services Team  recommends:

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman


The team at the Canadian Children's Book Centre recommends:

Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Shi-shi-etko by Nicola Campbell


Kathryn Shaw from the Brantford Public Library recommends: The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Buchanan

A book enjoyed by our entire book club. Great characters, story, and history.


Lindy Pratch from the Edmonton Public Library recommends: Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Emotionally evocative combination of art and text in a coming-of-age story set in Toronto in the 1990s.


Joanna Aegard from the Thunder Bay Public Library recommends: King Leary by Paul Quarrington

It's about hockey.

'nuff said!!!

Paul Quarrington weaves an amazing Canadian story about an old hockey hero looking back on his career. The story takes you from the King's early training with mystical monks on ice, to his first hat trick in the NHL (and its rewards), to the last days of his life.

Every time I see "old timers" taking to the ice for a quick wave, wearing their old hockey sweaters, I think of King Leary. And when I play, I aspire to have his signature movel!


Debbie Ashworth from the Fort Erie Public Library recommends: After River by Donna Milner

I chose this book for Canada Reads for a few reasons.

First of all, a first novel for this Canadian author, and so well written! Secondly, the story itself is so interesting and real,, you feel as if you a part of the family. The issues that are addressed in this novel are handled with acute care and are real to many of us. The story is poignant, funny, sad, happy, interesting.

I love this book!!!


Which librarian recommendation most floats your boat? Cast your vote for you favourite essential read below. Only the books that qualify are in the poll below. (Sorry King Leary). Each vote is worth one point.

Or if you have another novel in mind. send your recommendation in using our online form. Each recommendation is worth one point as well. The 40 books with the most points make the cut!

One vote=one point. One recommendation=one point. The novels with the most points win.

Erin Balser is an associate producer with Canada Reads.

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